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RE: st: Help with Reading Arguments for Do-File


From   "George Stimson" <stimson@netz.us>
To   statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
Subject   RE: st: Help with Reading Arguments for Do-File
Date   Mon, 14 Nov 2005 14:02:24 -0600

Nick,

It would be virtually impossible to write manuals that are fully
responsive the diverse needs of such a heterogeneous group of users as
Stata has, so I understand your comment about the difficulty of
determining what should be considered core Stata in the manuals.

While I have no answer to this question in terms of the content and
scope of the manuals, StataList and its archives certainly do help to
fill-in the gaps.  The combination of the manuals and this list,
supplemented by other resources on the web, is probably as good a
solution as one will find.

Thanks again to you and others for your patience as I make the
transition to Stata -- or at least add it as another major tool in my
statistical toolchest.

George


---------
Nick Cox wrote:

Thanks for this. You raise an interesting --
although difficult to answer -- general question 
on what is, or should be, regarded as core Stata 
that everyone should (want to) know. There is one answer 
in [U] 27.1, but as one fairly experienced user
I find that some of the commands there are ones
I have hardly ever used; that's more or less inevitable
with such lists. The idea that -graph- is optional 
was presumably not intended, although it wouldn't 
surprise me if indeed some users never produced graphs. 

Although some people no doubt use macros for shortcuts as in 

. local myxvar "x1 x2 x3 x4 x5" 
. regress y `myxvar' 

the main rationale for locals is for use within programs, 
and not mentioning stuff to do with programs has long been 
a criterion for most introductory Stata documentation. 

Conversely, some books by Stata users include token chapters 
on programming and I often wonder how effective such chapters are. 

Conversely, again, this criterion confines -forvalues- 
and -foreach- to the outer darkness of the Programming
manual. 

More seriously, while StataCorp continues to make money out
of the manuals, and it's also important to keep individual 
manuals to moderate size, there is no optimal solution to all 
this. 

My own prejudices on this are to some extent reflected in 
the "Speaking Stata" columns of the Stata Journal. 

Nick 
n.j.cox@durham.ac.uk 
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