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RE: st: Help with Reading Arguments for Do-File
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
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
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
My own prejudices on this are to some extent reflected in
the "Speaking Stata" columns of the Stata Journal.
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