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st: Repeat posts
Those who join Statalist are asked to read the
Statalist FAQ before posting.
All who receive Statalist are reminded in every
post of the existence of the FAQ in a footer,
although no doubt it often gets noticed only
Deviations from protocol often arise in little
bursts, as some people follow the bad example
set by others.
The most recent trend seems to be for repeat
posts, or equivalently a flurry of posts that
all appear to be more or less the same question
posted again and again.
At the risk of making very basic statements
in front of lots of very smart people:
1. No one owes anybody an answer on Statalist.
If your behaviour irritates anybody on Statalist,
your emails will almost certainly just end up
getting deleted, even by people who may know something of an
answer to your question. They will mutter
to themselves "Read the fabulous help" or "Go find
a textbook" or "Work it out for yourself for goodness'
sake", or words to that effect, but you won't hear
any of that.
2. The same question repeated is not clearer or
more interesting than it was the first time.
3. An apology for repeating is neither here nor
there. If you think a repost is excusable, you
needn't apologise. If you don't, you shouldn't
Here's the policy on reposts (again...)
4. What to do if you do not get an answer
Sometimes, a posting gets no reply. It is possible that your posting got
overlooked, but with several hundred pairs of eyes scanning Statalist,
this is much less likely than you might think. If you get no answer,
you might be tempted to repost the question, but please think twice
before you do that. The same post reappearing repeatedly strikes many
Statalist members as impatient and inconsiderate. You had your chance,
but no one wanted to answer the question. Sorry!
If your posting gets no reply, it may be the fault of the question, of
the questioner, or of those who read the question. Who knows for sure?
However, it is most likely to be for one or more of the following
No one knows of any such Stata program. You need to write your own code
or use some other software.
Your question really should be answered by using the manual or the
online help, or by typing findit in an up-to-date Stata, but no one felt
blunt enough to point that out.
We do not have the knowledge of your project needed to work out the best
thing to do in your circumstances, and in any case it is really your
You did not provide enough information. For example, postings of the
form, "I tried using -foobar-, but it did not work," are usually
impossible to answer, except by asking for more information.
Your question is too unclear or too complicated to understand. For
example, very complicated data-management tasks or large chunks of code
that are not working are usually too much like hard work to understand,
even for Stata experts. It is possible that you may benefit from trying
to make your problem much clearer or simpler. Remember that a very long
posting with a mass of detailed explanation is just as offputting as a
question that is cryptically brief. The best advice is to rewrite the
question so that the key issue is made as clear as possible but also is
stated as briefly as possible.
But in all circumstances, there is a simple rule of thumb: A rewrite or
even one repost of the original is tolerable, but more than one repost
is not. If after two attempts you have not received an answer, there is
too slim a chance that you will get an answer on Statalist. Please try
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