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st: Statalist FAQ and new members [was: RE: Re: statalist-digest V4 #2725]
I have changed the title of this thread partly because
I am focusing on one specific point.
Sebastian Kruk suggested
> Maybe a new subscriber should receive the FAQ as first message.
In any case Sebastian's original title
RE: Re: statalist-digest V4 #2725
is meaningless to those who do not receive the digest
and hopelessly vague to those who do. If you are
replying to a digest, please use the heading of
the specific posting you are replying to as the
basis for your subject.
Sebastian's suggestion is not one that I propose
New members already receive this admonition like
Welcome to the statalist-digest mailing list!
Please save this message for future reference. Thank you.
If you ever want to remove yourself from this mailing list,
you can send mail to <Majordomo@hsphsun2.harvard.edu> with the following
command in the body of your email message:
unsubscribe statalist-digest firstname.lastname@example.org
If you ever need to get in contact with the owner of the list,
(if you have trouble unsubscribing, or have questions about the
list itself) send email to <email@example.com> .
This is the general rule for most mailing lists when you need
to contact a human.
Here's the general information for the list you've subscribed to,
in case you don't already have it:
Welcome to Statalist. We hope that you will find Statalist postings
interesting and useful, and that you may feel able to contribute.
Statalist has been going since 1994, and over that time we have
developed an FAQ which is at
It is packed with information and, indeed, the distilled wisdom of
Please read that FAQ at your convenience, but certainly before you post
anything to the list. We hope you will find that acting on the advice
given in the FAQ will increase the chance of someone answering your
questions fruitfully and keep the list pleasant for all.
Over the years, we have experimented with various alternatives
to this message. One was sending a shortened version of the FAQ
with key points, but it is impossible to tell what are the key
points for any new member, as points obvious or relevant to some
are evidently not obvious or relevant to others.
Sending the full FAQ would not be a good idea, however,
for several reasons:
1. The FAQ is revised from time to time. Thus, we would need
to revise the material in the welcome message everytime
we tweaked the FAQ. The burden here would fall not so much
on Marcello Pagano or myself but on Harvard School of Public
Health personnel who do the nitty-gritty entirely as a matter
of good will.
2. The FAQ is manifestly an HTML document with various links
and other clickable detail. It is, we suspect, much more
natural and convenient for members to look at it in their
3. Sending members HTML documents by email would run contrary
to the Statalist philosophy, itself explained at length
in the FAQ, that only plain text messages are guaranteed to be
intelligible and acceptable to all members of the list.
4. Sending members an ASCII version would raise issues
already explained under #1 and #2.
5. The alternative of asking new members to click on an URL or
to copy and paste that into a browser is, we feel, a minimal and
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