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st: A gentler introduction to Statalist and Seven Deadly Sins


From   "roy wada" <roywada@hotmail.com>
To   statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
Subject   st: A gentler introduction to Statalist and Seven Deadly Sins
Date   Tue, 31 Jul 2007 08:30:02 -0700

There have been many repeat postings chastising alleged violators
of some standards for Statalist and asking them to read FAQ prior
to posting to Statalist. I have to say I haven't completely read FAQ,
either.

The author of FAQ took pains writing it, and we are better off
for having it. Having said that, it is too long to be paid attention to.

A frequently cited passage about the need for complete citation,
"Please do not assume that the literature familiar to you is familiar to
all..." is buried somewhere in FAQ. I knew I would find it there,
but I don't think I have ever seen it before.

The most pertinent advice about the standards and protocols for
posting to Statalist are buried in the middle of FAQ, where it will
not be found by the newest members of Statalist.

Yes, it would be nice if everyone actually read FAQ, but it would be
an entrapment to think that they actually would. Think footnotes in
a legal document. Some people are getting caught by them.

If there are such things as Seven Deadly Sins that should be avoided
when posting to Statalist, then perhaps they could be made available
at the top of FAQ. They might be specified in the confirmation email
from the majordomo upon subscribing to Statalist.

By making a short list available, think of it as moving away from Hammurabi's
Code, which was publicized in its time but too complicated to be easily
understood, to something more manageable like Ten Commandments.

Ten is good. Seven is better. 282 is too many. A checklist should be short.

Any potential list of seven deadly sins PROBABLY should include something
about incomplete literature citation. I would also include something about
incomplete descritions of a Stata command, but that would be my personal
perference.

Roy

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