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st: A Statalist glossary


From   "Nick Cox" <n.j.cox@durham.ac.uk>
To   <statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu>
Subject   st: A Statalist glossary
Date   Thu, 22 Apr 2010 15:47:58 +0100

Re-reading the entire set of manuals for fun, as one does, it struck me
that StataCorp has been including more glossary sections over recent
versions. Seems like a good idea for this list, so here goes:

A is for advice. All advice, here and elsewhere, is based on one
over-arching principle: Whatever promotes clear, complete and correct
answers delivered quickly is good. (There's a converse....) 

A is also for amusement. Don't assume from the stern and stiff opening
of this glossary that it is entirely composed of straight-faced
commentary. 

A is also for archives, as in "use the archives". But first read the
help, the manual and the FAQs. 

A is also for ASCII, or plain text, which is expected on Statalist. 

A is also for attachments, which should not be sent to Statalist. 

B is for basics, which means CDE:

C is for code or commands used. Show us exact code. Do not merely say
that you used some command, or worse, not even specify what command
you used. 

D is for data. Show us examples of your problem with datasets everyone
can use (see -help dta_contents-) or with small fake datasets. If you
can't do that, give us an example of your data. 

E is for examples. A concrete example of your problem is worth a
thousand words of arm-waving explanation or speculation, and worth much,
much more than a report that something "didn't work", which could mean
about twenty different things.  

F is for FAQ. You should read
<http://www.stata.com/support/faqs/res/statalist.html> before posting.
See also StataCorp's own FAQs: <http://www.stata.com/support/faqs/> 

f is also for -findit-. -findit- is your friend. (Don't know about
-findit- yet? Then do read the help.) 

G is for Gould. See William. 

G is also for Gutierrez. Bobby Gutierrez is Director of Statistics at
StataCorp. When he writes, pay attention! 

g is also for -gllamm-. In Klingon that means "quick". 

H is for help. Did you read the help carefully? 

H is also for hyphens, as in references to some Stata -commandname-. The
hyphen convention is a Gould idea. 

IVs is for instrumental variables, or sometimes independent variables.
If you didn't know that, this won't help (bad news), or you're not an
economist (good news). 

J is for jokes. There are plenty of in-jokes on Statalist, but you
shouldn't expect me to explain them here. If someone's sense of humour
appears a bit weird to you, you are almost certainly correct. See also
J. 

K is for Kit Baum, as in "Thanks, as usual, to Kit Baum". He does much
of the real work around here, like maintaining SSC. 

K is also for Kolenikov. Not to be confused with Kalashnikov. See also
J. 

L is for lousy subjects for your postings, such as "help" or "problem"
or something only a little more informative than that. Be specific! 

L is also for lousy or lazy literature references, as in "I want to use
the test of Sue, Grabbit and Runne (1989)". Full details please! 

M is for moderator, meaning Marcello Pagano, sine quo non and primus
inter pares. If he gets annoyed, you've been really bad. He also does
much of the real work around here. 

M is also for Maarten Buis and Martin Weiss. For detailed explanation,
see <http://www.stata.com/statalist/archive/2010-02/msg00840.html>. 

M is also for Manual, as in Read The Fine. 

N is for nice, as in "be nice", and as in "even if people appear to be
nasty when you are a bit naughty, they are really nice underneath, and
are doing it in everyone's best interests". 

N is also for Nick, which is probably a coincidence. See also J. 

O is for "official", which means "whatever code StataCorp admit
responsibility for". (This is not a joke, unless it is.) 

O is also for operating system, which you should make explicit if it's
relevant. Don't assume that the whole world uses Windows! 

P is for pedantry. As Bertrand Russell almost said, a pedant is a person
who prefers to be correct. Not a dirty word on this list. 

p is for pweights, problem, plague, pestilence, pain, and, more
fortunately, Pitblado. 

Q is for questions. See BCDE again, or for the first time. 

R is for R. No one's agin it (really!). Its value far exceeds its price.


R is also for re-posting your question. Disapproved.  

S is for Stata, silly. By the way, some of us get a bit irritated if you
spell it STATA, which is wrong, or at the very least a couple of decades
out-of-date. See also P. 

S also signals Some Alternative Software (originally Some Athenian
Software). 

S is also for SMCL, which means SMCL Makes Cooler Logs. 

S is also for survey statistics and Steve Samuels. Fancy that. 

T is for technicalities. We love them. 

U is for "user-written", as in "do explain where user-written software
you refer to comes from". 

V is for version. If you are using an out-of-date version (10.1 or
earlier), then say so. Being out-of-date is not a sin; but declaring it
increases your chance of being told of a solution you can use. 

V is for Vice-Presidents. Alan Riley and Vince Wiggins are
Vice-Presidents of StataCorp. When they write, pay attention! 

W is for William Gould, President of StataCorp. When he writes, pay
double attention! He probably threw away more good programs last week
than anyone else writes in a good year. 

x is for predictors or covariates. (Are you still saying independent
variables?) 

y is for response or outcome. (Are you still saying dependent variable?)


Z is the end of the English, meaning British, alphabet. 

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



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