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st: RE: Finding Stata commands


From   "Allan Reese (Cefas)" <allan.reese@cefas.co.uk>
To   <statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu>
Subject   st: RE: Finding Stata commands
Date   Tue, 5 Oct 2010 11:33:45 +0100

Nick Cox <n.j.cox@durham.ac.uk> reminds us that, according to legend,
Euclid is said to have replied to King Ptolemy's request for an easier
way of learning mathematics that there was no royal road to geometry.
For "geometry" read "Stata". 

Similarly, a Matt cartoon last week featured an Irish banker saying,
"The road to recovery - I wouldn't start from here."

I agree it can be *very frustrating* to find specific features in the
Stata documentation, especially when it's an "unknown unknown". But, as
the punchline to another old joke runs, "The good news is there's lots
of it."

Also worth remembering one of Tukey's aphorisms, "An approximate answer
to the right question is better than the exact answer to the wrong
question."  It's unhelpful to assume that in every situation there is a
best or specific statistical approach or command.

I use search, findit and archive searches a lot.  

What I would ask - and the reason for writing - is that people,
including Statacorp, remember to update hlp files to advise when
commands are considered obsolete or at least to update the "See also".

Allan


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