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Re: st: notes and labels and saving datasets

From   John LeBlanc <>
Subject   Re: st: notes and labels and saving datasets
Date   Thu, 02 Dec 2010 17:04:16 -0400

Since it is just a prompt that one can respond to, I would prefer the prompt even when data itself haven't changed but notes/labels have. I too have lost notes and now I'm cautious every time I quit Stata & review whether or not there are other important changes such as labels or notes. Why not save me this hesitation and just prompt me?

Why not "Data, labels or notes have changed, quit anyway?"

Also, this is more consistent with GUI software in general, which does prompt you for any change and does not make a fine distinction between the types of changes made, only that some change occurred. Where possible, having consistency across applications helps users move from app. to app. There's a lot to remember, even for geeks!

If opinion is divided, why not make the type of prompt an option that users can make 'permanent' or include in their file?

Regards, John

John C. LeBlanc, MD, MSc, FRCPC
Associate Professor
Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Community Health and Epidemiology
Dalhousie University

IWK Health Centre              Work phone:   902 470-8930
5850 University Avenue         Work fax:     888 994-6773
Halifax, Nova Scotia           Email: John.LeBlanc@Dal.Ca
B3K 6R8 CANADA                 Pager:        902 470-8888

On 2010.12.01 2:30 PM, William Gould, StataCorp LP wrote:
Will Senn<>  wrote,

Is there a rationale for why Stata doesn't prompt to save files after
notes or labels have been added/updated/deleted? If not, is this
something that can be addressed in an update? What's the process of
requesting such a thing?
Yes, there is a rationale. The formats, labels, and notes that you add
or change to the data are just dressing, not changes to the data
themselves.  In the same vein, changing the sort order of the data is
not considered a change.  The rule is that, if a change would not
affect statistical results, if a change would affect only how results
are displayed, then it does not count as a change.

In terms of how to suggest improvements to Stata, you just did.
Statacorp reads Statalist.  You could make the suggestion more formal
by sending it to technical support, but that is not necessary.

I admit that there have been times when I've made important changes to
a dataset, where importance is measured in terms of my time to make
the changes, and I've been irritated that Stata did not count that as
a change when I forgot to save the dataset.  Generally, however, I
like Stata's current behavior.  There have been times when the current
behvaior has irritated me, but more often I use a dataset, generate
results thinking that I have not changed the data in a meaningful way,
and learn later that that I did.  In those situations, it's time for
me to trace back and figure out what I did and whether the real change
was intended.

In this case, it would take a rising up of users -- such as on
Statalist -- to convince us that we should change the
data-have-changed-since-last-saved behavior.

-- Bill
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