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From |
Nick Cox <njcoxstata@gmail.com> |

To |
statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu |

Subject |
st: Twelve commandments |

Date |
Tue, 18 Oct 2011 09:29:13 +0100 |

My antennae sense a recent upward drift in questions that are unlikely to be answered, or at least answered in the way that members hope. In particular, Statalist is _not_ intended as a substitute for reading the help and the manual or getting into appropriate literature yourself. Nor is it very likely that active members will be able or willing to sketch out an entire data analysis project, as some recent postings seem to expect. What follows is a revision of a posting from June 25, with apologies to those to whom this is all too familiar. As new people are always joining the list, and old people are notoriously forgetful, a concise summary of advice aimed at helping you get answers quickly and efficiently may prove useful. Following all the advice below won't guarantee an answer that satisfies you, but ignoring most or all of it will make such an answer much less likely. Reminder: When you joined the list you were asked to read the FAQ <http://www.stata.com/support/faqs/res/statalist.html> before posting, and we really did mean that. Please read the FAQ before posting! Much of it can be skimmed or skipped on a first reading. For other compressed statements of Statalist advice, see William Gould <http://blog.stata.com/2010/12/14/how-to-successfully-ask-a-question-on-statalist/> A Statalist glossary <http://www.stata.com/statalist/archive/2011-01/msg00003.html> Nick 1. Help yourself first. Use the Stata help, the Stata manuals, -findit-, the Stata FAQs, and the Statalist archives. 2. Explain your data structure clearly and with examples (variable types etc.) 3. Show the exact Stata syntax you used and show the exact Stata output you got. (Never say that something "didn't work", but explain precisely in what sense you didn't get what you wanted.) 4. Specify the Stata version you used and the operating system you used if it could possibly be relevant. Don't assume that the whole Stata world uses MS Windows, let alone MS Excel. 5. Give an example which can easily be replicated using data supplied with Stata or in your post. 6. Explain where user-written commands you refer to come from. 7. Give full literature references, not references of the form "Greene" or the form "Sue, Grabbit, and Runne (2002)". 8. Ask a precise question that is easy to answer. Is this correct? or what should I do with my data? usually don't qualify. 9. Remember that Statalist is a discussion list, not a help line. The best strategy is to ask a question that someone else will want to answer, not to act clueless or desperate. 10. Do send plain text only. Don't send attachments or use formatting such as HTML. 11. Post once and wait patiently for a reply. (To see if something "got through", check the archives.) 12. Close threads with concise summaries of what worked. That is the best way to show appreciation and to contribute further to the list. * * For searches and help try: * http://www.stata.com/help.cgi?search * http://www.stata.com/support/statalist/faq * http://www.ats.ucla.edu/stat/stata/

**Follow-Ups**:**Re: st: Twelve commandments***From:*José Maria Pacheco de Souza <jmpsouza@usp.br>

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