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Re: st: Thanks and Amazement
"Elizabeth Allred" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Re: st: Thanks and Amazement
Wed, 23 Nov 2011 13:10:23 -0500
This is a really good description of how Statalist works. And WHY it works! As a follower since version 3, I too have nothing but awe and thanks to everyone who participates.
Goodness, who do you suppose "the prickly guy in Northern England" might be???
On 11/23/2011 at 11:16 AM, in message
<201111231616.pANGG4m2013041@dublin.stata.com>, "William Gould, StataCorp LP"
> Ben Hoen wrote some awfully nice words about Statalist, among which
>> [...] I suspect I speak for most of the users on this list when I say
>> that StataCorp is extremely well served by your bright minds, and
>> willingness to help out. [...]
> StataCorp does know how well it's served by Statalist. Ben Hoen took
> the time to write down his thoughts regarding Statalist, and mentioned
> that he was "suprised/delighted/amazed".
> I would now like, in turn, to scribble down my thoughts about why
> Statalist deserves such praise. My explanation is
> 1. The linear nature of the list.
> Statalist is not just about questions and answers. The linear
> threading of the list forces us to read all the questions and
> all the answers, although each of us reads some parts some
> more carefully than others. In the process we not only learn
> something, we are invited to contribute. Statalist is not
> divided into one group that provides to the answers and
> another that seeks advice. There are no job titles on
> Statalist. Yes, there are people who answer more questions
> than they ask, and there are some who have only asked
> questions so far, but anyone can cross the line whenever they
> By the way, even people the like prickly guy in Northern
> England -- you know the one, the one with all the genuinely
> useful advice spiced with reminders that you write Stata not
> STATA, that you change the Subject line, and that, whatever
> you do, you do not ask the same question twice -- that's the
> one -- even peole like him ask questions. They do that when
> they write, "What was StataCorp thinking?" or they suggest
> StataCorp ought to make a change to how something works.
> 2. The genuinely respectful nature of the list.
> Smart people can ask stupid questions and, when they do, it is
> the question that is stupid, not the questioner.
> I emphasize the word genuine. Statalist is not about the
> appearance of respect, its about genuine respect. Even when
> the prickly guy in Northern England chastizes someone for
> asking the same question yet a third time, it is with the
> intent of helping the questioner modify the question so that
> it can be answered.
> And all list members do an excellent job of distinguishing
> between ignorance and real stupidity.
> 3. The subtle, almost invisible hand, of the list's moderator,
> Marcello Pagano.
> We don't mention Marcello's name often. Marcello mostly stays
> quiet in hopes the list will police itself when it goes the
> wrong direction. But when he does speak, everyone listens.
> 4. And, if I may say so, the appropriate participation by StataCorp.
> The emphasis here is on the word appropriate. Did you know
> that every member of the devleopment and technical staff reads
> Statalist daily? We have the abilty to smother Statalist by
> turning it into our list. We have the ability to starve
> Statalist by ignoring it. We try to find the middle ground
> where we just participate.
> You might be surprised to learn how often postings on
> Statalist are discussed at StataCorp. The development staff
> has Monday morning and Friday afternoon meetings. There is
> not one of those meetings where one or two postings from
> Statalist do not come up in the discussion. They are not on
> the agenda -- there is no agenda -- they just arise naturally.
> What you write on Statalist really does get the attention of
> In summary, Statlist seems magical. It's worth thinking about what
> supplies the pixie dust, and I'm sure I've missed some important things.
> -- Bill
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