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Re: st: Thanks and Amazement


From   "Elizabeth Allred" <lizard@hsph.harvard.edu>
To   <statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu>
Subject   Re: st: Thanks and Amazement
Date   Wed, 23 Nov 2011 13:10:23 -0500

Bill,

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???

Elizabeth

On 11/23/2011 at 11:16 AM, in message
<201111231616.pANGG4m2013041@dublin.stata.com>, "William Gould, StataCorp LP"
<wgould@stata.com> wrote:
> Ben Hoen wrote some awfully nice words about Statalist, among which 
> were 
> 
>> [...] 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
>         want.
> 
>         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
>         StataCorp.
> 
> 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
> wgould@stata.com 
> *
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