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st: RE: Potential bugs in user-written commands

From   Lee Sieswerda <>
To   "''" <>
Subject   st: RE: Potential bugs in user-written commands
Date   Wed, 19 Feb 2003 16:00:52 -0500

So, what's the difference between posting to Statalist a problem that may
indicate a potential bug in an official command as compared to a
user-written command? Are you suggesting that we also should first send all
of our problems with offcial Stata to Bill Gould et al before sending them
to Statalist, because it would be more respectful to let StataCorp have a
crack at it first?

This seems to me to miss the point of Statalist. It is true that there is
the occasional posting by a user whose tone would suggest that he apparently
doesn't understand that user-written commands are provided purely out of the
author's sense of community. But we can sanction those users in other ways
without having to change the way the Stata community works. As Nick Cox
says, we can exert "list discipline". In almost all cases, the intent is not
to somehow *disrespect* the authors of user-written commands by identifying
problems and potential bugs publicly, but rather to work together to
understand and make the best software possible. I would submit that this is
best done in an open environment. See, for example, most Open Source
projects. The lists of bug reports are usually publicly available.

Software testing is good. Public discourse is good. There is no such thing
as perfect software, and no author need be embarassed by bugs in their code.
Keep those problems and potential bug reports rolling in, I say!


Lee Sieswerda, Epidemiologist
Thunder Bay District Health Unit
999 Balmoral Street
Thunder Bay, Ontario
Canada  P7B 6E7
Tel: +1 (807) 625-5957
Fax: +1 (807) 623-2369

> -----Original Message-----
> From: []
> Sent:	Wednesday, February 19, 2003 2:11 PM
> To:
> Subject:	st: Potential bugs in user-written commands
> Dear listers,
> You may disagree with me but I believe it would be good form to send
> potential bug reports in user-written commands to the author(s) of the
> command and not to the list.  Of course, this is not list policy but I
> believe that giving the author a first crack at rectifying the situation
> is
> the sensible and respectful thing to do.
> If an author cannot be reached within reasonable time, then appeal could
> be
> made to the list while mentioning that an attempt was made to contact the
> author.
> Patrick Joly
> *
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