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RE: st: RE: list in stata8

From   "FEIVESON, ALAN H. (AL) (JSC-SD) (NASA)" <>
To   "''" <>
Subject   RE: st: RE: list in stata8
Date   Wed, 26 Feb 2003 08:12:40 -0600

As I suggested previously - I am saddened to see that Stata is being driven
more and more towards accommodating  cosmetics rather than statistics. I
assume this is a market-driven neccessity and done with reluctance by Stata

Al Feiveson

-----Original Message-----
From: Fred Wolfe []
Sent: Wednesday, February 26, 2003 7:25 AM
Subject: RE: st: RE: list in stata8

At 02:47 PM 2/25/2003 +0000, you wrote:

>But I am still puzzled -- and this is
>curiosity, not criticism in disguise.
>-list- for me is the ideal when I want
>to look at (usually some of) the data,
>and there isn't too much of it. I don't want to scan
>hundreds of observations or lots of variables.
>It is tedious, and I am not very good at it.
>Or -- I thought there shouldn't be many
>instances of something, and it turns out
>there are lots: surprise, but -break- out
>of the -list- straight away.
>If I want to look at the data, and I need
>for some reason to look at lots, -edit-
>is much more flexible.
>If I want to find something, or whether something
>exists, Stata is better and quicker at that than my eyes
>are, so I work out the command language
>So, what are these long (or wide) -list-s being used
>for? (I repeat: curiosity, not criticism.)
Here are some ways I use long lists.

1) If I want to see, for various reasons,  a subset of the data defined by 
an if clause.
e.g. l patkey data haq pain if  tagged == 1
2) If I want to see a pattern repeated through the data to understand if a 
program has worked as I anticipated or data have been collected as I think 
they were.

Wide listing is rather rare. I usually do it to look at a pattern of 
responses from observation to observation. As an example. If I might say to 
myself, "Hmm, strange that there are so many missings for  var34, I wonder 
if there are other missings in var 67-103 in some observations?"

In this situation, I do think the older -list- is rather easier to read. It 
is not possible to get that format with list v8.

None of this is so very important. What used to be "l x x z" if now "l x y 
z, noc nol clean" The new list is quite nice in many ways, It is just 
somewhat more difficult to work with.

Is Stata changing? I used to tell people that one reason that Stata was so 
good was that it was written by people who actually used data and 
understood the users' problems. So that all of the conveniences for the 
data users were there (you can make up your list). But this version changes 
some of this. You can't move windows around very easily because of the 
demands of the new GUI interface; the default behavior of -list- is to 
display labels not codes and to be slow, the fast graphics that were so 
wonderful for looking at data are v7 will soon disappear from the 
collective memory as they become "deprecated" and lost from the manuals. 
There are many great new things in Stata 8, don't get me wrong. But I wish 
that the trade-off between convenience and operator time and "beauty" had 
found a way to better protect convenience and operator time.

Fred Wolfe



Fred Wolfe                                                          Tel 
(316) 263-2125
National Data Bank for Rheumatic Diseases         Fax (316) 263-0761


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