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st: Statalist FAQ: reminder of key points

From   "Nick Cox" <[email protected]>
To   <[email protected]>
Subject   st: Statalist FAQ: reminder of key points
Date   Fri, 18 Jul 2003 09:46:27 +0100

Thanks to Lisa Gilmore, the Statalist FAQ has been updated. 
As usual, it is directly accessible at

The FAQ has been fairly stable for some time. It is a rather dry, 
dull, stern document with almost no jokes, but a fair amount of 
hard information and well meant advice. New people are always 
joining the list, so please be sure that you are aware of the 
following key points before you post. If any seem unclear to 
you, do consult the full FAQ. 

[from: 1. Before you post] 

-search- can tell you about all built-in Stata commands, all 
ado-files published in Stata Technical Bulletins or the Stata 
Journal, and all FAQs on the Stata web site, 

-findit- can tell you about not only all of the above, but 
also user-written Stata programs available on the Internet. 

[from: 2.9 When you go on vacation] 

Please unsubscribe when going on vacation. Either your mail 
file may fill up, or your little message telling the list 
you are on vacation will be broadcast. Both cause problems. 

Some people use MS Outlook's Out-of-Office Assistant when 
they go on vacation. Such replies to Statalist are an abuse 
of the list and an irritation to members. It is possible to 
make use of the Out-of-Office Assistant and also not to send 
Out-of-Office replies to lists like Statalist. Please see 

[from: 3. How to use Statalist: advice]

Many questions do not get answered because they are too short, 
too unfocused, or too obscure. If you hope that others will 
spend time answering your question, be prepared to spend time 
writing as clearly yet as crisply as you can. Messages to the 
effect that some command did not work for you are often 
impossible to answer without seeing precisely what you typed 
and what Stata typed in response. 

Edit mail so that readers see easily what the issue is and 
what your contribution is. Please do not re-post the whole 
of a very long message together with your one-sentence tidbit. 
Please do not send a message by replying to, but not editing 
out, someone else's message on a different topic. Your mailer 
may have a facility to select a block of text and then reply 
quoting only that text. 

Cut out mailjunk, such as VCards or lengthy trailers to your 
messages. Styled (e.g. HTML-enabled) text causes as many 
problems as it solves. Figure out how to avoid littering 
your postings with =20 and =E3 characters. 
Plain ASCII text is best. 

Say what command(s) you are using. If they are not part of 
official Stata, say where they come from, the STB/SJ, SSC, 
or other archives. 

Refer to Stata commands and other syntax within ordinary 
text using - - to flag words that you would type when using 
Stata. Example: You could try the -assert- command, which 
is very useful for this kind of problem. 

Please do not include attachments. Many members have mailers 
that cannot handle them. In any case, attachments can 
spread viruses and clog up mailers with unwanted large files. 

Continuing or closing a thread you started is important, 
especially by answering secondary questions and by reporting 
what solved your problem. Offering "Thanks in advance" may 
save you time and effort, but most people who offer advice 
do appreciate a brief personal word of thanks afterwards: 
privately will do as well as publicly. 

[from: 4. What to do if you do not get an answer] 

Sometimes, a posting gets no reply. It is possible that your 
posting got overlooked, but with several hundred pairs of eyes 
scanning Statalist, this is much less likely than you might think. 

If you get no answer, you might be tempted to repost the question, 
but please think twice before you do that. The same post 
reappearing repeatedly strikes many Statalist members as 
impatient and inconsiderate. You had your chance, but no 
one wanted to answer the question. Sorry! 

A rewrite or even one repost of the original is tolerable, 
but more than one repost is not. If after two attempts you 
have not received an answer, there is too slim a chance 
that you will get an answer on Statalist. Please try elsewhere. 

[from: 6.2 Where to find Statalist-released ado-files] 

By far the best way to interact with the SSC archive is with 
the official Stata command -ssc-, provided that you have a 
net-aware version of Stata 8 or one of Stata 7 updated after 
14 November 2001. 

You may also search to see what is in the SSC archive by 

You may see what has been added to SSC within the last month 
by typing, in Stata 8 or in Stata 7 updated after 2 August 
2002, -ssc whatsnew-. This provides clickable links for the 
description and installation of new and revised SSC items. 

Alternatively, you may see what has been added to SSC by 
accessing in your browser 

[from: 7.1 What is the correct way to pronounce 'Stata'?]

Stata is an invented word. Some pronounce it Stata, with a 
long a as in day (Stay-ta); some pronounce it Stata, with a 
short a as in flat (Sta-ta); and some pronounce it Stata, 
with a long a as in ah (Stah-ta). The correct English 
pronunciation must remain a mystery, except that personnel 
of Stata Corporation use the first of these. Some other 
languages have stricter rules on pronunciation that will 
determine this issue for speakers of those languages. 

[from: 7.2 What is the correct way to write 'Stata'?] 

Stata is an invented word, not an acronym, and should not 
appear with all letters capitalized: please write 'Stata', 
not 'STATA'. 

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