Stata The Stata listserver
[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date index][Thread index]

st: The public and the private

From   "Nick Cox" <[email protected]>
To   <[email protected]>
Subject   st: The public and the private
Date   Mon, 6 Oct 2003 17:37:49 +0100

Ernest Berkhout made some very good points
which I want to generalise. 

It's quite often happened to me that people 
will start a thread on Statalist, usually by asking a 
question, and then respond to a public reply with 
a private message, with the implication
"You answered that, so perhaps you will 
also answer this." Such a message is often, of course, 
sensible and appropriate if the follow-up message is 
personal or private in some way. (Just saying "Thanks!" 
or swapping wisecracks are two simple examples.) 

More important, it's evident that this also 
happens to other people. In what follows, I'll 
set out my suggestions as just my view, although I imagine 
from Ernest's posting and from other evidence 
that there may be some measure of agreement 
on this among those who answer questions on Statalist. 
After all, similar attitudes seem pervasive 
on technical lists on the net. 

In general, if the message continues the thread in 
a technical way, there is no obvious reason to make it private, 
and many reasons to keep it public. My first two 
points are modelled on Ernest's. 

1. Many more people will be able to give you an answer. 
You don't impose on an individual who may already 
have given you the whole of their thoughts on 
your problem, their two cents' worth/tuppenceworth etc. 

2. Many more people are interested in the discussion, 
so they profit from your question and from the 
answers as well. 

3. If your question provokes a secondary question -- 
please be precise or supply further detail -- then 
supplying that in private to one person leaves 
others who might be interested in the dark. 

4. If your answer closes the thread -- in fact such-and-
such was the solution -- then, similarly, supplying that 
in private to one person leaves 
others who might be interested in the dark. 

5. Many people make a sharp distinction between list 
activity, which they think is a good thing for all
sorts of obvious reasons, and unpaid private 
consultancy. (Or _paid_ private consultancy, 
for that matter.) Consider what you are expecting
of someone, especially if you don't know them 

There's much more by other hands at

which is relevant here. 

[email protected] 

*   For searches and help try:

© Copyright 1996–2024 StataCorp LLC   |   Terms of use   |   Privacy   |   Contact us   |   What's new   |   Site index