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st: finding a program to do X

From   "Nick Cox" <>
To   <>
Subject   st: finding a program to do X
Date   Tue, 11 Nov 2003 16:13:14 -0000

As new people are always joining the list, a reminder of some
basics may be helpful, even though what follows is just a rehash
of some points in our FAQ, namely

If official Stata appears unable to do some analysis, and you thus
seek an unofficial (e.g. user-written) Stata program for that
purpose, the main way to find what is available to use -findit-
with appropriate key words. So 

. findit panel survey multivariate probit 

just revealed to me, by implication, that no one has yet written
-xtsvymvprobit- or -svyxtmvprobit-. (Probably someone would
deserve a Ph.D. for doing so.)  -findit- both looks at
official/SJ/STB material and does a search of internet available

-findit- of course has no magic way of finding what is as yet
lurking on programmers' machines, and as far as they are concerned
also releasable publicly. So an appeal for usable ados is worth
trying. Do bear in mind that the answer in many cases is likely to

namely, silence, as no one can know for sure that no such program
exists. (On occasion someone may suggest that a Stata program in
that area is unlikely and point you towards other software.)
Therefore please try to make such requests just _once_. 

Also, if you get no response, please do _not_ write privately to
active people on the list. The odds are that they saw your
question and would have answered it if they had anything to say. 

Alternatively, it may be that the problem is simpler than you
think, soluble easily by code written on the fly, or already
solved in some way you overlooked. 

(Even if -findit- appeared to reveal nothing, it is always helpful
to indicate that you used it and got nowhere. This (a) stops
people saying "try -findit-"; (b) tells people that you are trying
to make a effort, which psychologically is worth subtle emphasis.
However, indications that you are desperate or that your paper or
thesis due in next week depends crucially on this program not yet
obtained are unlikely to get the effect you desire.) 

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