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st: Kinds of questions

From   "Nick Cox" <>
To   <>
Subject   st: Kinds of questions
Date   Mon, 16 Jan 2006 13:49:49 -0000

Statalist necessarily involves both Stata and statistics. 
(For these purposes, econometrics is a subset of
statistics, whatever anybody else may say.) 

However, some questions are much more likely than others 
to get a response. Asking a question that no one wants
to answer wastes your time and indeed the time of everybody 
else who reads it. 

If you do this more than once, your name may get noticed
by others as someone who is apparently unwilling to do their 
own thinking. This often reduces their willingness 
even to open your posts, sometimes to zero! 

The most likely kinds of questions to get answered include 

* Specific questions in which you make clear what 
your data are and how they are structured and 
what you want to do in Stata -- so long as it 
is not too elementary. 

* Specific problems in which you give Stata evidence
(commands issued; resulting output) 
that something is not working and want to know
why or what else to do. 

* Close-to-the-frontier questions about the merits
and demerits of different modes of (models for) analysis, 
anchored to nitty-gritty on the scientific (substantive)

The least likely kinds of question to get answered --
to your satisfaction at any rate -- include

* Questions that are best answered by looking 
at the on-line help, the manual, -findit-, 
Google etc. 

* Something that is a smidgen away from What 
should I do next in my project? 

* Requests, in effect, for individual on-line tutorials. 
Do attend a course or read a textbook! 


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