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RE: st: responses to new users

From   "Clive Nicholas" <>
Subject   RE: st: responses to new users
Date   Sun, 16 Jul 2006 20:58:45 +0100 (BST)

Nick Cox replied to Steffen Hokland

> I agree with the spirit of this, but I don't think the suggestions
> herein really take us much further forward.
> Thus I guess no one votes for displays of arrogance or condescension, but
> who is to say which posts qualify? I can think of several long-standing
> members
> of the list who often answer lazy or dopey questions with rather brief and
> firm
> advice. (And I dare say that many of my own postings fall under those
> headings.)
> The list belongs to these people too just as much as anyone else,
> and they have a right to their own styles. Also, their concern is with the
> well-being
> of the list, and that a common resource is not polluted by thoughtless
> users.
> However, one answer is that if you think a post qualifies as arrogant or
> condescending you should take that up with the poster off-line, or with
> Marcello
> Pagano as coordinator.
> Similarly, it is quite correct to say that you can ignore posts which
> you think are wasting the time of the list. But to repeat a point often
> made,
> including in this thread: most people do respond to reasonable criticism
> that
> includes constructive advice. Many Statalist members have morphed
> from clueless newbies to good citizens and even to pillars of the
> community.
> If everybody ignored every poor question, this would be
> less likely to happen.

I agree entirely with all of Nick's comments on this today, and would like
to add a few comments, if I may. It seems to me that Steffen's very
thoughtful post bears little relation to the post that went out under my
name yesterday, and I rather think that it's worth reminding listees of a
couple of facts here:

(1) My post was not an "arrogant and condescending" attack on the person
in  question; anyone reading my post _carefully_ would have noted that it
was commenting on _several_ posts that I've seen reach Statalist over an
unspecified period from people who report problems with their Stata whilst
failing to recognise that their Stata is not up to date. I merely pointed
out that -update-ing one's Stata regularly is not all that difficult.
Anyone who thinks otherwise should come and talk to me off-list and I'll
be sure to set them straight.

(2) In answering the question, I actually gave Anna G an extra tip _over
and above_ those mentioned by Richard Williams: namely, the option of
-adoupdate-. We really should go on bended knee, at least once a week, to
Kit Baum and Bill Gould for devising it. For those of you who haven't
tried this godsend of a command, try it: you'll wonder how you managed
without it!

(3) Do I really need to emphasise that my post in no way implicates those
mentioned in it, namely Rich, Constantine Daskalakis and Al Feiveson
(three of Statalist's many 'pillars' that Nick made an oblique reference
to)? Surely, I don't.

(4) Although I've had just one off-list complaint from a Statalister about
my post, I fully recognise that it's more than possible that other listees
may have complained to Marcello or Nick about this. If this is so, either
will be sure to contact me and I'll make the appropriate response to the


CLIVE NICHOLAS        |t: 0(044)7903 397793
Politics              |e:
Newcastle University  |

Whereever you go and whatever you do, just remember this. No matter how
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