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RE: st: responses to new users

From   Richard Williams <>
Subject   RE: st: responses to new users
Date   Sun, 16 Jul 2006 16:18:12 -0500

At 02:24 PM 7/16/2006, Nick Cox wrote:
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.
This is a very good point. I tend to just ignore those posters I am starting to find annoying, but if everyone did that the poster might never find out how to get a better response or solve the problem on their own. This listserv does seem to have a bit more of an "edge" than some others I have been on, but overall the mix of styles seems to work pretty well. Also, those responses that might seem a little harsh or abrupt almost always seem to contain an answer to the question.

I sympathize and even sometimes agree with people who feel offended; on the other hand, you could just take the attitude, what do you care how somebody thousands of miles away treats you so long as you get your answer! Those who happen to have the knowledge you need aren't always the people whose personal style you feel most comfortable with, and that is something you have to put up with on Statalist and the rest of the world. (People have thanked me for answering "basic" questions, but I do that partly because those are about the only questions I know the answers to!)

This reminds me of my colleague who was having a terrible time getting his car fixed. He said "The mechanics were really nice, but they could call my mother names if they would just fix the thing." :)

Richard Williams, Notre Dame Dept of Sociology
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