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st: RE: RE: statalist-digest V4 #2935 - strange world

From   "Steichen, Thomas J." <[email protected]>
To   "'[email protected]'" <[email protected]>
Subject   st: RE: RE: statalist-digest V4 #2935 - strange world
Date   Tue, 8 Jan 2008 08:50:51 -0500

I'm with Allan on this. Implementing "if x>y" to evaluate
as True when x is missing is a logical flaw and should be
corrected. After 10+ years with Stata, I still occasionally
fall into this trap. I figure that if I can deal with -index()-
being changed to... now what was it?... I can deal with a
real flaw being fixed!

Thomas J. Steichen
[email protected]

-----Original Message-----
From: [email protected] [mailto:[email protected]] On Behalf Of Allan Reese (Cefas)
Sent: Tuesday, January 08, 2008 6:03 AM
To: [email protected]
Subject: st: RE: statalist-digest V4 #2935 - strange world

Others have pointed out that "if x>y" in Stata evaluates as True when x is missing "."

I've raised this before and had to accept as a feature of Stata that "." is a big number and "computers do what you tell them, not what you want."  Nevertheless, I remain of the opinion that it is counter-intuitive, logically incorrect, and undoubtedly leads to computer-assisted errors.  Changing the operation of Stata now would inconvenience most current users, but it would not be inconsistent if the kernel were adapted to output a warning after such calculations
"Missing values included - check your results".

It's indeed a strange world where the priests of IT can claim "user error" when you fall into a trap they set.  Software will at some time come under the remit of health and safety legislation - IT's doin' me 'ed in!


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