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st: RE: Comments on replying to lists: statalist-digest V4 #3257

From   "Nick Cox" <>
To   <>
Subject   st: RE: Comments on replying to lists: statalist-digest V4 #3257
Date   Thu, 27 Nov 2008 11:45:36 -0000

Allan's suggestion 2) is uncontroversial and in my view constitutes good
email and discussion list practice any way. What's more, individuals can
do it independently of anybody else. 

In complete contrast, Allan's suggestion 1) all of a sudden is to
overturn the way of proceeding that we have been operating since 1994,
or at least to introduce an alternative mode of operation. As some
readers will know, what he suggests is what is supposed to happen on the
allstat list: posters of questions are asked to collate responses sent
privately and then send a summary to the list. On allstat this mostly
does not happen! Either people never get round to summarizing, or they
summarize poorly, or  people reply to the list directly (despite its
being explicitly discouraged). I know Allan stresses the "must!" and
that his suggestion is voluntary but my own view is a firm No, thanks.
In fact, I make it a personal point of principle to ignore all postings
requesting private replies, unless the privacy is a matter of
advertising posts or seeking private consultancy. 

Quite seriously, my attitude to this is simple: If some people want a
very different kind of list, or even a web forum, feel free to set it
up. If your formula is as good as you think, your alternative will grow.


Allan Reese 

No solution will suit all people and all situations, but we all get
immense value from the virtual community that was unheard of twenty or
thirty years ago.  Statalist seems to operate very amicably (usually!),
but users might consider two more options:
1) when posing a question, invite personal responses rather than all
comments going to the list.  You can (must!) later collate the responses
into one summary that will save every later user having to follow the
threads through the archive.
2) when responding to the list, please quote only the section of the
message(s) you are responding to.  Since the original message is
archived, it's wasting space (and people's time) to reply with a full

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