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RE: st: AW: maximum number of characters in do file

From   David Kantor <>
Subject   RE: st: AW: maximum number of characters in do file
Date   Thu, 26 Mar 2009 11:43:11 -0400

At 11:29 AM 3/26/2009, Nick Cox wrote:
An old joke, which I know from Woody Allen, has two people grumbling:

"The food here is terrible!"
"And such small portions!"

That's an old one. Probably predates Woody Allen.

Everyone on this list has no doubt been frustrated at least some of the time by terse error messages from Stata. But the positive side is that this is really complimentary: Stata is assuming that you are smart enough to figure it out. And sometimes a longer message would just seem patronising and not really helpful. Imagine that "syntax error" were replaced by

"I'm sorry, but I can't figure out what you mean by this code. There is an error in it somewhere. You should look at it again or ask any Stata expert you know. Or you could email Statalist or for help."

I've seen some output from SPSS, and there are some error messages that come close to that.


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