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st: RE: RE: Recent postings for help on course work and theses

From   "Nick Cox" <>
To   <>
Subject   st: RE: RE: Recent postings for help on course work and theses
Date   Thu, 1 Apr 2010 18:42:03 +0100

I don't know if Tony had this in mind too, but either way here is a
related point. 

I've sensed a recent increase in questions of the form 

How should I approach the analysis of these data? 


I intend to do this. Is it statistically (or econometrically) correct?

Often such questions have little or no Stata content. 

As the list subjects are declared to be Stata and statistics, it can
hardly be said that such questions are out of order. At the same time, I
think many would regret a morphing of the list towards being more of a
general statistical list. But many would regard a discussion of
statistical issues once a Stata question has been raised as totally
desirable and valuable, so it would be unwise to base too much on
whether the statistical question came first or the Stata question came

For the moment, the answer seems to be again to delete what you don't
want to answer, but there may be a variety of views on this point. 


Nick Cox

This question like many others can be addressed by looking at the FAQ.
If there is a formal policy -- or more precisely standard advice -- it
is explicit in the FAQ. Anything else comes down to personal choice:
Delete anything you don't want to answer. 

Homework questions are explicitly deprecated and people are asked to
ignore them. 

Of course, it is not always easy to spot a homework question. 

When homework questions do appear, they are often ignored on different
grounds. For example, if someone asked "What are the relative advantages
of the mean and the median?" there would probably be little response.
Most people would mutter to themselves something along the lines of "For
goodness' sake, do some reading" and delete with extreme prejudice. 

Dissertations and theses are surely a different matter. If questions
related to thesis work were banned, Statalist traffic would be cut
drastically (a wild guess: in half). Besides, there is an operational
matter of how we could tell the difference unless posters made it
explicit that they were working on a thesis. Besides, again, why is
there a difference between helping someone working on a thesis (for
which they will claim full credit) and someone working on a paper or
report (ditto)? Conversely, Statalist experts whose help is crucial are
usually very open to offers of co-authorship. In my case I already have
a Ph.D. and don't need another, even vicariously. 

But I think Tony's sentiment does catch an issue that isn't easy to
resolve. In a few recent cases, I have wondered "If we solve your
problem, who deserves the mark you get?" 
Again, the answer is simply to delete what you don't want to answer. 


Lachenbruch, Peter

I thought that the list was to be used for help on Stata issues and not
for homework or thesis questions.  To my mind, these should be the
student's work and questions might be addressed to their advisor.  

In the past few days, there have been a number of such posts, some of
them involving a lot of back and forth to sort out the question.

If I am mistaken, please let the list know.

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