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st: Private emails to those active on Statalist

From   Nick Cox <>
To   "''" <>
Subject   st: Private emails to those active on Statalist
Date   Wed, 6 Jul 2011 18:38:49 +0100

The heading of that URL cited by Friedrich, which I've echoed above, is 

"Private emails to those active on Statalist"

This section of the FAQ was written following numerous examples that several of us have experienced, whereby many people send us requests for private Stata support, often on matters a long way from any area of our personal expertise. (Such emails have not stopped since, but there you go.) 

The main point of that section is just to say that this usually wastes everybody's time and is not the best way to get an answer. So, the focus is not on right or wrong behaviour, but on what in practice is most likely to get good answers to any question. 

Also, under that heading is singled out 

"taking a thread private" 

-- meaning another common behaviour whereby once someone has answered a question the _original poster_ takes the thread private. 

However, I differ slightly from Friedrich here. 

I can't see that it's out of order for third parties to send private suggestions to original posters. Turning that round, I don't see that it is any part of Statalist's scope to lay down the law on what people send privately once they have read a Statalist posting. It is clearly true that private suggestions can't be seen in public, but we all for one reason or another send private email, and nothing in the FAQ can take away people's right to do that. 


Friedrich Huebler


This is an
opportunity to remind list members that the Statalist FAQ discourages
private messages: "Much of the benefit of Statalist is that an answer
to a question might well interest other people. [...] it is usually
better to post directly to Statalist."

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