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st: Claims of urgency

From   Doug Hess <>
Subject   st: Claims of urgency
Date   Tue, 4 Oct 2011 13:09:52 -0400

I'm not sure who decides policies and "principles" on Statalist, but I
would suggest that the "warning" quoted below be rewritten in a tone
that is less belittling and less presumptuous. It should be less
belittling because it currently reads like somebody using what little
power they have over those in need of assistance to make derogatory
statements about their affairs. It should be less presumptuous because
it assumes what others think about people in urgent need. (I would
also point out that this brings up several interesting questions from
cognitive psychology, like attribution bias, etc., but that's for
another day or list.)


Date: Mon, 3 Oct 2011 08:04:46 +0100
From: Nick Cox <>
Subject: st: Claims of urgency

Statalist has an explicit warning about claims of urgency in its FAQ at

"Urgency is your concern only Pleas of urgency, desperation, and the
like are deprecated on Statalist. Your urgency, however compelling, is
a private matter and does not translate into urgency for other members
of the list. In fact, labeling your question as urgent is more likely
to lead to your question being ignored by list members, who know that
in most cases urgency arises from disorganization. On Statalist, the
principle of charity is that you answer questions because you are able
and willing to say something about the question, not because you have
pity on the questioner."

It is a mystery why you are not aware of that as new members are asked
to read the FAQ before posting.

It is a fact that most answers to questions are sent very quickly;
those questions that members do not wish to answer -- usually  because
they are too obscure or too general or  because members do not know an
answer -- do not become easier to answer because it is claimed that
they are urgent. No amount of apologies will establish that you are a
special case entitled to subvert or overturn our existing policy.

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