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Re: st: Claims of urgency

From   Nick Cox <>
Subject   Re: st: Claims of urgency
Date   Tue, 4 Oct 2011 18:37:09 +0100

Douglas (and others) can clearly express opinions on this or any other
matter -- and if a strong
consensus emerges we will consider changing advice in the FAQ.

For the moment, I will just comment on two factual matters.

1. Strictly speaking, Statalist is the property of Marcello Pagano and
we are all his guests. Also, the Statalist FAQ is maintained by me. It
is not clear why Douglas appears to be in any doubt on this point as
it is explained elsewhere in the FAQ to which there is reference here.
Responsibility in a general sense is Marcello's and in a particular
sense for the FAQ is mine. Non-trivial changes to the FAQ typically
entail consultation between Marcello and myself, but there is no
polling of the list.

2. This advice on urgency was included a few years ago in response to
several emails claiming urgency and a search of the archives will show
the policy arising occasionally and there being strong support for it.
Of course, we never know until they speak who dissents but has so far
kept quiet.


On Tue, Oct 4, 2011 at 6:09 PM, Doug Hess <> wrote:
> 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.)
> -Doug
> 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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