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Re: st: Unable to create local macro in modified ado-file (xtreg_fe.ado)

From   Nick Cox <>
Subject   Re: st: Unable to create local macro in modified ado-file (xtreg_fe.ado)
Date   Tue, 17 Jan 2012 14:47:04 +0000

Richard has raised this before.

It is ultimately a question for StataCorp. Their position on this is
at least tacit and it's a polite No.

My own line as a user-programmer is that (although I have the manuals
from 2.0 on in my office, so I am biased)

1. I would rather StataCorp put effort into adding new features than
into documenting old features for the sake of answering very
occasional queries from user-programmers.

2. More fundamentally, this would be a big step down a very slippery
slope. If old features are documented, that obliges a strong
understanding about precisely if and when those old features will
work. I think there is, on balance, much more scope for confusion
there than for enhancement of anybody's analyses.

3. Although there can be exceptions I don't think user-programmers are
well advised to take Stata's own files and modify them. The exceptions
are when you can understand everything you are modifying and the
consequences of so doing. This in turn raises several distinct issues
but I will stick to the most positive: You will best understand what
you create for yourself. (Writing wrappers for Stata's own files is in
contrast usually a very good strategy.)


On Tue, Jan 17, 2012 at 2:11 PM, Richard Williams
<> wrote:
> At 04:16 AM 1/17/2012, Nick Cox wrote:
>> Modifying Stata's own files -- even when under a new name, the only
>> defensible way to do it -- can be tricky. StataCorp's developers feel
>> free to use undocumented features and to write code that is not
>> densely explained.
> Thanks to version control, there are also huge chunks of Stata that might be
> classified as Not Documented any Longer, e.g. unless you have the Stata 6
> software or manuals sitting around it is hard to figure out what some of the
> commands in xtreg_fe.ado are doing. I am not sure what to do about this.
> Maybe there could be commands like -help6- or -help7- that fired up the old
> help files. Or, maybe the old help could be left available online.
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