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st: Stata and other languages

From   Nick Cox <>
To   "" <>
Subject   st: Stata and other languages
Date   Wed, 31 Jul 2013 18:49:08 +0100

In a recent post Red Owl wrote

"If you would like to pursue that approach, please contact me
privately at my university address above.  I don't want to discuss R
further on Statalist.  I don't find any prohibition in the Statalist
FAQ of mentioning programs other than Stata when they are relevant to
a Stata question, but it still seems inconsiderate to me to those who
come here to discuss Stata."

This is an interesting and important point. In effect we don't spell
out rules or even advice on this point because we think that what is
appropriate should be pretty clear on a little reflection.

I'd suggest the following guidelines as tacit in recent good practice:

1. Questions directly about how to use statistical software other than
Stata don't belong here, and indeed we have had very few. This is
partly in the poster's own interests -- a good answer or indeed any
answer at all is much more likely on lists or in forums with more
people who use that software, especially in places where real experts
hang out -- and mostly because people don't join Statalist for that
other content.

2. Questions about how to interface Stata and some other statistical
software, comparisons of results from Stata and other statistical
software, and so forth, all seem fine, indeed positively welcome.
Indeed, they are one way to find out about gaps, bugs, inconsistencies
and the like and that kind of detail is very important or interesting
to many people, not least StataCorp.

3. If someone asks how to do something in Stata, it is perfectly in
order to say that there is also (or instead) something else in some
other software. Few researchers are partisan about using only one kind
of software and even if such people exist there are many others who
for all sorts of reasons are obliged or even willing to use two or
more major programs. However, #1 then bites, in that any detailed
discussion of how to do something in some other software should be
taken offlist.

4. Discussions about the merits of different software can be playful
and witty but ultimately should always remain polite and technically

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