Notice: On April 23, 2014, Statalist moved from an email list to a forum, based at statalist.org.
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st: Gentle resister
st: Gentle resister
Mon, 14 Apr 2014 15:54:47 -0700
I appreciate all the hard work you have done, Marcello, and I
appreciate all the hard work of everyone involved in the list,
including the hard hardware work of Bill Mahoney. People like Bill
are often the unsung heroes and heroines of all the analyses analysts
conduct and present. And, I appreciate that change is inevitable.
That said, I will sound a, hmm, how to put it--a less than celebratory
note about the new forum format.
I just registered, and perhaps it will grow on me. I think it
probably will not. I find it a bit . . . incongruous.
On the one hand, massive computer storage capability and amazingly
advanced search capability together render "organizing" material
completely unnecessary--at least, the poor organization humans do.
Google is one of the most, if not THE most successful companies on the
planet. And their core product, the door through which 90 percent of
their customers originally entered, is a simple square box in which
one can type anything a keyboard allows and some things a keyboard
does not (e.g., images), and the magic of google will bring--without
ANY human categorization effort--relevant material to one's screen.
This is how the retiring statalist worked, especially the archives--no
one needed to categorize anything. The text itself was the source for
Now, with the "advance" of the forum, instead of mining the steadily
growing stockpile of information, people are supposed to "tag" their
posts and, more important, place them in the appropriate collection:
1)general, 2)mata, 3)how the forum works, and 4)sandpile, er, uh, I
mean box. Why? We can see the problems with this approach already.
First, there have *already* been mis-classifications, which would seem
to increase the work for someone (or, eventually, it will be very
tough to find the relevant material). It is unclear whether and how
such misclassifications will be corrected.
Second, many postings combine material--this is the way of work, and
human thought, and cannot be easily eradicated (without prohibitive
costs in intelligibility, if it is even possible).
Third, navigability has already been questioned. The solution is for
forum users to set up stuff on their browser. Again, why? Just to get
the functionality old statalist had for someone arriving the very
first time? This is progress?
Again, I completely understand the need to retire equipment, and thank
those who managed aging equipment as long as they did. I am truly
I just wonder--why do we reinvent the wheel and call it progress,
when, instead of a 360-degree round rolling object we now have a
kludgy object that has two straight sides attached to one long curve.
It does not roll. It does not rest. It does not work as well as what
we had before. Why don't we just move the wheel that works to a new
Anyway, maybe experience will help me see and feel this as an advance.
But, judging from many other "advances," I can say--it is quite
possible that most will experience a loss of functionality, and, while
they may accept it (because they appreciate the hard work of those who
run it day-in and day-out, and there is no clear alternative), it will
reduce the utility of the resource for them.
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