On 12-Nov-99 Alison Macfarlane wrote:
> If people that feel that such discussions are innappropriate on
> allstats, you are very welcome to have them on radstats, Radical
> Statitics email list.
> To join, send the following message to [log in to unmask]
> join radstats [your name]
> On Fri, 12 Nov 1999, Robert Kinley wrote:
>> I echo the comments of Steve Taylor and others.
>> If issues like the impact upon society of the use and abuse of
>> Statistics are not to be aired in Allstat, then where ?
>> Personally, I'd like to see more exchanges of similar calibre to the
>> recent ones.
This is an old dilemma. Once in a while a topic likely to provoke good
discussion comes up on Allstat. However, not only do "people feel that
such discussions are innappropriate on Allstat": anything approaching
extended discusssion is officially frowned on and eventually gets
That, as far as it goes, is fair enough: it is apparently beyond the
remit under which Allstat was set up, to carry that kind of thing.
This was pointed out long ago in Stuart Young's days, and it hasn't
changed since Matt Whiley took over.
This is why, years ago and keeping in touch with Stuart Young about it,
I set up the list "stats-discuss". The intention was that interesting
discussion, which may have been intitiated on Allstat, could get
diverted to stats-discuss so that it could keep going without infringing
the modus operandi of Allstat and without getting up the noses of Allstat
subscribers who don't want to see it. And, of course, discussion could
also be initiated on stats-discuss.
However, the intitiative did not work out well. In the four years or
so that stats-discuss has existed, it has carried in total very few
messages. Occasionally, discussion initiated on Allstat has continued
briefly on stats-discuss, but it has always fizzled out rather quickly.
This contrasts interestingly with the enthusiasm with which people
attempt to pursue discussion on Allstat, to the point where the list
manager has to intervene.
My private interpretation of this is that people see Allstat as THE
Statistics list for the UK, read by the statistical community at large.
If they feel they have something interesting to say, this is where they
want to say it. They want a good audience. Therefore, even though
stats-discuss exists, it is not seen as a desirable port of call.
So there is the dilemma: people want their discussion to reach a wide
audience in the UK statistical community, but Allstat, officially, is
not the place for it. And the dilemma is not new.
Although there has been a sudden burst of some new subscriptions to
stats-discuss in the last few days, following the "Statistics and Justice"
thread started by Allan Reese and leading to "Good Practice on Allstat",
it hasn't been carrying much discussion -- in fact none since 30 Sept!
My reason for posting is to suggest an alternative which might break
I believe that Allstat should have a "sister" list, intended for
discussion. Discussion can arise on Allstat, whose list manager can
decree that it should be continued on "Allstat-discuss" (or whatever
it's called) and can divert or copy messages thereto if necessary.
For this to work a it should, the subscribers to "allstat-discuss"
should be numerous and representative of the UK statistical community
(and of course anyone else who wants in). I don't have useful
suggestions for bringing this about.
I have nothing against RadStats -- indeed I was a card-carrying member
for some years -- but I can't see the UK community as a whole being
strongly tempted to subscribe to the "radstats" list with its rather
overt indications of an "agenda".
It seems to me that what our people will be tempted by is something
with a pedigree seemingly as august as Allstat, but allowing free
discussion. So it seems to me that it should live in the same stable.
Therefore, I would like to ask if Matt Whiley would be willing to
consider setting this up on similar lines to Allstat, and whether
he has ideas about how it could be set up so as to work well.
I'm sending this to the list at large, since it's an issue of general
interest; but clearly further talk about it should probably take place
off the Allstat list. If Matt says he's willing to receive and collate
views, perhaps (subject to his agreement) we should take this further
through him. Certainly, I am willing to receive replies myself, though
I have to point out that previous experience with stats-discuss suggests
that it may not be the most fruitful option in the long run!
I do feel that there is a need for a forum for discussion of issues
of importance, in Statistics generally and for UK Statistics in
particular ("Statistics and Justice" being a good case in point).
Best wishes to all,
E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <[log in to unmask]>
Date: 17-Nov-99 Time: 11:07:06
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