Re: Do this. Don't do that. Can't you read the signs? #5


Then, there was a co-worker who refused to take the time to learn our current word processor and, instead, typed his
memos using Excel or whatever our spread sheet was.

Nat Wooding

-----Original Message-----
From: SAS(r) Discussion [mailto:SAS-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Paige Miller
Sent: Friday, August 14, 2009 12:55 PM
Subject: Re: Do this. Don't do that. Can't you read the signs?

On Aug 13, 9:20 pm, "Lou" <lpog...@hotmail.com> wrote:

> Almost everyone I've interviewed in the last 10 years in the clinical trials
> field thinks that SAS has maybe a dozen statements, 3 or 4 procs, maybe 2 or
> 3 formats, and the more creative of them will guess at around a dozen
> functions.  These same people invariably estimate they know 80% - 90% of

To add to what Lou writes, I have met people similar to these that Lou
describes, who think that SAS has a dozen statements, etc.

I have worked with these people on occasion to help them improve their
SAS code. And sad to say, many many many of them (I'm going to guess
50% in my experience) either do not want to learn better ways to do
things, or they are not capable of learning new things. This is true
not only in SAS, but in other software that I have supported over the
years. You simply can't talk these folks into using a better method.

I have seen people write a datastep of 12 or 15 lines, simply to
compute sums down a column in BY groups. This person didn't want to
use PROC MEANS, or he couldn't get his brain to understand it, or he
was unwilling even to make the effort. And why should he, his datastep
worked perfectly well.

I have shown people how to use a specific function to achieve a
result, and they say "Oh, that's too complicated!" Instead, they will
create the most convoluted, inefficient, impossible-to-read code to do
the task.

The list of frustrations is long, and while I admire the idea behind
creating a document of best practices, there is a percentage (which as
I said is 50% or more in my experience) of people that will ignore
best practices. The people who are willing to learn will learn. Those
that are not willing to learn, or not capable of learning, will go on
with their inefficient methods; nothing I have ever been able to do
could shake them out of their "no learning" mode.

Paige Miller
paige\dot\miller \at\ kodak\dot\com
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8/14/2009 5:30:51 PM
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On Aug 14, 1:30=A0pm, nathaniel.wood...@DOM.COM (Nathaniel Wooding)

> Then, there was a co-worker who refused to take the time to learn our cur=
rent word processor and, instead, typed his
> memos using Excel or whatever our spread sheet was.

Yes, I have run into people like that. Or the (now rare) person who
would type into a word processor, and hit enter as the text approached
the right edge of the screen ... because that's how they did it when
they were typing with a typewriter.

A little off topic, but I create a newsletter for my local townhouse
association. Some of the older residents have little computer
experience. They will type something up on their computer, print it
out, and walk the paper over to my house (and I know they have, in the
past, sent me e-mails). I tell them politely I am not going to re-type
something they already typed, what I want them to do is e-mail me the
document. Some of them simply cannot understand this concept, others
act like that is way too complicated and they would never figure it
out, and when I offer to show them in person, they still resist. Still
others hadn't saved the document so there is nothing to send me.
Finally, I had to put my foot down and create an iron-clad policy that
I will not re-type something that has already been typed. Some of them
get the message, others just go off and complain that the paper they
brought me is perfectly acceptable.

Paige Miller
paige\dot\miller \at\ kodak\dot\com

paige.miller (581)
8/14/2009 6:51:16 PM