Stan's documentation


I am new to Stan and these days I am basically reading the documentation and experimenting with simple models. I have realized that there is some information that is only available in the cmdStan user guide . In this particular case I was looking into what is in the stansummary output.

The thing is that stan mains page does not point to this particular reference, and in the references provided in that page there is no information about this feature. It has taken a bit to find this particular piece of information that I wanted to search for.

Shouldn’t all the information be placed in the Stan this information be placed in the reference Manual chapter 16? Or at least shouldn’t the main page from stan point to the cmdStan documentation?.

Thank you!


Yeah the documentation is kindof dispersed – thanks for the feedback though it’s easy to forget how confusing this stuff can be once you know how it’s organized.

The Users’s Guide, Reference Manual, and Functions Reference are all interface agnostic, so it’s information you’d use in Stan regardless of the interface you’re using. This is why the cmdstan information is not there (cmdstan is counted as an interface like pystan or rstan)

The interface doc is all separate and accessed from

Some people are working on the website now. I am hoping for a more compressed index to the docs (@imadmali).

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Thank you.

I am actually using the Python interface. The point is that there is no information on the python interface website about what’s in stansummary, i.e the API only mentions that you can print that information, how to print it and how to access it, but not what’s in.

That is why I thought it would appear in the stan reference manual, but no way to find it until I found the cmdStan information by googling a bit more.

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the CmdStanPy Python interface will give you the latest CmdStan and slightly more documentation - some of which at least links to CmdStan docs -

the Stan documentation is set up on the assumption that most folks get there via a Google search.
we’ve set it up so that if Google sends you to the User’s Guide for version 2.18, there’s a message with link at the top of the page that will take you to the latest version.

it would be great to have a better cross-reference across all docs, the problem is that good indexing is as much a black art as it is a science.

Okei. This is the first time I reach the CmdStanPy so I guess it is not very well indexed.

Also I usually search for the latest stan documentation. But well not a problem really. Just wanted to point out in case this is something you missed to incorporate in the Stan manual.


agreed, things are a bit siloed, information-wise - if you’d like to suggest places things should be cross-linked, please start an issue on the docs repo -

the Stan Reference Manual describes these concepts in general/theoretic terms -

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Yes will do.

Actually the information about StanSummary I expected fo find it in the posterior analysis from the stan reference manual. It is actually there, but doesn’t point to the actual way in which Stan outputs things at the end.

Thanks for your time