[Rd] A possible improvement to apropos

Seth Falcon sfalcon at fhcrc.org
Thu Dec 14 16:16:30 CET 2006

Martin Maechler <maechler at stat.math.ethz.ch> writes:

> Hi Seth,
> Could you live with typing 'i=T' (i.e.  ignore.case=TRUE)?

I can live with my ~/.Rprofile, I suppose.  :-)

> In principle, I'd like to keep the default  as ignore.case=FALSE,
> since we'd really should teach the users that R 
> *is* case sensitive.
> Ignoring case is the exception in the S/R/C world, not the rule

Let me try to argue why I think the default should be case

   This is a _search_ function.  If you aren't even sure what
   something is called, how can you expect to know how it will be
   capitalized?  Making search functions less likely to return what
   the user is looking for seems quite odd to me.

   Learning what functions are available has higher precedence, IMO,
   than being reminded about case sensitivity.  Imagine a user hoping
   to find 'getClass' that doesn't always remember case-sensitivity
       ## Doesn't find the function at all.
       ## Writes a message to R-help without reading the posting guide

       ## user: "oh, that looks like what I want"
       ## user: "why didn't it work?" ... "ah, maybe I have to spell
       ## it exactly"
       ## happy user

   Remember, the _results_ will be displayed in proper case and a
   common next step (should be) to read the man page and possibly try
   an example -- especially if a first attempt fails.

Have I made any progress?


+ seth

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