[Rd] Help for methods

hadley wickham h.wickham at gmail.com
Tue Sep 19 15:23:46 CEST 2006

> > But you also have to be able to identify if it is a S3 function or an
> > S4 method (or an ordinary function).
> Why not just type ?summary, which as I said, does tell you up front?

If R can save the novice user a couple of steps in their search for
help, why not do it?

Getting documentation on what the summary of an mle object does is
another example.  I tried:

 * summary.mle and summary.mle-class (of course I knew those wouldn't
work, but nothing in the documentation of mle suggests that it

 * mle?summary and then summary?mle in case I had gotten it back to front

 * I finally run the example in mle and used ?summary(fit)

> > The reason I find this so much of a problem is that when you are
> > teaching R, one of the first things you want to do is teach your
> > students how to use help.  However, you can't teach them to use it
> > effectively until they know an awful lot about how the call semantics
> > of R.
> In many years of teaching S/R I have not found that to be a problem.

In my one year of teaching R I have.  How do you teach people how to use help?


More information about the R-devel mailing list