[Rd] Regression stars

Norm Matloff matloff at cs.ucdavis.edu
Sat Feb 9 22:19:48 CET 2013

I appreciate Tim's comments.

I myself have a "social science" paper coming out soon in which I felt
forced to use p-values, given their ubiquity.  However, I also told
readers of the paper that confidence intervals are much more informative
and I do provide them.  As I said earlier, there is no avoiding that,
and R needs to report p-values for that reason.  

Instead, the question is what to do about the stars; I proposed
eliminating them altogether.  Star-crazed users know how to determine
them themselves from the p-values, but deleting them from R would send a

I did say my proposal was "bold," which really meant I was suggesting
that R do SOMETHING to send that message, not necessarily star

One such "something" would be the proposal I made, which would be to add
confidence intervals to the output.  This too could be just an option,
but again offering that option would send a message.  Indeed, I would
suggest that the help page explain that confidence intervals are more
informative.  (The help page could make a similar statement regarding
the stars.)

When I pitch R to people, I say that in addition to the large function
and library base and the nice graphics capabilities, R is above all
Statistically Correct--it's written by statisticians who know what they
are doing, rather than some programmer simply implementing a formula
from a textbook.  I know that a lot of people feel this is one of R's
biggest strengths.  Given that, one might argue that R should do what it
can to help users engage in good statistical practice.  I think this was
Frank's point.


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