[Rd] Regression stars

Uwe Ligges ligges at statistik.tu-dortmund.de
Tue Feb 12 16:44:55 CET 2013

On 12.02.2013 16:40, Ben Bolker wrote:
> On 13-02-12 09:20 AM, Uwe Ligges wrote:
>> On 12.02.2013 14:54, Ben Bolker wrote:
>>> Duncan Murdoch <murdoch.duncan <at> gmail.com> writes:
>>>     [snip]
>>>> Regarding stringsAsFactors:  I'm not going to defend keeping it as is,
>>>> I'll let the people who like it defend it.
>>>     Would someone (anyone) like to come forward and give us a defense
>>> of stringsAsFactors=TRUE -- even someone who doesn't personally like
>>> it but would like to play devil's advocate?
>> Sure:
>> I will have to change all my scripts, my teaching examples, my book, and
>> lots of code examples for research and particularly consulting jobs.
>> Personally, I think having stringsAsFactors=TRUE is not too bad for
>> read.table() but less useful for data.frame().
>> And since you ask for the devil's advocate already, related to the
>> subject line: Removing stars is horrible for consulting: With all those
>> people from biology, medicine and other fields who even ask us questions
>> in term of significance stars that are obviously very common for them.
>> Many of them will certainly ask us for the stars, and ask us to switch
>> to another software product once they do not get it from R. They may not
>> be interested in being taught about the advantages or disadvantages of
>> p-values or stars.
>> There are different use cases of R, and I want to keep stars for
>> consulting tasks where things have to be delivered within minutes. I am
>> happy with or without for teaching, where I have the time and can easily
>> talk about the sense and nonsense of p-values.
>> Best,
>> Uwe
>    Thanks, Uwe.
>    Now let me go one step farther.
>    Can you (or anyone) give a good argument **other than backward
> compatibility** for keeping the stringAsFactors=TRUE argument on
> data.frame()?

No, I cannot,

>    I appreciate your distinction between data.frame() and read.table()'s
> use of stringAsFactors, and I can see that there is some point for
> quick-and-dirty interactive use in setting all non-numeric variables to
> factors (arguing that wanting non-numerics as factors is somewhat more
> common than wanting them as strings).
>    It might be nice to add an optional stringsAsFactors (and check.names)
> argument to transform(): I've had to write my own Transform() function
> to allow the defaults to be overridden, since transform() calls
> data.frame() with the defaults.  (Setting the stringsAsFactors option
> globally would work, although not for check.names.)
>    Ben BOlker
>>>> What I will likely do is
>>>> make a few changes so that character vectors are automatically changed
>>>> to factors in modelling functions, so that operating with
>>>> stringsAsFactors=FALSE doesn't trigger silly warnings.
>>>> Duncan Murdoch
>>>    [apologies for snipping context: "gmane made me do it"]
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