[Rd] Regression stars

Duncan Murdoch murdoch.duncan at gmail.com
Wed Feb 13 16:12:52 CET 2013

On 13/02/2013 8:40 AM, Charles Geyer wrote:
> Please do not change the defaults for the show.signif.stars option or for
> the default.stringsAsFactors option.  Backward compatibility is more
> important than your convenience.  The same sort of argument could be made
> for changing the default of the "[" function from drop = TRUE to drop =
> FALSE.  It would lead to less gotchas when coding and make R a saner
> programming language (less infernoish), but would annoy and confuse
> ordinary users and is not "the R way".

That is something that might improve the language, but it would be far 
more disruptive than either of the other two changes.  It's a matter of 
balance.  In my judgment its cost would greatly exceed its benefit.  In 
the case of stringsAsFactors, I think the benefits would exceed the 
costs.    In the case of the stars, I think both costs and benefits are 
negligible.  I think "the R way" is this kind of balance, with a fairly 
strong conservative tilt.  Due to the conservatism, I'm not planning to 
make the stringsAsFactors change for everybody, but I have made an 
effort to make it easier to make the change individually via the 
option() setting.

Duncan Murdoch

>   In any case your philosophical
> arguments about signif stars are bogus.  Non-simultaneous have exactly the
> same problem as these "regression stars".  As I once said in a paper, they
> are something "users think they can interpret" with the unstated
> implication that they really cannot.  Charlie's law of users says ordinary
> users of statistics actually ignore confidence levels and treat all
> confidence intervals as if they cover (i. e., take the true confidence
> level to be 100%).  You cannot fix lack of user understanding of statistics
> by any such simplistic idea.  Yes R is a prime example of "worse is
> better", but it is the way it is.  Don't try to turn it into C++.  Thank
> you.

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