[R] Protocol for answering basic questions

Thomas Schönhoff tom_woody at swissinfo.org
Fri Dec 3 21:37:42 CET 2004


Liaw, Andy schrieb:
> Apologies to those who are tired of these rather off-topic discussions.
> I'll try to be brief.

> I will toss in my perspective, instead of speaking for others.  To me, it's
> not how basic the questions are, but how they are being asked.  It's been
> pointed out by several people:  If you showed some effort in trying to solve
> the problem yourself (by describing what you have tried and how that
> failed), you will almost always get useful replies without being chastised.
> Those who received less than enthusiastic responses are generally those that
> do not show any apparent efforts in trying to solve the problem themselves.
> As been said ad nauseam before, R is a purely volunteer-based project, and
> people on this list help others out of their good will.  It's rude and
> discourteous to abuse that.  It's OK if you need some spoonfeeding (I need
> that quite often myself), but at least show how you have tried to use the
> spoon yourself, instead of just showing us your open mouth.

Even if you did , but missed to get a look at R FAQ and other 
resources, you're pointed at the appropriate issue! I think that's 
quite okay with me!
Well its not only a question of either getting a RTFM or being just 
ruffled by someone. AFAIR I sometimes got both......well that okay, 
and teaches you some decency regarding what questions might be raised 
to bother generally helpful people on this list.
> BTW, that's also a
> prime example of how `gentle' R-help is compared to most other lists.  I
> suspect those whose egos are buised by responses to their questions probably
> haven't had much experience with mailing lists. 

There are many lists which don't give a dam about postings containing 
no meaningful subject or a proper description of your problem. It 
stunning to see that some people even don't care to make up their 
minds related to this issue (well, maybe only to the point when they 
start using the mail archive and give up on browsing too many no 
Well, basically I am  agree to your statement, Andy!
> Also, I think it should be made clear that the R user community is (much?)
> larger than those who subscribe to R-help/R-devel/R-*/BioC lists.  I know
> many who use R as their primary tool, yet do not subscribe to R-help.  These
> people managed to get by just fine, either with help pages/manuals/books, or
> more experienced colleagues.

Hmm, maybe that is the hardcore way of doing things. I am sure there 
are lots of people who like this learning method, but not quite sure 
if this the majority ........
With regard to this I (still) think that using R demands some far 
reaching skills, i.e. not entirely restricted to profound knowledge in 
statistics, but also related to OO programming. If you never did any 
programming even help pages, manuals and books are of limited usefulness.
So, it takes time to get into and not all of your problems might me 
solved soon.......hmm, where is this damned......heh...my..spoon... ah 

Well to all beginners, like me, it takes time and some efforts to get 
into, sure that this investment will sum up to something good. I can 
recommend the mail archive of R-help, since I am sure that nearly 
almost (all) of my stupid beginners questions are already answered 
(beware this may only correct for a= 0.05 CI), the rest is found in R 



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