[R] Wikis etc.
jsorkin at grecc.umaryland.edu
Sat Jan 7 16:51:31 CET 2006
Several people have stated that one of the problems with the current Email help model is that many questions are asked over, and over again and that people do not search for past answers. Let me point out that the existence of past answers and how to find and search is not known by many people, particularly novice R users. The situation would be greatly helped if the mailing list would automatically add a header or footer to all Email messages giving the URL of the archived Email threads. Don't expect people to know that what are not told! Those people who, in their answers, suggest that people should search the archives should include the URL of the archives in their response (http://carn.us.r-project.org then click on the word SEARCH in the left-hand column ). Even if a novice would think about searching the R archives he, or she, might have difficulty finding the correct site. A naive google search of "R-archive" and "R archive" did not return the correct URL. Even if a novice would know about the CRAN web site (CRAN is not an intuitive acronym for R), when the novice would get to the CRAN web site they would have to know to click on SEARCH. It might help if the CRAN web site contained a link titled SEARCH R ARCHIVES.
John Sorkin M.D., Ph.D.
Chief, Biostatistics and Informatics
Baltimore VA Medical Center GRECC and
University of Maryland School of Medicine Claude Pepper OAIC
University of Maryland School of Medicine
Division of Gerontology
Baltimore VA Medical Center
10 North Greene Street
Baltimore, MD 21201-1524
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jsorkin at grecc.umaryland.edu
>>> Duncan Murdoch <murdoch at stats.uwo.ca> 01/07/06 10:15 AM >>>
On 1/6/2006 8:02 PM, paul sorenson wrote:
> I am a fan of wiki's and I reckon it would really help with making R
> more accessible. On one extreme you have this email list and on the
> other extreme you have RNews and the PDF's on CRAN. A wiki might hit
> the spot between them and reduce the traffic on the email list.
The difficulty is getting it going. I haven't used Wikis, and visited
the two that have been mentioned, aiming to answer the example question
Frank posed ("ylim in barplots"). It's not addressed on either, which
is not too surprising, but then I didn't know what to do next, either as
someone who wanted the answer, or someone who wanted to provide it.
> Frank E Harrell Jr wrote:
>>I feel that as long as people continue to provide help on r-help wikis
>>will not be successful. I think we need to move to a central wiki or
>>discussion board and to move away from e-mail. People are extremely
>>helpful but e-mail seems to be to always be memory-less and messages get
>>too long without factorization of old text. R-help is now too active
>>and too many new users are asking questions asked dozens of times for
>>e-mail to be effective.
>>The wiki also needs to collect and organize example code, especially for
>>data manipulation. I think that new users would profit immensely from a
>>compendium of examples.
>>Just my .02 Euros
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