[R] Wikis etc.

Gabor Grothendieck ggrothendieck at gmail.com
Mon Jan 9 20:31:50 CET 2006

On 1/9/06, Jack Tanner <ihok at hotmail.com> wrote:
> Michael Dewey wrote:
> >At 20:12 08/01/06, Jack Tanner wrote:
> >>My hypothesis is that the basic reason that people ask questions on R-help
> >>rather than first looking elsewhere is that looking elsewhere doesn't get
> >>them the info they need.
> >>
> >>People think in terms of the tasks they have to do. The documentation for
> >>R, which can be very good, is organized in terms of the structure of R,
> >>its functions. This mismatch -- people think of tasks, the documentation
> >>"thinks in" functions -- causes people to turn to the mailing list.
> >
> >Further to that I feel that (perhaps because they do not like to blow their
> >own trumpet too much) the authors of books on R do not stress how much most
> >questioners could gain by buying and reading at least one of the many books
> >on R. When I started I found the free documents useful but I made most
> >progress when I bought MASS. I do realise that liking books is a bit last
> >millennium.
> I certainly agree about the value of books. After struggling with
> lme/glmmPQL documentation for a while, I found a copy of MASS, and it's been
> nothing short of illuminating.
> Gabor Grothendieck <ggrothendieck <at> gmail.com> wrote:
> >In addition to books, the various manuals, contributed documents and
> >mailing list archives, all of which one should review,
> I do not wish to disparage all these valuable resources. But it is apparent
> that they do not answer the (real or perceived) needs of those who ask the
> same more or less basic questions over and over on R-help. It doesn't help
> if one, or ten, or hundreds of newbies are told -- go thee and RTFM,
> because, by definition, there will be other "newbies" (presumably, until the
> entire human race consists of R experts).

I certainly was not disparaging books.  I said _in addition to_ books,
not _insted of_.  The reason I pointed this out is that I think
most people already read the books.  What many people don't
do as far as can tell is read the code.  Obviously if you are just
starting out you are going to be relying on the documentation,
books, etc. but once you get past the intro stage you need to get
into code.  One repeatedly sees questions on this list where just
a minute or two spent with the code would have answered the

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