[R] Variable passed to function not used in function in select=... in subset

Wacek Kusnierczyk Waclaw.Marcin.Kusnierczyk at idi.ntnu.no
Tue Nov 11 12:53:31 CET 2008

Petr PIKAL wrote:
> Well, if somebody does not care what is he/she doing then he/she should 
> stop immediately. 

then many r users should perhaps stop using r.

but seriously, when one buys a complicated device one typically reads a
quick start guide, and makes intuitive assumptions about how the device
will work, turning back to the reference when the expectations fail. 
good design should aim at reducing the need for checking why an
intuitive assumption fails.

> If you do not care about how to use machine-gun correctly you could easily 
> harm yourself or others. 
indeed, and i'm scared to think that some of the published research can
be harmful because the researcher denied to read the whole r reference
before doing a stats analysis.

>> those outside the r team who care about language design have probably
>> left the list long ago, if only they were subscribed.  the fact that
> I am just a BFU although for some time already, so I learned much virtues 
> from capable persons who are developing and using R. I started with R when 
> I had to change from DOS Statgraphics to some Windows based program and 
> get used to it. 
> It is like buying new shoes. If somebody just put them on, go for a some 
> mountaineering, find out that they cause blisters, discard them and buy a 
> new pair then he probable does not get rid of blisters.

you see, i'm not complaining about my own analyses failing because i
have not read the appropriate section in the reference.  if this were
the problem, i'd just read more and keep silent.

i'm complaining about the need to read, by anyone who starts up with r,
in all gory details, about the intricacies of r before doing anything,
because the behaviour is often so unexpected.  i'm using a whole range
of programming languages, including functional ones, they differ a lot,
they do surprise me at times, but once you learn a few general rules
about the syntax and semantics, it goes well.  it won't with r, because
every single function can do it's own tricks with the arguments you give
it, and it can do so in an inconsistent manner.  *this* is what should
be changed for r to be coherent and reliable.


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