[R] Problems in Recommending R

Warren Young warren at etr-usa.com
Tue Feb 3 20:25:07 CET 2009

Neil Shephard wrote:
>> Why make the human tell the computer things it already knows?
> Because sometimes the human has a better idea as to what they want than the
> computer?

I think the computer can guess the right answer in the solid majority of 
cases.  Up in the 90th percentile certainly, probably much higher.  It 
gets all it needs to make that guess in the HTTP request.

If the default doesn't work, fine, the user can go through the same 
6-step process as now, losing nothing.  This is no argument against 
trying to make a good default.

> Example - I've found it infuriating when I've wanted to download browser
> source code (as the distro I use compiles from source) for firefox and only
> been presented with pre-compiled binaries (if I'm browsing at home) or
> windows versions (if I'm at work), then wasting more time trying to find FTP
> mirrors where the most recent source tar-balls are available, and as I
> remember that took far longer than being able to choose what OS and version
> I wanted from a series of clearly written pages.

Granted, Mozilla's leaning strongly toward the end-user binary-only 
case.  People in the R world are more likely to want source than Firefox 
users.  But, it's still less than 1% of all downloads, I'd bet.

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