[R] a matter of etiquette

Frank E Harrell Jr f.harrell at Vanderbilt.Edu
Tue May 11 18:00:24 CEST 2010

On 05/11/2010 08:20 AM, Gabor Grothendieck wrote:
> You could send a reminder to the author.  Its happened to me that
> nothing occurred and 6 months later I sent another email and that
> seemed enough to get it fixed.
> You could also ask the maintainer if the package has been abandoned
> and offer to take over as maintainer.

I know this can be frustrating.  I reported a critical but trivial to 
fix error in a package 3 years ago and offered to take over the 
maintenance of the package one year ago, but the current maintainer does 
not get around to responding.


> If you just want to record the problems and offer some advice to
> others on a workaround you could add a page to the the R wiki:
> http://rwiki.r-project.org .   That way if its fixed you can later
> modify the page to remove the note or remove the entire page.
> 2010/5/11 Adelchi Azzalini<azzalini at stat.unipd.it>:
>> Dear useRs and expeRts,
>> I would like to ask your views on an issue for which there possibly
>> exists an established policy of the R-help list, but I am not aware
>> of it.
>> In 2008, I have spotted some errors in a package, one which is likely
>> to have many users (I am not one myself). The more serious errors are
>> in the documentation, since they lead to a completely distorted
>> interpretation of the outcome; in addition, there is (at least) one
>> programming error which produces some wrong computations. A few weeks
>> later, the maintainers of the package replied, with a promise to handle
>> these issues.
>> Today, I have looked at that package again, and everthing is as in 2008,
>> as for the points raised then. There has been at least one update of
>> that package, about one year after our e-mail exchange.
>> When I discover a bug in a program of a colleague, I point out it by a
>> private communication to the author. If the problem is of some
>> relevance, I expect that the bug is fixed in a reasonable time. In the
>> present case, this fix has not been provided after over 18 months, and
>> potentially users keep producing nonsense out of that package.
>> What is the appropriate way to proceed now? Announce these errors to
>> the whole R-help list, or what else?  I only rule out writing (again) to
>> the maintainers of the package.
>> Adelchi Azzalini
>> --
>> Adelchi Azzalini<azzalini at stat.unipd.it>
>> Dipart.Scienze Statistiche, Università di Padova, Italia
>> tel. +39 049 8274147,  http://azzalini.stat.unipd.it/

Frank E Harrell Jr   Professor and Chairman        School of Medicine
                      Department of Biostatistics   Vanderbilt University

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