[R] Error "STRING_ELT() can only be applied to a 'character vector', not a 'list'" from rmarkdown

Chris Evans chr|@ho|d @end|ng |rom p@yctc@org
Fri Aug 25 15:57:54 CEST 2023

Fascinating and, as ever, extremely helpful Ivan.  Duncan Murdoch nudged 
me in the right direction and for now
the solution for me is that if I don't have the lines:

description: |
   CE's pages "blog posts" about using R

in _site.yaml that have been there for ages, then everything works.  If 
I put _anything_ in there, including
two lines copied and pasted from a brand new distill site instead of 
those two lines then the error returns
so I think something else is awry in my main distill site that has 
rendered the knitting of the site
allergic to having a description in _site.yaml.  I should probably go 
further to try to debug this but across
this and the trouble I was having with the mirror.infomaniak.ch ubuntu 
mirror (R-sig-Debian thread, another
you helped with, has details of that!) I have lost too much time 
debugging in the last week and desperately
need to get back to my main work (and work I'm more competent to do!)

Many thanks again,


On 25/08/2023 15:48, Ivan Krylov wrote:
> В Fri, 25 Aug 2023 11:49:03 +0200
> Chris Evans via R-help <r-help using r-project.org> пишет:
>> Hm.  I tried that butI really don't know what to make of what it's
>> telling me.  It seemed to me that I was just stepping through the
>> same bits of code (with the warning that the debugger didn't
>> have the source so I'm not really sure what it was showing me!)
> write_feed_xml is an internal function in the "distill" package. It's
> supposed to create the RSS feed for a whole set of web pages. Somehow
> it ends up trying to assign a list to xml2::xml_text(some_xml_node),
> where only assigning a character string would make sense.
> The function contains quite a lot of assignments like this. Some of
> them come from site_config (which comes from _site.yml?), others are
> taken from the article contents and metadata.
> If you run options(error = recover) in a fresh R session before
> knitting your website, you should get a debugger menu right at the
> point where the code crashes. Try to find out what is the XML node
> where the text is being assigned and what is the list that ends up
> being assigned into it. You will also get the option to see the
> variables in the callers of the failing function, which may shed some
> light on the situation too.
Chris Evans (he/him)
Visiting Professor, UDLA, Quito, Ecuador & Honorary Professor, 
University of Roehampton, London, UK.
Work web site: https://www.psyctc.org/psyctc/
CORE site: http://www.coresystemtrust.org.uk/
Personal site: https://www.psyctc.org/pelerinage2016/

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