[R-wiki] Beginner - Intermediate - Advanced indicator

Philippe Grosjean phgrosjean at sciviews.org
Fri Jan 27 21:43:03 CET 2006

Tony Plate wrote:
> I was wondering what those icons were the first few times I saw them, 
> and then it took me a little time to look them up.

This really seems to me more a question of culture: people used to work 
with text-based applications hate all these stupid fancy, colorful 
icons... while the others find that plain text looks really boring.

> I suggest using just ordinary words in parenthesis or brackets, e.g.:
> [beginner] [elementary]
> [intermediate] [common skill] [everyday skill]
> [advanced] [expert] [arcane]

Yes, this is another possibility. However, there is a reason why to use 
eye-catching icons instead of plain text (the same applies to the TODO, 
FIXME, BUG and DELETEME icons): they are very easy to spot when you 
first look at the page. Indeed, your eye is catch first by these icons, 
and then, eventually, start reading the text. Here it is clearly the 
intended way of working: once you know the meaning of these icons, you 
can instantly spot sections that concern your own skill, and then 
eventually, you read the corresponding text. With ordinary words, even 
in bold and between brackets, you do not achieve the same result. I try 
to learn techniques from specialists in communication when I can... and 
I am luky because my sister is working in this field!

> I do think there is an advantage to keeping consistent terminology.
> Maybe those "--+" markup items could be translated to some choice of the 
> above, with some mild text coloring.

May be, should we look at a compromize: more explicit icons with text 
written in them, and with a little less "toyish" look?
I will give it another try, when I have some free time.


Philippe Grosjean

> -- Tony Plate
> Philippe Grosjean wrote:
>>Yes, I think also that the stars is too much related with the rating of 
>>the page in term of quality (because it is widely used that way in many 
>>web sites).
>>Regarding the bar, that was my first trial: a bar with a third being 
>>green, another third being orange and the last third being red for the 
>>three levels. To switch off a part of it, I draw it in gray. However, 
>>the result was graphically very poor, and it was even less explicit than 
>>the little user icons currently proposed.
>>Otherwise, it is certain that putting "Difficulty:" in front of the 
>>icons would be more explicit, as well as a key in the start page. I try 
>>this... There is now an explanation in the start page + a "Difficulty:" 
>>added to 
>>I find the later one rather ennoying (the purpose of the icons is to 
>>spot the skill level visually very rapidly,.. so users *have* to 
>>understand their meaning anyway, and then, it is clear for them that it 
>>relates to the "difficulty" of the page...).
>>For the three levels, I don't think it is too detailled if you define 
>>them like that:
>>- beginner is really, really basic stuff (something that looks like 
>>trivial and uninteresting for people that use R for a little time... 
>>except if "intermediate" is also "ON").
>>- intermediate is dedicated to most R users.
>>- advanced is reserved for expert tricks, that is something 95% of R 
>>users don't need at all for doing they job.
>>With this definition of "beginner" - "intermediate" - "advanced", I 
>>think it is more evident why this level of details is useful.
>>Perhaps the terms are not adequate.
>>- I like "beginner" because it clearly state that the stuff there is not 
>>of much interest for someone who already played a little bit with R.
>>- "intermediate" is definitely not a good term for "usual users" [Erk! 
>>Do usual users use to use R usually? ;-)] ... but I don't find a better one.
>>- "advanced" could perhaps be replaced by "expert" to insist that it 
>>really relate to something very, very difficult ?
>>Philippe Grosjean
>>Gavin Simpson wrote:
>>>On Fri, 2006-01-27 at 21:47 +1100, paul sorenson wrote:
>>>>What about a star rating 1-5?
>>>I was thinking the same thing, but then I thought that stars convey some
>>>measure of quality, which is not what is intended.
>>>My main concern with the current icon is that there is no context, it is
>>>not immediately apparent what it refers to without resorting to the
>>>syntax page.
>>>This definitely needs a title or prefix text, something like
>>>How about a simple bar with three or more levels of difficulty indicated
>>>by the length of the bar?
>>>Do we also need the fine-grained options of marking a page as
>>>intermediate/advanced but not for beginners? Should such pages be marked
>>>advanced (or intermediate) difficulty and not worry about trying to
>>>exclude (wrong word) beginners?
>>>>Philippe Grosjean wrote:
>>>>>Although the R Wiki site would primarily be dedicated to beginners, 
>>>>>there is already, and there will be in the future several pages dealing 
>>>>>with more advanced topics.
>>>>>In order to spot this, I propose little icons easy to integrate in the 
>>>>>pages (for instance :--+: means something dedicated exclusively to 
>>>>>experts, see: "Smileys & other icons in 
>>>>>You can see examples of using these indicators at:
>>>>>for instance.
>>>>>What do you think about it? Personnally, I found them nice when I did 
>>>>>draw the icons, but they look a little "toyish" once integrated in the 
>>>>>Wiki pages. Does someone have a better idea to help spotting items 
>>>>>related to each user's skill?
>>>>>Philippe Grosjean
>>>>>) ) ) ) )
>>>>>( ( ( ( (    Prof. Philippe Grosjean
>>>>>) ) ) ) )
>>>>>( ( ( ( (    Numerical Ecology of Aquatic Systems
>>>>>) ) ) ) )   Mons-Hainaut University, Pentagone (3D08)
>>>>>( ( ( ( (    Academie Universitaire Wallonie-Bruxelles
>>>>>) ) ) ) )   8, av du Champ de Mars, 7000 Mons, Belgium
>>>>>( ( ( ( (
>>>>>) ) ) ) )   phone: +, fax: +
>>>>>( ( ( ( (    email: Philippe.Grosjean at umh.ac.be
>>>>>) ) ) ) )
>>>>>( ( ( ( (    web:   http://www.umh.ac.be/~econum
>>>>>) ) ) ) )          http://www.sciviews.org
>>>>>( ( ( ( (
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