No RTFM?

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No RTFM?

Spencer Graves-2
  What do you think about adding a "No RTFM" policy to the R mailing
lists? Per, "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RTFM":


The Ubuntu Forums and LinuxQuestions.org, for instance, have instituted
"no RTFM" policies to promote a welcoming atmosphere.[8][9].

RTFM [and] "Go look on google" are two inappropriate responses to a
question. If you don't know the answer or don't wish to help, please say
nothing instead of brushing off someone's question. Politely showing
someone how you searched or obtained the answer to a question is
acceptable, even encouraged.
...

If you wish to remind a user to use search tools or other resources when
they have asked a question you feel is basic or common, please be very
polite. Any replies for help that contain language disrespectful towards
the user asking the question, i.e. "STFU" or "RTFM" are unacceptable and
will not be tolerated. —Ubuntu Forums


Gavin Simpson and I recently provided examples answering a question from
"r.ookie" that had previously elicited responses, ""You want us to read
the help page to you?" and "It yet again appears that you are asking us
to read the help pages for you."


I can appreciate the sentiment in fortunes('rtfm'). In this case,
however, "r.ookie" had RTFM (and said so), but evidently the manual was
not sufficiently clear.


Best Wishes,
Spencer Graves

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Re: No RTFM?

Kevin Wright-5
Recently I was visiting with people about why commercial support is needed
for some people using R.  One person observed:

With commercial support, you have a person that you can call with questions
and yell at.
With R mailing lists, you can ask questions and have people yell at YOU.

The atmosphere of the R-help and R-devel mailing lists is infamous.  Is this
a good reputation to have?  I'm doubtful that it is.

So, I support Spencer's suggestion for more civility.

Kevin Wright


On Thu, Aug 19, 2010 at 7:08 PM, Spencer Graves <
[hidden email]> wrote:

>  What do you think about adding a "No RTFM" policy to the R mailing lists?
> Per, "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RTFM":
>
>
> The Ubuntu Forums and LinuxQuestions.org, for instance, have instituted "no
> RTFM" policies to promote a welcoming atmosphere.[8][9].
>
> RTFM [and] "Go look on google" are two inappropriate responses to a
> question. If you don't know the answer or don't wish to help, please say
> nothing instead of brushing off someone's question. Politely showing someone
> how you searched or obtained the answer to a question is acceptable, even
> encouraged.
> ...
>
> If you wish to remind a user to use search tools or other resources when
> they have asked a question you feel is basic or common, please be very
> polite. Any replies for help that contain language disrespectful towards the
> user asking the question, i.e. "STFU" or "RTFM" are unacceptable and will
> not be tolerated. —Ubuntu Forums
>
>
> Gavin Simpson and I recently provided examples answering a question from
> "r.ookie" that had previously elicited responses, ""You want us to read the
> help page to you?" and "It yet again appears that you are asking us to read
> the help pages for you."
>
>
> I can appreciate the sentiment in fortunes('rtfm'). In this case, however,
> "r.ookie" had RTFM (and said so), but evidently the manual was not
> sufficiently clear.
>
>
> Best Wishes,
> Spencer Graves
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-devel
>


--
Kevin Wright

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No RTFM?

PaulJohnson32gmail
In reply to this post by Spencer Graves-2
On Thu, Aug 19, 2010 at 7:08 PM, Spencer Graves
<[hidden email]> wrote:
>  What do you think about adding a "No RTFM" policy to the R mailing lists?
> Per, "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RTFM":
>
I think this is a great suggestion.

I notice the R mailing list already has a gesture in this direction:
"Rudeness and ad hominem comments are not acceptable. Brevity is OK."

But the people who behave badly don't care about policies like this
and they will keep doing what they do.

pj

--
Paul E. Johnson
Professor, Political Science
1541 Lilac Lane, Room 504
University of Kansas

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Re: No RTFM?

Gabor Grothendieck
On Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 2:12 PM, Paul Johnson <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Thu, Aug 19, 2010 at 7:08 PM, Spencer Graves
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>  What do you think about adding a "No RTFM" policy to the R mailing lists?
>> Per, "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RTFM":
>>
> I think this is a great suggestion.
>
> I notice the R mailing list already has a gesture in this direction:
> "Rudeness and ad hominem comments are not acceptable. Brevity is OK."
>
> But the people who behave badly don't care about policies like this
> and they will keep doing what they do.

Although it may seem hard to justify rudeness its often the case that
even the most bizarre behavior makes sense if you view it from the
perspective of that person.   In the case of the R list there is a
larger potential demand for free help than resources to answer and
without the usual monetary economics to allocate resources I believe
that the functional purpose of rudeness here is to ration those
resources and minimize duplication of questions.  If that is correct
one can predict that if civility were to become the norm on this list
then other rationing mechanisms would arise to replace it.

For example, it might become the norm that most questions are not
answered or are answered less thoroughly or the list might be replaced
as the de facto goto medium for R questions by some other list or web
site so we have to be careful about unintended consequences.

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Re: No RTFM?

Spencer Graves-2
  Hi, Gabor, et al.:


       Can anyone comment on the experience of the Ubuntu Forums and
LinuxQuestions.org, mentioned in the Wikipedia article I cited?


       Gabor makes an interesting point.  However, logic without data is
a very poor tool for decision making, because great sounding assumptions
have often led to conclusions that sound great but are
counterproductive.  People with experience with the Ubuntu Forums and
LinuxQuestions.org should be able to provide some insight here.


       Best Wishes,
       Spencer


On 8/20/2010 11:37 AM, Gabor Grothendieck wrote:

> On Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 2:12 PM, Paul Johnson<[hidden email]>  wrote:
>> On Thu, Aug 19, 2010 at 7:08 PM, Spencer Graves
>> <[hidden email]>  wrote:
>>>   What do you think about adding a "No RTFM" policy to the R mailing lists?
>>> Per, "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RTFM":
>>>
>> I think this is a great suggestion.
>>
>> I notice the R mailing list already has a gesture in this direction:
>> "Rudeness and ad hominem comments are not acceptable. Brevity is OK."
>>
>> But the people who behave badly don't care about policies like this
>> and they will keep doing what they do.
> Although it may seem hard to justify rudeness its often the case that
> even the most bizarre behavior makes sense if you view it from the
> perspective of that person.   In the case of the R list there is a
> larger potential demand for free help than resources to answer and
> without the usual monetary economics to allocate resources I believe
> that the functional purpose of rudeness here is to ration those
> resources and minimize duplication of questions.  If that is correct
> one can predict that if civility were to become the norm on this list
> then other rationing mechanisms would arise to replace it.
>
> For example, it might become the norm that most questions are not
> answered or are answered less thoroughly or the list might be replaced
> as the de facto goto medium for R questions by some other list or web
> site so we have to be careful about unintended consequences.
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-devel
>

--
Spencer Graves, PE, PhD
President and Chief Operating Officer
Structure Inspection and Monitoring, Inc.
751 Emerson Ct.
San José, CA 95126
ph:  408-655-4567

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Re: No RTFM?

Gabor Grothendieck
On Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 2:56 PM, Spencer Graves
<[hidden email]> wrote:

>  Hi, Gabor, et al.:
>
>
>      Can anyone comment on the experience of the Ubuntu Forums and
> LinuxQuestions.org, mentioned in the Wikipedia article I cited?
>
>
>      Gabor makes an interesting point.  However, logic without data is a
> very poor tool for decision making, because great sounding assumptions have
> often led to conclusions that sound great but are counterproductive.  People
> with experience with the Ubuntu Forums and LinuxQuestions.org should be able
> to provide some insight here.
>

That is only "data" to the extent that Linux questions have the same
supply and demand characteristics as R -- but that is quite doubtful.

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Re: No RTFM?

P J JAYNES
In reply to this post by Kevin Wright-5

Hello,
 
 I have found the people associated with this list to be VERY helpful over the years. This is especially appreciated as, some of my answers have come from the same people who are busy improving R: a fascinating, potent set of software tools, excellently supported. In my humble opinion, the anti-thesis of a commercial for profit software analogue.
 
Good Luck to you,
 
John
 
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 2010 13:06:05 -0500
From: [hidden email]
To: [hidden email]
CC: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [Rd] No RTFM?

Recently I was visiting with people about why commercial support is needed
for some people using R.  One person observed:
 
With commercial support, you have a person that you can call with questions
and yell at.
With R mailing lists, you can ask questions and have people yell at YOU.
 
The atmosphere of the R-help and R-devel mailing lists is infamous.  Is this
a good reputation to have?  I'm doubtful that it is.
 
So, I support Spencer's suggestion for more civility.
 
Kevin Wright
 
 
On Thu, Aug 19, 2010 at 7:08 PM, Spencer Graves <
[hidden email]> wrote:
 

>  What do you think about adding a "No RTFM" policy to the R mailing lists?
> Per, "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RTFM":
>
>
> The Ubuntu Forums and LinuxQuestions.org, for instance, have instituted "no
> RTFM" policies to promote a welcoming atmosphere.[8][9].
>
> RTFM [and] "Go look on google" are two inappropriate responses to a
> question. If you don't know the answer or don't wish to help, please say
> nothing instead of brushing off someone's question. Politely showing someone
> how you searched or obtained the answer to a question is acceptable, even
> encouraged.
> ...
>
> If you wish to remind a user to use search tools or other resources when
> they have asked a question you feel is basic or common, please be very
> polite. Any replies for help that contain language disrespectful towards the
> user asking the question, i.e. "STFU" or "RTFM" are unacceptable and will
> not be tolerated. —Ubuntu Forums
>
>
> Gavin Simpson and I recently provided examples answering a question from
> "r.ookie" that had previously elicited responses, ""You want us to read the
> help page to you?" and "It yet again appears that you are asking us to read
> the help pages for you."
>
>
> I can appreciate the sentiment in fortunes('rtfm'). In this case, however,
> "r.ookie" had RTFM (and said so), but evidently the manual was not
> sufficiently clear.
>
>
> Best Wishes,
> Spencer Graves
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-devel
>
 
 
 
--
Kevin Wright
 
        [[alternative HTML version deleted]]
 

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Re: No RTFM?

Ravi Varadhan
I completely agree with you, John.  In my view, there is no need for
explicit RTFM or GLOG statements.  

Best,
Ravi.

-----Original Message-----
From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]]
On Behalf Of P J JAYNES
Sent: Friday, August 20, 2010 4:40 PM
To: [hidden email]; [hidden email]
Cc: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [Rd] No RTFM?


Hello,
 
 I have found the people associated with this list to be VERY helpful over
the years. This is especially appreciated as, some of my answers have come
from the same people who are busy improving R: a fascinating, potent set of
software tools, excellently supported. In my humble opinion, the anti-thesis
of a commercial for profit software analogue.
 
Good Luck to you,
 
John
 
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 2010 13:06:05 -0500
From: [hidden email]
To: [hidden email]
CC: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [Rd] No RTFM?

Recently I was visiting with people about why commercial support is needed
for some people using R.  One person observed:
 
With commercial support, you have a person that you can call with questions
and yell at.
With R mailing lists, you can ask questions and have people yell at YOU.
 
The atmosphere of the R-help and R-devel mailing lists is infamous.  Is this
a good reputation to have?  I'm doubtful that it is.
 
So, I support Spencer's suggestion for more civility.
 
Kevin Wright
 
 
On Thu, Aug 19, 2010 at 7:08 PM, Spencer Graves <
[hidden email]> wrote:
 

>  What do you think about adding a "No RTFM" policy to the R mailing lists?
> Per, "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RTFM":
>
>
> The Ubuntu Forums and LinuxQuestions.org, for instance, have
> instituted "no RTFM" policies to promote a welcoming atmosphere.[8][9].
>
> RTFM [and] "Go look on google" are two inappropriate responses to a
> question. If you don't know the answer or don't wish to help, please
> say nothing instead of brushing off someone's question. Politely
> showing someone how you searched or obtained the answer to a question
> is acceptable, even encouraged.
> ...
>
> If you wish to remind a user to use search tools or other resources
> when they have asked a question you feel is basic or common, please be
> very polite. Any replies for help that contain language disrespectful
> towards the user asking the question, i.e. "STFU" or "RTFM" are
> unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Ubuntu Forums
>
>
> Gavin Simpson and I recently provided examples answering a question
> from "r.ookie" that had previously elicited responses, ""You want us
> to read the help page to you?" and "It yet again appears that you are
> asking us to read the help pages for you."
>
>
> I can appreciate the sentiment in fortunes('rtfm'). In this case,
> however, "r.ookie" had RTFM (and said so), but evidently the manual
> was not sufficiently clear.
>
>
> Best Wishes,
> Spencer Graves
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-devel
>
 
 
 
--
Kevin Wright
 
        [[alternative HTML version deleted]]
 

______________________________________________ [hidden email] mailing
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Re: No RTFM?

Dr. David Kirkby
In reply to this post by Spencer Graves-2
On 08/20/10 01:08 AM, Spencer Graves wrote:

> What do you think about adding a "No RTFM" policy to the R mailing
> lists? Per, "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RTFM":
>
>
> The Ubuntu Forums and LinuxQuestions.org, for instance, have instituted
> "no RTFM" policies to promote a welcoming atmosphere.[8][9].
>
> RTFM [and] "Go look on google" are two inappropriate responses to a
> question. If you don't know the answer or don't wish to help, please say
> nothing instead of brushing off someone's question. Politely showing
> someone how you searched or obtained the answer to a question is
> acceptable, even encouraged.
> ...
>
> If you wish to remind a user to use search tools or other resources when
> they have asked a question you feel is basic or common, please be very
> polite. Any replies for help that contain language disrespectful towards
> the user asking the question, i.e. "STFU" or "RTFM" are unacceptable and
> will not be tolerated. —Ubuntu Forums
>
>
> Gavin Simpson and I recently provided examples answering a question from
> "r.ookie" that had previously elicited responses, ""You want us to read
> the help page to you?" and "It yet again appears that you are asking us
> to read the help pages for you."
>
>
> I can appreciate the sentiment in fortunes('rtfm'). In this case,
> however, "r.ookie" had RTFM (and said so), but evidently the manual was
> not sufficiently clear.
>
>
> Best Wishes,
> Spencer Graves

I've personally found the R community somewhat unhelpful at times. In fact, of
all the resources I use:

  * Newsgroups like comp.unix.shell, sci.math.symbolic, comp.unix.aix,
comp.unix.solaris
  * Mailing lists for autoconf, automake, gcc, sage maths, ecl, time-nuts.
  * Forums for OpenSolaris

I've found the r-devel about the least helpful of the lot.

My most recent example was when I created a bug report about a version of R that
was about 4 months old. The bug was that the configure test failed to detect the
version of libicu was unsuitable on Solaris. (Since it was the version of the
library shipped with Solaris, I would personally have thought the configure
script should detect its too old if it is).

When submitting the bug, I selected the particular R version from the pull-down
menu, as it was listed.

Then I got some snotty reply about reading the FAQ and not submitting bug
reports for old versions of R. At the time I submitted it, I suspect the version
I had was about 4 months old. Ask on a Solaris mailing list about a 5 year old
version of Solaris and you will get civil replies. Likewise, the gcc lists don't
expect everyone to be running very recent versions.

I would have like to have responded on the technical content of the message, as
I believe the autoconf test is flawed if it can't detect that a version of a
library installed by Sun is unsuitable. But I decided that such responses were
best ignored.

There's quite a bit in the R manual about Solaris that is just plain wrong, but
although I've reported some of the problems, these were ignored, so I can't even
be bothered to report the rest.

I must admit, I do sometimes give people links to

http://justfuckinggoogleit.com/

when I think they are being particularly dumb in not using Google, so I do
appreciate it can get annoying when people ask questions they should be able to
get answered themselves.

But it seems to me that arrogance is more normal on r-devel than on other lists
I use.

Thankfully, I don't have to use r-devel much.

Flames to /dev/null.

Dave

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Re: No RTFM?

Simone Giannerini
In reply to this post by Gabor Grothendieck
Dear Gabor,

I do not agree with your claim

"In the case of the R list there is a
larger potential demand for free help than resources to answer and
without the usual monetary economics to allocate resources I believe
that the functional purpose of rudeness here is to ration those
resources and minimize duplication of questions"

In fact, apart from the fact that rudeness should never be justified,  I was
amazed at the amount of time dedicated by some people to give unhelpful
replies to dumb (and less dumb) questions (at least on R-devel). In my
opinion this behaviour causes some damages to the whole R project for at
least two reasons:

1. On the bug report side if you want to have a good percentage of true
positive reports you should allow for a high percentage of false positive
reports.  But if people are scared to post you will lose the true positive
together with false ones.
2. People that are potentially willing to contribute are discouraged to do
it.

Kind regards

Simone

On Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 8:37 PM, Gabor Grothendieck <[hidden email]
> wrote:

> On Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 2:12 PM, Paul Johnson <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
> > On Thu, Aug 19, 2010 at 7:08 PM, Spencer Graves
> > <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >>  What do you think about adding a "No RTFM" policy to the R mailing
> lists?
> >> Per, "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RTFM":
> >>
> > I think this is a great suggestion.
> >
> > I notice the R mailing list already has a gesture in this direction:
> > "Rudeness and ad hominem comments are not acceptable. Brevity is OK."
> >
> > But the people who behave badly don't care about policies like this
> > and they will keep doing what they do.
>
> Although it may seem hard to justify rudeness its often the case that
> even the most bizarre behavior makes sense if you view it from the
> perspective of that person.   In the case of the R list there is a
> larger potential demand for free help than resources to answer and
> without the usual monetary economics to allocate resources I believe
> that the functional purpose of rudeness here is to ration those
> resources and minimize duplication of questions.  If that is correct
> one can predict that if civility were to become the norm on this list
> then other rationing mechanisms would arise to replace it.
>
> For example, it might become the norm that most questions are not
> answered or are answered less thoroughly or the list might be replaced
> as the de facto goto medium for R questions by some other list or web
> site so we have to be careful about unintended consequences.
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-devel
>



--
______________________________________________________

Simone Giannerini
Dipartimento di Scienze Statistiche "Paolo Fortunati"
Universita' di Bologna
Via delle belle arti 41 - 40126  Bologna,  ITALY
Tel: +39 051 2098262  Fax: +39 051 232153
http://www2.stat.unibo.it/giannerini/
______________________________________________________

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Re: No RTFM?

Spencer Graves-2
  Hello, All:


       I think there is a logic to Gabor's perspective, especially
regarding unintended consequences.


       For example, if the as a result of changing policy, our most
creative and substantive contributors decide to reduce their level of
contribution and are not effectively replaced by others, then it would
be a great loss for humanity.


       This group, especially the R Core team and the R-devel community
more generally, has been incredibly productive.  The result is a
substantive contribution to humanity.  It would be a loss if any change
reduced that.  However, if rudeness is driving away potential
contributors as was claimed, then this community might be more
productive with a "no RTFM" policy.


       I accept that the experience of the Ubuntu Forums and
LinuxQuestions.org may not be perfectly relevant to R, but I think they
could provide some insight:  I would expect them to have some of the
same "rationing" problems as experienced on the R help lists.


       The exchange that generated my original comment on this was a
question from "r.ookie" to R-Help.  I don't know why this person chose
to hide their real identity, but I was subsequently informed off line
that the RTFM comment I saw was a response to an apparently rude reply
by "r.ookie" to a previous suggestion by a regular contributor.  I still
think a better response is not to escalate:  Either ignore the post or
say something like, "I don't understand your question.  Please provide a
self-contained minimal example as suggested in the Posting Guide ... ."


       Best Wishes,
       Spencer


On 8/21/2010 2:08 AM, Simone Giannerini wrote:

> Dear Gabor,
>
> I do not agree with your claim
>
> "In the case of the R list there is a
> larger potential demand for free help than resources to answer and
> without the usual monetary economics to allocate resources I believe
> that the functional purpose of rudeness here is to ration those
> resources and minimize duplication of questions"
>
> In fact, apart from the fact that rudeness should never be justified,  I was
> amazed at the amount of time dedicated by some people to give unhelpful
> replies to dumb (and less dumb) questions (at least on R-devel). In my
> opinion this behaviour causes some damages to the whole R project for at
> least two reasons:
>
> 1. On the bug report side if you want to have a good percentage of true
> positive reports you should allow for a high percentage of false positive
> reports.  But if people are scared to post you will lose the true positive
> together with false ones.
> 2. People that are potentially willing to contribute are discouraged to do
> it.
>
> Kind regards
>
> Simone
>
> On Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 8:37 PM, Gabor Grothendieck<[hidden email]
>> wrote:
>> On Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 2:12 PM, Paul Johnson<[hidden email]>
>> wrote:
>>> On Thu, Aug 19, 2010 at 7:08 PM, Spencer Graves
>>> <[hidden email]>  wrote:
>>>>   What do you think about adding a "No RTFM" policy to the R mailing
>> lists?
>>>> Per, "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RTFM":
>>>>
>>> I think this is a great suggestion.
>>>
>>> I notice the R mailing list already has a gesture in this direction:
>>> "Rudeness and ad hominem comments are not acceptable. Brevity is OK."
>>>
>>> But the people who behave badly don't care about policies like this
>>> and they will keep doing what they do.
>> Although it may seem hard to justify rudeness its often the case that
>> even the most bizarre behavior makes sense if you view it from the
>> perspective of that person.   In the case of the R list there is a
>> larger potential demand for free help than resources to answer and
>> without the usual monetary economics to allocate resources I believe
>> that the functional purpose of rudeness here is to ration those
>> resources and minimize duplication of questions.  If that is correct
>> one can predict that if civility were to become the norm on this list
>> then other rationing mechanisms would arise to replace it.
>>
>> For example, it might become the norm that most questions are not
>> answered or are answered less thoroughly or the list might be replaced
>> as the de facto goto medium for R questions by some other list or web
>> site so we have to be careful about unintended consequences.
>>
>> ______________________________________________
>> [hidden email] mailing list
>> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-devel

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Re: No RTFM?

Carlos J. Gil Bellosta
In reply to this post by Dr. David Kirkby
Hello,

RTFM is a succinct and useful answer in many cases, yet somewhat
impolite. A not much more verbose verbose version of it, possibly still
more useful, and quite polite would be something like:

"Please, read rule #NN at http://www.r-project.org/posting-guide.html"

(asuming that paragraphs at the Posting Guide were numbered and number
NN would point to the paragraph "Do your homework before posting"):

* It includes the word "please".
* It increases awareness of the Posting Guide
* It provides a direct link to it.
* The information under such paragraph is very informative and helpful.

One of the purposes of the different R help lists should be serving as a
public relations platforms so as to promote the use of R.

Regards,

Carlos J. Gil Bellosta
http://www.datanalytics.com



On 08/21/2010 02:15 AM, Dr. David Kirkby wrote:

> On 08/20/10 01:08 AM, Spencer Graves wrote:
>> What do you think about adding a "No RTFM" policy to the R mailing
>> lists? Per, "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RTFM":
>>
>>
>> The Ubuntu Forums and LinuxQuestions.org, for instance, have instituted
>> "no RTFM" policies to promote a welcoming atmosphere.[8][9].
>>
>> RTFM [and] "Go look on google" are two inappropriate responses to a
>> question. If you don't know the answer or don't wish to help, please say
>> nothing instead of brushing off someone's question. Politely showing
>> someone how you searched or obtained the answer to a question is
>> acceptable, even encouraged.
>> ...
>>
>> If you wish to remind a user to use search tools or other resources when
>> they have asked a question you feel is basic or common, please be very
>> polite. Any replies for help that contain language disrespectful towards
>> the user asking the question, i.e. "STFU" or "RTFM" are unacceptable and
>> will not be tolerated. —Ubuntu Forums
>>
>>
>> Gavin Simpson and I recently provided examples answering a question from
>> "r.ookie" that had previously elicited responses, ""You want us to read
>> the help page to you?" and "It yet again appears that you are asking us
>> to read the help pages for you."
>>
>>
>> I can appreciate the sentiment in fortunes('rtfm'). In this case,
>> however, "r.ookie" had RTFM (and said so), but evidently the manual was
>> not sufficiently clear.
>>
>>
>> Best Wishes,
>> Spencer Graves
>
> I've personally found the R community somewhat unhelpful at times. In
> fact, of all the resources I use:
>
> * Newsgroups like comp.unix.shell, sci.math.symbolic, comp.unix.aix,
> comp.unix.solaris
> * Mailing lists for autoconf, automake, gcc, sage maths, ecl, time-nuts.
> * Forums for OpenSolaris
>
> I've found the r-devel about the least helpful of the lot.
>
> My most recent example was when I created a bug report about a version
> of R that was about 4 months old. The bug was that the configure test
> failed to detect the version of libicu was unsuitable on Solaris. (Since
> it was the version of the library shipped with Solaris, I would
> personally have thought the configure script should detect its too old
> if it is).
>
> When submitting the bug, I selected the particular R version from the
> pull-down menu, as it was listed.
>
> Then I got some snotty reply about reading the FAQ and not submitting
> bug reports for old versions of R. At the time I submitted it, I suspect
> the version I had was about 4 months old. Ask on a Solaris mailing list
> about a 5 year old version of Solaris and you will get civil replies.
> Likewise, the gcc lists don't expect everyone to be running very recent
> versions.
>
> I would have like to have responded on the technical content of the
> message, as I believe the autoconf test is flawed if it can't detect
> that a version of a library installed by Sun is unsuitable. But I
> decided that such responses were best ignored.
>
> There's quite a bit in the R manual about Solaris that is just plain
> wrong, but although I've reported some of the problems, these were
> ignored, so I can't even be bothered to report the rest.
>
> I must admit, I do sometimes give people links to
>
> http://justfuckinggoogleit.com/
>
> when I think they are being particularly dumb in not using Google, so I
> do appreciate it can get annoying when people ask questions they should
> be able to get answered themselves.
>
> But it seems to me that arrogance is more normal on r-devel than on
> other lists I use.
>
> Thankfully, I don't have to use r-devel much.
>
> Flames to /dev/null.
>
> Dave
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-devel
>

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Re: No RTFM?

Ted Byers
In reply to this post by Spencer Graves-2
I am reminded of a cartoon I saw recently in a urologists office that said:
"In this line of work, I see a lot of ass holes and pricks."

There is no shortage of people who are nasty, both among those who seek help
and those who are able to give it, in any community.  I would say, though,
that instead of endorsing nastiness, for whatever reason, it ought to at
least be ignored, and would be better repudiated.  I can recall trying to
teach elementary statistics to first year undergraduate students: and a
particular subset that was terrified of math to begin with.  They were under
the mistaken belief that they could function without any quantitative
capability.  While I disabused them of that delusion right quick, I found I
had to do that gently as they were so insecure that it would have been easy
to crush their spirit to a point where they'd drop out of university
altogether for lack of confidence.  Instead of being harsh with them, I had
to gently bring them around, in some cases giving them early on assignments
that were mathematical but structured in such a way they didn't notice the
mathematical nature of it until after the fact.  Invariably, they succeeded
in these assignments and i was able to tell them something like: "You see,
you told me you couldn't do math, but look what you have done.  This problem
was inherently mathematical."  THAT was a confidence builder.  Had I taken
the RTFM approach with those kids, the scientific community would have
forever lost some bright minds long before they had begun to flourish.  At
that time, I found I also had to develop a skill in NOT laughing at
questions that struck me funny.  That happened frequently, simply because I
was dealing with kids so new to quantitative analyses that many of the
questions they asked were funny.  But I dared not laugh because I knew these
students asking such questions were so insecure that they'd have been
crushed had I laughed.  eventually, by the time I was finished with them,
they had built their confidence levels and were also able to laugh at the
question they'd asked initially, but it takes time to led a student to that
point.

I can remember, when I first used a unix system many, many, many years ago,
I encountered a problem and was told by the department's system
administrator to RTFM.  This was a guy who was paid to help staff and
students to use the department's computing resources.  He was brilliant, but
sorely lacking in interpersonal skills (except for when he had to deal with
his supervisor).  When I replied that I had, his response was that I must
therefore be too stupid to deserve to use the computer system.  I, however,
am not the sort of individual that is so easily thwarted (I can't be
insulted because I am too stupid to understand the insult! ;-), and
eventually I became the "go to guy" when someone in my department had a
computational problem.  But often I found I had to take longer to figure
things out on my own that I would have needed if I had access to someone who
had both the expertise I sought to develop in myself and the spirit of a
real educator.

While it has been a while since I worked in an educational institution, I
have found that generally when students or junior programmers came asking
questions, it was MY fault.  Either the documentation or verbal direction
I'd provided was inadequate, or I had made assumptions about their
background that led me to expect too much of them.  Either they did not have
the mathematical background I'd assumed, or they didn't have the knowledge
of programming that I'd assumed.  In many cases, these "kids" were so new to
a particular issue or subject, they would not have been able to produce a
useful query in Google if their life depended on it.  They could try to
submit a query, but the signal to noise ratio would be so low there'd be no
hope they'd live long enough to find the signal.

Part of the problem of this particular medium is that you never know who the
person is that you are trying to help.  So, then, the documentation provided
to all, and help in this sort of medium, ought to be constructed not only
with a view to helping peers use R, but also with a view to helping those
just getting started.  There is a lot of R documentation that seems to be
written by experts for experts (which is fine as far as it goes), but at a
level that is far to advanced (either in programming or in statistics) to be
useful for beginners.  Maybe that warrants two or more sets of
documentation, some of which are intended for users with different levels of
experience.  There are a number of ways that can be handled.  It is certain
that the FAQs that exist are not nearly comprehensive or detailed enough for
all levels of users.  That said, the quality of documentation varies
considrably among the different R packages I have examined, and I have found
that I have tended to rely most on those packages that are best documented.

A different part of the problem is time management.  There is always too
little time, but then, that is why people have to write useful documentation
even when most of us hate writing that kind of documentation.  And
experience shows that documentation is never done, because questions asked
about it generally highlights deficiencies in the documentation we've
produced.  I recognize that it is hard to write good documentation when a
key step involves asking the question: "What does this presentation assume
in the background of the reader?"  Followed by the question, "How must it be
changed if the reader's background is inadequate for him or her to
understand the document as currently constructed?"  But this must be done if
one truly wants both to avoid answering similar questions time and again and
to avoid driving away potential users/contributors.  My thesis supervisor
once told me I should try to write my thesis so that a fresh graduate from
elementary school could understand it, and that if I did, I might produce
something that a graduate from a liberal arts college may be able to
understand, saying it was arrogant of me to assume my reader had skills
comparable to my own.   I know there are limits to how far you can take
this.  One can't address the infinite number of deficiencies that exist in
elementary and secondary school education.  But if one takes the time to
nurture even those who ask questions that some find too basic to warrant a
good answer, eventually those users will be both able and willing to help
those who follow, lightening the burden of those who are involved in further
development.  And it gets more challenging as how do you write documentation
for Bayesian analysis that is useful for someone who knows just about
everything there is to know about nonmetric multidimensional scaling in
ordination but so little about Bayesian analysis that he doesn't even know
the right questions to ask?

I hope you find these few reflections useful in your deliberations on
constructing a useful policy in this matter.

Cheers,

Ted

On Sat, Aug 21, 2010 at 6:40 AM, Spencer Graves <
[hidden email]> wrote:

>  Hello, All:
>
>
>      I think there is a logic to Gabor's perspective, especially regarding
> unintended consequences.
>
>
>      For example, if the as a result of changing policy, our most creative
> and substantive contributors decide to reduce their level of contribution
> and are not effectively replaced by others, then it would be a great loss
> for humanity.
>
>
>      This group, especially the R Core team and the R-devel community more
> generally, has been incredibly productive.  The result is a substantive
> contribution to humanity.  It would be a loss if any change reduced that.
>  However, if rudeness is driving away potential contributors as was claimed,
> then this community might be more productive with a "no RTFM" policy.
>
>
>      I accept that the experience of the Ubuntu Forums and
> LinuxQuestions.org may not be perfectly relevant to R, but I think they
> could provide some insight:  I would expect them to have some of the same
> "rationing" problems as experienced on the R help lists.
>
>
>      The exchange that generated my original comment on this was a question
> from "r.ookie" to R-Help.  I don't know why this person chose to hide their
> real identity, but I was subsequently informed off line that the RTFM
> comment I saw was a response to an apparently rude reply by "r.ookie" to a
> previous suggestion by a regular contributor.  I still think a better
> response is not to escalate:  Either ignore the post or say something like,
> "I don't understand your question.  Please provide a self-contained minimal
> example as suggested in the Posting Guide ... ."
>
>
>      Best Wishes,
>      Spencer
>
>
>
> On 8/21/2010 2:08 AM, Simone Giannerini wrote:
>
>> Dear Gabor,
>>
>> I do not agree with your claim
>>
>> "In the case of the R list there is a
>> larger potential demand for free help than resources to answer and
>> without the usual monetary economics to allocate resources I believe
>> that the functional purpose of rudeness here is to ration those
>> resources and minimize duplication of questions"
>>
>> In fact, apart from the fact that rudeness should never be justified,  I
>> was
>> amazed at the amount of time dedicated by some people to give unhelpful
>> replies to dumb (and less dumb) questions (at least on R-devel). In my
>> opinion this behaviour causes some damages to the whole R project for at
>> least two reasons:
>>
>> 1. On the bug report side if you want to have a good percentage of true
>> positive reports you should allow for a high percentage of false positive
>> reports.  But if people are scared to post you will lose the true positive
>> together with false ones.
>> 2. People that are potentially willing to contribute are discouraged to do
>> it.
>>
>> Kind regards
>>
>> Simone
>>
>> On Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 8:37 PM, Gabor Grothendieck<
>> [hidden email]
>>
>>> wrote:
>>> On Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 2:12 PM, Paul Johnson<[hidden email]>
>>> wrote:
>>>
>>>> On Thu, Aug 19, 2010 at 7:08 PM, Spencer Graves
>>>> <[hidden email]>  wrote:
>>>>
>>>>>  What do you think about adding a "No RTFM" policy to the R mailing
>>>>>
>>>> lists?
>>>
>>>> Per, "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RTFM":
>>>>>
>>>>>  I think this is a great suggestion.
>>>>
>>>> I notice the R mailing list already has a gesture in this direction:
>>>> "Rudeness and ad hominem comments are not acceptable. Brevity is OK."
>>>>
>>>> But the people who behave badly don't care about policies like this
>>>> and they will keep doing what they do.
>>>>
>>> Although it may seem hard to justify rudeness its often the case that
>>> even the most bizarre behavior makes sense if you view it from the
>>> perspective of that person.   In the case of the R list there is a
>>> larger potential demand for free help than resources to answer and
>>> without the usual monetary economics to allocate resources I believe
>>> that the functional purpose of rudeness here is to ration those
>>> resources and minimize duplication of questions.  If that is correct
>>> one can predict that if civility were to become the norm on this list
>>> then other rationing mechanisms would arise to replace it.
>>>
>>> For example, it might become the norm that most questions are not
>>> answered or are answered less thoroughly or the list might be replaced
>>> as the de facto goto medium for R questions by some other list or web
>>> site so we have to be careful about unintended consequences.
>>>
>>> ______________________________________________
>>> [hidden email] mailing list
>>> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-devel
>>>
>>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-devel
>

        [[alternative HTML version deleted]]

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Re: No RTFM?

Hadley Wickham-2
In reply to this post by Spencer Graves-2
> previous suggestion by a regular contributor.  I still think a better
> response is not to escalate:  Either ignore the post or say something like,
> "I don't understand your question.  Please provide a self-contained minimal
> example as suggested in the Posting Guide ... ."

I agree wholeheartedly. I have tried to do this with the ggplot2
mailing list, and I think it has been extremely successful in
fostering a community that is friendly and polite, yet still provides
excellent technical support (and these days, most of it doesn't come
from me!).

I know it's frustrating when you see the same "stupid" question asked
over and over and over again, and it's so tempting to reply harshly,
but I think you're far better off just letting it go, and doing
something fun instead.

Hadley

--
Assistant Professor / Dobelman Family Junior Chair
Department of Statistics / Rice University
http://had.co.nz/

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Re: No RTFM?

PaulJohnson32gmail
On Sat, Aug 21, 2010 at 11:04 AM, Hadley Wickham <[hidden email]> wrote:

>> previous suggestion by a regular contributor.  I still think a better
>> response is not to escalate:  Either ignore the post or say something like,
>> "I don't understand your question.  Please provide a self-contained minimal
>> example as suggested in the Posting Guide ... ."
>
> I agree wholeheartedly. I have tried to do this with the ggplot2
> mailing list, and I think it has been extremely successful in
> fostering a community that is friendly and polite, yet still provides
> excellent technical support (and these days, most of it doesn't come
> from me!).
>

I've been insulted in r-help and its no fun.  After Gabor pointed out
the logic in it,  I have to admit he is right. It does keep traffic
down.  I don't go there anymore unless I'm completely desperate.

I agree also, sometimes RTFM is the right answer, especially if it is
stated as "That is discussed on p. 162 of the R Guide for Whatever..."
 I don't think people are insulted if  you tell them to check
something specific.

Usually, first time visitors don't know about the R posting guide and
when they ask an incomplete question, we should just refer them to it.
 We don't need the angry tone that we often see, but I don't think
people mind being referred. This presupposes the posting guide is
helpful. If somebody forgets the posting guide twice, then I think we
should all berate and insult them. I mean vigorously :)

My personal opinion is that the R posting guide could be revised to be
more direct.  Exhausted, frustrated people don't benefit as much as
they could because the document is too long.

This is hard to fix because everything in there was added for a good
reasons.  (I've been here long enough to remember a time before the
guide, sad to say.)  I tried to reshape the posting guide and I can
see that it is a really hard problem.

What do you think of this: The priority is to put the most important
thing at the top. The second priority is brevity.

=============================

Posting Guide: How to ask good questions that prompt useful answers

People are busy, so ask your question in a useful way.

1. Every question to r-help should begin with the following.

A. Output from the command sessionInfo()

B. Output from Sys.getlocale()

C. Information about how you installed R. Did you make any changes,
such as incorporating a BLAS library. If you don't know, ask your
system administrator.

D. If you see an error or something unexpected, your message MUST
include the EXACT code that you were running. We mean, ALL of your
commands that were run before the error occurred.  If you are unsure
of what you did, close your session, clean up your code, and start
over to reproduce the  problem in the most direct way.  Your post MUST
include the EXACT VERBATIM error message.

If you are working on a long program that requires a dataset,
post the dataset and the program somewhere on the Internet and
refer us to it. It is simply not possible to guess about what
might be going wrong in your program unless we can see it.

If you don't want to share your data, construct a small example
dataset that produces the same problem. Post it and refer us to it.

E. If you have isolated the problem to a certain part of your project,
write a small, self-contained 'working example' that causes the
problem and include it with your post.

Example. Why does this code:

dat <- data.frame(x=c(1,2,3), y=c(3,4,5))
plot (x, y, data=dat)

cause this:

Error in plot(x, y, data = dat) : object 'x' not found

We can easily reproduce that and explain the problem to you. We can't
help with a question like "my plot failed, something about an object
was missing."

2. How to avoid making the members of r-help angry at you.

A. Do not call a problem a "bug" unless you really mean to say that
       someone has made a mistake. If you say "bug", they hear
       "embarrassing personal flaw" or "gigantic boil".  We know
       you don't mean that, but sometimes they forget.

B. Before you write to r-help, search for answers from previous questions.
   1. Try Google? Or her cousin Yahoo?
   2. Try these inside R:

      help.search("whatever")
      RSiteSearch("whatever")
      apropos("whatever")

C. Read R-intro, R help pages, and the R FAQs.

      ?whatever


3. Do not send your question to r-help unless your question is about R
or the base R packages that are supported by the R Core Team.

A. Don't ask statistics questions, unless they fall into the form "Which
R procedure or package should I use to conduct an analysis of ..." or
"Does anybody have a working example of procedure XYZ?" or "Can I
obtain XYZ result from an obect of class ZYX?"

B. If you have trouble with a package from CRAN or elsewhere, write to
the author of that package.  r-help might be a good place to ask,
"I've been using package XYZ and the author seems to have abandoned
the project. Does anybody know of a replacement?" Otherwise, don't.

Note that the Bioconductor repository is not part of "R" proper and
you should address questions about Bioconductor to their support framework.

C. If you are writing code for R itself, or if you are developing a
       package, send your question to r-devel, rather than r-help.

D. For operating-system or R interface questions, there are dedicated
lists. See R-sig-Mac, R-sig-Debian, R-sig-Fedora, etc.

==============================

It will be necessary to add, toward the end, the part about "be polite
when posting."

And along the lines of the "No RTFM" policy, I think we should say
"All RTFM answers should include an exact document and section
number." It is certainly insulting to answer a question about plot
with the one line

?plot

but it is not insulting to say "In ?plot, check the "Details" section
and run the example code."

pj
--
Paul E. Johnson
Professor, Political Science
1541 Lilac Lane, Room 504
University of Kansas

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Re: No RTFM?

bbolker
Paul Johnson <pauljohn32 <at> gmail.com> writes:

>

 [snip: lots more snippage to try get gmane to let me post]

> What do you think of this: The priority is to put the most important
> thing at the top. The second priority is brevity.

  I really like this.
  Some suggestions:

=========================
> Posting Guide: How to ask good questions that prompt useful answers
>
> People are busy, so ask your question in a useful way.
> 1. Every question to r-help should begin with the following.
> A. Output from the command sessionInfo()
> B. Output from Sys.getlocale()
> C. Information about how you installed R. Did you make any changes,
> such as incorporating a BLAS library. If you don't know, ask your
> system administrator.

   I would make this optional or put it further down. I don't see that
many problems on the list that are due to non-standard installations.
Most of the most clueless people are (a) using stock installations
and/or (b) don't even know who installed R on the computer they are
using. I don't mind sending them to find out/ask if it's a real
issue, but it feels like an unnecessary hurdle.

> D. If you see an error or something unexpected, your message MUST
> include the EXACT code that you were running. We mean, ALL of your
> commands that were run before the error occurred.  If you are unsure
> of what you did, close your session, clean up your code, and start
> over to reproduce the  problem in the most direct way.  Your post MUST
> include the EXACT VERBATIM error message.
>
> If you are working on a long program that requires a dataset,
> post the dataset and the program somewhere on the Internet and
> refer us to it. It is simply not possible to guess about what
> might be going wrong in your program unless we can see it.
>
> If you don't want to share your data, construct a small example
> dataset that produces the same problem. Post it and refer us to it.

   This is where we have to emphasize 'small, reproducible example'
more strongly -- perhaps move the next item up.
I dread the pages and pages of random R-session crap
that will be posted following this advice literally ...
 

> E. If you have isolated the problem to a certain part of your project,
> write a small, self-contained 'working example' that causes the
> problem and include it with your post.
>
> Example. Why does this code:
>
> dat <- data.frame(x=c(1,2,3), y=c(3,4,5))
> plot (x, y, data=dat)
>
> cause this:
>
> Error in plot(x, y, data = dat) : object 'x' not found
>
> We can easily reproduce that and explain the problem to you. We can't
> help with a question like "my plot failed, something about an object
> was missing."
>
> 2. How to avoid making the members of r-help angry at you.
>
> A. Do not call a problem a "bug" unless you really mean to say that
>        someone has made a mistake. If you say "bug", they hear
>        "embarrassing personal flaw" or "gigantic boil".  We know
>        you don't mean that, but sometimes they forget.

  [note that there is already information on 'what is a bug' in the
posting guide -- I think -- or maybe it's the R FAQ]

>
> B. Before you write to r-help, search for answers from previous questions.
>    1. Try Google? Or her cousin Yahoo?
 
    This should be for more general statistics questions, and perhaps
put second.

>    2. Try these inside R:
>
>       help.search("whatever")
>       RSiteSearch("whatever")
>       apropos("whatever")

  perhaps add
  install.packages("sos"); library(sos); findFn("whatever")

>
> C. Read R-intro, R help pages, and the R FAQs.
>
>       ?whatever
>
> 3. Do not send your question to r-help unless your question is about R
> or the base R packages that are supported by the R Core Team.
>
> A. Don't ask statistics questions, unless they fall into the form "Which
> R procedure or package should I use to conduct an analysis of ..." or
> "Does anybody have a working example of procedure XYZ?" or "Can I
> obtain XYZ result from an obect of class ZYX?"
>
> B. If you have trouble with a package from CRAN or elsewhere, write to
> the author of that package.  

 ^^^ maintainer; use maintainer("whatever") to find their e-mail address.

> r-help might be a good place to ask,
> "I've been using package XYZ and the author seems to have abandoned
> the project. Does anybody know of a replacement?" Otherwise, don't.
>
> Note that the Bioconductor repository is not part of "R" proper and
> you should address questions about Bioconductor to their support framework.
>
> C. If you are writing code for R itself, or if you are developing a
>        package, send your question to r-devel, rather than r-help.
>
> D. For operating-system or R interface questions, there are dedicated
> lists. See R-sig-Mac, R-sig-Debian, R-sig-Fedora, etc.
>
> ==============================
>
> It will be necessary to add, toward the end, the part about "be polite
> when posting."
>
> And along the lines of the "No RTFM" policy, I think we should say
> "All RTFM answers should include an exact document and section
> number." It is certainly insulting to answer a question about plot
> with the one line
>
> ?plot
>
> but it is not insulting to say "In ?plot, check the "Details" section
> and run the example code."

  Is there any point posting this on the Wiki and letting people
hack at it?

  Ben

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Re: No RTFM?

Gabor Grothendieck
In reply to this post by PaulJohnson32gmail
On Sat, Aug 21, 2010 at 6:47 PM, Paul Johnson <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Sat, Aug 21, 2010 at 11:04 AM, Hadley Wickham <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> previous suggestion by a regular contributor.  I still think a better
>>> response is not to escalate:  Either ignore the post or say something like,
>>> "I don't understand your question.  Please provide a self-contained minimal
>>> example as suggested in the Posting Guide ... ."
>>
>> I agree wholeheartedly. I have tried to do this with the ggplot2
>> mailing list, and I think it has been extremely successful in
>> fostering a community that is friendly and polite, yet still provides
>> excellent technical support (and these days, most of it doesn't come
>> from me!).
>>
>
> I've been insulted in r-help and its no fun.  After Gabor pointed out
> the logic in it,  I have to admit he is right. It does keep traffic
> down.  I don't go there anymore unless I'm completely desperate.
>
> I agree also, sometimes RTFM is the right answer, especially if it is
> stated as "That is discussed on p. 162 of the R Guide for Whatever..."
>  I don't think people are insulted if  you tell them to check
> something specific.
>
> Usually, first time visitors don't know about the R posting guide and
> when they ask an incomplete question, we should just refer them to it.
>  We don't need the angry tone that we often see, but I don't think
> people mind being referred. This presupposes the posting guide is
> helpful. If somebody forgets the posting guide twice, then I think we
> should all berate and insult them. I mean vigorously :)
>
> My personal opinion is that the R posting guide could be revised to be
> more direct.  Exhausted, frustrated people don't benefit as much as
> they could because the document is too long.

Regarding length, the portion at the end of every r-help message (but
this does not appear at the end of r-devel messages or the messages
of other lists concerning R):

   "provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code."

It was intended to provide a one line synopsis of the key part of the posting
guide that could be readily pointed to.  Although we have to be careful about
making that too verbose, as well, it might not be too onerous to add
one more line
such as:

   "and use ?, RSiteSeach("my term") and http://rseek.org before posting"

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Re: No RTFM?

Hadley Wickham-2
> Regarding length, the portion at the end of every r-help message (but
> this does not appear at the end of r-devel messages or the messages
> of other lists concerning R):
>
>   "provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code."
>
> It was intended to provide a one line synopsis of the key part of the posting
> guide that could be readily pointed to.  Although we have to be careful about
> making that too verbose, as well, it might not be too onerous to add

But no one reads email footers...

Hadley

--
Assistant Professor / Dobelman Family Junior Chair
Department of Statistics / Rice University
http://had.co.nz/

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Re: No RTFM?

Gabor Grothendieck
On Sat, Aug 21, 2010 at 8:59 PM, Hadley Wickham <[hidden email]> wrote:

>> Regarding length, the portion at the end of every r-help message (but
>> this does not appear at the end of r-devel messages or the messages
>> of other lists concerning R):
>>
>>   "provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code."
>>
>> It was intended to provide a one line synopsis of the key part of the posting
>> guide that could be readily pointed to.  Although we have to be careful about
>> making that too verbose, as well, it might not be too onerous to add
>
> But no one reads email footers...
>

I would expect that a lot more people read that than the posting guide.

Its also useful as something to point to that is more accessible than
the posting guide since its right there.

One can be sure its been received since every message contains it.

Finally it gives the key info that someone needs to effectively use r-help.

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Re: No RTFM?

Spencer Graves-2
  I've answered many email posts by copying and editing the email
footer.  That's much more friendly, informative and effective than just
RTFM.  (As previously noted in this thread, it's often hard to know
which FMTR.)


Spencer


On 8/21/2010 6:08 PM, Gabor Grothendieck wrote:

> On Sat, Aug 21, 2010 at 8:59 PM, Hadley Wickham<[hidden email]>  wrote:
>>> Regarding length, the portion at the end of every r-help message (but
>>> this does not appear at the end of r-devel messages or the messages
>>> of other lists concerning R):
>>>
>>>    "provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code."
>>>
>>> It was intended to provide a one line synopsis of the key part of the posting
>>> guide that could be readily pointed to.  Although we have to be careful about
>>> making that too verbose, as well, it might not be too onerous to add
>> But no one reads email footers...
>>
> I would expect that a lot more people read that than the posting guide.
>
> Its also useful as something to point to that is more accessible than
> the posting guide since its right there.
>
> One can be sure its been received since every message contains it.
>
> Finally it gives the key info that someone needs to effectively use r-help.
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-devel
>


--
Spencer Graves, PE, PhD
President and Chief Operating Officer
Structure Inspection and Monitoring, Inc.
751 Emerson Ct.
San José, CA 95126
ph:  408-655-4567

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