R-help mailing list activity

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R-help mailing list activity

Jean-Luc Dupouey
Dear members,

Not a technical question:

The number of threads in this mailing list, following a long period of
increase, has been regularly and strongly decreasing since 2010, passing
from more than 40K threads to less than 11K threads last year. The trend
is similar for most of the "ancient" mailing lists of the R-project. I
cannot imagine the total number of R-related inquiries on the Internet
decreased. It means that contributors have gone elsewhere. Indeed, in
the meantime, the number of R posts on stackoverflow passed from 2K to
100K between 2009 and 2015. Thus my question: what are the
specificities, the plus and minus of the R-project mailing lists, in
comparison with other lists, and especially in comparison with
stackoverflow? A lot of threads are duplicated on both lists, which
seems to me a little bit counterproductive.

I hope it is the wright place to ask this question. Thanks in advance,

Jean-Luc Dupouey

______________________________________________
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Re: R-help mailing list activity

Thomas Petzoldt-4
Hi,

from my perspective as R user and package maintainer I would consider
the normalization of the r-help mailing list a good sign. r-help is
still a good place for general questions, while more specific
discussions moved to the r-sig-... mailing lists.

Maybe a slight reduction can also be a motivation for more people to
step in again answering questions.

Thomas

Am 23.01.2016 um 13:28 schrieb Jean-Luc Dupouey:

> Dear members,
>
> Not a technical question:
>
> The number of threads in this mailing list, following a long period of
> increase, has been regularly and strongly decreasing since 2010, passing
> from more than 40K threads to less than 11K threads last year. The trend
> is similar for most of the "ancient" mailing lists of the R-project. I
> cannot imagine the total number of R-related inquiries on the Internet
> decreased. It means that contributors have gone elsewhere. Indeed, in
> the meantime, the number of R posts on stackoverflow passed from 2K to
> 100K between 2009 and 2015. Thus my question: what are the
> specificities, the plus and minus of the R-project mailing lists, in
> comparison with other lists, and especially in comparison with
> stackoverflow? A lot of threads are duplicated on both lists, which
> seems to me a little bit counterproductive.
>
> I hope it is the wright place to ask this question. Thanks in advance,
>
> Jean-Luc Dupouey
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list -- To UNSUBSCRIBE and more, see
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do read the posting guide
> http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list -- To UNSUBSCRIBE and more, see
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
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Re: R-help mailing list activity

Duncan Murdoch-2
In reply to this post by Jean-Luc Dupouey
On 23/01/2016 7:28 AM, Jean-Luc Dupouey wrote:

> Dear members,
>
> Not a technical question:
>
> The number of threads in this mailing list, following a long period of
> increase, has been regularly and strongly decreasing since 2010, passing
> from more than 40K threads to less than 11K threads last year. The trend
> is similar for most of the "ancient" mailing lists of the R-project. I
> cannot imagine the total number of R-related inquiries on the Internet
> decreased. It means that contributors have gone elsewhere. Indeed, in
> the meantime, the number of R posts on stackoverflow passed from 2K to
> 100K between 2009 and 2015. Thus my question: what are the
> specificities, the plus and minus of the R-project mailing lists, in
> comparison with other lists, and especially in comparison with
> stackoverflow? A lot of threads are duplicated on both lists, which
> seems to me a little bit counterproductive.

I don't see duplication as counterproductive -- some people like one
style, some like the other, both will find answers.

However, I think there is less duplication than you might think in many
areas.  Mailing lists are preferable when the people who are good at
answering your questions use the mailing lists; Stackoverflow is
preferable when the good answers are there.

I generally prefer the mailing lists, though I occasionally participate
on Stackoverflow.  The reasons I prefer them:

  1. Permanence.  If Stackoverflow shuts down tomorrow, all posts there
will likely disappear.  There are several locations that archive the
mailing list posts. I have local copies of a few thousand posts on my
own laptop.

  2. Familiarity.  I've been using the mailing lists for 20 years, and
its easier to continue than to change.  If you're more familiar with the
Stackoverflow process, you'll probably prefer that.

  3. Simplicity.  This may be a repeat of 2, but the Stackoverflow
distinction between answers and comments, it's gamification (badges,
special privileges to high scorers, etc.) just seems unnecessarily ornate.

  4. Interaction.  The mailing lists are a series of conversations,
whereas Stackoverflow is more like Wikipedia, i.e. a joint project to
which you can contribute.  (Maybe there are conversations on
Stackoverflow as well, but I'm not a big enough user to know about them.)

If I look at my own recent record, I tend to answer far more questions
on the mailing lists, but ask more on Stackoverflow.  I think this is
due to my original point:  the experts in the topics I'm asking about
are more likely to be there than here.

Duncan Murdoch

P.S. Your statistics are a little misleading:  you counted threads in
one R mailing list in one year, and cumulative questions in all R topics
over 7 years in Stackoverflow, so the difference in traffic isn't as
large as your numbers look at first glance.  However, I think it is true
that the mailing list traffic declined and Stackoverflow increased over
that period.

______________________________________________
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Re: R-help mailing list activity

Rich Shepard
On Sat, 23 Jan 2016, Duncan Murdoch wrote:

> I don't see duplication as counterproductive -- some people like one style,
> some like the other, both will find answers.

Duncan,

   There's another factor to add to your list. Mail lists, such as r-help and
the various SIGs _push_ messages to subscribers' mail boxes. Check your mail
and the threads can be followed. From the subscriber's perspective it's
passive.

   Web fora require subscribers to _pull_ messages by pointing their browser
to that URL, logging in, finding the appropriate forum, and viewing threads.
>From the subscriber's perspective it's active.

   I'm one of the former types of participant. I subscribe to multiple mail
lists and review new messages several times a day when time permits or I
have another reason to do so. I'm rarely on a web forum because it requires
much more time away from business than does a mail list.

Just another perspective,

Rich

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list -- To UNSUBSCRIBE and more, see
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
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Re: R-help mailing list activity

John Kane
While I find stackoverflow very handy of a specific question that I can google in a hurry I find that I can readily read R-help, learning things that may not be readily applicable but that I may need tomorrow or next year ...

It also helps me keep up on new packages and besides I have an embarrassing fortune that I like to point to.

I also agree strongly with Duncan Murdock's points 3 & 4.



John Kane
Kingston ON Canada


> -----Original Message-----
> From: [hidden email]
> Sent: Sat, 23 Jan 2016 05:53:58 -0800 (PST)
> To: [hidden email]
> Subject: Re: [R] R-help mailing list activity
>
> On Sat, 23 Jan 2016, Duncan Murdoch wrote:
>
>> I don't see duplication as counterproductive -- some people like one
>> style,
>> some like the other, both will find answers.
>
> Duncan,
>
>    There's another factor to add to your list. Mail lists, such as r-help
> and
> the various SIGs _push_ messages to subscribers' mail boxes. Check your
> mail
> and the threads can be followed. From the subscriber's perspective it's
> passive.
>
>    Web fora require subscribers to _pull_ messages by pointing their
> browser
> to that URL, logging in, finding the appropriate forum, and viewing
> threads.
> >From the subscriber's perspective it's active.
>
>    I'm one of the former types of participant. I subscribe to multiple
> mail
> lists and review new messages several times a day when time permits or I
> have another reason to do so. I'm rarely on a web forum because it
> requires
> much more time away from business than does a mail list.
>
> Just another perspective,
>
> Rich
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list -- To UNSUBSCRIBE and more, see
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do read the posting guide
> http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.

____________________________________________________________
FREE 3D MARINE AQUARIUM SCREENSAVER - Watch dolphins, sharks & orcas on your desktop!

______________________________________________
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PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
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Re: R-help mailing list activity

Duncan Murdoch-2
In reply to this post by Duncan Murdoch-2
One additional point:

On 23/01/2016 8:33 AM, Duncan Murdoch wrote:

> distinction between answers and comments, it's gamification (badges,

One advantage of Stackoverflow is that you can go back and correct silly
errors (like misspelling "its").

Duncan Murdoch

______________________________________________
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Re: R-help mailing list activity / R-not-help?

Michael Friendly
In reply to this post by Jean-Luc Dupouey

On 1/23/2016 7:28 AM, Jean-Luc Dupouey wrote:
> Dear members,
>
> Not a technical question:
But one worth raising...
>
> The number of threads in this mailing list, following a long period of
> increase, has been regularly and strongly decreasing since 2010, passing
> from more than 40K threads to less than 11K threads last year. The trend
> is similar for most of the "ancient" mailing lists of the R-project.
[snip ...]
>
> I hope it is the wright place to ask this question. Thanks in advance,
>

In addition to the other replies, there is another trend I've seen that
has actively worked to suppress discussion on R-help and move it
elsewhere. The general things:
- R-help was too unwieldy and so it was a good idea to hive-off
specialized topics to various sub lists, R-SIG-Mac, R-SIG-Geo,
etc.
- Many people posted badly-formed questions to R-help, and so it
was a good idea to develop and refer to the posting guide to mitigate
the number of purely junk postings.

<rant>
Yet, the trend I've seen is one of increasing **R-not-help**, in that
there are many posts, often by new R users who get replies that not
infrequently range from just mildly off-putting to actively hostile:

- Is this homework? We don't do homework (sometimes false alarms,
where the OP has to reply to say it is not)
- Didn't you bother to do your homework, RTFM, or Google?
- This is off-topic because XXX (e.g., it is not strictly an R
programming question).
- You asked about doing XXX, but this is a stupid thing
to want to do.
- Don't ask here; you need to talk to a statistical consultant.

I find this sad in a public mailing list sent to all R-help subscribers
and I sometimes cringe
when I read replies to people who were actually trying to get
help with some R-related problem, but expressed it badly, didn't
know exactly what to ask for, or how to format it,
or somehow motivated a frequent-replier to publicly dis the OP.

On the other hand, I still see a spirit of great generosity among some
people who frequently reply to R-help, taking a possibly badly posed
or ill-formatted question, and going to some lengths to provide a
a helpful answer of some sort.  I applaud those who take the time
and effort to do this.

I use R in a number of my courses, and used to advise students to
post to R-help for general programming questions (not just homework)
they couldn't solve. I don't do this any more, because several of them
reported a negative experience.

In contrast, in the Stackexchange model, there are numerous sublists
cross-classified by their tags.  If I have a specific knitr, ggplot2,
LaTeX, or statistical modeling question, I'm now more likely to post it
there, and the worst that can happen is that no one "upvotes" it
or someone (helpfully) marks it as a duplicate of a similar question.
But comments there are not propagated to all subscribers,
and those who reply helpfully, can see their solutions accepted or not,
or commented on in that specific topic.

Perhaps one solution would be to create a new "R-not-help" list where,
as in a Monty Python skit, people could be directed there to be insulted
and all these unhelpful replies could be sent.

A milder alternative is to encourage some R-help subscribers to click
the "Don't send" or "Save" button and think better of their replies.
</rant>

--
Michael Friendly     Email: friendly AT yorku DOT ca
Professor, Psychology Dept. & Chair, Quantitative Methods
York University      Voice: 416 736-2100 x66249 Fax: 416 736-5814
4700 Keele Street    Web:   http://www.datavis.ca
Toronto, ONT  M3J 1P3 CANADA

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list -- To UNSUBSCRIBE and more, see
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
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Re: R-help mailing list activity / R-not-help?

rsherry8
I think this mailing list is wonderful and it has helped me a lot. In
fact, I am not sure I would be using R today if it was not for this
list.

Bob

On 1/24/2016 4:42 PM, Michael Friendly wrote:

>
> On 1/23/2016 7:28 AM, Jean-Luc Dupouey wrote:
>> Dear members,
>>
>> Not a technical question:
> But one worth raising...
>>
>> The number of threads in this mailing list, following a long period of
>> increase, has been regularly and strongly decreasing since 2010, passing
>> from more than 40K threads to less than 11K threads last year. The trend
>> is similar for most of the "ancient" mailing lists of the R-project.
> [snip ...]
>>
>> I hope it is the wright place to ask this question. Thanks in advance,
>>
>
> In addition to the other replies, there is another trend I've seen that
> has actively worked to suppress discussion on R-help and move it
> elsewhere. The general things:
> - R-help was too unwieldy and so it was a good idea to hive-off
> specialized topics to various sub lists, R-SIG-Mac, R-SIG-Geo,
> etc.
> - Many people posted badly-formed questions to R-help, and so it
> was a good idea to develop and refer to the posting guide to mitigate
> the number of purely junk postings.
>
> <rant>
> Yet, the trend I've seen is one of increasing **R-not-help**, in that
> there are many posts, often by new R users who get replies that not
> infrequently range from just mildly off-putting to actively hostile:
>
> - Is this homework? We don't do homework (sometimes false alarms,
> where the OP has to reply to say it is not)
> - Didn't you bother to do your homework, RTFM, or Google?
> - This is off-topic because XXX (e.g., it is not strictly an R
> programming question).
> - You asked about doing XXX, but this is a stupid thing
> to want to do.
> - Don't ask here; you need to talk to a statistical consultant.
>
> I find this sad in a public mailing list sent to all R-help subscribers
> and I sometimes cringe
> when I read replies to people who were actually trying to get
> help with some R-related problem, but expressed it badly, didn't
> know exactly what to ask for, or how to format it,
> or somehow motivated a frequent-replier to publicly dis the OP.
>
> On the other hand, I still see a spirit of great generosity among some
> people who frequently reply to R-help, taking a possibly badly posed
> or ill-formatted question, and going to some lengths to provide a
> a helpful answer of some sort.  I applaud those who take the time
> and effort to do this.
>
> I use R in a number of my courses, and used to advise students to
> post to R-help for general programming questions (not just homework)
> they couldn't solve. I don't do this any more, because several of them
> reported a negative experience.
>
> In contrast, in the Stackexchange model, there are numerous sublists
> cross-classified by their tags.  If I have a specific knitr, ggplot2,
> LaTeX, or statistical modeling question, I'm now more likely to post
> it there, and the worst that can happen is that no one "upvotes" it
> or someone (helpfully) marks it as a duplicate of a similar question.
> But comments there are not propagated to all subscribers,
> and those who reply helpfully, can see their solutions accepted or not,
> or commented on in that specific topic.
>
> Perhaps one solution would be to create a new "R-not-help" list where,
> as in a Monty Python skit, people could be directed there to be
> insulted and all these unhelpful replies could be sent.
>
> A milder alternative is to encourage some R-help subscribers to click
> the "Don't send" or "Save" button and think better of their replies.
> </rant>
>

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list -- To UNSUBSCRIBE and more, see
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
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Re: R-help mailing list activity / R-not-help?

Fowler, Mark-2
In reply to this post by Michael Friendly
I'm glad to see the issue of negative feedback addressed. I can especially relate to the 'cringe' feeling when reading some authoritarian backhand to a new user. We do see a number of obviously inappropriate or overly lazy postings, but I encounter far more postings where I don't feel competent to judge their merit. It might be better to simply disregard a posting one does not like for some reason. It might also be worthwhile to actively counter negative feedback when we experience that 'cringing' moment. I'm not thinking to foster contention, but simply to provide some tangible reassurance to new users, and not just the ones invoking the negative feedback, that a particular respondent may not represent the perspective of the list.

-----Original Message-----
From: R-help [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Michael Friendly
Sent: January 24, 2016 5:43 PM
To: Jean-Luc Dupouey; [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [R] R-help mailing list activity / R-not-help?


On 1/23/2016 7:28 AM, Jean-Luc Dupouey wrote:
> Dear members,
>
> Not a technical question:
But one worth raising...
>
> The number of threads in this mailing list, following a long period of
> increase, has been regularly and strongly decreasing since 2010,
> passing from more than 40K threads to less than 11K threads last year.
> The trend is similar for most of the "ancient" mailing lists of the R-project.
[snip ...]
>
> I hope it is the wright place to ask this question. Thanks in advance,
>

In addition to the other replies, there is another trend I've seen that has actively worked to suppress discussion on R-help and move it elsewhere. The general things:
- R-help was too unwieldy and so it was a good idea to hive-off specialized topics to various sub lists, R-SIG-Mac, R-SIG-Geo, etc.
- Many people posted badly-formed questions to R-help, and so it was a good idea to develop and refer to the posting guide to mitigate the number of purely junk postings.

<rant>
Yet, the trend I've seen is one of increasing **R-not-help**, in that there are many posts, often by new R users who get replies that not infrequently range from just mildly off-putting to actively hostile:

- Is this homework? We don't do homework (sometimes false alarms, where the OP has to reply to say it is not)
- Didn't you bother to do your homework, RTFM, or Google?
- This is off-topic because XXX (e.g., it is not strictly an R programming question).
- You asked about doing XXX, but this is a stupid thing to want to do.
- Don't ask here; you need to talk to a statistical consultant.

I find this sad in a public mailing list sent to all R-help subscribers and I sometimes cringe when I read replies to people who were actually trying to get help with some R-related problem, but expressed it badly, didn't know exactly what to ask for, or how to format it, or somehow motivated a frequent-replier to publicly dis the OP.

On the other hand, I still see a spirit of great generosity among some people who frequently reply to R-help, taking a possibly badly posed or ill-formatted question, and going to some lengths to provide a a helpful answer of some sort.  I applaud those who take the time and effort to do this.

I use R in a number of my courses, and used to advise students to post to R-help for general programming questions (not just homework) they couldn't solve. I don't do this any more, because several of them reported a negative experience.

In contrast, in the Stackexchange model, there are numerous sublists cross-classified by their tags.  If I have a specific knitr, ggplot2, LaTeX, or statistical modeling question, I'm now more likely to post it there, and the worst that can happen is that no one "upvotes" it or someone (helpfully) marks it as a duplicate of a similar question.
But comments there are not propagated to all subscribers, and those who reply helpfully, can see their solutions accepted or not, or commented on in that specific topic.

Perhaps one solution would be to create a new "R-not-help" list where, as in a Monty Python skit, people could be directed there to be insulted and all these unhelpful replies could be sent.

A milder alternative is to encourage some R-help subscribers to click the "Don't send" or "Save" button and think better of their replies.
</rant>

--
Michael Friendly     Email: friendly AT yorku DOT ca
Professor, Psychology Dept. & Chair, Quantitative Methods
York University      Voice: 416 736-2100 x66249 Fax: 416 736-5814
4700 Keele Street    Web:   http://www.datavis.ca
Toronto, ONT  M3J 1P3 CANADA

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list -- To UNSUBSCRIBE and more, see https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list -- To UNSUBSCRIBE and more, see
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
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Re: R-help mailing list activity / R-not-help?

Oliver Keyes-2
+1. And frankly I would like to suggest that there is another obvious
solution here; pairing a set of guidelines around expected user
behaviour with removing people from the mailing list, or moderating
them, if they do not think that creating a non-toxic environment is
good.

On 25 January 2016 at 07:23, Fowler, Mark <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I'm glad to see the issue of negative feedback addressed. I can especially relate to the 'cringe' feeling when reading some authoritarian backhand to a new user. We do see a number of obviously inappropriate or overly lazy postings, but I encounter far more postings where I don't feel competent to judge their merit. It might be better to simply disregard a posting one does not like for some reason. It might also be worthwhile to actively counter negative feedback when we experience that 'cringing' moment. I'm not thinking to foster contention, but simply to provide some tangible reassurance to new users, and not just the ones invoking the negative feedback, that a particular respondent may not represent the perspective of the list.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: R-help [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Michael Friendly
> Sent: January 24, 2016 5:43 PM
> To: Jean-Luc Dupouey; [hidden email]
> Subject: Re: [R] R-help mailing list activity / R-not-help?
>
>
> On 1/23/2016 7:28 AM, Jean-Luc Dupouey wrote:
>> Dear members,
>>
>> Not a technical question:
> But one worth raising...
>>
>> The number of threads in this mailing list, following a long period of
>> increase, has been regularly and strongly decreasing since 2010,
>> passing from more than 40K threads to less than 11K threads last year.
>> The trend is similar for most of the "ancient" mailing lists of the R-project.
> [snip ...]
>>
>> I hope it is the wright place to ask this question. Thanks in advance,
>>
>
> In addition to the other replies, there is another trend I've seen that has actively worked to suppress discussion on R-help and move it elsewhere. The general things:
> - R-help was too unwieldy and so it was a good idea to hive-off specialized topics to various sub lists, R-SIG-Mac, R-SIG-Geo, etc.
> - Many people posted badly-formed questions to R-help, and so it was a good idea to develop and refer to the posting guide to mitigate the number of purely junk postings.
>
> <rant>
> Yet, the trend I've seen is one of increasing **R-not-help**, in that there are many posts, often by new R users who get replies that not infrequently range from just mildly off-putting to actively hostile:
>
> - Is this homework? We don't do homework (sometimes false alarms, where the OP has to reply to say it is not)
> - Didn't you bother to do your homework, RTFM, or Google?
> - This is off-topic because XXX (e.g., it is not strictly an R programming question).
> - You asked about doing XXX, but this is a stupid thing to want to do.
> - Don't ask here; you need to talk to a statistical consultant.
>
> I find this sad in a public mailing list sent to all R-help subscribers and I sometimes cringe when I read replies to people who were actually trying to get help with some R-related problem, but expressed it badly, didn't know exactly what to ask for, or how to format it, or somehow motivated a frequent-replier to publicly dis the OP.
>
> On the other hand, I still see a spirit of great generosity among some people who frequently reply to R-help, taking a possibly badly posed or ill-formatted question, and going to some lengths to provide a a helpful answer of some sort.  I applaud those who take the time and effort to do this.
>
> I use R in a number of my courses, and used to advise students to post to R-help for general programming questions (not just homework) they couldn't solve. I don't do this any more, because several of them reported a negative experience.
>
> In contrast, in the Stackexchange model, there are numerous sublists cross-classified by their tags.  If I have a specific knitr, ggplot2, LaTeX, or statistical modeling question, I'm now more likely to post it there, and the worst that can happen is that no one "upvotes" it or someone (helpfully) marks it as a duplicate of a similar question.
> But comments there are not propagated to all subscribers, and those who reply helpfully, can see their solutions accepted or not, or commented on in that specific topic.
>
> Perhaps one solution would be to create a new "R-not-help" list where, as in a Monty Python skit, people could be directed there to be insulted and all these unhelpful replies could be sent.
>
> A milder alternative is to encourage some R-help subscribers to click the "Don't send" or "Save" button and think better of their replies.
> </rant>
>
> --
> Michael Friendly     Email: friendly AT yorku DOT ca
> Professor, Psychology Dept. & Chair, Quantitative Methods
> York University      Voice: 416 736-2100 x66249 Fax: 416 736-5814
> 4700 Keele Street    Web:   http://www.datavis.ca
> Toronto, ONT  M3J 1P3 CANADA
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list -- To UNSUBSCRIBE and more, see https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list -- To UNSUBSCRIBE and more, see
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.



--
Oliver Keyes
Count Logula
Wikimedia Foundation

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list -- To UNSUBSCRIBE and more, see
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Re: R-help mailing list activity / R-not-help?

Ted Harding
In reply to this post by Fowler, Mark-2
My feelings exactly! (And since quite some time ago).
Ted.

On 25-Jan-2016 12:23:16 Fowler, Mark wrote:

> I'm glad to see the issue of negative feedback addressed. I can especially
> relate to the 'cringe' feeling when reading some authoritarian backhand to a
> new user. We do see a number of obviously inappropriate or overly lazy
> postings, but I encounter far more postings where I don't feel competent to
> judge their merit. It might be better to simply disregard a posting one does
> not like for some reason. It might also be worthwhile to actively counter
> negative feedback when we experience that 'cringing' moment. I'm not thinking
> to foster contention, but simply to provide some tangible reassurance to new
> users, and not just the ones invoking the negative feedback, that a
> particular respondent may not represent the perspective of the list.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: R-help [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Michael
> Friendly
> Sent: January 24, 2016 5:43 PM
> To: Jean-Luc Dupouey; [hidden email]
> Subject: Re: [R] R-help mailing list activity / R-not-help?
>
>
> On 1/23/2016 7:28 AM, Jean-Luc Dupouey wrote:
>> Dear members,
>>
>> Not a technical question:
> But one worth raising...
>>
>> The number of threads in this mailing list, following a long period of
>> increase, has been regularly and strongly decreasing since 2010,
>> passing from more than 40K threads to less than 11K threads last year.
>> The trend is similar for most of the "ancient" mailing lists of the
>> R-project.
> [snip ...]
>>
>> I hope it is the wright place to ask this question. Thanks in advance,
>>
>
> In addition to the other replies, there is another trend I've seen that has
> actively worked to suppress discussion on R-help and move it elsewhere. The
> general things:
> - R-help was too unwieldy and so it was a good idea to hive-off specialized
> topics to various sub lists, R-SIG-Mac, R-SIG-Geo, etc.
> - Many people posted badly-formed questions to R-help, and so it was a good
> idea to develop and refer to the posting guide to mitigate the number of
> purely junk postings.
>
> <rant>
> Yet, the trend I've seen is one of increasing **R-not-help**, in that there
> are many posts, often by new R users who get replies that not infrequently
> range from just mildly off-putting to actively hostile:
>
> - Is this homework? We don't do homework (sometimes false alarms, where the
> OP has to reply to say it is not)
> - Didn't you bother to do your homework, RTFM, or Google?
> - This is off-topic because XXX (e.g., it is not strictly an R programming
> question).
> - You asked about doing XXX, but this is a stupid thing to want to do.
> - Don't ask here; you need to talk to a statistical consultant.
>
> I find this sad in a public mailing list sent to all R-help subscribers and I
> sometimes cringe when I read replies to people who were actually trying to
> get help with some R-related problem, but expressed it badly, didn't know
> exactly what to ask for, or how to format it, or somehow motivated a
> frequent-replier to publicly dis the OP.
>
> On the other hand, I still see a spirit of great generosity among some people
> who frequently reply to R-help, taking a possibly badly posed or
> ill-formatted question, and going to some lengths to provide a a helpful
> answer of some sort.  I applaud those who take the time and effort to do
> this.
>
> I use R in a number of my courses, and used to advise students to post to
> R-help for general programming questions (not just homework) they couldn't
> solve. I don't do this any more, because several of them reported a negative
> experience.
>
> In contrast, in the Stackexchange model, there are numerous sublists
> cross-classified by their tags.  If I have a specific knitr, ggplot2, LaTeX,
> or statistical modeling question, I'm now more likely to post it there, and
> the worst that can happen is that no one "upvotes" it or someone (helpfully)
> marks it as a duplicate of a similar question.
> But comments there are not propagated to all subscribers, and those who reply
> helpfully, can see their solutions accepted or not, or commented on in that
> specific topic.
>
> Perhaps one solution would be to create a new "R-not-help" list where, as in
> a Monty Python skit, people could be directed there to be insulted and all
> these unhelpful replies could be sent.
>
> A milder alternative is to encourage some R-help subscribers to click the
> "Don't send" or "Save" button and think better of their replies.
> </rant>
>
> --
> Michael Friendly     Email: friendly AT yorku DOT ca
> Professor, Psychology Dept. & Chair, Quantitative Methods
> York University      Voice: 416 736-2100 x66249 Fax: 416 736-5814
> 4700 Keele Street    Web:   http://www.datavis.ca
> Toronto, ONT  M3J 1P3 CANADA

-------------------------------------------------
E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <[hidden email]>
Date: 25-Jan-2016  Time: 17:14:06
This message was sent by XFMail

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list -- To UNSUBSCRIBE and more, see
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
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Re: R-help mailing list activity / R-not-help?

John Sorkin
When we read acerbic replies we should remind the poster to reply in a more moderate tone. On the other hand  noting that the list is not intended to be a source of answers to home work questions is 100% appropriate. This philosophy is intended both to keep the list from being flooded with questions and to make sure that no student has an unfair advantage.
John

> John David Sorkin M.D., Ph.D.
> Professor of Medicine
> Chief, Biostatistics and Informatics
> University of Maryland School of Medicine Division of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine
> Baltimore VA Medical Center
> 10 North Greene Street
> GRECC (BT/18/GR)
> Baltimore, MD 21201-1524
> (Phone) 410-605-7119
> (Fax) 410-605-7913 (Please call phone number above prior to faxing)


> On Jan 25, 2016, at 12:17 PM, Ted Harding <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> My feelings exactly! (And since quite some time ago).
> Ted.
>
>> On 25-Jan-2016 12:23:16 Fowler, Mark wrote:
>> I'm glad to see the issue of negative feedback addressed. I can especially
>> relate to the 'cringe' feeling when reading some authoritarian backhand to a
>> new user. We do see a number of obviously inappropriate or overly lazy
>> postings, but I encounter far more postings where I don't feel competent to
>> judge their merit. It might be better to simply disregard a posting one does
>> not like for some reason. It might also be worthwhile to actively counter
>> negative feedback when we experience that 'cringing' moment. I'm not thinking
>> to foster contention, but simply to provide some tangible reassurance to new
>> users, and not just the ones invoking the negative feedback, that a
>> particular respondent may not represent the perspective of the list.
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: R-help [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Michael
>> Friendly
>> Sent: January 24, 2016 5:43 PM
>> To: Jean-Luc Dupouey; [hidden email]
>> Subject: Re: [R] R-help mailing list activity / R-not-help?
>>
>>
>>> On 1/23/2016 7:28 AM, Jean-Luc Dupouey wrote:
>>> Dear members,
>>>
>>> Not a technical question:
>> But one worth raising...
>>>
>>> The number of threads in this mailing list, following a long period of
>>> increase, has been regularly and strongly decreasing since 2010,
>>> passing from more than 40K threads to less than 11K threads last year.
>>> The trend is similar for most of the "ancient" mailing lists of the
>>> R-project.
>> [snip ...]
>>>
>>> I hope it is the wright place to ask this question. Thanks in advance,
>>
>> In addition to the other replies, there is another trend I've seen that has
>> actively worked to suppress discussion on R-help and move it elsewhere. The
>> general things:
>> - R-help was too unwieldy and so it was a good idea to hive-off specialized
>> topics to various sub lists, R-SIG-Mac, R-SIG-Geo, etc.
>> - Many people posted badly-formed questions to R-help, and so it was a good
>> idea to develop and refer to the posting guide to mitigate the number of
>> purely junk postings.
>>
>> <rant>
>> Yet, the trend I've seen is one of increasing **R-not-help**, in that there
>> are many posts, often by new R users who get replies that not infrequently
>> range from just mildly off-putting to actively hostile:
>>
>> - Is this homework? We don't do homework (sometimes false alarms, where the
>> OP has to reply to say it is not)
>> - Didn't you bother to do your homework, RTFM, or Google?
>> - This is off-topic because XXX (e.g., it is not strictly an R programming
>> question).
>> - You asked about doing XXX, but this is a stupid thing to want to do.
>> - Don't ask here; you need to talk to a statistical consultant.
>>
>> I find this sad in a public mailing list sent to all R-help subscribers and I
>> sometimes cringe when I read replies to people who were actually trying to
>> get help with some R-related problem, but expressed it badly, didn't know
>> exactly what to ask for, or how to format it, or somehow motivated a
>> frequent-replier to publicly dis the OP.
>>
>> On the other hand, I still see a spirit of great generosity among some people
>> who frequently reply to R-help, taking a possibly badly posed or
>> ill-formatted question, and going to some lengths to provide a a helpful
>> answer of some sort.  I applaud those who take the time and effort to do
>> this.
>>
>> I use R in a number of my courses, and used to advise students to post to
>> R-help for general programming questions (not just homework) they couldn't
>> solve. I don't do this any more, because several of them reported a negative
>> experience.
>>
>> In contrast, in the Stackexchange model, there are numerous sublists
>> cross-classified by their tags.  If I have a specific knitr, ggplot2, LaTeX,
>> or statistical modeling question, I'm now more likely to post it there, and
>> the worst that can happen is that no one "upvotes" it or someone (helpfully)
>> marks it as a duplicate of a similar question.
>> But comments there are not propagated to all subscribers, and those who reply
>> helpfully, can see their solutions accepted or not, or commented on in that
>> specific topic.
>>
>> Perhaps one solution would be to create a new "R-not-help" list where, as in
>> a Monty Python skit, people could be directed there to be insulted and all
>> these unhelpful replies could be sent.
>>
>> A milder alternative is to encourage some R-help subscribers to click the
>> "Don't send" or "Save" button and think better of their replies.
>> </rant>
>>
>> --
>> Michael Friendly     Email: friendly AT yorku DOT ca
>> Professor, Psychology Dept. & Chair, Quantitative Methods
>> York University      Voice: 416 736-2100 x66249 Fax: 416 736-5814
>> 4700 Keele Street    Web:   http://www.datavis.ca
>> Toronto, ONT  M3J 1P3 CANADA
>
> -------------------------------------------------
> E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <[hidden email]>
> Date: 25-Jan-2016  Time: 17:14:06
> This message was sent by XFMail
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list -- To UNSUBSCRIBE and more, see
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.

Confidentiality Statement:
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PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
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Re: R-help mailing list activity / R-not-help?

Duncan Murdoch-2
On 25/01/2016 12:35 PM, John Sorkin wrote:
> When we read acerbic replies we should remind the poster to reply in a more moderate tone.
As long as you do this in private, not on the list, I wouldn't object.  
(I'd hope I wouldn't even know about it.)  Doing it on the list is more
likely to lead to flame wars than to improved behaviour.

As others have suggested, if you think someone has been mistreated, then
the public remedy should be to treat them well by giving a better answer
yourself.

Duncan Murdoch

>   On the other hand  noting that the list is not intended to be a source of answers to home work questions is 100% appropriate. This philosophy is intended both to keep the list from being flooded with questions and to make sure that no student has an unfair advantage.
> John
>
> > John David Sorkin M.D., Ph.D.
> > Professor of Medicine
> > Chief, Biostatistics and Informatics
> > University of Maryland School of Medicine Division of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine
> > Baltimore VA Medical Center
> > 10 North Greene Street
> > GRECC (BT/18/GR)
> > Baltimore, MD 21201-1524
> > (Phone) 410-605-7119
> > (Fax) 410-605-7913 (Please call phone number above prior to faxing)
>
>
> > On Jan 25, 2016, at 12:17 PM, Ted Harding <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> > My feelings exactly! (And since quite some time ago).
> > Ted.
> >
> >> On 25-Jan-2016 12:23:16 Fowler, Mark wrote:
> >> I'm glad to see the issue of negative feedback addressed. I can especially
> >> relate to the 'cringe' feeling when reading some authoritarian backhand to a
> >> new user. We do see a number of obviously inappropriate or overly lazy
> >> postings, but I encounter far more postings where I don't feel competent to
> >> judge their merit. It might be better to simply disregard a posting one does
> >> not like for some reason. It might also be worthwhile to actively counter
> >> negative feedback when we experience that 'cringing' moment. I'm not thinking
> >> to foster contention, but simply to provide some tangible reassurance to new
> >> users, and not just the ones invoking the negative feedback, that a
> >> particular respondent may not represent the perspective of the list.
> >>
> >> -----Original Message-----
> >> From: R-help [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Michael
> >> Friendly
> >> Sent: January 24, 2016 5:43 PM
> >> To: Jean-Luc Dupouey; [hidden email]
> >> Subject: Re: [R] R-help mailing list activity / R-not-help?
> >>
> >>
> >>> On 1/23/2016 7:28 AM, Jean-Luc Dupouey wrote:
> >>> Dear members,
> >>>
> >>> Not a technical question:
> >> But one worth raising...
> >>>
> >>> The number of threads in this mailing list, following a long period of
> >>> increase, has been regularly and strongly decreasing since 2010,
> >>> passing from more than 40K threads to less than 11K threads last year.
> >>> The trend is similar for most of the "ancient" mailing lists of the
> >>> R-project.
> >> [snip ...]
> >>>
> >>> I hope it is the wright place to ask this question. Thanks in advance,
> >>
> >> In addition to the other replies, there is another trend I've seen that has
> >> actively worked to suppress discussion on R-help and move it elsewhere. The
> >> general things:
> >> - R-help was too unwieldy and so it was a good idea to hive-off specialized
> >> topics to various sub lists, R-SIG-Mac, R-SIG-Geo, etc.
> >> - Many people posted badly-formed questions to R-help, and so it was a good
> >> idea to develop and refer to the posting guide to mitigate the number of
> >> purely junk postings.
> >>
> >> <rant>
> >> Yet, the trend I've seen is one of increasing **R-not-help**, in that there
> >> are many posts, often by new R users who get replies that not infrequently
> >> range from just mildly off-putting to actively hostile:
> >>
> >> - Is this homework? We don't do homework (sometimes false alarms, where the
> >> OP has to reply to say it is not)
> >> - Didn't you bother to do your homework, RTFM, or Google?
> >> - This is off-topic because XXX (e.g., it is not strictly an R programming
> >> question).
> >> - You asked about doing XXX, but this is a stupid thing to want to do.
> >> - Don't ask here; you need to talk to a statistical consultant.
> >>
> >> I find this sad in a public mailing list sent to all R-help subscribers and I
> >> sometimes cringe when I read replies to people who were actually trying to
> >> get help with some R-related problem, but expressed it badly, didn't know
> >> exactly what to ask for, or how to format it, or somehow motivated a
> >> frequent-replier to publicly dis the OP.
> >>
> >> On the other hand, I still see a spirit of great generosity among some people
> >> who frequently reply to R-help, taking a possibly badly posed or
> >> ill-formatted question, and going to some lengths to provide a a helpful
> >> answer of some sort.  I applaud those who take the time and effort to do
> >> this.
> >>
> >> I use R in a number of my courses, and used to advise students to post to
> >> R-help for general programming questions (not just homework) they couldn't
> >> solve. I don't do this any more, because several of them reported a negative
> >> experience.
> >>
> >> In contrast, in the Stackexchange model, there are numerous sublists
> >> cross-classified by their tags.  If I have a specific knitr, ggplot2, LaTeX,
> >> or statistical modeling question, I'm now more likely to post it there, and
> >> the worst that can happen is that no one "upvotes" it or someone (helpfully)
> >> marks it as a duplicate of a similar question.
> >> But comments there are not propagated to all subscribers, and those who reply
> >> helpfully, can see their solutions accepted or not, or commented on in that
> >> specific topic.
> >>
> >> Perhaps one solution would be to create a new "R-not-help" list where, as in
> >> a Monty Python skit, people could be directed there to be insulted and all
> >> these unhelpful replies could be sent.
> >>
> >> A milder alternative is to encourage some R-help subscribers to click the
> >> "Don't send" or "Save" button and think better of their replies.
> >> </rant>
> >>
> >> --
> >> Michael Friendly     Email: friendly AT yorku DOT ca
> >> Professor, Psychology Dept. & Chair, Quantitative Methods
> >> York University      Voice: 416 736-2100 x66249 Fax: 416 736-5814
> >> 4700 Keele Street    Web:   http://www.datavis.ca
> >> Toronto, ONT  M3J 1P3 CANADA
> >
> > -------------------------------------------------
> > E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <[hidden email]>
> > Date: 25-Jan-2016  Time: 17:14:06
> > This message was sent by XFMail
> >
> > ______________________________________________
> > [hidden email] mailing list -- To UNSUBSCRIBE and more, see
> > https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> > PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> > and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
>
> Confidentiality Statement:
> This email message, including any attachments, is for ...{{dropped:7}}

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list -- To UNSUBSCRIBE and more, see
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
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Re: R-help mailing list activity / R-not-help?

Fowler, Mark-2
In reply to this post by John Sorkin
Two concerns with implementing this philosophy.


1.       Determining whether a question is indeed seeking an answer to a homework exercise. Certainly if I think a question is short-cutting a basic homework task I ignore it. But I don't waste an email berating the alleged student.

2.       The validity of the barrier. At what point (maybe graduate levels? Nth year?) do we regard questions inspired by an educational system to be appropriate? Academia was still using mainframes when I graduated so I don't have much notion of expectations today.


I'm just musing that we might be farther ahead simply opting for no response than adding another email to the queue. It also gets around needing to feel I know the answers to 1 and 2.

From: John Sorkin [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: January 25, 2016 1:36 PM
To: [hidden email]
Cc: Fowler, Mark; [hidden email]; [hidden email]; [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [R] R-help mailing list activity / R-not-help?

When we read acerbic replies we should remind the poster to reply in a more moderate tone. On the other hand  noting that the list is not intended to be a source of answers to home work questions is 100% appropriate. This philosophy is intended both to keep the list from being flooded with questions and to make sure that no student has an unfair advantage.
John


John David Sorkin M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Medicine
Chief, Biostatistics and Informatics

University of Maryland School of Medicine Division of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine

Baltimore VA Medical Center

10 North Greene Street<x-apple-data-detectors://12>

GRECC<x-apple-data-detectors://12> (BT/18/GR)

Baltimore, MD 21201-1524<x-apple-data-detectors://13/0>

(Phone) 410-605-711<tel:410-605-7119>9
(Fax) 410-605-7913<tel:410-605-7913> (Please call phone number above prior to faxing)

On Jan 25, 2016, at 12:17 PM, Ted Harding <[hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]>> wrote:
My feelings exactly! (And since quite some time ago).
Ted.

On 25-Jan-2016 12:23:16 Fowler, Mark wrote:

I'm glad to see the issue of negative feedback addressed. I can especially
relate to the 'cringe' feeling when reading some authoritarian backhand to a
new user. We do see a number of obviously inappropriate or overly lazy
postings, but I encounter far more postings where I don't feel competent to
judge their merit. It might be better to simply disregard a posting one does
not like for some reason. It might also be worthwhile to actively counter
negative feedback when we experience that 'cringing' moment. I'm not thinking
to foster contention, but simply to provide some tangible reassurance to new
users, and not just the ones invoking the negative feedback, that a
particular respondent may not represent the perspective of the list.

-----Original Message-----
From: R-help [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Michael
Friendly
Sent: January 24, 2016 5:43 PM
To: Jean-Luc Dupouey; [hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [R] R-help mailing list activity / R-not-help?


On 1/23/2016 7:28 AM, Jean-Luc Dupouey wrote:
Dear members,

Not a technical question:
But one worth raising...

The number of threads in this mailing list, following a long period of
increase, has been regularly and strongly decreasing since 2010,
passing from more than 40K threads to less than 11K threads last year.
The trend is similar for most of the "ancient" mailing lists of the
R-project.
[snip ...]

I hope it is the wright place to ask this question. Thanks in advance,


In addition to the other replies, there is another trend I've seen that has
actively worked to suppress discussion on R-help and move it elsewhere. The
general things:
- R-help was too unwieldy and so it was a good idea to hive-off specialized
topics to various sub lists, R-SIG-Mac, R-SIG-Geo, etc.
- Many people posted badly-formed questions to R-help, and so it was a good
idea to develop and refer to the posting guide to mitigate the number of
purely junk postings.

<rant>
Yet, the trend I've seen is one of increasing **R-not-help**, in that there
are many posts, often by new R users who get replies that not infrequently
range from just mildly off-putting to actively hostile:

- Is this homework? We don't do homework (sometimes false alarms, where the
OP has to reply to say it is not)
- Didn't you bother to do your homework, RTFM, or Google?
- This is off-topic because XXX (e.g., it is not strictly an R programming
question).
- You asked about doing XXX, but this is a stupid thing to want to do.
- Don't ask here; you need to talk to a statistical consultant.

I find this sad in a public mailing list sent to all R-help subscribers and I
sometimes cringe when I read replies to people who were actually trying to
get help with some R-related problem, but expressed it badly, didn't know
exactly what to ask for, or how to format it, or somehow motivated a
frequent-replier to publicly dis the OP.

On the other hand, I still see a spirit of great generosity among some people
who frequently reply to R-help, taking a possibly badly posed or
ill-formatted question, and going to some lengths to provide a a helpful
answer of some sort.  I applaud those who take the time and effort to do
this.

I use R in a number of my courses, and used to advise students to post to
R-help for general programming questions (not just homework) they couldn't
solve. I don't do this any more, because several of them reported a negative
experience.

In contrast, in the Stackexchange model, there are numerous sublists
cross-classified by their tags.  If I have a specific knitr, ggplot2, LaTeX,
or statistical modeling question, I'm now more likely to post it there, and
the worst that can happen is that no one "upvotes" it or someone (helpfully)
marks it as a duplicate of a similar question.
But comments there are not propagated to all subscribers, and those who reply
helpfully, can see their solutions accepted or not, or commented on in that
specific topic.

Perhaps one solution would be to create a new "R-not-help" list where, as in
a Monty Python skit, people could be directed there to be insulted and all
these unhelpful replies could be sent.

A milder alternative is to encourage some R-help subscribers to click the
"Don't send" or "Save" button and think better of their replies.
</rant>

--
Michael Friendly     Email: friendly AT yorku DOT ca
Professor, Psychology Dept. & Chair, Quantitative Methods
York University      Voice: 416 736-2100 x66249 Fax: 416 736-5814
4700 Keele Street    Web:   http://www.datavis.ca
Toronto, ONT  M3J 1P3 CANADA

-------------------------------------------------
E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <[hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]>>
Date: 25-Jan-2016  Time: 17:14:06
This message was sent by XFMail

______________________________________________
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Re: R-help mailing list activity / R-not-help?

Oliver Keyes-2
In reply to this post by Duncan Murdoch-2
I disagree, and would argue that fails to take a systemic view of this
kind of behaviour.

If individual commentators are acerbic and are only privately
reprimanded, from the perspective of everyone else it looks like the
acerbic reply was A-OK. Someone said something unnecessarily hostile
and the response was...nada. That creates an environment where there
are no clear examples of what crosses a line and no clear expectation
that moderation is even a thing that happens. Indeed, I was shocked to
discover this list _was_ moderated precisely because all I see is
people being mean and nothing much else happening.

I would much rather a system where there is some sort of public
notice. It doesn't have to be identifying. Just "after a couple of
replies that did not follow our guidelines I have put some members of
this list on moderation, meaning that they must have their posts
cleared before being sent out. A reminder that we have certain
standards here and etc etc etc"

On 25 January 2016 at 12:50, Duncan Murdoch <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 25/01/2016 12:35 PM, John Sorkin wrote:
>>
>> When we read acerbic replies we should remind the poster to reply in a
>> more moderate tone.
>
> As long as you do this in private, not on the list, I wouldn't object.  (I'd
> hope I wouldn't even know about it.)  Doing it on the list is more likely to
> lead to flame wars than to improved behaviour.
>
> As others have suggested, if you think someone has been mistreated, then the
> public remedy should be to treat them well by giving a better answer
> yourself.
>
> Duncan Murdoch
>
>>   On the other hand  noting that the list is not intended to be a source
>> of answers to home work questions is 100% appropriate. This philosophy is
>> intended both to keep the list from being flooded with questions and to make
>> sure that no student has an unfair advantage.
>> John
>>
>> > John David Sorkin M.D., Ph.D.
>> > Professor of Medicine
>> > Chief, Biostatistics and Informatics
>> > University of Maryland School of Medicine Division of Gerontology and
>> > Geriatric Medicine
>> > Baltimore VA Medical Center
>> > 10 North Greene Street
>> > GRECC (BT/18/GR)
>> > Baltimore, MD 21201-1524
>> > (Phone) 410-605-7119
>> > (Fax) 410-605-7913 (Please call phone number above prior to faxing)
>>
>>
>> > On Jan 25, 2016, at 12:17 PM, Ted Harding <[hidden email]>
>> > wrote:
>> >
>> > My feelings exactly! (And since quite some time ago).
>> > Ted.
>> >
>> >> On 25-Jan-2016 12:23:16 Fowler, Mark wrote:
>> >> I'm glad to see the issue of negative feedback addressed. I can
>> >> especially
>> >> relate to the 'cringe' feeling when reading some authoritarian backhand
>> >> to a
>> >> new user. We do see a number of obviously inappropriate or overly lazy
>> >> postings, but I encounter far more postings where I don't feel
>> >> competent to
>> >> judge their merit. It might be better to simply disregard a posting one
>> >> does
>> >> not like for some reason. It might also be worthwhile to actively
>> >> counter
>> >> negative feedback when we experience that 'cringing' moment. I'm not
>> >> thinking
>> >> to foster contention, but simply to provide some tangible reassurance
>> >> to new
>> >> users, and not just the ones invoking the negative feedback, that a
>> >> particular respondent may not represent the perspective of the list.
>> >>
>> >> -----Original Message-----
>> >> From: R-help [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Michael
>> >> Friendly
>> >> Sent: January 24, 2016 5:43 PM
>> >> To: Jean-Luc Dupouey; [hidden email]
>> >> Subject: Re: [R] R-help mailing list activity / R-not-help?
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>> On 1/23/2016 7:28 AM, Jean-Luc Dupouey wrote:
>> >>> Dear members,
>> >>>
>> >>> Not a technical question:
>> >> But one worth raising...
>> >>>
>> >>> The number of threads in this mailing list, following a long period of
>> >>> increase, has been regularly and strongly decreasing since 2010,
>> >>> passing from more than 40K threads to less than 11K threads last year.
>> >>> The trend is similar for most of the "ancient" mailing lists of the
>> >>> R-project.
>> >> [snip ...]
>> >>>
>> >>> I hope it is the wright place to ask this question. Thanks in advance,
>> >>
>> >> In addition to the other replies, there is another trend I've seen that
>> >> has
>> >> actively worked to suppress discussion on R-help and move it elsewhere.
>> >> The
>> >> general things:
>> >> - R-help was too unwieldy and so it was a good idea to hive-off
>> >> specialized
>> >> topics to various sub lists, R-SIG-Mac, R-SIG-Geo, etc.
>> >> - Many people posted badly-formed questions to R-help, and so it was a
>> >> good
>> >> idea to develop and refer to the posting guide to mitigate the number
>> >> of
>> >> purely junk postings.
>> >>
>> >> <rant>
>> >> Yet, the trend I've seen is one of increasing **R-not-help**, in that
>> >> there
>> >> are many posts, often by new R users who get replies that not
>> >> infrequently
>> >> range from just mildly off-putting to actively hostile:
>> >>
>> >> - Is this homework? We don't do homework (sometimes false alarms, where
>> >> the
>> >> OP has to reply to say it is not)
>> >> - Didn't you bother to do your homework, RTFM, or Google?
>> >> - This is off-topic because XXX (e.g., it is not strictly an R
>> >> programming
>> >> question).
>> >> - You asked about doing XXX, but this is a stupid thing to want to do.
>> >> - Don't ask here; you need to talk to a statistical consultant.
>> >>
>> >> I find this sad in a public mailing list sent to all R-help subscribers
>> >> and I
>> >> sometimes cringe when I read replies to people who were actually trying
>> >> to
>> >> get help with some R-related problem, but expressed it badly, didn't
>> >> know
>> >> exactly what to ask for, or how to format it, or somehow motivated a
>> >> frequent-replier to publicly dis the OP.
>> >>
>> >> On the other hand, I still see a spirit of great generosity among some
>> >> people
>> >> who frequently reply to R-help, taking a possibly badly posed or
>> >> ill-formatted question, and going to some lengths to provide a a
>> >> helpful
>> >> answer of some sort.  I applaud those who take the time and effort to
>> >> do
>> >> this.
>> >>
>> >> I use R in a number of my courses, and used to advise students to post
>> >> to
>> >> R-help for general programming questions (not just homework) they
>> >> couldn't
>> >> solve. I don't do this any more, because several of them reported a
>> >> negative
>> >> experience.
>> >>
>> >> In contrast, in the Stackexchange model, there are numerous sublists
>> >> cross-classified by their tags.  If I have a specific knitr, ggplot2,
>> >> LaTeX,
>> >> or statistical modeling question, I'm now more likely to post it there,
>> >> and
>> >> the worst that can happen is that no one "upvotes" it or someone
>> >> (helpfully)
>> >> marks it as a duplicate of a similar question.
>> >> But comments there are not propagated to all subscribers, and those who
>> >> reply
>> >> helpfully, can see their solutions accepted or not, or commented on in
>> >> that
>> >> specific topic.
>> >>
>> >> Perhaps one solution would be to create a new "R-not-help" list where,
>> >> as in
>> >> a Monty Python skit, people could be directed there to be insulted and
>> >> all
>> >> these unhelpful replies could be sent.
>> >>
>> >> A milder alternative is to encourage some R-help subscribers to click
>> >> the
>> >> "Don't send" or "Save" button and think better of their replies.
>> >> </rant>
>> >>
>> >> --
>> >> Michael Friendly     Email: friendly AT yorku DOT ca
>> >> Professor, Psychology Dept. & Chair, Quantitative Methods
>> >> York University      Voice: 416 736-2100 x66249 Fax: 416 736-5814
>> >> 4700 Keele Street    Web:   http://www.datavis.ca
>> >> Toronto, ONT  M3J 1P3 CANADA
>> >
>> > -------------------------------------------------
>> > E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <[hidden email]>
>> > Date: 25-Jan-2016  Time: 17:14:06
>> > This message was sent by XFMail
>> >
>> > ______________________________________________
>> > [hidden email] mailing list -- To UNSUBSCRIBE and more, see
>> > https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
>> > PLEASE do read the posting guide
>> > http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
>> > and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
>>
>> Confidentiality Statement:
>> This email message, including any attachments, is for ...{{dropped:7}}
>
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list -- To UNSUBSCRIBE and more, see
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.



--
Oliver Keyes
Count Logula
Wikimedia Foundation

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Re: R-help mailing list activity / R-not-help?

Duncan Murdoch-2
On 25/01/2016 2:45 PM, Oliver Keyes wrote:

> I disagree, and would argue that fails to take a systemic view of this
> kind of behaviour.
>
> If individual commentators are acerbic and are only privately
> reprimanded, from the perspective of everyone else it looks like the
> acerbic reply was A-OK. Someone said something unnecessarily hostile
> and the response was...nada. That creates an environment where there
> are no clear examples of what crosses a line and no clear expectation
> that moderation is even a thing that happens. Indeed, I was shocked to
> discover this list _was_ moderated precisely because all I see is
> people being mean and nothing much else happening.

Why would you bother to read it if that's all you see?  I think there
are examples of posts here which are not at all helpful, and others
which are rude, but the majority are actually helpful (even some of the
rude ones).

Duncan Murdoch

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Re: R-help mailing list activity / R-not-help?

Hasan Diwan-2
There exists a fine line between being unintentionally rude, but helpful
and purposely putting someone down. -- H

On 25 January 2016 at 12:07, Duncan Murdoch <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> On 25/01/2016 2:45 PM, Oliver Keyes wrote:
>
>> I disagree, and would argue that fails to take a systemic view of this
>> kind of behaviour.
>>
>> If individual commentators are acerbic and are only privately
>> reprimanded, from the perspective of everyone else it looks like the
>> acerbic reply was A-OK. Someone said something unnecessarily hostile
>> and the response was...nada. That creates an environment where there
>> are no clear examples of what crosses a line and no clear expectation
>> that moderation is even a thing that happens. Indeed, I was shocked to
>> discover this list _was_ moderated precisely because all I see is
>> people being mean and nothing much else happening.
>>
>
> Why would you bother to read it if that's all you see?  I think there are
> examples of posts here which are not at all helpful, and others which are
> rude, but the majority are actually helpful (even some of the rude ones).
>
> Duncan Murdoch
>
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list -- To UNSUBSCRIBE and more, see
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do read the posting guide
> http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
>



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Re: R-help mailing list activity / R-not-help?

Duncan Murdoch-2
On 25/01/2016 3:33 PM, Hasan Diwan wrote:
> There exists a fine line between being unintentionally rude, but helpful
> and purposely putting someone down. -- H

I'm afraid I don't think your point is relevant.  I didn't claim all the
people who were rude did it unintentionally.  However,  I don't know
anyone on the list who is always rude and never helpful. Oliver claimed
almost everyone is like that.

I actually agree with a weaker version of John's proposal (which I cut
out of my reply to Oliver).  I can imagine a public reprimand from one
of the moderators would be appropriate.  It would never be appropriate
from general list members; that's what leads to flame wars.

I'm not a moderator, so I would not publicly "remind the poster to reply
in a more moderate tone", and neither should you (unless you're a
moderator).  It would be much better if one or both of us posted a more
helpful response when we saw a rude, unhelpful one.

Duncan Murdoch


>
> On 25 January 2016 at 12:07, Duncan Murdoch <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
> > On 25/01/2016 2:45 PM, Oliver Keyes wrote:
> >
> >> I disagree, and would argue that fails to take a systemic view of this
> >> kind of behaviour.
> >>
> >> If individual commentators are acerbic and are only privately
> >> reprimanded, from the perspective of everyone else it looks like the
> >> acerbic reply was A-OK. Someone said something unnecessarily hostile
> >> and the response was...nada. That creates an environment where there
> >> are no clear examples of what crosses a line and no clear expectation
> >> that moderation is even a thing that happens. Indeed, I was shocked to
> >> discover this list _was_ moderated precisely because all I see is
> >> people being mean and nothing much else happening.
> >>
> >
> > Why would you bother to read it if that's all you see?  I think there are
> > examples of posts here which are not at all helpful, and others which are
> > rude, but the majority are actually helpful (even some of the rude ones).
> >
> > Duncan Murdoch
> >
> >
> > ______________________________________________
> > [hidden email] mailing list -- To UNSUBSCRIBE and more, see
> > https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> > PLEASE do read the posting guide
> > http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> > and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
> >
>
>
>

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Re: R-help mailing list activity / R-not-help?

Hasan Diwan-2
On 25 January 2016 at 13:13, Duncan Murdoch <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> On 25/01/2016 3:33 PM, Hasan Diwan wrote:
>
>> There exists a fine line between being unintentionally rude, but helpful
>> and purposely putting someone down. -- H
>>
>
> I'm afraid I don't think your point is relevant.  I didn't claim all the
> people who were rude did it unintentionally.  However,  I don't know anyone
> on the list who is always rude and never helpful. Oliver claimed almost
> everyone is like that.


> I actually agree with a weaker version of John's proposal (which I cut out
> of my reply to Oliver).  I can imagine a public reprimand from one of the
> moderators would be appropriate.  It would never be appropriate from
> general list members; that's what leads to flame wars.
>
> I'm not a moderator, so I would not publicly "remind the poster to reply
> in a more moderate tone", and neither should you (unless you're a
> moderator).  It would be much better if one or both of us posted a more
> helpful response when we saw a rude, unhelpful one.


I'm not one to attack others in general, and have developed thick skin, so
a lot of what others find rude, I will ignore and get on with things. That
said, if someone does tell me that e.g. "Hasan is being offensive because
of $x, $y or $z", I'll apologise and get on with my life. Most of the time,
when people find me offensive, it's because I treat others how I wish to be
treated and the rhetoric just doesn't offend me. -- H

>
>
> Duncan Murdoch
>
>
>
>
>> On 25 January 2016 at 12:07, Duncan Murdoch <[hidden email]>
>> wrote:
>>
>> > On 25/01/2016 2:45 PM, Oliver Keyes wrote:
>> >
>> >> I disagree, and would argue that fails to take a systemic view of this
>> >> kind of behaviour.
>> >>
>> >> If individual commentators are acerbic and are only privately
>> >> reprimanded, from the perspective of everyone else it looks like the
>> >> acerbic reply was A-OK. Someone said something unnecessarily hostile
>> >> and the response was...nada. That creates an environment where there
>> >> are no clear examples of what crosses a line and no clear expectation
>> >> that moderation is even a thing that happens. Indeed, I was shocked to
>> >> discover this list _was_ moderated precisely because all I see is
>> >> people being mean and nothing much else happening.
>> >>
>> >
>> > Why would you bother to read it if that's all you see?  I think there
>> are
>> > examples of posts here which are not at all helpful, and others which
>> are
>> > rude, but the majority are actually helpful (even some of the rude
>> ones).
>> >
>> > Duncan Murdoch
>> >
>> >
>> > ______________________________________________
>> > [hidden email] mailing list -- To UNSUBSCRIBE and more, see
>> > https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
>> > PLEASE do read the posting guide
>> > http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
>> > and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
>> >
>>
>>
>>
>>
>


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Re: R-help mailing list activity / R-not-help?

Oliver Keyes-2
In reply to this post by Duncan Murdoch-2
Sorry, poor phrasing on my part; on the occasions where someone is
rude, all I see is...

I agree the public cautioning should be done by moderators, yes.

On 25 January 2016 at 16:13, Duncan Murdoch <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 25/01/2016 3:33 PM, Hasan Diwan wrote:
>>
>> There exists a fine line between being unintentionally rude, but helpful
>> and purposely putting someone down. -- H
>
>
> I'm afraid I don't think your point is relevant.  I didn't claim all the
> people who were rude did it unintentionally.  However,  I don't know anyone
> on the list who is always rude and never helpful. Oliver claimed almost
> everyone is like that.
>
> I actually agree with a weaker version of John's proposal (which I cut out
> of my reply to Oliver).  I can imagine a public reprimand from one of the
> moderators would be appropriate.  It would never be appropriate from general
> list members; that's what leads to flame wars.
>
> I'm not a moderator, so I would not publicly "remind the poster to reply in
> a more moderate tone", and neither should you (unless you're a moderator).
> It would be much better if one or both of us posted a more helpful response
> when we saw a rude, unhelpful one.
>
> Duncan Murdoch
>
>
>>
>> On 25 January 2016 at 12:07, Duncan Murdoch <[hidden email]>
>> wrote:
>>
>> > On 25/01/2016 2:45 PM, Oliver Keyes wrote:
>> >
>> >> I disagree, and would argue that fails to take a systemic view of this
>> >> kind of behaviour.
>> >>
>> >> If individual commentators are acerbic and are only privately
>> >> reprimanded, from the perspective of everyone else it looks like the
>> >> acerbic reply was A-OK. Someone said something unnecessarily hostile
>> >> and the response was...nada. That creates an environment where there
>> >> are no clear examples of what crosses a line and no clear expectation
>> >> that moderation is even a thing that happens. Indeed, I was shocked to
>> >> discover this list _was_ moderated precisely because all I see is
>> >> people being mean and nothing much else happening.
>> >>
>> >
>> > Why would you bother to read it if that's all you see?  I think there
>> > are
>> > examples of posts here which are not at all helpful, and others which
>> > are
>> > rude, but the majority are actually helpful (even some of the rude
>> > ones).
>> >
>> > Duncan Murdoch
>> >
>> >
>> > ______________________________________________
>> > [hidden email] mailing list -- To UNSUBSCRIBE and more, see
>> > https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
>> > PLEASE do read the posting guide
>> > http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
>> > and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
>> >
>>
>>
>>
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list -- To UNSUBSCRIBE and more, see
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.



--
Oliver Keyes
Count Logula
Wikimedia Foundation

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list -- To UNSUBSCRIBE and more, see
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PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
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12