Feature request: rating/review system for R packages

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Feature request: rating/review system for R packages

Janko Thyson-2
Dear List,

 

I'm aware that this has been brought up before (e.g.
<http://tolstoy.newcastle.edu.au/R/e6/help/09/03/7365.html>
http://tolstoy.newcastle.edu.au/R/e6/help/09/03/7365.html ;
<https://stat.ethz.ch/pipermail/r-help/2009-March/190902.html>
https://stat.ethz.ch/pipermail/r-help/2009-March/190902.html), I couldn't
find anything recent on the topic, though.

 

After pondering all the pros and cons regarding the usefulness of a
rating/review system for R packages, don't you think it would make sense to
implement such a thing? Of course one could easily debate hours on how this
should exactly look like (quality vs. quantitiy/popularity and such), but
IMHO it would definitely be a start to have something like a simple version
Amazon's review system available. It would allow you to form at least an
initial opinion on purpose and quality of R packages before going at it. As
more and more packages pop up on CRAN, I think it'd be great to have such a
feature and that the time is ripe.

 

Cheers,

Janko


        [[alternative HTML version deleted]]

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Re: Feature request: rating/review system for R packages

Dieter Menne
After pondering all the pros and cons regarding the usefulness of a rating/review system for R packages, don't you think it would make sense to implement such a thing?
Or to look what is there, and how little it is filled:

http://crantastic.org/

Dieter

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Re: Feature request: rating/review system for R packages

bbolker
Dieter Menne <dieter.menne <at> menne-biomed.de> writes:

>
>
> > After pondering all the pros and cons regarding the usefulness of a
> > rating/review system for R packages, don't you think it would make sense
> > to implement such a thing?
> >
>
> Or to look what is there, and how little it is filled:
>
> http://crantastic.org/
>
> Dieter

  If I were feeling a little more ambitious, I would write a contributed
"popularity contest" package (cf. <http://lwn.net/Articles/75753/>,
<http://popcon.debian.org/>) that did the following:

  * recorded information on a user's configuration and installed packages
and reported it *somewhere* (web server, etc.; R has plenty of communications
facilities built in)

  for more intrusive but complete information:

  * gave users an option to install a `hook' that would report at some
interval (regular? random?) which packages were actually loaded
(on Unix-alike machines one might be able to use the 'atime' feature
to guess when a package was *last* loaded even if it wasn't currently
in use)
  * gave users an option to contribute further information (country,
research field, etc.)
  * might pop up a window showing installed packages and offering users the
option to comment or to give ratings to particularly good or bad packages, which
would be sent to wherever ...

  This would be completely optional, but *if* word got around it
could collect a useful (albeit completely statistically unsound)
set of information.

  *If* I were writing this I would (a) be very clear in the package
description etc etc what information would be collected and stored,
where, and how it would be used; (b) carefully think about the tradeoffs
between annoying users and collecting more information; (c) consult
with the fine folks running CRANtastic to see if they wanted to somehow
integrate it into their infrastructure.

  The big advantage of this approach is that you don't need to convince
anyone from R-core to do anything, you just need to convince users to
install your package.

  Ben Bolker

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Re: Feature request: rating/review system for R packages

Heinz Tuechler
It's unclear to me, why the rating/review system should relate to
entire packages. Would it not be more informative, if single specific
functions would be rated and reviewed?
I would like to see if "+" is rated better than "-", or if more
difficulties are reported for "*" than for "/". I could then consider
in the future to prefer sums over differences.

best,
Heinz

At 20.03.2011 19:03 +0000, Ben Bolker wrote:

>Dieter Menne <dieter.menne <at> menne-biomed.de> writes:
>
> >
> >
> > > After pondering all the pros and cons regarding the usefulness of a
> > > rating/review system for R packages, don't you think it would make sense
> > > to implement such a thing?
> > >
> >
> > Or to look what is there, and how little it is filled:
> >
> > http://crantastic.org/
> >
> > Dieter
>
>   If I were feeling a little more ambitious, I would write a contributed
>"popularity contest" package (cf. <http://lwn.net/Articles/75753/>,
><http://popcon.debian.org/>) that did the following:
>
>   * recorded information on a user's configuration and installed packages
>and reported it *somewhere* (web server, etc.; R has plenty of communications
>facilities built in)
>
>   for more intrusive but complete information:
>
>   * gave users an option to install a `hook' that would report at some
>interval (regular? random?) which packages were actually loaded
>(on Unix-alike machines one might be able to use the 'atime' feature
>to guess when a package was *last* loaded even if it wasn't currently
>in use)
>   * gave users an option to contribute further information (country,
>research field, etc.)
>   * might pop up a window showing installed packages and offering users the
>option to comment or to give ratings to particularly good or bad
>packages, which
>would be sent to wherever ...
>
>   This would be completely optional, but *if* word got around it
>could collect a useful (albeit completely statistically unsound)
>set of information.
>
>   *If* I were writing this I would (a) be very clear in the package
>description etc etc what information would be collected and stored,
>where, and how it would be used; (b) carefully think about the tradeoffs
>between annoying users and collecting more information; (c) consult
>with the fine folks running CRANtastic to see if they wanted to somehow
>integrate it into their infrastructure.
>
>   The big advantage of this approach is that you don't need to convince
>anyone from R-core to do anything, you just need to convince users to
>install your package.
>
>   Ben Bolker
>
>______________________________________________
>[hidden email] mailing list
>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: Feature request: rating/review system for R packages

Jim Lemon
In reply to this post by Janko Thyson-2
On 03/21/2011 04:33 AM, Janko Thyson wrote:
...
Hi Janko,
As Dieter said, Crantastic is an opportunity for R users to give both
quickie ratings and reviews of packages. I have to say that doing a
review isn't trivial. I feel that I should use a package for a while
before I can review it, and the big packages would take quite some time
to work through even the majority of functions, especially if you didn't
normally use them. Nonetheless, I try to keep a running tally on the
packages that I use, and when I've got a feeling for the capability,
reliability and ease of use, I try to sit down and write one. I have an
idea that many packages are downloaded and one or two useful functions
are used a lot by any given user.

Ben's idea has been floated before, but either no one has put it
together or I haven't heard of it. That would probably produce a lot
more information, and the sum of a package's usage is meaningful.

Jim

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