creating an equivalent of r-help on r.stackexchange.com ? (was: Re: Should there be an R-beginners list?)

classic Classic list List threaded Threaded
21 messages Options
12
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

creating an equivalent of r-help on r.stackexchange.com ? (was: Re: Should there be an R-beginners list?)

Liviu Andronic
Dear Duncan,
I discovered something interesting wrt to the licensing and mirroring
of user-contributed material on StackExchange.  Please read below.


On Sun, Nov 24, 2013 at 9:00 PM, Duncan Murdoch
<[hidden email]> wrote:

>> I'm not aware of a discussion on this, but I would say no.
>> Fragmentation is bad. Further fragmentation is worse.
>>
>> TL;DR
>> =====
>>
>> Actually I'd say all mailing lists except r-devel should be moving to
>> StackOverlow in the future (disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with it).
>
>
> I would generally agree with you, except for a few points.
>
> 1.  I avoid StackOverflow, because they claim copyright on the compilation.
> As I read their terms of service, it would be illegal for anyone to download
> and duplicate all postings about R.  So a posting there is only available as
> long as they choose to make it available. Postings to the mailing list are
> archived in several places.
>
It seems that StackOverflow is officially proposing user-generated
content for download/mirroring:
http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2014/01/stack-exchange-cc-data-now-hosted-by-the-internet-archive/?cb=1

"All community-contributed content on Stack Exchange is licensed under
the Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license. " And it is currently being
mirrored at least at the Internet Archive:
https://archive.org/details/stackexchange

So, in principle, it would be possible/desirable to:
- spin the 'r' tag from StackOverflow and propose an r.stackexchange.com at
http://area51.stackexchange.com/categories/8/technology . Such a SE
site would be similar to http://mathematica.stackexchange.com/
- involve R Core to give blessing for using the R logo, if necessary.
This would be similar to what Ubuntu does with AskUbuntu:
http://meta.askubuntu.com/questions/5444/is-ask-ubuntu-official-ubuntu
- set a mirror on r-project.org for all the user content that is
produced by r.stackexchange.com , and thus allow R Core to keep the
info publicly available at all times. The mirroring on Internet
Archive would still hold.


> 2.  I think an interface like StackOverflow is better than the mailing list
> interface, and will eventually win out.  R-help needs to do nothing, once
> someone puts together something like StackOverflow that attracts most of the
> people who give good answers, R-help will just fade away.
>
The advantages for such a move are countless (especially wrt to
efficiently organizing R-related knowledge and directing users to
appropriate sources of info), so I won't go into that. I would only
note that most 'r-sig-*' MLs would become obsolete in such a setup,
and would be replaced by the much more efficient tagging system of the
SE Q&A web interface (for example, all posts appropriate for r-sig-gui
would simply be tagged with 'gui'; no need for duplicated efforts of
monitoring multiple mailing lists).

Opinions?

Liviu

______________________________________________
[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.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: creating an equivalent of r-help on r.stackexchange.com ? (was: Re: Should there be an R-beginners list?)

MacQueen, Don
Every browser-based interface I've ever seen has a number of features that
I find to be huge deterrents. To mention just two:

- They waste copious amounts of screen space on irrelevant things such as
"votes", the number of views, the elapsed time since something or other
happened, fancy web-page headers, and so on. Oh, and advertisements. The
Mathematica stackexchange example given in a link in one of the emails
below (http://mathematica.stackexchange.com/) illustrates these
shortcomings -- and it's not the worst such example.

- In most if not all cases, one has to login before posting. I have too
many usernames and passwords as it is.

Right now, at this very moment, in my email client's window I can see and
browse the subject lines of 20 threads in r-help. And that's using only
about half of my screens vertical space. In contrast, in the Mathematica
stackexchange example, I can see at most 10, and that only by using the
entire vertical space of my screen. The "From" column in my email client
shows the names of several of the people contributing to the thread, which
the browser interface does not. In the email client, I can move through
messages, and between messages in a thread using my keyboard. In a
browser, I have to do lots of mousing and clicking, which is much less
efficient.

As it is now, r-help messages come to me. I don't have to start up a
browser. So it's much easier to go take a quick look at what's new at any
time.

True, I had to subscribe to the mailing list, which involves a username
and password. But once it's done, it's done. I don't have to login before
posting, which means I don't have to remember yet another username and
password.

What "...duplicated efforts of monitoring multiple mailing lists)"? I have
no duplicated effort...in fact, I have almost no effort at all, since the
messages come to me. There was some initial setup, i.e., to filter
different r-* messages to different mailboxes in my email client, but now
that that's done, it's as simple as clicking on the correct mailbox.

In other words, in every way that's important to me, the mailing list
approach is superior. I do not support abandoning the mailing list system
for any alternative.

-Don

--
Don MacQueen

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
7000 East Ave., L-627
Livermore, CA 94550
925-423-1062





On 2/2/14 1:49 PM, "Liviu Andronic" <[hidden email]> wrote:

>Dear Duncan,
>I discovered something interesting wrt to the licensing and mirroring
>of user-contributed material on StackExchange.  Please read below.
>
>
>On Sun, Nov 24, 2013 at 9:00 PM, Duncan Murdoch
><[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> I'm not aware of a discussion on this, but I would say no.
>>> Fragmentation is bad. Further fragmentation is worse.
>>>
>>> TL;DR
>>> =====
>>>
>>> Actually I'd say all mailing lists except r-devel should be moving to
>>> StackOverlow in the future (disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with it).
>>
>>
>> I would generally agree with you, except for a few points.
>>
>> 1.  I avoid StackOverflow, because they claim copyright on the
>>compilation.
>> As I read their terms of service, it would be illegal for anyone to
>>download
>> and duplicate all postings about R.  So a posting there is only
>>available as
>> long as they choose to make it available. Postings to the mailing list
>>are
>> archived in several places.
>>
>It seems that StackOverflow is officially proposing user-generated
>content for download/mirroring:
>http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2014/01/stack-exchange-cc-data-now-hosted-by
>-the-internet-archive/?cb=1
>
>"All community-contributed content on Stack Exchange is licensed under
>the Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license. " And it is currently being
>mirrored at least at the Internet Archive:
>https://archive.org/details/stackexchange
>
>So, in principle, it would be possible/desirable to:
>- spin the 'r' tag from StackOverflow and propose an r.stackexchange.com
>at
>http://area51.stackexchange.com/categories/8/technology . Such a SE
>site would be similar to http://mathematica.stackexchange.com/
>- involve R Core to give blessing for using the R logo, if necessary.
>This would be similar to what Ubuntu does with AskUbuntu:
>http://meta.askubuntu.com/questions/5444/is-ask-ubuntu-official-ubuntu
>- set a mirror on r-project.org for all the user content that is
>produced by r.stackexchange.com , and thus allow R Core to keep the
>info publicly available at all times. The mirroring on Internet
>Archive would still hold.
>
>
>> 2.  I think an interface like StackOverflow is better than the mailing
>>list
>> interface, and will eventually win out.  R-help needs to do nothing,
>>once
>> someone puts together something like StackOverflow that attracts most
>>of the
>> people who give good answers, R-help will just fade away.
>>
>The advantages for such a move are countless (especially wrt to
>efficiently organizing R-related knowledge and directing users to
>appropriate sources of info), so I won't go into that. I would only
>note that most 'r-sig-*' MLs would become obsolete in such a setup,
>and would be replaced by the much more efficient tagging system of the
>SE Q&A web interface (for example, all posts appropriate for r-sig-gui
>would simply be tagged with 'gui'; no need for duplicated efforts of
>monitoring multiple mailing lists).
>
>Opinions?
>
>Liviu
>
>______________________________________________
>[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.

______________________________________________
[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.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: creating an equivalent of r-help on r.stackexchange.com ? (was: Re: Should there be an R-beginners list?)

Bert Gunter
Don:

First, I apologize if this is off topic, but I thought I should reply publicly.

I would only like to say thank you for so eloquently and elegantly
summarizing my views, also. Maybe that makes me a dinosaur. If so, I
happily accept the label.

I find SO's voting for posting business especially irritating. I wish
merely to post or to read the posts of others without being subjected
to some kind of online pseudo game and ratings competition. That alone
keeps me away. But Don said it better.

I realize that I may be out of step with the masses here, and the
masses should certainly decide. Hopefully I won't be around if/when
they decide that R-help should go.

Best,
Bert

Bert Gunter
Genentech Nonclinical Biostatistics
(650) 467-7374

"Data is not information. Information is not knowledge. And knowledge
is certainly not wisdom."
H. Gilbert Welch




On Mon, Feb 3, 2014 at 12:42 PM, MacQueen, Don <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Every browser-based interface I've ever seen has a number of features that
> I find to be huge deterrents. To mention just two:
>
> - They waste copious amounts of screen space on irrelevant things such as
> "votes", the number of views, the elapsed time since something or other
> happened, fancy web-page headers, and so on. Oh, and advertisements. The
> Mathematica stackexchange example given in a link in one of the emails
> below (http://mathematica.stackexchange.com/) illustrates these
> shortcomings -- and it's not the worst such example.
>
> - In most if not all cases, one has to login before posting. I have too
> many usernames and passwords as it is.
>
> Right now, at this very moment, in my email client's window I can see and
> browse the subject lines of 20 threads in r-help. And that's using only
> about half of my screens vertical space. In contrast, in the Mathematica
> stackexchange example, I can see at most 10, and that only by using the
> entire vertical space of my screen. The "From" column in my email client
> shows the names of several of the people contributing to the thread, which
> the browser interface does not. In the email client, I can move through
> messages, and between messages in a thread using my keyboard. In a
> browser, I have to do lots of mousing and clicking, which is much less
> efficient.
>
> As it is now, r-help messages come to me. I don't have to start up a
> browser. So it's much easier to go take a quick look at what's new at any
> time.
>
> True, I had to subscribe to the mailing list, which involves a username
> and password. But once it's done, it's done. I don't have to login before
> posting, which means I don't have to remember yet another username and
> password.
>
> What "...duplicated efforts of monitoring multiple mailing lists)"? I have
> no duplicated effort...in fact, I have almost no effort at all, since the
> messages come to me. There was some initial setup, i.e., to filter
> different r-* messages to different mailboxes in my email client, but now
> that that's done, it's as simple as clicking on the correct mailbox.
>
> In other words, in every way that's important to me, the mailing list
> approach is superior. I do not support abandoning the mailing list system
> for any alternative.
>
> -Don
>
> --
> Don MacQueen
>
> Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
> 7000 East Ave., L-627
> Livermore, CA 94550
> 925-423-1062
>
>
>
>
>
> On 2/2/14 1:49 PM, "Liviu Andronic" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>>Dear Duncan,
>>I discovered something interesting wrt to the licensing and mirroring
>>of user-contributed material on StackExchange.  Please read below.
>>
>>
>>On Sun, Nov 24, 2013 at 9:00 PM, Duncan Murdoch
>><[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>> I'm not aware of a discussion on this, but I would say no.
>>>> Fragmentation is bad. Further fragmentation is worse.
>>>>
>>>> TL;DR
>>>> =====
>>>>
>>>> Actually I'd say all mailing lists except r-devel should be moving to
>>>> StackOverlow in the future (disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with it).
>>>
>>>
>>> I would generally agree with you, except for a few points.
>>>
>>> 1.  I avoid StackOverflow, because they claim copyright on the
>>>compilation.
>>> As I read their terms of service, it would be illegal for anyone to
>>>download
>>> and duplicate all postings about R.  So a posting there is only
>>>available as
>>> long as they choose to make it available. Postings to the mailing list
>>>are
>>> archived in several places.
>>>
>>It seems that StackOverflow is officially proposing user-generated
>>content for download/mirroring:
>>http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2014/01/stack-exchange-cc-data-now-hosted-by
>>-the-internet-archive/?cb=1
>>
>>"All community-contributed content on Stack Exchange is licensed under
>>the Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license. " And it is currently being
>>mirrored at least at the Internet Archive:
>>https://archive.org/details/stackexchange
>>
>>So, in principle, it would be possible/desirable to:
>>- spin the 'r' tag from StackOverflow and propose an r.stackexchange.com
>>at
>>http://area51.stackexchange.com/categories/8/technology . Such a SE
>>site would be similar to http://mathematica.stackexchange.com/
>>- involve R Core to give blessing for using the R logo, if necessary.
>>This would be similar to what Ubuntu does with AskUbuntu:
>>http://meta.askubuntu.com/questions/5444/is-ask-ubuntu-official-ubuntu
>>- set a mirror on r-project.org for all the user content that is
>>produced by r.stackexchange.com , and thus allow R Core to keep the
>>info publicly available at all times. The mirroring on Internet
>>Archive would still hold.
>>
>>
>>> 2.  I think an interface like StackOverflow is better than the mailing
>>>list
>>> interface, and will eventually win out.  R-help needs to do nothing,
>>>once
>>> someone puts together something like StackOverflow that attracts most
>>>of the
>>> people who give good answers, R-help will just fade away.
>>>
>>The advantages for such a move are countless (especially wrt to
>>efficiently organizing R-related knowledge and directing users to
>>appropriate sources of info), so I won't go into that. I would only
>>note that most 'r-sig-*' MLs would become obsolete in such a setup,
>>and would be replaced by the much more efficient tagging system of the
>>SE Q&A web interface (for example, all posts appropriate for r-sig-gui
>>would simply be tagged with 'gui'; no need for duplicated efforts of
>>monitoring multiple mailing lists).
>>
>>Opinions?
>>
>>Liviu
>>
>>______________________________________________
>>[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.
>
> ______________________________________________
> [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.

______________________________________________
[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.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: creating an equivalent of r-help on r.stackexchange.com ? (was: Re: Should there be an R-beginners list?)

Clint Bowman
In reply to this post by MacQueen, Don
Don,

Thanks for the brilliant summary of my thoughts.

Clint

Clint Bowman INTERNET: [hidden email]
Air Quality Modeler INTERNET: [hidden email]
Department of Ecology VOICE: (360) 407-6815
PO Box 47600 FAX: (360) 407-7534
Olympia, WA 98504-7600

         USPS:           PO Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600
         Parcels:        300 Desmond Drive, Lacey, WA 98503-1274

On Mon, 3 Feb 2014, MacQueen, Don wrote:

> Every browser-based interface I've ever seen has a number of features that
> I find to be huge deterrents. To mention just two:
>
> - They waste copious amounts of screen space on irrelevant things such as
> "votes", the number of views, the elapsed time since something or other
> happened, fancy web-page headers, and so on. Oh, and advertisements. The
> Mathematica stackexchange example given in a link in one of the emails
> below (http://mathematica.stackexchange.com/) illustrates these
> shortcomings -- and it's not the worst such example.
>
> - In most if not all cases, one has to login before posting. I have too
> many usernames and passwords as it is.
>
> Right now, at this very moment, in my email client's window I can see and
> browse the subject lines of 20 threads in r-help. And that's using only
> about half of my screens vertical space. In contrast, in the Mathematica
> stackexchange example, I can see at most 10, and that only by using the
> entire vertical space of my screen. The "From" column in my email client
> shows the names of several of the people contributing to the thread, which
> the browser interface does not. In the email client, I can move through
> messages, and between messages in a thread using my keyboard. In a
> browser, I have to do lots of mousing and clicking, which is much less
> efficient.
>
> As it is now, r-help messages come to me. I don't have to start up a
> browser. So it's much easier to go take a quick look at what's new at any
> time.
>
> True, I had to subscribe to the mailing list, which involves a username
> and password. But once it's done, it's done. I don't have to login before
> posting, which means I don't have to remember yet another username and
> password.
>
> What "...duplicated efforts of monitoring multiple mailing lists)"? I have
> no duplicated effort...in fact, I have almost no effort at all, since the
> messages come to me. There was some initial setup, i.e., to filter
> different r-* messages to different mailboxes in my email client, but now
> that that's done, it's as simple as clicking on the correct mailbox.
>
> In other words, in every way that's important to me, the mailing list
> approach is superior. I do not support abandoning the mailing list system
> for any alternative.
>
> -Don
>
> --
> Don MacQueen
>
> Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
> 7000 East Ave., L-627
> Livermore, CA 94550
> 925-423-1062
>
>
>
>
>
> On 2/2/14 1:49 PM, "Liviu Andronic" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> Dear Duncan,
>> I discovered something interesting wrt to the licensing and mirroring
>> of user-contributed material on StackExchange.  Please read below.
>>
>>
>> On Sun, Nov 24, 2013 at 9:00 PM, Duncan Murdoch
>> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>> I'm not aware of a discussion on this, but I would say no.
>>>> Fragmentation is bad. Further fragmentation is worse.
>>>>
>>>> TL;DR
>>>> =====
>>>>
>>>> Actually I'd say all mailing lists except r-devel should be moving to
>>>> StackOverlow in the future (disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with it).
>>>
>>>
>>> I would generally agree with you, except for a few points.
>>>
>>> 1.  I avoid StackOverflow, because they claim copyright on the
>>> compilation.
>>> As I read their terms of service, it would be illegal for anyone to
>>> download
>>> and duplicate all postings about R.  So a posting there is only
>>> available as
>>> long as they choose to make it available. Postings to the mailing list
>>> are
>>> archived in several places.
>>>
>> It seems that StackOverflow is officially proposing user-generated
>> content for download/mirroring:
>> http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2014/01/stack-exchange-cc-data-now-hosted-by
>> -the-internet-archive/?cb=1
>>
>> "All community-contributed content on Stack Exchange is licensed under
>> the Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license. " And it is currently being
>> mirrored at least at the Internet Archive:
>> https://archive.org/details/stackexchange
>>
>> So, in principle, it would be possible/desirable to:
>> - spin the 'r' tag from StackOverflow and propose an r.stackexchange.com
>> at
>> http://area51.stackexchange.com/categories/8/technology . Such a SE
>> site would be similar to http://mathematica.stackexchange.com/
>> - involve R Core to give blessing for using the R logo, if necessary.
>> This would be similar to what Ubuntu does with AskUbuntu:
>> http://meta.askubuntu.com/questions/5444/is-ask-ubuntu-official-ubuntu
>> - set a mirror on r-project.org for all the user content that is
>> produced by r.stackexchange.com , and thus allow R Core to keep the
>> info publicly available at all times. The mirroring on Internet
>> Archive would still hold.
>>
>>
>>> 2.  I think an interface like StackOverflow is better than the mailing
>>> list
>>> interface, and will eventually win out.  R-help needs to do nothing,
>>> once
>>> someone puts together something like StackOverflow that attracts most
>>> of the
>>> people who give good answers, R-help will just fade away.
>>>
>> The advantages for such a move are countless (especially wrt to
>> efficiently organizing R-related knowledge and directing users to
>> appropriate sources of info), so I won't go into that. I would only
>> note that most 'r-sig-*' MLs would become obsolete in such a setup,
>> and would be replaced by the much more efficient tagging system of the
>> SE Q&A web interface (for example, all posts appropriate for r-sig-gui
>> would simply be tagged with 'gui'; no need for duplicated efforts of
>> monitoring multiple mailing lists).
>>
>> Opinions?
>>
>> Liviu
>>
>> ______________________________________________
>> [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.
>
> ______________________________________________
> [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.
>

______________________________________________
[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.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: creating an equivalent of r-help on r.stackexchange.com ?

Rolf Turner
In reply to this post by Bert Gunter

For what it's worth, I would like to say that I concur completely with
Don and Bert.  (Also I would like second Bert's vote of thanks to Don
for expressing the position so clearly.)

cheers,

Rolf Turner

On 04/02/14 09:56, Bert Gunter wrote:

> Don:
>
> First, I apologize if this is off topic, but I thought I should reply publicly.
>
> I would only like to say thank you for so eloquently and elegantly
> summarizing my views, also. Maybe that makes me a dinosaur. If so, I
> happily accept the label.
>
> I find SO's voting for posting business especially irritating. I wish
> merely to post or to read the posts of others without being subjected
> to some kind of online pseudo game and ratings competition. That alone
> keeps me away. But Don said it better.
>
> I realize that I may be out of step with the masses here, and the
> masses should certainly decide. Hopefully I won't be around if/when
> they decide that R-help should go.
>
> Best,
> Bert
>
> Bert Gunter
> Genentech Nonclinical Biostatistics
> (650) 467-7374
>
> "Data is not information. Information is not knowledge. And knowledge
> is certainly not wisdom."
> H. Gilbert Welch
>
>
>
>
> On Mon, Feb 3, 2014 at 12:42 PM, MacQueen, Don <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> Every browser-based interface I've ever seen has a number of features that
>> I find to be huge deterrents. To mention just two:
>>
>> - They waste copious amounts of screen space on irrelevant things such as
>> "votes", the number of views, the elapsed time since something or other
>> happened, fancy web-page headers, and so on. Oh, and advertisements. The
>> Mathematica stackexchange example given in a link in one of the emails
>> below (http://mathematica.stackexchange.com/) illustrates these
>> shortcomings -- and it's not the worst such example.
>>
>> - In most if not all cases, one has to login before posting. I have too
>> many usernames and passwords as it is.
>>
>> Right now, at this very moment, in my email client's window I can see and
>> browse the subject lines of 20 threads in r-help. And that's using only
>> about half of my screens vertical space. In contrast, in the Mathematica
>> stackexchange example, I can see at most 10, and that only by using the
>> entire vertical space of my screen. The "From" column in my email client
>> shows the names of several of the people contributing to the thread, which
>> the browser interface does not. In the email client, I can move through
>> messages, and between messages in a thread using my keyboard. In a
>> browser, I have to do lots of mousing and clicking, which is much less
>> efficient.
>>
>> As it is now, r-help messages come to me. I don't have to start up a
>> browser. So it's much easier to go take a quick look at what's new at any
>> time.
>>
>> True, I had to subscribe to the mailing list, which involves a username
>> and password. But once it's done, it's done. I don't have to login before
>> posting, which means I don't have to remember yet another username and
>> password.
>>
>> What "...duplicated efforts of monitoring multiple mailing lists)"? I have
>> no duplicated effort...in fact, I have almost no effort at all, since the
>> messages come to me. There was some initial setup, i.e., to filter
>> different r-* messages to different mailboxes in my email client, but now
>> that that's done, it's as simple as clicking on the correct mailbox.
>>
>> In other words, in every way that's important to me, the mailing list
>> approach is superior. I do not support abandoning the mailing list system
>> for any alternative.
>>
>> -Don
>>
>> --
>> Don MacQueen
>>
>> Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
>> 7000 East Ave., L-627
>> Livermore, CA 94550
>> 925-423-1062
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> On 2/2/14 1:49 PM, "Liviu Andronic" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>>> Dear Duncan,
>>> I discovered something interesting wrt to the licensing and mirroring
>>> of user-contributed material on StackExchange.  Please read below.
>>>
>>>
>>> On Sun, Nov 24, 2013 at 9:00 PM, Duncan Murdoch
>>> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>>> I'm not aware of a discussion on this, but I would say no.
>>>>> Fragmentation is bad. Further fragmentation is worse.
>>>>>
>>>>> TL;DR
>>>>> =====
>>>>>
>>>>> Actually I'd say all mailing lists except r-devel should be moving to
>>>>> StackOverlow in the future (disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with it).
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> I would generally agree with you, except for a few points.
>>>>
>>>> 1.  I avoid StackOverflow, because they claim copyright on the
>>>> compilation.
>>>> As I read their terms of service, it would be illegal for anyone to
>>>> download
>>>> and duplicate all postings about R.  So a posting there is only
>>>> available as
>>>> long as they choose to make it available. Postings to the mailing list
>>>> are
>>>> archived in several places.
>>>>
>>> It seems that StackOverflow is officially proposing user-generated
>>> content for download/mirroring:
>>> http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2014/01/stack-exchange-cc-data-now-hosted-by
>>> -the-internet-archive/?cb=1
>>>
>>> "All community-contributed content on Stack Exchange is licensed under
>>> the Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license. " And it is currently being
>>> mirrored at least at the Internet Archive:
>>> https://archive.org/details/stackexchange
>>>
>>> So, in principle, it would be possible/desirable to:
>>> - spin the 'r' tag from StackOverflow and propose an r.stackexchange.com
>>> at
>>> http://area51.stackexchange.com/categories/8/technology . Such a SE
>>> site would be similar to http://mathematica.stackexchange.com/
>>> - involve R Core to give blessing for using the R logo, if necessary.
>>> This would be similar to what Ubuntu does with AskUbuntu:
>>> http://meta.askubuntu.com/questions/5444/is-ask-ubuntu-official-ubuntu
>>> - set a mirror on r-project.org for all the user content that is
>>> produced by r.stackexchange.com , and thus allow R Core to keep the
>>> info publicly available at all times. The mirroring on Internet
>>> Archive would still hold.
>>>
>>>
>>>> 2.  I think an interface like StackOverflow is better than the mailing
>>>> list
>>>> interface, and will eventually win out.  R-help needs to do nothing,
>>>> once
>>>> someone puts together something like StackOverflow that attracts most
>>>> of the
>>>> people who give good answers, R-help will just fade away.
>>>>
>>> The advantages for such a move are countless (especially wrt to
>>> efficiently organizing R-related knowledge and directing users to
>>> appropriate sources of info), so I won't go into that. I would only
>>> note that most 'r-sig-*' MLs would become obsolete in such a setup,
>>> and would be replaced by the much more efficient tagging system of the
>>> SE Q&A web interface (for example, all posts appropriate for r-sig-gui
>>> would simply be tagged with 'gui'; no need for duplicated efforts of
>>> monitoring multiple mailing lists).
>>>
>>> Opinions?
>>>
>>> Liviu

______________________________________________
[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.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: creating an equivalent of r-help on r.stackexchange.com ?

Ted Harding
Ditto. And ditto. And (by the way -- no-one seems to have mentioned it)
what are the possibilities, for mail appearing on something like Stack
Exchange, of having the mail sent to oneself so that it can be stored
locally, on one's own machine? That is the only way I would want to
work -- anything interesting is sitting in my disk, I can edit it if
I wish, I can make local copies, etc. etc. etc. etc. Anything which is
not interesting gets deleted (though I can always dig into R-help
archives if need be).

Best wishes,
Ted.
 
On 03-Feb-2014 21:36:21 Rolf Turner wrote:

>
> For what it's worth, I would like to say that I concur completely with
> Don and Bert.  (Also I would like second Bert's vote of thanks to Don
> for expressing the position so clearly.)
>
> cheers,
>
> Rolf Turner
>
> On 04/02/14 09:56, Bert Gunter wrote:
>> Don:
>>
>> First, I apologize if this is off topic, but I thought I should reply
>> publicly.
>>
>> I would only like to say thank you for so eloquently and elegantly
>> summarizing my views, also. Maybe that makes me a dinosaur. If so, I
>> happily accept the label.
>>
>> I find SO's voting for posting business especially irritating. I wish
>> merely to post or to read the posts of others without being subjected
>> to some kind of online pseudo game and ratings competition. That alone
>> keeps me away. But Don said it better.
>>
>> I realize that I may be out of step with the masses here, and the
>> masses should certainly decide. Hopefully I won't be around if/when
>> they decide that R-help should go.
>>
>> Best,
>> Bert
>>
>> Bert Gunter
>> Genentech Nonclinical Biostatistics
>> (650) 467-7374
>>
>> "Data is not information. Information is not knowledge. And knowledge
>> is certainly not wisdom."
>> H. Gilbert Welch
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> On Mon, Feb 3, 2014 at 12:42 PM, MacQueen, Don <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> Every browser-based interface I've ever seen has a number of features that
>>> I find to be huge deterrents. To mention just two:
>>>
>>> - They waste copious amounts of screen space on irrelevant things such as
>>> "votes", the number of views, the elapsed time since something or other
>>> happened, fancy web-page headers, and so on. Oh, and advertisements. The
>>> Mathematica stackexchange example given in a link in one of the emails
>>> below (http://mathematica.stackexchange.com/) illustrates these
>>> shortcomings -- and it's not the worst such example.
>>>
>>> - In most if not all cases, one has to login before posting. I have too
>>> many usernames and passwords as it is.
>>>
>>> Right now, at this very moment, in my email client's window I can see and
>>> browse the subject lines of 20 threads in r-help. And that's using only
>>> about half of my screens vertical space. In contrast, in the Mathematica
>>> stackexchange example, I can see at most 10, and that only by using the
>>> entire vertical space of my screen. The "From" column in my email client
>>> shows the names of several of the people contributing to the thread, which
>>> the browser interface does not. In the email client, I can move through
>>> messages, and between messages in a thread using my keyboard. In a
>>> browser, I have to do lots of mousing and clicking, which is much less
>>> efficient.
>>>
>>> As it is now, r-help messages come to me. I don't have to start up a
>>> browser. So it's much easier to go take a quick look at what's new at any
>>> time.
>>>
>>> True, I had to subscribe to the mailing list, which involves a username
>>> and password. But once it's done, it's done. I don't have to login before
>>> posting, which means I don't have to remember yet another username and
>>> password.
>>>
>>> What "...duplicated efforts of monitoring multiple mailing lists)"? I have
>>> no duplicated effort...in fact, I have almost no effort at all, since the
>>> messages come to me. There was some initial setup, i.e., to filter
>>> different r-* messages to different mailboxes in my email client, but now
>>> that that's done, it's as simple as clicking on the correct mailbox.
>>>
>>> In other words, in every way that's important to me, the mailing list
>>> approach is superior. I do not support abandoning the mailing list system
>>> for any alternative.
>>>
>>> -Don
>>>
>>> --
>>> Don MacQueen
>>>
>>> Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
>>> 7000 East Ave., L-627
>>> Livermore, CA 94550
>>> 925-423-1062
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> On 2/2/14 1:49 PM, "Liviu Andronic" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>
>>>> Dear Duncan,
>>>> I discovered something interesting wrt to the licensing and mirroring
>>>> of user-contributed material on StackExchange.  Please read below.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> On Sun, Nov 24, 2013 at 9:00 PM, Duncan Murdoch
>>>> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>>>> I'm not aware of a discussion on this, but I would say no.
>>>>>> Fragmentation is bad. Further fragmentation is worse.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> TL;DR
>>>>>> =====
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Actually I'd say all mailing lists except r-devel should be moving to
>>>>>> StackOverlow in the future (disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with it).
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> I would generally agree with you, except for a few points.
>>>>>
>>>>> 1.  I avoid StackOverflow, because they claim copyright on the
>>>>> compilation.
>>>>> As I read their terms of service, it would be illegal for anyone to
>>>>> download
>>>>> and duplicate all postings about R.  So a posting there is only
>>>>> available as
>>>>> long as they choose to make it available. Postings to the mailing list
>>>>> are
>>>>> archived in several places.
>>>>>
>>>> It seems that StackOverflow is officially proposing user-generated
>>>> content for download/mirroring:
>>>> http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2014/01/stack-exchange-cc-data-now-hosted-by
>>>> -the-internet-archive/?cb=1
>>>>
>>>> "All community-contributed content on Stack Exchange is licensed under
>>>> the Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license. " And it is currently being
>>>> mirrored at least at the Internet Archive:
>>>> https://archive.org/details/stackexchange
>>>>
>>>> So, in principle, it would be possible/desirable to:
>>>> - spin the 'r' tag from StackOverflow and propose an r.stackexchange.com
>>>> at
>>>> http://area51.stackexchange.com/categories/8/technology . Such a SE
>>>> site would be similar to http://mathematica.stackexchange.com/
>>>> - involve R Core to give blessing for using the R logo, if necessary.
>>>> This would be similar to what Ubuntu does with AskUbuntu:
>>>> http://meta.askubuntu.com/questions/5444/is-ask-ubuntu-official-ubuntu
>>>> - set a mirror on r-project.org for all the user content that is
>>>> produced by r.stackexchange.com , and thus allow R Core to keep the
>>>> info publicly available at all times. The mirroring on Internet
>>>> Archive would still hold.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>> 2.  I think an interface like StackOverflow is better than the mailing
>>>>> list
>>>>> interface, and will eventually win out.  R-help needs to do nothing,
>>>>> once
>>>>> someone puts together something like StackOverflow that attracts most
>>>>> of the
>>>>> people who give good answers, R-help will just fade away.
>>>>>
>>>> The advantages for such a move are countless (especially wrt to
>>>> efficiently organizing R-related knowledge and directing users to
>>>> appropriate sources of info), so I won't go into that. I would only
>>>> note that most 'r-sig-*' MLs would become obsolete in such a setup,
>>>> and would be replaced by the much more efficient tagging system of the
>>>> SE Q&A web interface (for example, all posts appropriate for r-sig-gui
>>>> would simply be tagged with 'gui'; no need for duplicated efforts of
>>>> monitoring multiple mailing lists).
>>>>
>>>> Opinions?
>>>>
>>>> Liviu
>
> ______________________________________________
> [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.

-------------------------------------------------
E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <[hidden email]>
Date: 03-Feb-2014  Time: 21:49:47
This message was sent by XFMail

______________________________________________
[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.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: creating an equivalent of r-help on r.stackexchange.com ? (was: Re: Should there be an R-beginners list?)

Liviu Andronic
In reply to this post by Bert Gunter
Dear Don and Bert,
Allow me to address some of your concerns below.


On Mon, Feb 3, 2014 at 9:56 PM, Bert Gunter <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I find SO's voting for posting business especially irritating. I wish
> merely to post or to read the posts of others without being subjected
> to some kind of online pseudo game and ratings competition. That alone
> keeps me away. But Don said it better.
>
On SO voting is irrelevant for either posting a question or an answer.
*Anyone* (with an account) can ask a question, and *anyone* can answer
a question. Their system of privileges is explained here:
http://askubuntu.com/help/privileges . But to summarize:
- if you're interested only in giving help, then the only really
relevant threshold is 10 and 50 votes (removing some new user
restrictions and allowing you to comment on posts, respectively)
- if you're interested only in seeking  help, then all thresholds are
irrelevant really

All other thresholds are relevant only if you're interested in
contributing to the organization of information, or in moderating this
whole forum-slash-wiki thingy. And as a note, given the quality of
your answers on r-help, Bert, I have no doubt that you will clock
upwards 50 upvotes in a couple of hours or so.


> I realize that I may be out of step with the masses here, and the
> masses should certainly decide. Hopefully I won't be around if/when
> they decide that R-help should go.
>
The proposal is not necessarily to close down r-help. From the myriad
lists it currently has, R Core could keep only r-help and r-devel, and
encourage new users to seek help on r.stackexchange.com. The scope of
r-help could be redefined.


> On Mon, Feb 3, 2014 at 12:42 PM, MacQueen, Don <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> - They waste copious amounts of screen space on irrelevant things such as
>> "votes", the number of views, the elapsed time since something or other
>> happened, fancy web-page headers, and so on. Oh, and advertisements. The
>> Mathematica stackexchange example given in a link in one of the emails
>> below (http://mathematica.stackexchange.com/) illustrates these
>> shortcomings -- and it's not the worst such example.
>
Well, I've seen my fair share of advertisements on Gmail, Yahoo Mail
or what have you. I know some use dedicated clients, but not all do.
(And sofar I haven't noticed one single intrusive or distracting ad on
SE.)

As for the number of votes, this is actually the most useful bit of
this Q&A interface: it allows for the best questions (or most often
asked) to stand out from all the noise. And it allows for the best
answers (or those most authoritative) to stand out, too. Accepted
answers immediately indicate to others seeking similar help what has
worked for the OP. Very useful stuff.

Voting also naturally allows to differentiate between neophytes
(<100), and professional helpers (>1k; think of Brian, David or, as it
happens, Bert). If you remember long ago someone proposed on r-help a
reputation system for our professional helpers, only to be rebuffed
essentially because it is unfeasible in a ML interface. The SE Q&A web
interface---or similar---naturally handles this.



>> - In most if not all cases, one has to login before posting. I have too
>> many usernames and passwords as it is.
>
Fair point. However SE found a neat way around this: it keeps cookies
around and whenever you close the browser and reopen SE, it identifies
the cookie and auto-logs you in.


>> Right now, at this very moment, in my email client's window I can see and
>> browse the subject lines of 20 threads in r-help. And that's using only
>> about half of my screens vertical space. In contrast, in the Mathematica
>> stackexchange example, I can see at most 10, and that only by using the
>> entire vertical space of my screen. The "From" column in my email client
>> shows the names of several of the people contributing to the thread, which
>> the browser interface does not. In the email client, I can move through
>> messages, and between messages in a thread using my keyboard. In a
>> browser, I have to do lots of mousing and clicking, which is much less
>> efficient.
>>
Again, fair point, but with SE you quickly realize that this is
irrelevant. On ML, even more so on r-help, the only sane way to sort
and filter the messages is using time. If a question wasn't answered
in 24h (or, to be generous, a week), chances tend to zero that this
question will ever be addressed. On SE it is absolutely normal for a
question to be answered, with a high-quality input, 3 months or 2
years later.

It is also much easier to filter questions by topics: if you're
interested in GUI or plyr related questions, just display those tags,
and then answer relevant questions. On r-help you may only  guess from
the subject line what the question could possibly be about.

The Q&A interface also allows easily to redirect users to similar
questions that were already answered (goodbye "PLEASE do read the
posting guide"), thus identifying duplicate questions. It also makes
it much easier to search for topics of interest that were already
addressed in the past; much easier than scouring the mountains of
untriaged r-help content.

And do not underestimate the soft incentives induced by the voting
system. Users seek upvotes (you can set bounties, get moderator
privileges and so on), thus making them interested in giving
high-quality answers and asking high-quality questions. Very well
thought-out stuff.


>> As it is now, r-help messages come to me. I don't have to start up a
>> browser. So it's much easier to go take a quick look at what's new at any
>> time.
>>
Agreed. I understand the frustration from using a different medium.


>> True, I had to subscribe to the mailing list, which involves a username
>> and password. But once it's done, it's done. I don't have to login before
>> posting, which means I don't have to remember yet another username and
>> password.
>>
Mostly same happens with SE, the way they set it up.


>> What "...duplicated efforts of monitoring multiple mailing lists)"? I have
>> no duplicated effort...in fact, I have almost no effort at all, since the
>> messages come to me. There was some initial setup, i.e., to filter
>> different r-* messages to different mailboxes in my email client, but now
>> that that's done, it's as simple as clicking on the correct mailbox.
>>
Do you follow r-sig-gui or r-sig-teaching or r-sig-finance or
r-sig-robust? Does Brian follow them all? Probably not. People who are
seeking specialized help have a hugely reduced chance of getting
useful help.

On SE however, the efforts are not fragmented; all questions are asked
and answered in the same place. If a question pertains to 'plyr' and
'finance', either a finance type or a plyr enthusiast are as likely to
answer. For the r-sig-* MLs, one would need to subscribe to all MLs
and monitor them all; few do so.


>> In other words, in every way that's important to me, the mailing list
>> approach is superior. I do not support abandoning the mailing list system
>> for any alternative.
>
I'm not an SE  evangelist, and only truly discovered it about a month
ago or so (even though it seems that I had registered more than a year
ago), and initially I was quite very skeptical of this "fancy forum".
But when I actually realized how _efficient_ this Q&A interface is, I
quickly decided that r-help and associated r-sig-* were good to go the
way of the usenet. Long story short, the Q&A interface is impressive
in terms of economic efficiency, i.e. matching up supply and demand;
the ML is quite inefficient in comparison.

Kind regards,
Liviu


>
>> -Don
>>
>> --
>> Don MacQueen
>>
>> Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
>> 7000 East Ave., L-627
>> Livermore, CA 94550
>> 925-423-1062
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> On 2/2/14 1:49 PM, "Liviu Andronic" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>>>Dear Duncan,
>>>I discovered something interesting wrt to the licensing and mirroring
>>>of user-contributed material on StackExchange.  Please read below.
>>>
>>>
>>>On Sun, Nov 24, 2013 at 9:00 PM, Duncan Murdoch
>>><[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>>> I'm not aware of a discussion on this, but I would say no.
>>>>> Fragmentation is bad. Further fragmentation is worse.
>>>>>
>>>>> TL;DR
>>>>> =====
>>>>>
>>>>> Actually I'd say all mailing lists except r-devel should be moving to
>>>>> StackOverlow in the future (disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with it).
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> I would generally agree with you, except for a few points.
>>>>
>>>> 1.  I avoid StackOverflow, because they claim copyright on the
>>>>compilation.
>>>> As I read their terms of service, it would be illegal for anyone to
>>>>download
>>>> and duplicate all postings about R.  So a posting there is only
>>>>available as
>>>> long as they choose to make it available. Postings to the mailing list
>>>>are
>>>> archived in several places.
>>>>
>>>It seems that StackOverflow is officially proposing user-generated
>>>content for download/mirroring:
>>>http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2014/01/stack-exchange-cc-data-now-hosted-by
>>>-the-internet-archive/?cb=1
>>>
>>>"All community-contributed content on Stack Exchange is licensed under
>>>the Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license. " And it is currently being
>>>mirrored at least at the Internet Archive:
>>>https://archive.org/details/stackexchange
>>>
>>>So, in principle, it would be possible/desirable to:
>>>- spin the 'r' tag from StackOverflow and propose an r.stackexchange.com
>>>at
>>>http://area51.stackexchange.com/categories/8/technology . Such a SE
>>>site would be similar to http://mathematica.stackexchange.com/
>>>- involve R Core to give blessing for using the R logo, if necessary.
>>>This would be similar to what Ubuntu does with AskUbuntu:
>>>http://meta.askubuntu.com/questions/5444/is-ask-ubuntu-official-ubuntu
>>>- set a mirror on r-project.org for all the user content that is
>>>produced by r.stackexchange.com , and thus allow R Core to keep the
>>>info publicly available at all times. The mirroring on Internet
>>>Archive would still hold.
>>>
>>>
>>>> 2.  I think an interface like StackOverflow is better than the mailing
>>>>list
>>>> interface, and will eventually win out.  R-help needs to do nothing,
>>>>once
>>>> someone puts together something like StackOverflow that attracts most
>>>>of the
>>>> people who give good answers, R-help will just fade away.
>>>>
>>>The advantages for such a move are countless (especially wrt to
>>>efficiently organizing R-related knowledge and directing users to
>>>appropriate sources of info), so I won't go into that. I would only
>>>note that most 'r-sig-*' MLs would become obsolete in such a setup,
>>>and would be replaced by the much more efficient tagging system of the
>>>SE Q&A web interface (for example, all posts appropriate for r-sig-gui
>>>would simply be tagged with 'gui'; no need for duplicated efforts of
>>>monitoring multiple mailing lists).
>>>
>>>Opinions?
>>>
>>>Liviu
>>>
>>>______________________________________________
>>>[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.
>>
>> ______________________________________________
>> [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.
>
> ______________________________________________
> [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.



--
Do you know how to read?
http://www.alienetworks.com/srtest.cfm
http://goodies.xfce.org/projects/applications/xfce4-dict#speed-reader
Do you know how to write?
http://garbl.home.comcast.net/~garbl/stylemanual/e.htm#e-mail

______________________________________________
[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.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: creating an equivalent of r-help on r.stackexchange.com ? (was: Re: Should there be an R-beginners list?)

Clint Bowman
Liviu,

Thanks for the excellent description of the advantages of SE.  However,
there is a significant fraction of the population that prefers that
information be pushed out to them rather than having to pull it to them.
The best system is one that accommodates both equally well.

Clint

Clint Bowman INTERNET: [hidden email]
Air Quality Modeler INTERNET: [hidden email]
Department of Ecology VOICE: (360) 407-6815
PO Box 47600 FAX: (360) 407-7534
Olympia, WA 98504-7600

         USPS:           PO Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600
         Parcels:        300 Desmond Drive, Lacey, WA 98503-1274

On Tue, 4 Feb 2014, Liviu Andronic wrote:

> Dear Don and Bert,
> Allow me to address some of your concerns below.
>
>
> On Mon, Feb 3, 2014 at 9:56 PM, Bert Gunter <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> I find SO's voting for posting business especially irritating. I wish
>> merely to post or to read the posts of others without being subjected
>> to some kind of online pseudo game and ratings competition. That alone
>> keeps me away. But Don said it better.
>>
> On SO voting is irrelevant for either posting a question or an answer.
> *Anyone* (with an account) can ask a question, and *anyone* can answer
> a question. Their system of privileges is explained here:
> http://askubuntu.com/help/privileges . But to summarize:
> - if you're interested only in giving help, then the only really
> relevant threshold is 10 and 50 votes (removing some new user
> restrictions and allowing you to comment on posts, respectively)
> - if you're interested only in seeking  help, then all thresholds are
> irrelevant really
>
> All other thresholds are relevant only if you're interested in
> contributing to the organization of information, or in moderating this
> whole forum-slash-wiki thingy. And as a note, given the quality of
> your answers on r-help, Bert, I have no doubt that you will clock
> upwards 50 upvotes in a couple of hours or so.
>
>
>> I realize that I may be out of step with the masses here, and the
>> masses should certainly decide. Hopefully I won't be around if/when
>> they decide that R-help should go.
>>
> The proposal is not necessarily to close down r-help. From the myriad
> lists it currently has, R Core could keep only r-help and r-devel, and
> encourage new users to seek help on r.stackexchange.com. The scope of
> r-help could be redefined.
>
>
>> On Mon, Feb 3, 2014 at 12:42 PM, MacQueen, Don <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> - They waste copious amounts of screen space on irrelevant things such as
>>> "votes", the number of views, the elapsed time since something or other
>>> happened, fancy web-page headers, and so on. Oh, and advertisements. The
>>> Mathematica stackexchange example given in a link in one of the emails
>>> below (http://mathematica.stackexchange.com/) illustrates these
>>> shortcomings -- and it's not the worst such example.
>>
> Well, I've seen my fair share of advertisements on Gmail, Yahoo Mail
> or what have you. I know some use dedicated clients, but not all do.
> (And sofar I haven't noticed one single intrusive or distracting ad on
> SE.)
>
> As for the number of votes, this is actually the most useful bit of
> this Q&A interface: it allows for the best questions (or most often
> asked) to stand out from all the noise. And it allows for the best
> answers (or those most authoritative) to stand out, too. Accepted
> answers immediately indicate to others seeking similar help what has
> worked for the OP. Very useful stuff.
>
> Voting also naturally allows to differentiate between neophytes
> (<100), and professional helpers (>1k; think of Brian, David or, as it
> happens, Bert). If you remember long ago someone proposed on r-help a
> reputation system for our professional helpers, only to be rebuffed
> essentially because it is unfeasible in a ML interface. The SE Q&A web
> interface---or similar---naturally handles this.
>
>
>
>>> - In most if not all cases, one has to login before posting. I have too
>>> many usernames and passwords as it is.
>>
> Fair point. However SE found a neat way around this: it keeps cookies
> around and whenever you close the browser and reopen SE, it identifies
> the cookie and auto-logs you in.
>
>
>>> Right now, at this very moment, in my email client's window I can see and
>>> browse the subject lines of 20 threads in r-help. And that's using only
>>> about half of my screens vertical space. In contrast, in the Mathematica
>>> stackexchange example, I can see at most 10, and that only by using the
>>> entire vertical space of my screen. The "From" column in my email client
>>> shows the names of several of the people contributing to the thread, which
>>> the browser interface does not. In the email client, I can move through
>>> messages, and between messages in a thread using my keyboard. In a
>>> browser, I have to do lots of mousing and clicking, which is much less
>>> efficient.
>>>
> Again, fair point, but with SE you quickly realize that this is
> irrelevant. On ML, even more so on r-help, the only sane way to sort
> and filter the messages is using time. If a question wasn't answered
> in 24h (or, to be generous, a week), chances tend to zero that this
> question will ever be addressed. On SE it is absolutely normal for a
> question to be answered, with a high-quality input, 3 months or 2
> years later.
>
> It is also much easier to filter questions by topics: if you're
> interested in GUI or plyr related questions, just display those tags,
> and then answer relevant questions. On r-help you may only  guess from
> the subject line what the question could possibly be about.
>
> The Q&A interface also allows easily to redirect users to similar
> questions that were already answered (goodbye "PLEASE do read the
> posting guide"), thus identifying duplicate questions. It also makes
> it much easier to search for topics of interest that were already
> addressed in the past; much easier than scouring the mountains of
> untriaged r-help content.
>
> And do not underestimate the soft incentives induced by the voting
> system. Users seek upvotes (you can set bounties, get moderator
> privileges and so on), thus making them interested in giving
> high-quality answers and asking high-quality questions. Very well
> thought-out stuff.
>
>
>>> As it is now, r-help messages come to me. I don't have to start up a
>>> browser. So it's much easier to go take a quick look at what's new at any
>>> time.
>>>
> Agreed. I understand the frustration from using a different medium.
>
>
>>> True, I had to subscribe to the mailing list, which involves a username
>>> and password. But once it's done, it's done. I don't have to login before
>>> posting, which means I don't have to remember yet another username and
>>> password.
>>>
> Mostly same happens with SE, the way they set it up.
>
>
>>> What "...duplicated efforts of monitoring multiple mailing lists)"? I have
>>> no duplicated effort...in fact, I have almost no effort at all, since the
>>> messages come to me. There was some initial setup, i.e., to filter
>>> different r-* messages to different mailboxes in my email client, but now
>>> that that's done, it's as simple as clicking on the correct mailbox.
>>>
> Do you follow r-sig-gui or r-sig-teaching or r-sig-finance or
> r-sig-robust? Does Brian follow them all? Probably not. People who are
> seeking specialized help have a hugely reduced chance of getting
> useful help.
>
> On SE however, the efforts are not fragmented; all questions are asked
> and answered in the same place. If a question pertains to 'plyr' and
> 'finance', either a finance type or a plyr enthusiast are as likely to
> answer. For the r-sig-* MLs, one would need to subscribe to all MLs
> and monitor them all; few do so.
>
>
>>> In other words, in every way that's important to me, the mailing list
>>> approach is superior. I do not support abandoning the mailing list system
>>> for any alternative.
>>
> I'm not an SE  evangelist, and only truly discovered it about a month
> ago or so (even though it seems that I had registered more than a year
> ago), and initially I was quite very skeptical of this "fancy forum".
> But when I actually realized how _efficient_ this Q&A interface is, I
> quickly decided that r-help and associated r-sig-* were good to go the
> way of the usenet. Long story short, the Q&A interface is impressive
> in terms of economic efficiency, i.e. matching up supply and demand;
> the ML is quite inefficient in comparison.
>
> Kind regards,
> Liviu
>
>
>>
>>> -Don
>>>
>>> --
>>> Don MacQueen
>>>
>>> Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
>>> 7000 East Ave., L-627
>>> Livermore, CA 94550
>>> 925-423-1062
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> On 2/2/14 1:49 PM, "Liviu Andronic" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>
>>>> Dear Duncan,
>>>> I discovered something interesting wrt to the licensing and mirroring
>>>> of user-contributed material on StackExchange.  Please read below.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> On Sun, Nov 24, 2013 at 9:00 PM, Duncan Murdoch
>>>> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>>>> I'm not aware of a discussion on this, but I would say no.
>>>>>> Fragmentation is bad. Further fragmentation is worse.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> TL;DR
>>>>>> =====
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Actually I'd say all mailing lists except r-devel should be moving to
>>>>>> StackOverlow in the future (disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with it).
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> I would generally agree with you, except for a few points.
>>>>>
>>>>> 1.  I avoid StackOverflow, because they claim copyright on the
>>>>> compilation.
>>>>> As I read their terms of service, it would be illegal for anyone to
>>>>> download
>>>>> and duplicate all postings about R.  So a posting there is only
>>>>> available as
>>>>> long as they choose to make it available. Postings to the mailing list
>>>>> are
>>>>> archived in several places.
>>>>>
>>>> It seems that StackOverflow is officially proposing user-generated
>>>> content for download/mirroring:
>>>> http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2014/01/stack-exchange-cc-data-now-hosted-by
>>>> -the-internet-archive/?cb=1
>>>>
>>>> "All community-contributed content on Stack Exchange is licensed under
>>>> the Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license. " And it is currently being
>>>> mirrored at least at the Internet Archive:
>>>> https://archive.org/details/stackexchange
>>>>
>>>> So, in principle, it would be possible/desirable to:
>>>> - spin the 'r' tag from StackOverflow and propose an r.stackexchange.com
>>>> at
>>>> http://area51.stackexchange.com/categories/8/technology . Such a SE
>>>> site would be similar to http://mathematica.stackexchange.com/
>>>> - involve R Core to give blessing for using the R logo, if necessary.
>>>> This would be similar to what Ubuntu does with AskUbuntu:
>>>> http://meta.askubuntu.com/questions/5444/is-ask-ubuntu-official-ubuntu
>>>> - set a mirror on r-project.org for all the user content that is
>>>> produced by r.stackexchange.com , and thus allow R Core to keep the
>>>> info publicly available at all times. The mirroring on Internet
>>>> Archive would still hold.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>> 2.  I think an interface like StackOverflow is better than the mailing
>>>>> list
>>>>> interface, and will eventually win out.  R-help needs to do nothing,
>>>>> once
>>>>> someone puts together something like StackOverflow that attracts most
>>>>> of the
>>>>> people who give good answers, R-help will just fade away.
>>>>>
>>>> The advantages for such a move are countless (especially wrt to
>>>> efficiently organizing R-related knowledge and directing users to
>>>> appropriate sources of info), so I won't go into that. I would only
>>>> note that most 'r-sig-*' MLs would become obsolete in such a setup,
>>>> and would be replaced by the much more efficient tagging system of the
>>>> SE Q&A web interface (for example, all posts appropriate for r-sig-gui
>>>> would simply be tagged with 'gui'; no need for duplicated efforts of
>>>> monitoring multiple mailing lists).
>>>>
>>>> Opinions?
>>>>
>>>> Liviu
>>>>
>>>> ______________________________________________
>>>> [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.
>>>
>>> ______________________________________________
>>> [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.
>>
>> ______________________________________________
>> [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.
>
>
>
> --
> Do you know how to read?
> http://www.alienetworks.com/srtest.cfm
> http://goodies.xfce.org/projects/applications/xfce4-dict#speed-reader
> Do you know how to write?
> http://garbl.home.comcast.net/~garbl/stylemanual/e.htm#e-mail
>
> ______________________________________________
> [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.
>

______________________________________________
[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.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: creating an equivalent of r-help on r.stackexchange.com ?

barry rowlingson
In reply to this post by Rolf Turner
As one of the original ranters of "hey lets move to StackOverflow" a
few years back (see my UseR! lightning talk from Warwick) I should
probably stick my oar in.

I don't think the SO model is a good model for all the discussions
that go on on R-help.

I think SO is a good model for questions that have fairly precise
answers that are demonstrably 'correct'.

I think a mailing list is a bad model for questions that have answers.
Reasons? Well, I see an email thread, start reading it, eight messages
in, somewhere in a mix of top-posted and bottom-posted content, I
discover the original poster has said "Yes thanks Rolf that works!".
Maybe I've learnt something in that process, but maybe I had the
answer too and I've just wasted my time reading that thread. With
StackOverflow questioners "accept" an answer and you needn't waste
time reading it. I've given up reading R-help messages with
interesting question titles if there's more than two contributors and
six messages, since its either wandered off-topic or been answered. I
suspect that heuristic is less efficient than SO's "answer accepted"
flag.

SO questions are tagged. I can look at only the ggplot-tagged
questions, or the 'spatial'-tagged questions, or ignore anything with
'finance' in it. Mailing lists are a bit coarse-grained and rigid for
that, and subject lines are often uninformative of the content.

SO is smart. Users are dumb, right? How many R-help questions could
have been answered by googling or reading the documentation? SO
compares input questions with existing questions, and suggets to users
that maybe this question here has the answer. How cool is that? And
the more questions and answers it has, the smarter that system gets.
Duplicate questions can be manually flagged by moderators.

SO questions get edited by other users, including fixing typos and
tagging properly. And bad questions are moderated out of existence, so
you don't even see them. How would you like to never see an R FAQ 7.31
question ever again?

For general discussion of R-related topics I think R-help is a better
place than SO but please don't make the mistake of thinking SO is just
another "web-forum" which those pesky kids on my lawn are promoting
instead of my cuddly old mailing list. Its a brilliant
question-and-answer *service*, which could not work as well as it does
over email.

 I also don't think a specialised R StackExchange site would be a good
idea either, since the site software is not suited to discussions and
the site would just fill with rambling guff.

 In summary: got an R programming question that you think has a
definite answer? Post to SO. Want to ask something for discussion,
like what options there are for doing XYZ in R, or why lm() is faster
than glm(), or why are these two numbers not equal - post to R-help.
Questions like that do get posted to SO, but we mod them down for
being off-topic and they disappear pretty quickly.

 Personally I still don't like mailing lists for discussions, but
StackExchange sites are not the place for discussion and I'm not sure
a better place exists that would keep everyone happy anyway!




On Mon, Feb 3, 2014 at 9:49 PM, Ted Harding <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Ditto. And ditto. And (by the way -- no-one seems to have mentioned it)
> what are the possibilities, for mail appearing on something like Stack
> Exchange, of having the mail sent to oneself so that it can be stored
> locally, on one's own machine? That is the only way I would want to
> work -- anything interesting is sitting in my disk, I can edit it if
> I wish, I can make local copies, etc. etc. etc. etc. Anything which is
> not interesting gets deleted (though I can always dig into R-help
> archives if need be).
>
> Best wishes,
> Ted.
>
> On 03-Feb-2014 21:36:21 Rolf Turner wrote:
>>
>> For what it's worth, I would like to say that I concur completely with
>> Don and Bert.  (Also I would like second Bert's vote of thanks to Don
>> for expressing the position so clearly.)
>>
>> cheers,
>>
>> Rolf Turner
>>
>> On 04/02/14 09:56, Bert Gunter wrote:
>>> Don:
>>>
>>> First, I apologize if this is off topic, but I thought I should reply
>>> publicly.
>>>
>>> I would only like to say thank you for so eloquently and elegantly
>>> summarizing my views, also. Maybe that makes me a dinosaur. If so, I
>>> happily accept the label.
>>>
>>> I find SO's voting for posting business especially irritating. I wish
>>> merely to post or to read the posts of others without being subjected
>>> to some kind of online pseudo game and ratings competition. That alone
>>> keeps me away. But Don said it better.
>>>
>>> I realize that I may be out of step with the masses here, and the
>>> masses should certainly decide. Hopefully I won't be around if/when
>>> they decide that R-help should go.
>>>
>>> Best,
>>> Bert
>>>
>>> Bert Gunter
>>> Genentech Nonclinical Biostatistics
>>> (650) 467-7374
>>>
>>> "Data is not information. Information is not knowledge. And knowledge
>>> is certainly not wisdom."
>>> H. Gilbert Welch
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> On Mon, Feb 3, 2014 at 12:42 PM, MacQueen, Don <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>> Every browser-based interface I've ever seen has a number of features that
>>>> I find to be huge deterrents. To mention just two:
>>>>
>>>> - They waste copious amounts of screen space on irrelevant things such as
>>>> "votes", the number of views, the elapsed time since something or other
>>>> happened, fancy web-page headers, and so on. Oh, and advertisements. The
>>>> Mathematica stackexchange example given in a link in one of the emails
>>>> below (http://mathematica.stackexchange.com/) illustrates these
>>>> shortcomings -- and it's not the worst such example.
>>>>
>>>> - In most if not all cases, one has to login before posting. I have too
>>>> many usernames and passwords as it is.
>>>>
>>>> Right now, at this very moment, in my email client's window I can see and
>>>> browse the subject lines of 20 threads in r-help. And that's using only
>>>> about half of my screens vertical space. In contrast, in the Mathematica
>>>> stackexchange example, I can see at most 10, and that only by using the
>>>> entire vertical space of my screen. The "From" column in my email client
>>>> shows the names of several of the people contributing to the thread, which
>>>> the browser interface does not. In the email client, I can move through
>>>> messages, and between messages in a thread using my keyboard. In a
>>>> browser, I have to do lots of mousing and clicking, which is much less
>>>> efficient.
>>>>
>>>> As it is now, r-help messages come to me. I don't have to start up a
>>>> browser. So it's much easier to go take a quick look at what's new at any
>>>> time.
>>>>
>>>> True, I had to subscribe to the mailing list, which involves a username
>>>> and password. But once it's done, it's done. I don't have to login before
>>>> posting, which means I don't have to remember yet another username and
>>>> password.
>>>>
>>>> What "...duplicated efforts of monitoring multiple mailing lists)"? I have
>>>> no duplicated effort...in fact, I have almost no effort at all, since the
>>>> messages come to me. There was some initial setup, i.e., to filter
>>>> different r-* messages to different mailboxes in my email client, but now
>>>> that that's done, it's as simple as clicking on the correct mailbox.
>>>>
>>>> In other words, in every way that's important to me, the mailing list
>>>> approach is superior. I do not support abandoning the mailing list system
>>>> for any alternative.
>>>>
>>>> -Don
>>>>
>>>> --
>>>> Don MacQueen
>>>>
>>>> Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
>>>> 7000 East Ave., L-627
>>>> Livermore, CA 94550
>>>> 925-423-1062
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> On 2/2/14 1:49 PM, "Liviu Andronic" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> Dear Duncan,
>>>>> I discovered something interesting wrt to the licensing and mirroring
>>>>> of user-contributed material on StackExchange.  Please read below.
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> On Sun, Nov 24, 2013 at 9:00 PM, Duncan Murdoch
>>>>> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>>>>> I'm not aware of a discussion on this, but I would say no.
>>>>>>> Fragmentation is bad. Further fragmentation is worse.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> TL;DR
>>>>>>> =====
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Actually I'd say all mailing lists except r-devel should be moving to
>>>>>>> StackOverlow in the future (disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with it).
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> I would generally agree with you, except for a few points.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> 1.  I avoid StackOverflow, because they claim copyright on the
>>>>>> compilation.
>>>>>> As I read their terms of service, it would be illegal for anyone to
>>>>>> download
>>>>>> and duplicate all postings about R.  So a posting there is only
>>>>>> available as
>>>>>> long as they choose to make it available. Postings to the mailing list
>>>>>> are
>>>>>> archived in several places.
>>>>>>
>>>>> It seems that StackOverflow is officially proposing user-generated
>>>>> content for download/mirroring:
>>>>> http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2014/01/stack-exchange-cc-data-now-hosted-by
>>>>> -the-internet-archive/?cb=1
>>>>>
>>>>> "All community-contributed content on Stack Exchange is licensed under
>>>>> the Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license. " And it is currently being
>>>>> mirrored at least at the Internet Archive:
>>>>> https://archive.org/details/stackexchange
>>>>>
>>>>> So, in principle, it would be possible/desirable to:
>>>>> - spin the 'r' tag from StackOverflow and propose an r.stackexchange.com
>>>>> at
>>>>> http://area51.stackexchange.com/categories/8/technology . Such a SE
>>>>> site would be similar to http://mathematica.stackexchange.com/
>>>>> - involve R Core to give blessing for using the R logo, if necessary.
>>>>> This would be similar to what Ubuntu does with AskUbuntu:
>>>>> http://meta.askubuntu.com/questions/5444/is-ask-ubuntu-official-ubuntu
>>>>> - set a mirror on r-project.org for all the user content that is
>>>>> produced by r.stackexchange.com , and thus allow R Core to keep the
>>>>> info publicly available at all times. The mirroring on Internet
>>>>> Archive would still hold.
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>> 2.  I think an interface like StackOverflow is better than the mailing
>>>>>> list
>>>>>> interface, and will eventually win out.  R-help needs to do nothing,
>>>>>> once
>>>>>> someone puts together something like StackOverflow that attracts most
>>>>>> of the
>>>>>> people who give good answers, R-help will just fade away.
>>>>>>
>>>>> The advantages for such a move are countless (especially wrt to
>>>>> efficiently organizing R-related knowledge and directing users to
>>>>> appropriate sources of info), so I won't go into that. I would only
>>>>> note that most 'r-sig-*' MLs would become obsolete in such a setup,
>>>>> and would be replaced by the much more efficient tagging system of the
>>>>> SE Q&A web interface (for example, all posts appropriate for r-sig-gui
>>>>> would simply be tagged with 'gui'; no need for duplicated efforts of
>>>>> monitoring multiple mailing lists).
>>>>>
>>>>> Opinions?
>>>>>
>>>>> Liviu
>>
>> ______________________________________________
>> [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.
>
> -------------------------------------------------
> E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <[hidden email]>
> Date: 03-Feb-2014  Time: 21:49:47
> This message was sent by XFMail
>
> ______________________________________________
> [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.

______________________________________________
[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.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: creating an equivalent of r-help on r.stackexchange.com ?

Marc Schwartz-3
Hi All,

As I have noted in a prior reply in this thread, which began last November, I don't post in SO, but I do keep track of the traffic there via RSS feeds. However, the RSS feeds are primarily for new posts and do not seem to update with follow ups to the initial post.

I do wish that they would provide an e-mail interface, which would help to address some of the issues raised here today. They do provide notifications on comments to posts, as do many other online fora. However, there is no routine mailing of new posts with a given tag (eg. 'R'), at least as far as I can see, as I had searched there previously for that functionality. That would be a nice "push" based approach, as opposed to having to go to the web site.

I appreciate Don's comments regarding too many web site logins and too many passwords. Slight digression. The reality of constant security breaches of web sites has led me to use 1Password, such that I have a unique, randomly generated, strong password for almost every site that I login to (where I can control the password and login). I don't have to remember user IDs and passwords. With the multiple browser plug-ins for the application on the desktop and mobile app support with cross platform syncing, this has become, operationally, a non-issue for me.

I think that Barry makes a good distinction here. Notwithstanding the "gamification" of posting on SO, the formalisms on SO are pretty well ingrained.

I do also think that the "marketplace" (aka R users) in many respects, is speaking with its fingers, in that traffic on R-Help continues to decline.

I am attaching an updated PDF of the list traffic from 1997-2013, which at the time that I posted it last year, was not yet complete for 2013, albeit, my projection for the year was fairly close.

You can see that since the peak in 2010 of 41,048 posts for the year, traffic in 2013 declined to 20,538, or roughly a 50% decline. Much of that decline was from 2012 to 2013, which I postulate, is a direct outcome of the snowballing use of SO primarily.

Not in the plot for this year, January of 2014 had 1,129 posts, as compared to January of 2013 with 2,182 posts, or roughly a 50% decline. So the trend continues this year. If January's relative decline holds for the remainder of the year, or worse, perhaps accelerates, we could end the year at a level of activity (~10k posts) on R-Help not seen since circa 2002.

I honestly don't know the answer to the question and don't know that SO is the singular solution, as Barry has noted. However, as a long time member of the community, do feel that discussion of the future of these lists is warranted.

Perhaps Duncan's prophecy of R-Help just passively fading away will indeed happen. If the current rate of decline in posts here continues, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy, or at minimum, R-Help will be supporting a declining minority of R users. Is it then worth the time, energy and costs to maintain and host, or are those resources better directed elsewhere to yield greater value to the community?

Should this simply continue to be a passive process as the marketplace moves elsewhere, or should there be a proactive discussion and plan put in place to modify infrastructure and behavior to retain traffic here? I suspect that this year may very well be important temporally to the implications for whatever decisions are made.

Regards,

Marc Schwartz











On Feb 3, 2014, at 6:34 PM, Barry Rowlingson <[hidden email]> wrote:

> As one of the original ranters of "hey lets move to StackOverflow" a
> few years back (see my UseR! lightning talk from Warwick) I should
> probably stick my oar in.
>
> I don't think the SO model is a good model for all the discussions
> that go on on R-help.
>
> I think SO is a good model for questions that have fairly precise
> answers that are demonstrably 'correct'.
>
> I think a mailing list is a bad model for questions that have answers.
> Reasons? Well, I see an email thread, start reading it, eight messages
> in, somewhere in a mix of top-posted and bottom-posted content, I
> discover the original poster has said "Yes thanks Rolf that works!".
> Maybe I've learnt something in that process, but maybe I had the
> answer too and I've just wasted my time reading that thread. With
> StackOverflow questioners "accept" an answer and you needn't waste
> time reading it. I've given up reading R-help messages with
> interesting question titles if there's more than two contributors and
> six messages, since its either wandered off-topic or been answered. I
> suspect that heuristic is less efficient than SO's "answer accepted"
> flag.
>
> SO questions are tagged. I can look at only the ggplot-tagged
> questions, or the 'spatial'-tagged questions, or ignore anything with
> 'finance' in it. Mailing lists are a bit coarse-grained and rigid for
> that, and subject lines are often uninformative of the content.
>
> SO is smart. Users are dumb, right? How many R-help questions could
> have been answered by googling or reading the documentation? SO
> compares input questions with existing questions, and suggets to users
> that maybe this question here has the answer. How cool is that? And
> the more questions and answers it has, the smarter that system gets.
> Duplicate questions can be manually flagged by moderators.
>
> SO questions get edited by other users, including fixing typos and
> tagging properly. And bad questions are moderated out of existence, so
> you don't even see them. How would you like to never see an R FAQ 7.31
> question ever again?
>
> For general discussion of R-related topics I think R-help is a better
> place than SO but please don't make the mistake of thinking SO is just
> another "web-forum" which those pesky kids on my lawn are promoting
> instead of my cuddly old mailing list. Its a brilliant
> question-and-answer *service*, which could not work as well as it does
> over email.
>
> I also don't think a specialised R StackExchange site would be a good
> idea either, since the site software is not suited to discussions and
> the site would just fill with rambling guff.
>
> In summary: got an R programming question that you think has a
> definite answer? Post to SO. Want to ask something for discussion,
> like what options there are for doing XYZ in R, or why lm() is faster
> than glm(), or why are these two numbers not equal - post to R-help.
> Questions like that do get posted to SO, but we mod them down for
> being off-topic and they disappear pretty quickly.
>
> Personally I still don't like mailing lists for discussions, but
> StackExchange sites are not the place for discussion and I'm not sure
> a better place exists that would keep everyone happy anyway!
>
>
>
>
> On Mon, Feb 3, 2014 at 9:49 PM, Ted Harding <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> Ditto. And ditto. And (by the way -- no-one seems to have mentioned it)
>> what are the possibilities, for mail appearing on something like Stack
>> Exchange, of having the mail sent to oneself so that it can be stored
>> locally, on one's own machine? That is the only way I would want to
>> work -- anything interesting is sitting in my disk, I can edit it if
>> I wish, I can make local copies, etc. etc. etc. etc. Anything which is
>> not interesting gets deleted (though I can always dig into R-help
>> archives if need be).
>>
>> Best wishes,
>> Ted.
>>
>> On 03-Feb-2014 21:36:21 Rolf Turner wrote:
>>>
>>> For what it's worth, I would like to say that I concur completely with
>>> Don and Bert.  (Also I would like second Bert's vote of thanks to Don
>>> for expressing the position so clearly.)
>>>
>>> cheers,
>>>
>>> Rolf Turner
>>>
>>> On 04/02/14 09:56, Bert Gunter wrote:
>>>> Don:
>>>>
>>>> First, I apologize if this is off topic, but I thought I should reply
>>>> publicly.
>>>>
>>>> I would only like to say thank you for so eloquently and elegantly
>>>> summarizing my views, also. Maybe that makes me a dinosaur. If so, I
>>>> happily accept the label.
>>>>
>>>> I find SO's voting for posting business especially irritating. I wish
>>>> merely to post or to read the posts of others without being subjected
>>>> to some kind of online pseudo game and ratings competition. That alone
>>>> keeps me away. But Don said it better.
>>>>
>>>> I realize that I may be out of step with the masses here, and the
>>>> masses should certainly decide. Hopefully I won't be around if/when
>>>> they decide that R-help should go.
>>>>
>>>> Best,
>>>> Bert
>>>>
>>>> Bert Gunter
>>>> Genentech Nonclinical Biostatistics
>>>> (650) 467-7374
>>>>
>>>> "Data is not information. Information is not knowledge. And knowledge
>>>> is certainly not wisdom."
>>>> H. Gilbert Welch
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> On Mon, Feb 3, 2014 at 12:42 PM, MacQueen, Don <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>>> Every browser-based interface I've ever seen has a number of features that
>>>>> I find to be huge deterrents. To mention just two:
>>>>>
>>>>> - They waste copious amounts of screen space on irrelevant things such as
>>>>> "votes", the number of views, the elapsed time since something or other
>>>>> happened, fancy web-page headers, and so on. Oh, and advertisements. The
>>>>> Mathematica stackexchange example given in a link in one of the emails
>>>>> below (http://mathematica.stackexchange.com/) illustrates these
>>>>> shortcomings -- and it's not the worst such example.
>>>>>
>>>>> - In most if not all cases, one has to login before posting. I have too
>>>>> many usernames and passwords as it is.
>>>>>
>>>>> Right now, at this very moment, in my email client's window I can see and
>>>>> browse the subject lines of 20 threads in r-help. And that's using only
>>>>> about half of my screens vertical space. In contrast, in the Mathematica
>>>>> stackexchange example, I can see at most 10, and that only by using the
>>>>> entire vertical space of my screen. The "From" column in my email client
>>>>> shows the names of several of the people contributing to the thread, which
>>>>> the browser interface does not. In the email client, I can move through
>>>>> messages, and between messages in a thread using my keyboard. In a
>>>>> browser, I have to do lots of mousing and clicking, which is much less
>>>>> efficient.
>>>>>
>>>>> As it is now, r-help messages come to me. I don't have to start up a
>>>>> browser. So it's much easier to go take a quick look at what's new at any
>>>>> time.
>>>>>
>>>>> True, I had to subscribe to the mailing list, which involves a username
>>>>> and password. But once it's done, it's done. I don't have to login before
>>>>> posting, which means I don't have to remember yet another username and
>>>>> password.
>>>>>
>>>>> What "...duplicated efforts of monitoring multiple mailing lists)"? I have
>>>>> no duplicated effort...in fact, I have almost no effort at all, since the
>>>>> messages come to me. There was some initial setup, i.e., to filter
>>>>> different r-* messages to different mailboxes in my email client, but now
>>>>> that that's done, it's as simple as clicking on the correct mailbox.
>>>>>
>>>>> In other words, in every way that's important to me, the mailing list
>>>>> approach is superior. I do not support abandoning the mailing list system
>>>>> for any alternative.
>>>>>
>>>>> -Don
>>>>>
>>>>> --
>>>>> Don MacQueen
>>>>>
>>>>> Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
>>>>> 7000 East Ave., L-627
>>>>> Livermore, CA 94550
>>>>> 925-423-1062
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> On 2/2/14 1:49 PM, "Liviu Andronic" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>>> Dear Duncan,
>>>>>> I discovered something interesting wrt to the licensing and mirroring
>>>>>> of user-contributed material on StackExchange.  Please read below.
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> On Sun, Nov 24, 2013 at 9:00 PM, Duncan Murdoch
>>>>>> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>>>>>> I'm not aware of a discussion on this, but I would say no.
>>>>>>>> Fragmentation is bad. Further fragmentation is worse.
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> TL;DR
>>>>>>>> =====
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> Actually I'd say all mailing lists except r-devel should be moving to
>>>>>>>> StackOverlow in the future (disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with it).
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> I would generally agree with you, except for a few points.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> 1.  I avoid StackOverflow, because they claim copyright on the
>>>>>>> compilation.
>>>>>>> As I read their terms of service, it would be illegal for anyone to
>>>>>>> download
>>>>>>> and duplicate all postings about R.  So a posting there is only
>>>>>>> available as
>>>>>>> long as they choose to make it available. Postings to the mailing list
>>>>>>> are
>>>>>>> archived in several places.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>> It seems that StackOverflow is officially proposing user-generated
>>>>>> content for download/mirroring:
>>>>>> http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2014/01/stack-exchange-cc-data-now-hosted-by
>>>>>> -the-internet-archive/?cb=1
>>>>>>
>>>>>> "All community-contributed content on Stack Exchange is licensed under
>>>>>> the Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license. " And it is currently being
>>>>>> mirrored at least at the Internet Archive:
>>>>>> https://archive.org/details/stackexchange
>>>>>>
>>>>>> So, in principle, it would be possible/desirable to:
>>>>>> - spin the 'r' tag from StackOverflow and propose an r.stackexchange.com
>>>>>> at
>>>>>> http://area51.stackexchange.com/categories/8/technology . Such a SE
>>>>>> site would be similar to http://mathematica.stackexchange.com/
>>>>>> - involve R Core to give blessing for using the R logo, if necessary.
>>>>>> This would be similar to what Ubuntu does with AskUbuntu:
>>>>>> http://meta.askubuntu.com/questions/5444/is-ask-ubuntu-official-ubuntu
>>>>>> - set a mirror on r-project.org for all the user content that is
>>>>>> produced by r.stackexchange.com , and thus allow R Core to keep the
>>>>>> info publicly available at all times. The mirroring on Internet
>>>>>> Archive would still hold.
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>> 2.  I think an interface like StackOverflow is better than the mailing
>>>>>>> list
>>>>>>> interface, and will eventually win out.  R-help needs to do nothing,
>>>>>>> once
>>>>>>> someone puts together something like StackOverflow that attracts most
>>>>>>> of the
>>>>>>> people who give good answers, R-help will just fade away.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>> The advantages for such a move are countless (especially wrt to
>>>>>> efficiently organizing R-related knowledge and directing users to
>>>>>> appropriate sources of info), so I won't go into that. I would only
>>>>>> note that most 'r-sig-*' MLs would become obsolete in such a setup,
>>>>>> and would be replaced by the much more efficient tagging system of the
>>>>>> SE Q&A web interface (for example, all posts appropriate for r-sig-gui
>>>>>> would simply be tagged with 'gui'; no need for duplicated efforts of
>>>>>> monitoring multiple mailing lists).
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Opinions?
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Liviu

______________________________________________
[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.

R-Help-Annual.pdf (6K) Download Attachment
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: creating an equivalent of r-help on r.stackexchange.com ?

Gabor Grothendieck
On Mon, Feb 3, 2014 at 8:41 PM, Marc Schwartz <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Hi All,
>
> As I have noted in a prior reply in this thread, which began last November, I don't post in SO, but I do keep track of the traffic there via RSS feeds. However, the RSS feeds are primarily for new posts and do not seem to update with follow ups to the initial post.
>
> I do wish that they would provide an e-mail interface, which would help to address some of the issues raised here today. They do provide notifications on comments to posts, as do many other online fora. However, there is no routine mailing of new posts with a given tag (eg. 'R'), at least as far as I can see, as I had searched there previously for that functionality. That would be a nice "push" based approach, as opposed to having to go to the web site.
>

You can set up email subscriptions for specific tags.  See the
preferences section of your account.  I get regular emails of the
r_filter.
Here are the first few lines of an email I juist received (I have
pasted it into this text plain email but they are received as HTML and
there are links to the specific questions).



159+ new questions in r filter on stackexchange.com

________________________________

R: read .dta file and use value labels only for selected variables to
create a factor

What is the easiest way to read a .dta file in R and convert only
specific variables as factors, using Stata value labels? I didn't find
a way to specify the convert.factors option in the foreign ...
Tagged: r stataby tfr on stackoverflow.com
________________________________

sort.col command in Splus to R

I have a code in Splus, but have to convert it into R, which is not a
big thing. However I am very new to both softwares. This is the code I
am struggling with: bestmodind <- ...
Tagged: r matrix s-plusby akeenlogician on stackoverflow.com

______________________________________________
[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.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: creating an equivalent of r-help on r.stackexchange.com ? (was: Re: Should there be an R-beginners list?)

Liviu Andronic
In reply to this post by Clint Bowman
Dear Clint,


On Tue, Feb 4, 2014 at 1:27 AM, Clint Bowman <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Liviu,
>
> Thanks for the excellent description of the advantages of SE.  However,
> there is a significant fraction of the population that prefers that
> information be pushed out to them rather than having to pull it to them. The
> best system is one that accommodates both equally well.
>
It's not exactly the same as in a mail client, but you also have a
push-like interface on SE, sort of:
http://stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/r
- The 'Newest' tab displays all recent questions, sorted in
chronological order with latest on top; it gets refreshed
automatically, as in a mail client (hence, "push-like")
- The 'Active' tab displays all questions with recent activity
(question asked, answered or commented upon)
- You also have the very useful 'Unanswered' tab, which allows to
identify questions that haven't yet received useful advice

Another push-like element in SE is that once you ask a question or
answer, any subsequent comments on your post will be notified to you
either in the web interface or by email. This helps keep discussions
alive.

Regards,
Liviu


>
> Clint
>
> Clint Bowman                    INTERNET:       [hidden email]
> Air Quality Modeler             INTERNET:       [hidden email]
> Department of Ecology           VOICE:          (360) 407-6815
> PO Box 47600                    FAX:            (360) 407-7534
> Olympia, WA 98504-7600
>
>         USPS:           PO Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600
>         Parcels:        300 Desmond Drive, Lacey, WA 98503-1274
>
> On Tue, 4 Feb 2014, Liviu Andronic wrote:
>
>> Dear Don and Bert,
>> Allow me to address some of your concerns below.
>>
>>
>> On Mon, Feb 3, 2014 at 9:56 PM, Bert Gunter <[hidden email]>
>> wrote:
>>>
>>> I find SO's voting for posting business especially irritating. I wish
>>> merely to post or to read the posts of others without being subjected
>>> to some kind of online pseudo game and ratings competition. That alone
>>> keeps me away. But Don said it better.
>>>
>> On SO voting is irrelevant for either posting a question or an answer.
>> *Anyone* (with an account) can ask a question, and *anyone* can answer
>> a question. Their system of privileges is explained here:
>> http://askubuntu.com/help/privileges . But to summarize:
>> - if you're interested only in giving help, then the only really
>> relevant threshold is 10 and 50 votes (removing some new user
>> restrictions and allowing you to comment on posts, respectively)
>> - if you're interested only in seeking  help, then all thresholds are
>> irrelevant really
>>
>> All other thresholds are relevant only if you're interested in
>> contributing to the organization of information, or in moderating this
>> whole forum-slash-wiki thingy. And as a note, given the quality of
>> your answers on r-help, Bert, I have no doubt that you will clock
>> upwards 50 upvotes in a couple of hours or so.
>>
>>
>>> I realize that I may be out of step with the masses here, and the
>>> masses should certainly decide. Hopefully I won't be around if/when
>>> they decide that R-help should go.
>>>
>> The proposal is not necessarily to close down r-help. From the myriad
>> lists it currently has, R Core could keep only r-help and r-devel, and
>> encourage new users to seek help on r.stackexchange.com. The scope of
>> r-help could be redefined.
>>
>>
>>> On Mon, Feb 3, 2014 at 12:42 PM, MacQueen, Don <[hidden email]>
>>> wrote:
>>>>
>>>> - They waste copious amounts of screen space on irrelevant things such
>>>> as
>>>> "votes", the number of views, the elapsed time since something or other
>>>> happened, fancy web-page headers, and so on. Oh, and advertisements. The
>>>> Mathematica stackexchange example given in a link in one of the emails
>>>> below (http://mathematica.stackexchange.com/) illustrates these
>>>> shortcomings -- and it's not the worst such example.
>>>
>>>
>> Well, I've seen my fair share of advertisements on Gmail, Yahoo Mail
>> or what have you. I know some use dedicated clients, but not all do.
>> (And sofar I haven't noticed one single intrusive or distracting ad on
>> SE.)
>>
>> As for the number of votes, this is actually the most useful bit of
>> this Q&A interface: it allows for the best questions (or most often
>> asked) to stand out from all the noise. And it allows for the best
>> answers (or those most authoritative) to stand out, too. Accepted
>> answers immediately indicate to others seeking similar help what has
>> worked for the OP. Very useful stuff.
>>
>> Voting also naturally allows to differentiate between neophytes
>> (<100), and professional helpers (>1k; think of Brian, David or, as it
>> happens, Bert). If you remember long ago someone proposed on r-help a
>> reputation system for our professional helpers, only to be rebuffed
>> essentially because it is unfeasible in a ML interface. The SE Q&A web
>> interface---or similar---naturally handles this.
>>
>>
>>
>>>> - In most if not all cases, one has to login before posting. I have too
>>>> many usernames and passwords as it is.
>>>
>>>
>> Fair point. However SE found a neat way around this: it keeps cookies
>> around and whenever you close the browser and reopen SE, it identifies
>> the cookie and auto-logs you in.
>>
>>
>>>> Right now, at this very moment, in my email client's window I can see
>>>> and
>>>> browse the subject lines of 20 threads in r-help. And that's using only
>>>> about half of my screens vertical space. In contrast, in the Mathematica
>>>> stackexchange example, I can see at most 10, and that only by using the
>>>> entire vertical space of my screen. The "From" column in my email client
>>>> shows the names of several of the people contributing to the thread,
>>>> which
>>>> the browser interface does not. In the email client, I can move through
>>>> messages, and between messages in a thread using my keyboard. In a
>>>> browser, I have to do lots of mousing and clicking, which is much less
>>>> efficient.
>>>>
>> Again, fair point, but with SE you quickly realize that this is
>> irrelevant. On ML, even more so on r-help, the only sane way to sort
>> and filter the messages is using time. If a question wasn't answered
>> in 24h (or, to be generous, a week), chances tend to zero that this
>> question will ever be addressed. On SE it is absolutely normal for a
>> question to be answered, with a high-quality input, 3 months or 2
>> years later.
>>
>> It is also much easier to filter questions by topics: if you're
>> interested in GUI or plyr related questions, just display those tags,
>> and then answer relevant questions. On r-help you may only  guess from
>> the subject line what the question could possibly be about.
>>
>> The Q&A interface also allows easily to redirect users to similar
>> questions that were already answered (goodbye "PLEASE do read the
>> posting guide"), thus identifying duplicate questions. It also makes
>> it much easier to search for topics of interest that were already
>> addressed in the past; much easier than scouring the mountains of
>> untriaged r-help content.
>>
>> And do not underestimate the soft incentives induced by the voting
>> system. Users seek upvotes (you can set bounties, get moderator
>> privileges and so on), thus making them interested in giving
>> high-quality answers and asking high-quality questions. Very well
>> thought-out stuff.
>>
>>
>>>> As it is now, r-help messages come to me. I don't have to start up a
>>>> browser. So it's much easier to go take a quick look at what's new at
>>>> any
>>>> time.
>>>>
>> Agreed. I understand the frustration from using a different medium.
>>
>>
>>>> True, I had to subscribe to the mailing list, which involves a username
>>>> and password. But once it's done, it's done. I don't have to login
>>>> before
>>>> posting, which means I don't have to remember yet another username and
>>>> password.
>>>>
>> Mostly same happens with SE, the way they set it up.
>>
>>
>>>> What "...duplicated efforts of monitoring multiple mailing lists)"? I
>>>> have
>>>> no duplicated effort...in fact, I have almost no effort at all, since
>>>> the
>>>> messages come to me. There was some initial setup, i.e., to filter
>>>> different r-* messages to different mailboxes in my email client, but
>>>> now
>>>> that that's done, it's as simple as clicking on the correct mailbox.
>>>>
>> Do you follow r-sig-gui or r-sig-teaching or r-sig-finance or
>> r-sig-robust? Does Brian follow them all? Probably not. People who are
>> seeking specialized help have a hugely reduced chance of getting
>> useful help.
>>
>> On SE however, the efforts are not fragmented; all questions are asked
>> and answered in the same place. If a question pertains to 'plyr' and
>> 'finance', either a finance type or a plyr enthusiast are as likely to
>> answer. For the r-sig-* MLs, one would need to subscribe to all MLs
>> and monitor them all; few do so.
>>
>>
>>>> In other words, in every way that's important to me, the mailing list
>>>> approach is superior. I do not support abandoning the mailing list
>>>> system
>>>> for any alternative.
>>>
>>>
>> I'm not an SE  evangelist, and only truly discovered it about a month
>> ago or so (even though it seems that I had registered more than a year
>> ago), and initially I was quite very skeptical of this "fancy forum".
>> But when I actually realized how _efficient_ this Q&A interface is, I
>> quickly decided that r-help and associated r-sig-* were good to go the
>> way of the usenet. Long story short, the Q&A interface is impressive
>> in terms of economic efficiency, i.e. matching up supply and demand;
>> the ML is quite inefficient in comparison.
>>
>> Kind regards,
>> Liviu
>>
>>
>>>
>>>> -Don
>>>>
>>>> --
>>>> Don MacQueen
>>>>
>>>> Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
>>>> 7000 East Ave., L-627
>>>> Livermore, CA 94550
>>>> 925-423-1062
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> On 2/2/14 1:49 PM, "Liviu Andronic" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> Dear Duncan,
>>>>> I discovered something interesting wrt to the licensing and mirroring
>>>>> of user-contributed material on StackExchange.  Please read below.
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> On Sun, Nov 24, 2013 at 9:00 PM, Duncan Murdoch
>>>>> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> I'm not aware of a discussion on this, but I would say no.
>>>>>>> Fragmentation is bad. Further fragmentation is worse.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> TL;DR
>>>>>>> =====
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Actually I'd say all mailing lists except r-devel should be moving to
>>>>>>> StackOverlow in the future (disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with it).
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> I would generally agree with you, except for a few points.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> 1.  I avoid StackOverflow, because they claim copyright on the
>>>>>> compilation.
>>>>>> As I read their terms of service, it would be illegal for anyone to
>>>>>> download
>>>>>> and duplicate all postings about R.  So a posting there is only
>>>>>> available as
>>>>>> long as they choose to make it available. Postings to the mailing list
>>>>>> are
>>>>>> archived in several places.
>>>>>>
>>>>> It seems that StackOverflow is officially proposing user-generated
>>>>> content for download/mirroring:
>>>>>
>>>>> http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2014/01/stack-exchange-cc-data-now-hosted-by
>>>>> -the-internet-archive/?cb=1
>>>>>
>>>>> "All community-contributed content on Stack Exchange is licensed under
>>>>> the Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license. " And it is currently being
>>>>> mirrored at least at the Internet Archive:
>>>>> https://archive.org/details/stackexchange
>>>>>
>>>>> So, in principle, it would be possible/desirable to:
>>>>> - spin the 'r' tag from StackOverflow and propose an
>>>>> r.stackexchange.com
>>>>> at
>>>>> http://area51.stackexchange.com/categories/8/technology . Such a SE
>>>>> site would be similar to http://mathematica.stackexchange.com/
>>>>> - involve R Core to give blessing for using the R logo, if necessary.
>>>>> This would be similar to what Ubuntu does with AskUbuntu:
>>>>> http://meta.askubuntu.com/questions/5444/is-ask-ubuntu-official-ubuntu
>>>>> - set a mirror on r-project.org for all the user content that is
>>>>> produced by r.stackexchange.com , and thus allow R Core to keep the
>>>>> info publicly available at all times. The mirroring on Internet
>>>>> Archive would still hold.
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>> 2.  I think an interface like StackOverflow is better than the mailing
>>>>>> list
>>>>>> interface, and will eventually win out.  R-help needs to do nothing,
>>>>>> once
>>>>>> someone puts together something like StackOverflow that attracts most
>>>>>> of the
>>>>>> people who give good answers, R-help will just fade away.
>>>>>>
>>>>> The advantages for such a move are countless (especially wrt to
>>>>> efficiently organizing R-related knowledge and directing users to
>>>>> appropriate sources of info), so I won't go into that. I would only
>>>>> note that most 'r-sig-*' MLs would become obsolete in such a setup,
>>>>> and would be replaced by the much more efficient tagging system of the
>>>>> SE Q&A web interface (for example, all posts appropriate for r-sig-gui
>>>>> would simply be tagged with 'gui'; no need for duplicated efforts of
>>>>> monitoring multiple mailing lists).
>>>>>
>>>>> Opinions?
>>>>>
>>>>> Liviu
>>>>>
>>>>> ______________________________________________
>>>>> [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.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> ______________________________________________
>>>> [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.
>>>
>>>
>>> ______________________________________________
>>> [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.
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> --
>> Do you know how to read?
>> http://www.alienetworks.com/srtest.cfm
>> http://goodies.xfce.org/projects/applications/xfce4-dict#speed-reader
>> Do you know how to write?
>> http://garbl.home.comcast.net/~garbl/stylemanual/e.htm#e-mail
>>
>> ______________________________________________
>> [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.
>>
>



--
Do you know how to read?
http://www.alienetworks.com/srtest.cfm
http://goodies.xfce.org/projects/applications/xfce4-dict#speed-reader
Do you know how to write?
http://garbl.home.comcast.net/~garbl/stylemanual/e.htm#e-mail

______________________________________________
[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.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: creating an equivalent of r-help on r.stackexchange.com ?

Marc Schwartz-3
In reply to this post by Gabor Grothendieck

On Feb 3, 2014, at 8:54 PM, Gabor Grothendieck <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Mon, Feb 3, 2014 at 8:41 PM, Marc Schwartz <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> Hi All,
>>
>> As I have noted in a prior reply in this thread, which began last November, I don't post in SO, but I do keep track of the traffic there via RSS feeds. However, the RSS feeds are primarily for new posts and do not seem to update with follow ups to the initial post.
>>
>> I do wish that they would provide an e-mail interface, which would help to address some of the issues raised here today. They do provide notifications on comments to posts, as do many other online fora. However, there is no routine mailing of new posts with a given tag (eg. 'R'), at least as far as I can see, as I had searched there previously for that functionality. That would be a nice "push" based approach, as opposed to having to go to the web site.
>>
>
> You can set up email subscriptions for specific tags.  See the
> preferences section of your account.  I get regular emails of the
> r_filter.
> Here are the first few lines of an email I juist received (I have
> pasted it into this text plain email but they are received as HTML and
> there are links to the specific questions).

<snip>

Thanks for the pointer Gabor. I did not have an account on SE/SO and had only searched the various help resources there attempting to find out what kind of e-mail push functionality was available. A number of posts had suggested a "non real time" e-mail ability, which indeed seems to be the case.

I went ahead and created an account to get a sense of what was available. As you note, you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions based upon various tag criteria. However, it would seem that you need to specify time intervals for the frequency of the e-mails. These can be daily, every 3 hours or every 15 minutes. So there seems to be a polling/digest based process going on.

I created an e-mail subscription last evening and selected every 15 minutes. What appears to be happening is that the frequency of the e-mails actually varies. Overnight and this morning, I have e-mails coming in every 20 to 30 minutes or more apart. It is not entirely clear what the trigger is, given the inconsistency in frequency. Perhaps the infrastructure is not robust enough to support a more consistent polling/digest e-mail capability yet.

The e-mails contain snippets of new questions only and not responses (paralleling the RSS feed content). I need to actually go to the web site to see the full content of the question and to see if the question has been answered. In most cases, by the time that I get to the site, even right away after getting the e-mail, there are numerous replies already present. There is, of course, no way to respond via e-mail.

I would say that if one is looking for an efficient e-mail based interface to SE/SO, it does not exist at present. It is really designed as a web site only interaction, where you are likely going to need to have a browser continuously open to the respective site or sites in order to be able to interact effectively, if it is your intent to monitor and to respond in a timely fashion to queries.

Alternatively, perhaps a real-time or near real-time updating RSS feed reader might make more sense for the timeliness of knowing about new questions. It is not clear to me how those who respond quickly (eg. within minutes) are interacting otherwise.

There appear to be some browser extensions to support notifications (eg. for Chrome), but again, you need to have your browser open. There also appear to be some desktop apps in alpha/beta stages that might be helpful. However, they seem to track new comments to questions that are specifically being followed (eg. questions that you have posted), rather than all new questions, thus paralleling the SE/SO Inbox content.

That being said, obviously, a lot of people are moving in that direction given the traffic decline here and the commensurate increase there.

Regards,

Marc

______________________________________________
[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.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: creating an equivalent of r-help on r.stackexchange.com ? (was: Re: Should there be an R-beginners list?)

Law, Jason
In reply to this post by Liviu Andronic
Clint and Liviu,

Stackoverflow also has rss feeds available, if you prefer being pushed the information that way.  For the R tagged questions it's here: http://stackoverflow.com/feeds/tag/r.  Since some e-mail clients double as feed readers, you may be able to read the feed from your e-mail client.  Otherwise, it does mean another application.

Regards,

Jason

-----Original Message-----
From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Liviu Andronic
Sent: Monday, February 03, 2014 11:24 PM
To: Clint Bowman
Cc: [hidden email]; Bert Gunter
Subject: Re: [R] creating an equivalent of r-help on r.stackexchange.com ? (was: Re: Should there be an R-beginners list?)

Dear Clint,


On Tue, Feb 4, 2014 at 1:27 AM, Clint Bowman <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Liviu,
>
> Thanks for the excellent description of the advantages of SE.
> However, there is a significant fraction of the population that
> prefers that information be pushed out to them rather than having to
> pull it to them. The best system is one that accommodates both equally well.
>
It's not exactly the same as in a mail client, but you also have a push-like interface on SE, sort of:
http://stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/r
- The 'Newest' tab displays all recent questions, sorted in chronological order with latest on top; it gets refreshed automatically, as in a mail client (hence, "push-like")
- The 'Active' tab displays all questions with recent activity (question asked, answered or commented upon)
- You also have the very useful 'Unanswered' tab, which allows to identify questions that haven't yet received useful advice

Another push-like element in SE is that once you ask a question or answer, any subsequent comments on your post will be notified to you either in the web interface or by email. This helps keep discussions alive.

Regards,
Liviu


>
> Clint
>
> Clint Bowman                    INTERNET:       [hidden email]
> Air Quality Modeler             INTERNET:       [hidden email]
> Department of Ecology           VOICE:          (360) 407-6815
> PO Box 47600                    FAX:            (360) 407-7534
> Olympia, WA 98504-7600
>
>         USPS:           PO Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600
>         Parcels:        300 Desmond Drive, Lacey, WA 98503-1274
>
> On Tue, 4 Feb 2014, Liviu Andronic wrote:
>
>> Dear Don and Bert,
>> Allow me to address some of your concerns below.
>>
>>
>> On Mon, Feb 3, 2014 at 9:56 PM, Bert Gunter <[hidden email]>
>> wrote:
>>>
>>> I find SO's voting for posting business especially irritating. I
>>> wish merely to post or to read the posts of others without being
>>> subjected to some kind of online pseudo game and ratings
>>> competition. That alone keeps me away. But Don said it better.
>>>
>> On SO voting is irrelevant for either posting a question or an answer.
>> *Anyone* (with an account) can ask a question, and *anyone* can
>> answer a question. Their system of privileges is explained here:
>> http://askubuntu.com/help/privileges . But to summarize:
>> - if you're interested only in giving help, then the only really
>> relevant threshold is 10 and 50 votes (removing some new user
>> restrictions and allowing you to comment on posts, respectively)
>> - if you're interested only in seeking  help, then all thresholds are
>> irrelevant really
>>
>> All other thresholds are relevant only if you're interested in
>> contributing to the organization of information, or in moderating
>> this whole forum-slash-wiki thingy. And as a note, given the quality
>> of your answers on r-help, Bert, I have no doubt that you will clock
>> upwards 50 upvotes in a couple of hours or so.
>>
>>
>>> I realize that I may be out of step with the masses here, and the
>>> masses should certainly decide. Hopefully I won't be around if/when
>>> they decide that R-help should go.
>>>
>> The proposal is not necessarily to close down r-help. From the myriad
>> lists it currently has, R Core could keep only r-help and r-devel,
>> and encourage new users to seek help on r.stackexchange.com. The
>> scope of r-help could be redefined.
>>
>>
>>> On Mon, Feb 3, 2014 at 12:42 PM, MacQueen, Don <[hidden email]>
>>> wrote:
>>>>
>>>> - They waste copious amounts of screen space on irrelevant things
>>>> such as "votes", the number of views, the elapsed time since
>>>> something or other happened, fancy web-page headers, and so on. Oh,
>>>> and advertisements. The Mathematica stackexchange example given in
>>>> a link in one of the emails below
>>>> (http://mathematica.stackexchange.com/) illustrates these
>>>> shortcomings -- and it's not the worst such example.
>>>
>>>
>> Well, I've seen my fair share of advertisements on Gmail, Yahoo Mail
>> or what have you. I know some use dedicated clients, but not all do.
>> (And sofar I haven't noticed one single intrusive or distracting ad
>> on
>> SE.)
>>
>> As for the number of votes, this is actually the most useful bit of
>> this Q&A interface: it allows for the best questions (or most often
>> asked) to stand out from all the noise. And it allows for the best
>> answers (or those most authoritative) to stand out, too. Accepted
>> answers immediately indicate to others seeking similar help what has
>> worked for the OP. Very useful stuff.
>>
>> Voting also naturally allows to differentiate between neophytes
>> (<100), and professional helpers (>1k; think of Brian, David or, as
>> it happens, Bert). If you remember long ago someone proposed on
>> r-help a reputation system for our professional helpers, only to be
>> rebuffed essentially because it is unfeasible in a ML interface. The
>> SE Q&A web interface---or similar---naturally handles this.
>>
>>
>>
>>>> - In most if not all cases, one has to login before posting. I have
>>>> too many usernames and passwords as it is.
>>>
>>>
>> Fair point. However SE found a neat way around this: it keeps cookies
>> around and whenever you close the browser and reopen SE, it
>> identifies the cookie and auto-logs you in.
>>
>>
>>>> Right now, at this very moment, in my email client's window I can
>>>> see and browse the subject lines of 20 threads in r-help. And
>>>> that's using only about half of my screens vertical space. In
>>>> contrast, in the Mathematica stackexchange example, I can see at
>>>> most 10, and that only by using the entire vertical space of my
>>>> screen. The "From" column in my email client shows the names of
>>>> several of the people contributing to the thread, which the browser
>>>> interface does not. In the email client, I can move through
>>>> messages, and between messages in a thread using my keyboard. In a
>>>> browser, I have to do lots of mousing and clicking, which is much
>>>> less efficient.
>>>>
>> Again, fair point, but with SE you quickly realize that this is
>> irrelevant. On ML, even more so on r-help, the only sane way to sort
>> and filter the messages is using time. If a question wasn't answered
>> in 24h (or, to be generous, a week), chances tend to zero that this
>> question will ever be addressed. On SE it is absolutely normal for a
>> question to be answered, with a high-quality input, 3 months or 2
>> years later.
>>
>> It is also much easier to filter questions by topics: if you're
>> interested in GUI or plyr related questions, just display those tags,
>> and then answer relevant questions. On r-help you may only  guess
>> from the subject line what the question could possibly be about.
>>
>> The Q&A interface also allows easily to redirect users to similar
>> questions that were already answered (goodbye "PLEASE do read the
>> posting guide"), thus identifying duplicate questions. It also makes
>> it much easier to search for topics of interest that were already
>> addressed in the past; much easier than scouring the mountains of
>> untriaged r-help content.
>>
>> And do not underestimate the soft incentives induced by the voting
>> system. Users seek upvotes (you can set bounties, get moderator
>> privileges and so on), thus making them interested in giving
>> high-quality answers and asking high-quality questions. Very well
>> thought-out stuff.
>>
>>
>>>> As it is now, r-help messages come to me. I don't have to start up
>>>> a browser. So it's much easier to go take a quick look at what's
>>>> new at any time.
>>>>
>> Agreed. I understand the frustration from using a different medium.
>>
>>
>>>> True, I had to subscribe to the mailing list, which involves a
>>>> username and password. But once it's done, it's done. I don't have
>>>> to login before posting, which means I don't have to remember yet
>>>> another username and password.
>>>>
>> Mostly same happens with SE, the way they set it up.
>>
>>
>>>> What "...duplicated efforts of monitoring multiple mailing lists)"?
>>>> I have no duplicated effort...in fact, I have almost no effort at
>>>> all, since the messages come to me. There was some initial setup,
>>>> i.e., to filter different r-* messages to different mailboxes in my
>>>> email client, but now that that's done, it's as simple as clicking
>>>> on the correct mailbox.
>>>>
>> Do you follow r-sig-gui or r-sig-teaching or r-sig-finance or
>> r-sig-robust? Does Brian follow them all? Probably not. People who
>> are seeking specialized help have a hugely reduced chance of getting
>> useful help.
>>
>> On SE however, the efforts are not fragmented; all questions are
>> asked and answered in the same place. If a question pertains to
>> 'plyr' and 'finance', either a finance type or a plyr enthusiast are
>> as likely to answer. For the r-sig-* MLs, one would need to subscribe
>> to all MLs and monitor them all; few do so.
>>
>>
>>>> In other words, in every way that's important to me, the mailing
>>>> list approach is superior. I do not support abandoning the mailing
>>>> list system for any alternative.
>>>
>>>
>> I'm not an SE  evangelist, and only truly discovered it about a month
>> ago or so (even though it seems that I had registered more than a
>> year ago), and initially I was quite very skeptical of this "fancy forum".
>> But when I actually realized how _efficient_ this Q&A interface is, I
>> quickly decided that r-help and associated r-sig-* were good to go
>> the way of the usenet. Long story short, the Q&A interface is
>> impressive in terms of economic efficiency, i.e. matching up supply
>> and demand; the ML is quite inefficient in comparison.
>>
>> Kind regards,
>> Liviu
>>
>>
>>>
>>>> -Don
>>>>
>>>> --
>>>> Don MacQueen
>>>>
>>>> Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory 7000 East Ave., L-627
>>>> Livermore, CA 94550
>>>> 925-423-1062
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> On 2/2/14 1:49 PM, "Liviu Andronic" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> Dear Duncan,
>>>>> I discovered something interesting wrt to the licensing and
>>>>> mirroring of user-contributed material on StackExchange.  Please read below.
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> On Sun, Nov 24, 2013 at 9:00 PM, Duncan Murdoch
>>>>> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> I'm not aware of a discussion on this, but I would say no.
>>>>>>> Fragmentation is bad. Further fragmentation is worse.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> TL;DR
>>>>>>> =====
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Actually I'd say all mailing lists except r-devel should be
>>>>>>> moving to StackOverlow in the future (disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with it).
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> I would generally agree with you, except for a few points.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> 1.  I avoid StackOverflow, because they claim copyright on the
>>>>>> compilation.
>>>>>> As I read their terms of service, it would be illegal for anyone
>>>>>> to download and duplicate all postings about R.  So a posting
>>>>>> there is only available as long as they choose to make it
>>>>>> available. Postings to the mailing list are archived in several
>>>>>> places.
>>>>>>
>>>>> It seems that StackOverflow is officially proposing user-generated
>>>>> content for download/mirroring:
>>>>>
>>>>> http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2014/01/stack-exchange-cc-data-now-h
>>>>> osted-by
>>>>> -the-internet-archive/?cb=1
>>>>>
>>>>> "All community-contributed content on Stack Exchange is licensed
>>>>> under the Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license. " And it is
>>>>> currently being mirrored at least at the Internet Archive:
>>>>> https://archive.org/details/stackexchange
>>>>>
>>>>> So, in principle, it would be possible/desirable to:
>>>>> - spin the 'r' tag from StackOverflow and propose an
>>>>> r.stackexchange.com at
>>>>> http://area51.stackexchange.com/categories/8/technology . Such a
>>>>> SE site would be similar to http://mathematica.stackexchange.com/
>>>>> - involve R Core to give blessing for using the R logo, if necessary.
>>>>> This would be similar to what Ubuntu does with AskUbuntu:
>>>>> http://meta.askubuntu.com/questions/5444/is-ask-ubuntu-official-ub
>>>>> untu
>>>>> - set a mirror on r-project.org for all the user content that is
>>>>> produced by r.stackexchange.com , and thus allow R Core to keep
>>>>> the info publicly available at all times. The mirroring on
>>>>> Internet Archive would still hold.
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>> 2.  I think an interface like StackOverflow is better than the
>>>>>> mailing list interface, and will eventually win out.  R-help
>>>>>> needs to do nothing, once someone puts together something like
>>>>>> StackOverflow that attracts most of the people who give good
>>>>>> answers, R-help will just fade away.
>>>>>>
>>>>> The advantages for such a move are countless (especially wrt to
>>>>> efficiently organizing R-related knowledge and directing users to
>>>>> appropriate sources of info), so I won't go into that. I would
>>>>> only note that most 'r-sig-*' MLs would become obsolete in such a
>>>>> setup, and would be replaced by the much more efficient tagging
>>>>> system of the SE Q&A web interface (for example, all posts
>>>>> appropriate for r-sig-gui would simply be tagged with 'gui'; no
>>>>> need for duplicated efforts of monitoring multiple mailing lists).
>>>>>
>>>>> Opinions?
>>>>>
>>>>> Liviu
>>>>>
>>>>> ______________________________________________
>>>>> [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.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> ______________________________________________
>>>> [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.
>>>
>>>
>>> ______________________________________________
>>> [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.
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> --
>> Do you know how to read?
>> http://www.alienetworks.com/srtest.cfm
>> http://goodies.xfce.org/projects/applications/xfce4-dict#speed-reader
>> Do you know how to write?
>> http://garbl.home.comcast.net/~garbl/stylemanual/e.htm#e-mail
>>
>> ______________________________________________
>> [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.
>>
>



--
Do you know how to read?
http://www.alienetworks.com/srtest.cfm
http://goodies.xfce.org/projects/applications/xfce4-dict#speed-reader
Do you know how to write?
http://garbl.home.comcast.net/~garbl/stylemanual/e.htm#e-mail

______________________________________________
[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.

______________________________________________
[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.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: creating an equivalent of r-help on r.stackexchange.com ? (was: Re: Should there be an R-beginners list?)

Clint Bowman
Jason,

Thanks--I've found an RSS feed from EPA very useful and will check
Stackoverflow's.

Clint

Clint Bowman INTERNET: [hidden email]
Air Quality Modeler INTERNET: [hidden email]
Department of Ecology VOICE: (360) 407-6815
PO Box 47600 FAX: (360) 407-7534
Olympia, WA 98504-7600

         USPS:           PO Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600
         Parcels:        300 Desmond Drive, Lacey, WA 98503-1274

On Tue, 4 Feb 2014, Law, Jason wrote:

> Clint and Liviu,
>
> Stackoverflow also has rss feeds available, if you prefer being pushed the information that way.  For the R tagged questions it's here: http://stackoverflow.com/feeds/tag/r.  Since some e-mail clients double as feed readers, you may be able to read the feed from your e-mail client.  Otherwise, it does mean another application.
>
> Regards,
>
> Jason
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Liviu Andronic
> Sent: Monday, February 03, 2014 11:24 PM
> To: Clint Bowman
> Cc: [hidden email]; Bert Gunter
> Subject: Re: [R] creating an equivalent of r-help on r.stackexchange.com ? (was: Re: Should there be an R-beginners list?)
>
> Dear Clint,
>
>
> On Tue, Feb 4, 2014 at 1:27 AM, Clint Bowman <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> Liviu,
>>
>> Thanks for the excellent description of the advantages of SE.
>> However, there is a significant fraction of the population that
>> prefers that information be pushed out to them rather than having to
>> pull it to them. The best system is one that accommodates both equally well.
>>
> It's not exactly the same as in a mail client, but you also have a push-like interface on SE, sort of:
> http://stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/r
> - The 'Newest' tab displays all recent questions, sorted in chronological order with latest on top; it gets refreshed automatically, as in a mail client (hence, "push-like")
> - The 'Active' tab displays all questions with recent activity (question asked, answered or commented upon)
> - You also have the very useful 'Unanswered' tab, which allows to identify questions that haven't yet received useful advice
>
> Another push-like element in SE is that once you ask a question or answer, any subsequent comments on your post will be notified to you either in the web interface or by email. This helps keep discussions alive.
>
> Regards,
> Liviu
>
>
>>
>> Clint
>>
>> Clint Bowman                    INTERNET:       [hidden email]
>> Air Quality Modeler             INTERNET:       [hidden email]
>> Department of Ecology           VOICE:          (360) 407-6815
>> PO Box 47600                    FAX:            (360) 407-7534
>> Olympia, WA 98504-7600
>>
>>         USPS:           PO Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600
>>         Parcels:        300 Desmond Drive, Lacey, WA 98503-1274
>>
>> On Tue, 4 Feb 2014, Liviu Andronic wrote:
>>
>>> Dear Don and Bert,
>>> Allow me to address some of your concerns below.
>>>
>>>
>>> On Mon, Feb 3, 2014 at 9:56 PM, Bert Gunter <[hidden email]>
>>> wrote:
>>>>
>>>> I find SO's voting for posting business especially irritating. I
>>>> wish merely to post or to read the posts of others without being
>>>> subjected to some kind of online pseudo game and ratings
>>>> competition. That alone keeps me away. But Don said it better.
>>>>
>>> On SO voting is irrelevant for either posting a question or an answer.
>>> *Anyone* (with an account) can ask a question, and *anyone* can
>>> answer a question. Their system of privileges is explained here:
>>> http://askubuntu.com/help/privileges . But to summarize:
>>> - if you're interested only in giving help, then the only really
>>> relevant threshold is 10 and 50 votes (removing some new user
>>> restrictions and allowing you to comment on posts, respectively)
>>> - if you're interested only in seeking  help, then all thresholds are
>>> irrelevant really
>>>
>>> All other thresholds are relevant only if you're interested in
>>> contributing to the organization of information, or in moderating
>>> this whole forum-slash-wiki thingy. And as a note, given the quality
>>> of your answers on r-help, Bert, I have no doubt that you will clock
>>> upwards 50 upvotes in a couple of hours or so.
>>>
>>>
>>>> I realize that I may be out of step with the masses here, and the
>>>> masses should certainly decide. Hopefully I won't be around if/when
>>>> they decide that R-help should go.
>>>>
>>> The proposal is not necessarily to close down r-help. From the myriad
>>> lists it currently has, R Core could keep only r-help and r-devel,
>>> and encourage new users to seek help on r.stackexchange.com. The
>>> scope of r-help could be redefined.
>>>
>>>
>>>> On Mon, Feb 3, 2014 at 12:42 PM, MacQueen, Don <[hidden email]>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>> - They waste copious amounts of screen space on irrelevant things
>>>>> such as "votes", the number of views, the elapsed time since
>>>>> something or other happened, fancy web-page headers, and so on. Oh,
>>>>> and advertisements. The Mathematica stackexchange example given in
>>>>> a link in one of the emails below
>>>>> (http://mathematica.stackexchange.com/) illustrates these
>>>>> shortcomings -- and it's not the worst such example.
>>>>
>>>>
>>> Well, I've seen my fair share of advertisements on Gmail, Yahoo Mail
>>> or what have you. I know some use dedicated clients, but not all do.
>>> (And sofar I haven't noticed one single intrusive or distracting ad
>>> on
>>> SE.)
>>>
>>> As for the number of votes, this is actually the most useful bit of
>>> this Q&A interface: it allows for the best questions (or most often
>>> asked) to stand out from all the noise. And it allows for the best
>>> answers (or those most authoritative) to stand out, too. Accepted
>>> answers immediately indicate to others seeking similar help what has
>>> worked for the OP. Very useful stuff.
>>>
>>> Voting also naturally allows to differentiate between neophytes
>>> (<100), and professional helpers (>1k; think of Brian, David or, as
>>> it happens, Bert). If you remember long ago someone proposed on
>>> r-help a reputation system for our professional helpers, only to be
>>> rebuffed essentially because it is unfeasible in a ML interface. The
>>> SE Q&A web interface---or similar---naturally handles this.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>>> - In most if not all cases, one has to login before posting. I have
>>>>> too many usernames and passwords as it is.
>>>>
>>>>
>>> Fair point. However SE found a neat way around this: it keeps cookies
>>> around and whenever you close the browser and reopen SE, it
>>> identifies the cookie and auto-logs you in.
>>>
>>>
>>>>> Right now, at this very moment, in my email client's window I can
>>>>> see and browse the subject lines of 20 threads in r-help. And
>>>>> that's using only about half of my screens vertical space. In
>>>>> contrast, in the Mathematica stackexchange example, I can see at
>>>>> most 10, and that only by using the entire vertical space of my
>>>>> screen. The "From" column in my email client shows the names of
>>>>> several of the people contributing to the thread, which the browser
>>>>> interface does not. In the email client, I can move through
>>>>> messages, and between messages in a thread using my keyboard. In a
>>>>> browser, I have to do lots of mousing and clicking, which is much
>>>>> less efficient.
>>>>>
>>> Again, fair point, but with SE you quickly realize that this is
>>> irrelevant. On ML, even more so on r-help, the only sane way to sort
>>> and filter the messages is using time. If a question wasn't answered
>>> in 24h (or, to be generous, a week), chances tend to zero that this
>>> question will ever be addressed. On SE it is absolutely normal for a
>>> question to be answered, with a high-quality input, 3 months or 2
>>> years later.
>>>
>>> It is also much easier to filter questions by topics: if you're
>>> interested in GUI or plyr related questions, just display those tags,
>>> and then answer relevant questions. On r-help you may only  guess
>>> from the subject line what the question could possibly be about.
>>>
>>> The Q&A interface also allows easily to redirect users to similar
>>> questions that were already answered (goodbye "PLEASE do read the
>>> posting guide"), thus identifying duplicate questions. It also makes
>>> it much easier to search for topics of interest that were already
>>> addressed in the past; much easier than scouring the mountains of
>>> untriaged r-help content.
>>>
>>> And do not underestimate the soft incentives induced by the voting
>>> system. Users seek upvotes (you can set bounties, get moderator
>>> privileges and so on), thus making them interested in giving
>>> high-quality answers and asking high-quality questions. Very well
>>> thought-out stuff.
>>>
>>>
>>>>> As it is now, r-help messages come to me. I don't have to start up
>>>>> a browser. So it's much easier to go take a quick look at what's
>>>>> new at any time.
>>>>>
>>> Agreed. I understand the frustration from using a different medium.
>>>
>>>
>>>>> True, I had to subscribe to the mailing list, which involves a
>>>>> username and password. But once it's done, it's done. I don't have
>>>>> to login before posting, which means I don't have to remember yet
>>>>> another username and password.
>>>>>
>>> Mostly same happens with SE, the way they set it up.
>>>
>>>
>>>>> What "...duplicated efforts of monitoring multiple mailing lists)"?
>>>>> I have no duplicated effort...in fact, I have almost no effort at
>>>>> all, since the messages come to me. There was some initial setup,
>>>>> i.e., to filter different r-* messages to different mailboxes in my
>>>>> email client, but now that that's done, it's as simple as clicking
>>>>> on the correct mailbox.
>>>>>
>>> Do you follow r-sig-gui or r-sig-teaching or r-sig-finance or
>>> r-sig-robust? Does Brian follow them all? Probably not. People who
>>> are seeking specialized help have a hugely reduced chance of getting
>>> useful help.
>>>
>>> On SE however, the efforts are not fragmented; all questions are
>>> asked and answered in the same place. If a question pertains to
>>> 'plyr' and 'finance', either a finance type or a plyr enthusiast are
>>> as likely to answer. For the r-sig-* MLs, one would need to subscribe
>>> to all MLs and monitor them all; few do so.
>>>
>>>
>>>>> In other words, in every way that's important to me, the mailing
>>>>> list approach is superior. I do not support abandoning the mailing
>>>>> list system for any alternative.
>>>>
>>>>
>>> I'm not an SE  evangelist, and only truly discovered it about a month
>>> ago or so (even though it seems that I had registered more than a
>>> year ago), and initially I was quite very skeptical of this "fancy forum".
>>> But when I actually realized how _efficient_ this Q&A interface is, I
>>> quickly decided that r-help and associated r-sig-* were good to go
>>> the way of the usenet. Long story short, the Q&A interface is
>>> impressive in terms of economic efficiency, i.e. matching up supply
>>> and demand; the ML is quite inefficient in comparison.
>>>
>>> Kind regards,
>>> Liviu
>>>
>>>
>>>>
>>>>> -Don
>>>>>
>>>>> --
>>>>> Don MacQueen
>>>>>
>>>>> Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory 7000 East Ave., L-627
>>>>> Livermore, CA 94550
>>>>> 925-423-1062
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> On 2/2/14 1:49 PM, "Liviu Andronic" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>>> Dear Duncan,
>>>>>> I discovered something interesting wrt to the licensing and
>>>>>> mirroring of user-contributed material on StackExchange.  Please read below.
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> On Sun, Nov 24, 2013 at 9:00 PM, Duncan Murdoch
>>>>>> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> I'm not aware of a discussion on this, but I would say no.
>>>>>>>> Fragmentation is bad. Further fragmentation is worse.
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> TL;DR
>>>>>>>> =====
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> Actually I'd say all mailing lists except r-devel should be
>>>>>>>> moving to StackOverlow in the future (disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with it).
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> I would generally agree with you, except for a few points.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> 1.  I avoid StackOverflow, because they claim copyright on the
>>>>>>> compilation.
>>>>>>> As I read their terms of service, it would be illegal for anyone
>>>>>>> to download and duplicate all postings about R.  So a posting
>>>>>>> there is only available as long as they choose to make it
>>>>>>> available. Postings to the mailing list are archived in several
>>>>>>> places.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>> It seems that StackOverflow is officially proposing user-generated
>>>>>> content for download/mirroring:
>>>>>>
>>>>>> http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2014/01/stack-exchange-cc-data-now-h
>>>>>> osted-by
>>>>>> -the-internet-archive/?cb=1
>>>>>>
>>>>>> "All community-contributed content on Stack Exchange is licensed
>>>>>> under the Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license. " And it is
>>>>>> currently being mirrored at least at the Internet Archive:
>>>>>> https://archive.org/details/stackexchange
>>>>>>
>>>>>> So, in principle, it would be possible/desirable to:
>>>>>> - spin the 'r' tag from StackOverflow and propose an
>>>>>> r.stackexchange.com at
>>>>>> http://area51.stackexchange.com/categories/8/technology . Such a
>>>>>> SE site would be similar to http://mathematica.stackexchange.com/
>>>>>> - involve R Core to give blessing for using the R logo, if necessary.
>>>>>> This would be similar to what Ubuntu does with AskUbuntu:
>>>>>> http://meta.askubuntu.com/questions/5444/is-ask-ubuntu-official-ub
>>>>>> untu
>>>>>> - set a mirror on r-project.org for all the user content that is
>>>>>> produced by r.stackexchange.com , and thus allow R Core to keep
>>>>>> the info publicly available at all times. The mirroring on
>>>>>> Internet Archive would still hold.
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>> 2.  I think an interface like StackOverflow is better than the
>>>>>>> mailing list interface, and will eventually win out.  R-help
>>>>>>> needs to do nothing, once someone puts together something like
>>>>>>> StackOverflow that attracts most of the people who give good
>>>>>>> answers, R-help will just fade away.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>> The advantages for such a move are countless (especially wrt to
>>>>>> efficiently organizing R-related knowledge and directing users to
>>>>>> appropriate sources of info), so I won't go into that. I would
>>>>>> only note that most 'r-sig-*' MLs would become obsolete in such a
>>>>>> setup, and would be replaced by the much more efficient tagging
>>>>>> system of the SE Q&A web interface (for example, all posts
>>>>>> appropriate for r-sig-gui would simply be tagged with 'gui'; no
>>>>>> need for duplicated efforts of monitoring multiple mailing lists).
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Opinions?
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Liviu
>>>>>>
>>>>>> ______________________________________________
>>>>>> [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.
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> ______________________________________________
>>>>> [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.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> ______________________________________________
>>>> [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.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> --
>>> Do you know how to read?
>>> http://www.alienetworks.com/srtest.cfm
>>> http://goodies.xfce.org/projects/applications/xfce4-dict#speed-reader
>>> Do you know how to write?
>>> http://garbl.home.comcast.net/~garbl/stylemanual/e.htm#e-mail
>>>
>>> ______________________________________________
>>> [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.
>>>
>>
>
>
>
> --
> Do you know how to read?
> http://www.alienetworks.com/srtest.cfm
> http://goodies.xfce.org/projects/applications/xfce4-dict#speed-reader
> Do you know how to write?
> http://garbl.home.comcast.net/~garbl/stylemanual/e.htm#e-mail
>
> ______________________________________________
> [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.
>

______________________________________________
[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.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: creating an equivalent of r-help on r.stackexchange.com ? (was: Re: Should there be an R-beginners list?)

Liviu Andronic
In reply to this post by Liviu Andronic
Dear all,


On Sun, Feb 2, 2014 at 10:49 PM, Liviu Andronic <[hidden email]> wrote:

> It seems that StackOverflow is officially proposing user-generated
> content for download/mirroring:
> http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2014/01/stack-exchange-cc-data-now-hosted-by-the-internet-archive/?cb=1
>
> "All community-contributed content on Stack Exchange is licensed under
> the Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license. " And it is currently being
> mirrored at least at the Internet Archive:
> https://archive.org/details/stackexchange
>
> So, in principle, it would be possible/desirable to:
> - spin the 'r' tag from StackOverflow and propose an r.stackexchange.com at
> http://area51.stackexchange.com/categories/8/technology . Such a SE
> site would be similar to http://mathematica.stackexchange.com/
>
As Duncan suggested earlier, tying R Core to StackExchange may or may
not be a good idea as it would make it somewhat dependent on external
corporate interests. (Personally I see both advantages and
disadvantages.)

So in the end my proposal is not necessarily for r-help to go to SE,
but more for R to have its own Q&A forum/wiki for helping R users.
This could perfectly take the form of setting up its own open-source
https://github.com/ialbert/biostar-central Q&A interface (a SE-like
web interface) on R Core's servers. In this case the website would
look like the following: http://www.biostars.org/ .

Regards,
Liviu


> - involve R Core to give blessing for using the R logo, if necessary.
> This would be similar to what Ubuntu does with AskUbuntu:
> http://meta.askubuntu.com/questions/5444/is-ask-ubuntu-official-ubuntu
> - set a mirror on r-project.org for all the user content that is
> produced by r.stackexchange.com , and thus allow R Core to keep the
> info publicly available at all times. The mirroring on Internet
> Archive would still hold.
>
>
>> 2.  I think an interface like StackOverflow is better than the mailing list
>> interface, and will eventually win out.  R-help needs to do nothing, once
>> someone puts together something like StackOverflow that attracts most of the
>> people who give good answers, R-help will just fade away.
>>
> The advantages for such a move are countless (especially wrt to
> efficiently organizing R-related knowledge and directing users to
> appropriate sources of info), so I won't go into that. I would only
> note that most 'r-sig-*' MLs would become obsolete in such a setup,
> and would be replaced by the much more efficient tagging system of the
> SE Q&A web interface (for example, all posts appropriate for r-sig-gui
> would simply be tagged with 'gui'; no need for duplicated efforts of
> monitoring multiple mailing lists).
>
> Opinions?
>
> Liviu
>
> ______________________________________________
> [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.



--
Do you know how to read?
http://www.alienetworks.com/srtest.cfm
http://goodies.xfce.org/projects/applications/xfce4-dict#speed-reader
Do you know how to write?
http://garbl.home.comcast.net/~garbl/stylemanual/e.htm#e-mail

______________________________________________
[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.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: creating an equivalent of r-help on r.stackexchange.com ? (was: Re: Should there be an R-beginners list?)

barry rowlingson
In reply to this post by Liviu Andronic
On Wed, Feb 5, 2014 at 6:32 AM, Liviu Andronic <[hidden email]> wrote:

> So in the end my proposal is not necessarily for r-help to go to SE,
> but more for R to have its own Q&A forum/wiki for helping R users.
> This could perfectly take the form of setting up its own open-source
> https://github.com/ialbert/biostar-central Q&A interface (a SE-like
> web interface) on R Core's servers. In this case the website would
> look like the following: http://www.biostars.org/ .

 Have you seen Field Of Dreams? Kevin Costner builds a baseball
stadium in the middle of nowhere and all his favourite baseball stars
appear out of the corn. He does it because he hear a voice say "if you
build it, they will come".

 R-core are not going to do anything for users. They are primarily, if
I recall one of Brian Ripley's talks correctly, doing it for
themselves. Quite right too.

R Core doesn't have servers - at least not ones they can just dedicate
to running and maintaining a Q+A site, especially one that could scale
up massively. That requires money for hardware or cloud servers, admin
time, sys maintenance time etc.

So if you think something is a good idea, build it, and they (the
users) will come. For example, I don't go to the r-project site for
help any more. www.rdocumentation.org has a much nicer search
interface. Someone started asking questions with the [R] tag on
StackOverflow, and now a lot of people hang around there. The RStudio
guys didn't whine on R-Core to build a nice user interface - they
built it, and look what happened.

Let's leave R-Core to carry on with the core, and let the community
build around it. If you can raise the cash to fund an amazon server
for a year that can run one of the StackExchange clones, and are
willing to admin it, then you can surely advertise it here and if
people like it they will come. Maybe you can build a business model
round advertising, consulting, or premium Q+A services (these exist:
my gf gets paid to answer what are probably homework questions...) to
keep it going. If you can't then you should appreciate what you just
asked R-Core to do for nothing.

Barry

______________________________________________
[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.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: creating an equivalent of r-help on r.stackexchange.com ? (was: Re: Should there be an R-beginners list?)

Duncan Murdoch-2
In reply to this post by Liviu Andronic
On 05/02/2014 1:32 AM, Liviu Andronic wrote:

> Dear all,
>
>
> On Sun, Feb 2, 2014 at 10:49 PM, Liviu Andronic <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > It seems that StackOverflow is officially proposing user-generated
> > content for download/mirroring:
> > http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2014/01/stack-exchange-cc-data-now-hosted-by-the-internet-archive/?cb=1
> >
> > "All community-contributed content on Stack Exchange is licensed under
> > the Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license. " And it is currently being
> > mirrored at least at the Internet Archive:
> > https://archive.org/details/stackexchange
> >
> > So, in principle, it would be possible/desirable to:
> > - spin the 'r' tag from StackOverflow and propose an r.stackexchange.com at
> > http://area51.stackexchange.com/categories/8/technology . Such a SE
> > site would be similar to http://mathematica.stackexchange.com/
> >
> As Duncan suggested earlier, tying R Core to StackExchange may or may
> not be a good idea as it would make it somewhat dependent on external
> corporate interests. (Personally I see both advantages and
> disadvantages.)

That's not what I said.  I described the reasons *I* do not use it, I
said nothing about R Core.
>
> So in the end my proposal is not necessarily for r-help to go to SE,
> but more for R to have its own Q&A forum/wiki for helping R users.
> This could perfectly take the form of setting up its own open-source
> https://github.com/ialbert/biostar-central Q&A interface (a SE-like
> web interface) on R Core's servers. In this case the website would
> look like the following: http://www.biostars.org/ .

Barry's response to this request addressed it really well.  If you want
it, go ahead and build it.

Duncan Murdoch

>
> Regards,
> Liviu
>
>
> > - involve R Core to give blessing for using the R logo, if necessary.
> > This would be similar to what Ubuntu does with AskUbuntu:
> > http://meta.askubuntu.com/questions/5444/is-ask-ubuntu-official-ubuntu
> > - set a mirror on r-project.org for all the user content that is
> > produced by r.stackexchange.com , and thus allow R Core to keep the
> > info publicly available at all times. The mirroring on Internet
> > Archive would still hold.
> >
> >
> >> 2.  I think an interface like StackOverflow is better than the mailing list
> >> interface, and will eventually win out.  R-help needs to do nothing, once
> >> someone puts together something like StackOverflow that attracts most of the
> >> people who give good answers, R-help will just fade away.
> >>
> > The advantages for such a move are countless (especially wrt to
> > efficiently organizing R-related knowledge and directing users to
> > appropriate sources of info), so I won't go into that. I would only
> > note that most 'r-sig-*' MLs would become obsolete in such a setup,
> > and would be replaced by the much more efficient tagging system of the
> > SE Q&A web interface (for example, all posts appropriate for r-sig-gui
> > would simply be tagged with 'gui'; no need for duplicated efforts of
> > monitoring multiple mailing lists).
> >
> > Opinions?
> >
> > Liviu
> >
> > ______________________________________________
> > [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.
>
>
>

______________________________________________
[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.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: creating an equivalent of r-help on r.stackexchange.com ? (was: Re: Should there be an R-beginners list?)

Patrick Connolly-4
In reply to this post by Liviu Andronic
On Tue, 04-Feb-2014 at 01:11AM +0100, Liviu Andronic wrote:

|> Dear Don and Bert,
|> Allow me to address some of your concerns below.
|>

Which you do very clearly by positioning your responses underneath
what you're commenting on.  That doesn't seem to be possible on SE.


[...]

|> > On Mon, Feb 3, 2014 at 12:42 PM, MacQueen, Don
|> > <[hidden email]> wrote:
|> >> - They waste copious amounts of screen space on irrelevant
|> >> things such as "votes", the number of views, the elapsed time
|> >> since something or other happened, fancy web-page headers, and
|> >> so on. Oh, and advertisements. The Mathematica stackexchange
|> >> example given in a link in one of the emails below
|> >> (http://mathematica.stackexchange.com/) illustrates these
|> >> shortcomings -- and it's not the worst such example.


|> >
|> Well, I've seen my fair share of advertisements on Gmail, Yahoo Mail
|> or what have you. I know some use dedicated clients, but not all do.

Thunderbird with an IMAP setup avoids advertisements entirely even on
Gmail and Yahoo Mail (and is quicker).


|> (And sofar I haven't noticed one single intrusive or distracting ad on
|> SE.)

They do take up screen space where something more usable could use it.

[...]


|> >> Right now, at this very moment, in my email client's window I
|> >> can see and browse the subject lines of 20 threads in
|> >> r-help. And that's using only about half of my screens vertical
|> >> space. In contrast, in the Mathematica stackexchange example, I
|> >> can see at most 10, and that only by using the entire vertical
|> >> space of my screen. The "From" column in my email client shows
|> >> the names of several of the people contributing to the thread,
|> >> which the browser interface does not. In the email client, I can
|> >> move through messages, and between messages in a thread using my
|> >> keyboard. In a browser, I have to do lots of mousing and
|> >> clicking, which is much less efficient.
|> >>

|> Again, fair point, but with SE you quickly realize that this is
|> irrelevant. On ML, even more so on r-help, the only sane way to
|> sort and filter the messages is using time. ...

Call me insane but I find sorting by thread within subject far more
useful.  Seeing who else has already commented on the subject helps to
give me a good idea whether it's a subject I'm interested in.  If not
I delete the whole thread and leave space on my screen where I can see
75 subject lines without scrolling.  If it's an interesting thread, I
save it to an appropriate folder on my disk.  A browser interface
can't come close to that usability.  Many people have never seen mail
displayed in threads and so have little idea what I'm referring to.

[...]

|> It is also much easier to filter questions by topics: if you're
|> interested in GUI or plyr related questions, just display those
|> tags, and then answer relevant questions. On r-help you may only
|> guess from the subject line what the question could possibly be
|> about.

My mail client allows me to filter by any string in the body of the
message.  It's rather useful.


<rant> I'm evidently in a decreasing minority group who learnt to use
computers with punch cards (and patch panels for differential
equations) which probably colours my view.  The fact that simpler
effective means of communications are being taken over by whizz-bang
complicated inefficient ones is a cause for concern.  I belong to a
group (as distinct from the aforementioned minority group) which has
never known the delights of an efficient mailing list and flounders
around trying to communicate via Facebook.  The level of communication
is appalling: nobody ever knows what's going on. We might as well be
using punch cards.</rant>


best

--
~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.  
   ___    Patrick Connolly  
 {~._.~}                   Great minds discuss ideas    
 _( Y )_           Average minds discuss events
(:_~*~_:)                  Small minds discuss people  
 (_)-(_)                        ..... Eleanor Roosevelt
         
~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.

______________________________________________
[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.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: creating an equivalent of r-help on r.stackexchange.com ? (was: Re: Should there be an R-beginners list?)

Yihui Xie-2
For those defending mailing lists over StackOverflow, can you merge
these threads so later readers do not have to move between multiple
conversations?

  1. Re: Should there be an R-beginners list?

  2. Re: [R] creating an equivalent of r-help on r.stackexchange.com ?
(was: Re: Should there be an R-beginners list?)

  3. Re: creating an equivalent of r-help on r.stackexchange.com ?


On Fri, Feb 7, 2014 at 9:41 PM, Patrick Connolly
<[hidden email]> wrote:
> On Tue, 04-Feb-2014 at 01:11AM +0100, Liviu Andronic wrote:
>
> |> Dear Don and Bert,
> |> Allow me to address some of your concerns below.
> |>
>
> Which you do very clearly by positioning your responses underneath
> what you're commenting on.  That doesn't seem to be possible on SE.

Sometimes "hijacking" in the middle of a thread like this is bad,
because the discussion quickly diverges and we do not remember what
previous hijackers said after a few rounds of replies (you just see
[...], <snip>, > >>, >|, ||, > >|>, ...). For example, what did Liviu
say?

>
>
> [...]
>
> |> > On Mon, Feb 3, 2014 at 12:42 PM, MacQueen, Don
> |> > <[hidden email]> wrote:
> |> >> - They waste copious amounts of screen space on irrelevant
> |> >> things such as "votes", the number of views, the elapsed time
> |> >> since something or other happened, fancy web-page headers, and
> |> >> so on. Oh, and advertisements. The Mathematica stackexchange
> |> >> example given in a link in one of the emails below
> |> >> (http://mathematica.stackexchange.com/) illustrates these
> |> >> shortcomings -- and it's not the worst such example.
>
>
> |> >
> |> Well, I've seen my fair share of advertisements on Gmail, Yahoo Mail
> |> or what have you. I know some use dedicated clients, but not all do.
>
> Thunderbird with an IMAP setup avoids advertisements entirely even on
> Gmail and Yahoo Mail (and is quicker).

Seriously, do you have an ad "Windows 7 inside" or "Intel inside" or
an Apple icon on your laptop?... Personally I rarely notice the ads on
StackOverflow. You are free to hate ads as I do, but you are also free
to ignore them. Someone picked up Mathematica SE as an example, but
has anyone really gone to http://stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/r
and checked if there are ads?

>
>
> |> (And sofar I haven't noticed one single intrusive or distracting ad on
> |> SE.)
>
> They do take up screen space where something more usable could use it.
>
> [...]
>
>
> |> >> Right now, at this very moment, in my email client's window I
> |> >> can see and browse the subject lines of 20 threads in
> |> >> r-help. And that's using only about half of my screens vertical
> |> >> space. In contrast, in the Mathematica stackexchange example, I
> |> >> can see at most 10, and that only by using the entire vertical
> |> >> space of my screen. The "From" column in my email client shows
> |> >> the names of several of the people contributing to the thread,
> |> >> which the browser interface does not. In the email client, I can
> |> >> move through messages, and between messages in a thread using my
> |> >> keyboard. In a browser, I have to do lots of mousing and
> |> >> clicking, which is much less efficient.
> |> >>
>
> |> Again, fair point, but with SE you quickly realize that this is
> |> irrelevant. On ML, even more so on r-help, the only sane way to
> |> sort and filter the messages is using time. ...
>
> Call me insane but I find sorting by thread within subject far more
> useful.  Seeing who else has already commented on the subject helps to
> give me a good idea whether it's a subject I'm interested in.  If not
> I delete the whole thread and leave space on my screen where I can see
> 75 subject lines without scrolling.  If it's an interesting thread, I
> save it to an appropriate folder on my disk.  A browser interface
> can't come close to that usability.  Many people have never seen mail
> displayed in threads and so have little idea what I'm referring to.
>
> [...]
>
> |> It is also much easier to filter questions by topics: if you're
> |> interested in GUI or plyr related questions, just display those
> |> tags, and then answer relevant questions. On r-help you may only
> |> guess from the subject line what the question could possibly be
> |> about.
>
> My mail client allows me to filter by any string in the body of the
> message.  It's rather useful.
I'm hijacking here not to say anything but just to prove my first point.
>
>
> <rant> I'm evidently in a decreasing minority group who learnt to use
> computers with punch cards (and patch panels for differential
> equations) which probably colours my view.  The fact that simpler
> effective means of communications are being taken over by whizz-bang
and here. Can you see me?

> complicated inefficient ones is a cause for concern.  I belong to a
> group (as distinct from the aforementioned minority group) which has
> never known the delights of an efficient mailing list and flounders
> around trying to communicate via Facebook.  The level of communication
> is appalling: nobody ever knows what's going on. We might as well be
> using punch cards.</rant>
>
>
> best
>
> --
> ~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.
>    ___    Patrick Connolly
>  {~._.~}                   Great minds discuss ideas
>  _( Y )_                 Average minds discuss events
> (:_~*~_:)                  Small minds discuss people
>  (_)-(_)                              ..... Eleanor Roosevelt
>
> ~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do not read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> or provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.

Sorry, I do not mean to offend anyone (if you notice anything odd). I
just want to support Barry's opinion: mailing lists are good for
discussions, and SO/SE is good for Q&A's. Nothing is good for
everything.

Regards,
Yihui
--
Yihui Xie <[hidden email]>
Web: http://yihui.name

______________________________________________
[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.
12