[R] A small question

Marc Schwartz MSchwartz at medanalytics.com
Sat Dec 22 19:39:42 CET 2001

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-r-help at stat.math.ethz.ch
> [mailto:owner-r-help at stat.math.ethz.ch]On Behalf Of Frank E Harrell Jr
> Subject: Re: [R] A small question
> Please pardon my grumpiness but questions of this type make
> me wonder why r-help uses an E-mail list rather than an
> interactive chat room.  There seems to be no memory of
> questions and answers which were covered in detail even as
> recently as two weeks ago..  Perhaps some way should be found
> to force the visability of the e-mail archive onto new users.
> Frank

Dr. Harrell,

If I may, respectfully as a new user, I do not find your query unreasonable.

Speaking for myself, I start out with the assumption that someone else
already asked the same question and that the answer is likely to be found.
That assumption is generally validated by using the various offline and
online resources available. In most cases, the answers to my queries can be
found if I I take the time to find it by searching and reading.  Perhaps it
is also the well documented male genetic trait in me that resists asking for
help <vbg>.

I typically do this, because even though there are many folks who have
graciously offered their time to respond to such queries, such as those on
this list, I both want to be sensitive to their time and I prefer to find
the answer on my own or at least attempt to do so, because as I do, I
usually find other useful information during the search.

I do want to also compliment the core group and the contributors for the
documentation that is provided as it has been extremely helpful.

Perhaps two suggestions to help at least raise awareness, since I am a firm
believer in "incrementalism", before the consideration of more complex

1. To the footer on the R-Help e-mail, perhaps URL links to both the R-Help
archive page and the search page would at least make the online resources
better known for some and more easily accessible to folks. If embedded in
appropriate reminder text to suggest that a user review/search the archive
before posting, this may be helpful.

2. To the Help menu in R, the addition of these two links would help to
further raise the awareness of these resources.  This is based upon the
presumption that the first place most folks will go for assistance is the
built-in help system.

In both cases, if folks see these links, they will hopefully be tempted to
review or search the archive for past similar posts, rather than generate a
new one.



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