[R] A Few Suggestions to help out newbies

Peter Flom flom at ndri.org
Tue Apr 2 16:25:31 CEST 2002

As a true R-Newbie, I thought I would respond to Zed Shaw's ideas.  I think they're all good.  I've put comments re the ones which would be critical for me

>>>1)  An R Cookbook section of the site where people can submit pieces >>>of interesting code that satisfies a need.  This would be similar to the
>>>Perl/Python/Java Cookbook texts that O'Reilly puts out, but with a >>>more dynamic activity.  The python folks have something like this, and >>>people love it.  I learned a lot of python this way.

I think the critical issue with this would be indexing and documentation.  Also possibly copyright problems

e.g., If I or someone wrote a function to apply the formula for CIs around a proportion given by Agresti and Coull (1998).  Approximate is better than exact for interval estimation of binomial proportions" American Statistician, 52 119-126.

Would I file it under CI? proportion? binomial? or what?
would I need to get permission from the authors before posting it?

>>>2)  A Series of Documents helping people translate from another
 >>>package to R.  For example, "R for SPSS People", "R for SAS People", >>>etc.

If someone did a good job of this, it would be TREMENDOUSLY useful to me, and I am sure to others as well.  I'm used to SAS, and am finding the learning curve for R pretty steep....

>>>3)  A dynamic FAQ, placed prominently on the front page, ready for
>>>people to access and search.  The idea is that, as you encounter >>>these dumb questions, you can slap up another faq question about it.  

A good idea.  But, one quibble: Questions aren't "dumb".  They may be ignorant.  As another thread here is making clear, e-mail is not conducive to shadings of emotion.  While I am sure Zed meant no disrespect to anyone, conceiving of questions as "dumb" leads one to thinking that the person ASKING the question is "dumb" which leads to responses that treat the person as dumb, which isn't good.

If someone asks a question which you don't feel like answering, don't answer! :-).   If you answer, be polite.  

Just my two cents; again, from a real newbie.

Peter L. Flom, PhD
Assistant Director, Statistics and Data Analysis Core
Center for Drug Use and HIV Research
National Development and Research Institutes
71 W. 23rd St
New York, NY 10010
(212) 845-4485 (voice)
(917) 438-0894 (fax)

r-help mailing list -- Read http://www.ci.tuwien.ac.at/~hornik/R/R-FAQ.html
Send "info", "help", or "[un]subscribe"
(in the "body", not the subject !)  To: r-help-request at stat.math.ethz.ch

More information about the R-help mailing list