[R] read.table( ... comment.char="#") truncated my data

John Zhang jzhang at jimmy.harvard.edu
Fri Oct 11 19:46:28 CEST 2002

>To: r-help at stat.math.ethz.ch
>Subject: [R] read.table( ... comment.char="#") truncated my data
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>Date: Fri, 11 Oct 2002 12:11:08 -0400
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>Dear all,
>I found that the new feature of the comment.char="#"  argument in the 
>read.table function truncated my data while the data set actually contains 
> '#'. We analyze lot of data that contain '#'. This is really annoying and 
>it is also not compatible earlier version of R. I searched the R archive 
>and found the following message for the scan function. Is it possible to 
>change the default to " " in read.table ?

Why do not you try to reset the value using comment.char = " " each time when 
you call read.table?

>On Tue, 19 Feb 2002, Steve Cassidy wrote: 
>> I've just discovered the recent addition of the comment.char arg to 
>scan, a 
>> useful feature no doubt but the default value of # rather than "" breaks 
>> code which looks for # as a delimeter in a file and provides a messy 
>> incompatability with earlier versions of R and with Splus. 
>> Is there any chance that this default could be changed to ""? 
>It already has been. The NEWS for R-patched / R-devel says: 
>    o The default has been changed to scan(comment.char="") for 
>        consistency with earlier code (as in the previous item). 
>Brian D. Ripley,                  ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
>Professor of Applied Statistics,  http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ripley/
>University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
>1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272860 (secr)
>Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

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