[R] [FORGED] Re: [FORGED] Re: identical() versus sapply()

Duncan Murdoch murdoch.duncan at gmail.com
Tue Apr 12 14:06:42 CEST 2016

On 11/04/2016 11:34 PM, Rolf Turner wrote:
> On 12/04/16 14:45, Duncan Murdoch wrote:
>> On 11/04/2016 10:18 PM, Bert Gunter wrote:
>>> "The documentation aims to be accurate, not necessarily clear."
>>> !!!
>>> I hope that is not the case! Accurate documentation that is confusing
>>> is not very useful.
>> I don't think it is ever intentionally confusing, but it is often
>> concise to the point of obscurity.  Words are chosen carefully, and
>> explanations are not repeated.  It takes an effort to read it.  It will
>> be clear to careful readers, but not to all readers.
>> I was thinking of the statement quoted earlier, 'as(x, "numeric") uses
>> the existing as.numeric function'.  That is different than saying 'as(x,
>> "numeric") is the same as as.numeric(x)'.
> IMHO this is so *obviously* confusing and misleading --- even though it
> is technically correct --- that whoever wrote it was either
> intentionally trying to be confusing or is unbelievably obtuse and/or
> out of touch with reality.
> It is not (again IMHO) clear even to *very* careful readers.
> To my mind this documentation fails even the fortune(350) test.

I generally agree that that particular sentence falls pretty far out on 
the obscurity end of the spectrum, but it's much easier to criticize the 
documentation than it is to write it.  I notice that none of the critics 
in this thread have offered improvements on what is there.

I haven't looked up who wrote it (it wasn't me, though I'm sure I've 
written equally obscure sentences), but I do not believe it was 
intentionally confusing, nor is the author obtuse or out of touch with 
reality.  I think that insulting authors is not a way to encourage them 
to change.  That's reality.

Duncan Murdoch

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