[Rd] [R] Semantics of sequences in R

Wacek Kusnierczyk Waclaw.Marcin.Kusnierczyk at idi.ntnu.no
Tue Feb 24 09:39:51 CET 2009

Berwin A Turlach wrote:
>> i am sending *no* patch for this.  the issue has to be first discussed
>> on the design level, and only then, if accepted, should anyone -- me,
>> for example -- make an attempt to implement it.  tell me you want to
>> listen to what i have to say, and we can discuss.  
> I could tell you that I will listen and we can discuss this until the
> cows come home.  This will not change one iota since neither of us have
> the power to implement changes in R.  You keep barking up the wrong
> tree.  

i am barking on the list;  whoever is the appropriate person to react,
has the chance to read and react.  i don't think it's appropriate to
send my messages to x or y personally.  what is the right tree, you say?

> So far I have seen only one posting of an R-core member in this thread
> (but perhaps he has started further discussion on the R-core mailing
> list to which we are not privy), but if you want to have discussion and
> acceptance before you do anything, you have to get R core involved.
> Since for the kind of work for which I am using R a facility for
> sorting lists is not crucial, I am rather indifferent about whether
> such a facility should exist and, if so, how it should be designed.

i discussed these things with you, because you responded.  this made me
think you were not indifferent, but anyway i kept ccing to the list
precisely because because i don't think you're the right person to make
a decision or suggest the next steps.

>> telling me i have a chip on my shoulder is rather unhelpful.
> Well, then stop acting as if you are running around with chips on your
> shoulders.  Behaving in such a manner is rather counter productive in
> the R community (at least from my experience/observation).  

why not read some fortunes?

"When a Certain Guru rips strips off people (God knows he's done it to
me often
enough) on this list, there's a damned good reason for it.
   -- Rolf Turner (in a discussion about whether a friendly mailing list
      more 'customer service' attitude than R-help was needed)
      R-help (December 2003)"

when gurus are ripped strips off on this list, there's a damned good
reason for it.
(and i'm actually not doing it.)  or:

"You may have not been long enough on this list to see that some of the
gurus have reached a demigod like status. Demigods have all rights to be
(that's almost a definition of a demi-deity).
   -- Jari Oksanen (in a discussion on whether answers on R-help should
be more
      R-help (December 2004)"

which certainly documents a very productive approach to communication
with users.

>>> And what makes you believe this is not the case?   I have seen over
>>> the years e-mails to R-devel along the lines "I am thinking of a
>>> change along [lots of details and reasoning for the change]; would
>>> patches that implement this be accepted?" and these e-mails were
>>> discussed more often than not.  However, in the end, the only
>>> people who can commit changes to the R code are the members of
>>> R-core, thus they will have the final word of design issues (and,
>>> as I assume, they discuss, among other things, design issues on the
>>> private mailing list of R-core member).  But you can discuss this
>>> issues before writing a patch. 
>> how many such mails have you seen?  
> A few over the years, but the more R progresses/matures the less of
> such e-mail happens.

a few over the years?

>> i've been on r-devel for six months, and haven't seen many.  
> Well, six month is a rather narrow sampling window....

your sampling window does not seem to provide better results.

>> on the other hand, i have seen quite a few responses that were
>> bashing a user for reporting a non-existent bug or submitting an
>> annoying patch.
> In didactic terms those are "negative motivations/reinforcements";
> opinion differ on how effective they are to reach certain learning
> outcomes.   

ah, so what's the difference between the way i pinpoint design flaws and
the way r gurus respond to people, so that i am running with a chip on
my shoulder, and they are being 'negatively motivating/reinforcing' in
didactic terms?  (am i correct, is the 'negative
motivation/reinforcement' the same stuff jari oksanen talked about?)

>>> And I am sure that if you had sent an e-mail to r-devel pointing out
>>> that the binary operator <, when called in the non-standard way 
>>> '<'(1,2,3), does not check the number of arguments while other
>>> binary operators (e.g. '+'(1,2,3) or '*'(1,2,3)) do such checks,
>>> and provided a patch that implemented such a check for '<' (and
>>> presumably other comparison operators), then that patch would have
>>> been acknowledged and applied.
>> it has been fixed immediately by martin. 
> Yes, and, again, you could not help yourself telling the developers
> what you think they should do, could you?  

was this really running with a chip:

"shouldn't the tests have captured it? i think you should have a check
for every feature following from the docs."

to which marting responded "yes, we should"

> As I try to tell you, that
> is not the way it works.  R comes already with extensive tests that are
> run with "make check".  If you think some are missing, you could send a
> script and propose that they are included.  But telling others that
> they should write such tests is unlikely to make it happen.

haven't done the thing.


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