[R] Rating R Helpers

Bill.Venables at csiro.au Bill.Venables at csiro.au
Sat Dec 1 08:21:28 CET 2007

This seems a little impractical to me.  People respond so much at random
and most only tackle questions with which they feel comfortable.  As
it's not a competition in any sense, it's going to be hard to rank
people in any effective way.  But suppose you succeed in doing so, then

To me a much more urgent initiative is some kind of user online review
system for packages, even something as simple as that used by Amazon.com
has for customer review of books.

I think the need for this is rather urgent, in fact.  Most packages are
very good, but I regret to say some are pretty inefficient and others
downright dangerous.  You don't want to discourage people from
submitting their work to CRAN, but at the same time you do want some
mechanism that allows users to relate their experience with it, good or

Bill Venables
CSIRO Laboratories
PO Box 120, Cleveland, 4163
Office Phone (email preferred): +61 7 3826 7251
Fax (if absolutely necessary):  +61 7 3826 7304
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mailto:Bill.Venables at csiro.au

-----Original Message-----
From: r-help-bounces at r-project.org [mailto:r-help-bounces at r-project.org]
On Behalf Of Doran, Harold
Sent: Saturday, 1 December 2007 6:13 AM
To: R Help
Subject: [R] Rating R Helpers

Since R is open source and help may come from varied levels of
experience on R-Help, I wonder if it might be helpful to construct a
method that can be used to "rate" those who provide help on this list.

This is something that is done on other comp lists, like

I think some of the reasons for this are pretty transparent, but I
suppose one reason is that one could decide to implement the advise of
those with "superior" or "expert" levels. In other words, you can trust
the advice of someone who is more experienced more than someone who is
not. Currently, there is no way to discern who on this list is really an
R expert and who is not. Of course, there is R core, but most people
don't actually know who these people are (at least I surmise that to be

If this is potentially useful, maybe one way to begin the development of
such ratings is to allow the original poster to "rate" the level of help
from those who responded. Maybe something like a very simple
questionnaire on a likert-like scale that the original poster would
respond to upon receiving help which would lead to the accumulation of
points for the responders. Higher points would result in higher levels
of expertise (e.g., novice, ..., wizaRd).

Just a random thought. What do others think?


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