[R] a matter of etiquette

Adelchi Azzalini azzalini at stat.unipd.it
Tue May 11 14:52:27 CEST 2010

Dear useRs and expeRts,

I would like to ask your views on an issue for which there possibly
exists an established policy of the R-help list, but I am not aware
of it.

In 2008, I have spotted some errors in a package, one which is likely
to have many users (I am not one myself). The more serious errors are
in the documentation, since they lead to a completely distorted
interpretation of the outcome; in addition, there is (at least) one
programming error which produces some wrong computations. A few weeks
later, the maintainers of the package replied, with a promise to handle
these issues. 

Today, I have looked at that package again, and everthing is as in 2008,
as for the points raised then. There has been at least one update of
that package, about one year after our e-mail exchange.

When I discover a bug in a program of a colleague, I point out it by a
private communication to the author. If the problem is of some
relevance, I expect that the bug is fixed in a reasonable time. In the
present case, this fix has not been provided after over 18 months, and
potentially users keep producing nonsense out of that package.

What is the appropriate way to proceed now? Announce these errors to
the whole R-help list, or what else?  I only rule out writing (again) to
the maintainers of the package. 

Adelchi Azzalini

Adelchi Azzalini  <azzalini at stat.unipd.it>
Dipart.Scienze Statistiche, Università di Padova, Italia
tel. +39 049 8274147,  http://azzalini.stat.unipd.it/

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