[R] On Reproducible Code

David L Carlson dcarlson at tamu.edu
Wed Jul 25 17:50:38 CEST 2012

We often refer requesters to the Posting Guide and chide them for not
reading it. Recently I had occasion to re-read the Posting Guide which is
for all R lists not just R-help. The word "reproducible" does not appear
anywhere in the guide. The closest it comes is the following suggestion:

"Sometimes it helps to provide a small example that someone can actually

Recommendations to use the function dput() to provide sample data do not
appear in the guide. 

The bottom of messages to R-help does contain the statement you've all seen,
but I had assumed it summarized advice found elsewhere since first time
posters may not see the message until after they have posted.

"PLEASE do read the posting guide
http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html and provide commented, minimal,
self-contained, reproducible code."

The Mailing Lists page describes R-help but refers only to the posting guide
http://www.r-project.org/mail.html and does not include this advisory

The R-help Info Page also refers only to the posting guide
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help and does not include this
advisory statement.

I hesitate to sound too optimistic, but there might be some advantage in
making the statement more prominent and adding a reproducible example using

David L Carlson
Associate Professor of Anthropology
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX 77843-4352

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