[R] how to use "..."

John Sorkin JSorkin at grecc.umaryland.edu
Sun Jan 20 23:54:46 CET 2013

Why are the help pages not right? The ... construct is a fundamental part of the language syntax. Information about this fundamental construct should be easily available!

John David Sorkin M.D., Ph.D.
Chief, Biostatistics and Informatics
University of Maryland School of Medicine Division of Gerontology
Baltimore VA Medical Center
10 North Greene Street
Baltimore, MD 21201-1524
(Phone) 410-605-7119
(Fax) 410-605-7913 (Please call phone number above prior to faxing)>>> Duncan Murdoch <murdoch.duncan at gmail.com> 1/20/2013 5:06 PM >>>
On 13-01-20 2:56 PM, Steve Taylor wrote:
>> On 13-01-20 2:28 PM, Steve Taylor wrote:
>>>> From: Duncan Murdoch
>>>> Maybe we just need a manual on how to use the existing help system.  But
>>>> I suspect people who won't read the existing manuals won't read that
>>>> one, either.
>>> Duncan, I assume you're being facetious.  Every R user soon learns to use
>> help() and help.search() or their equivalents.  We don't need a manual to teach
>> that.
>> There are other parts of the help system that you don't appear to know
>> about.  Run help.start() for the main index page.  help() is kind of a
>> shortcut to the section labelled "Packages".  help.search() gets you to
>> "Search Engine & Keywords".  There are 15 other headings to explore as well.
> I know about them even tho I didn't mention them.
>>>>> Rolf Turner wrote:
>>>>>> The "help" facility is applicable to functions and data sets.  It is not
>>>>>> designed
>>>>>> or intended to give "help" with respect to R syntax (with the exception of
>>>>>> the basic syntax of the operators --- unary and binary --- and the
>>>>>> associated
>>>>>> rules of precedence).
>>> Then why are there help pages ?":::", ?"for", ?"NA_character_", ?".C" and ?"??"
>> but not ?"..." ?!
>> Those are all functions or other objects, while ... is not.  There are
>> examples of topic aliases that are not objects, e.g. ?Syntax, but mostly
>> Rolf is right.  Most discussion of the syntax is in the manuals.
> Nevertheless, help("...") is a reasonable thing for a user to do and expect some help.

I agree it should do something.  I think I'll have it lead to ?Reserved, 
and add pointers to the manuals from there.  I don't think the help() 
pages are right for it.

Duncan Murdoch

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