[R] Question concerning side effects of treating invalid factor levels
Sarah Goslee
@@r@h@go@|ee @end|ng |rom gm@||@com
Tue Sep 20 15:02:07 CEST 2022
Hi Tibor,
No, you are misunderstanding the source of the problem. It has nothing
to do with factors.
Instead, it has to do with the inability of a vector to hold more than
one class.
You are using rbind() to add a new row to your data frame, but that
vector is being coerced to character. That's what is forcing your
numeric column to become character: you're adding a character to it.
> c("in", "V>N", round(runif(1, 7000, 16000), 0))
[1] "in" "V>N" "15709"
It has nothing whatsoever to do with factors or factor levels, and
would occur if you were adding it to a data frame with character
values.
If you want to mix types, you cannot use a vector.
c2 <- data.frame(P = "in", ANSWER = "V>N", RT = round(runif(1, 7000, 16000), 0))
> str(rbind(df, c2))
'data.frame': 7 obs. of 3 variables:
$ P : Factor w/ 4 levels "mit","mittels",..: 2 1 2 3 1 1 4
$ ANSWER: Factor w/ 3 levels "OBJ>PP","PP>OBJ",..: 2 2 2 2 1 1 3
$ RT : num 10867 14808 11600 15881 8984 ...
Sarah
On Tue, Sep 20, 2022 at 8:45 AM Tibor Kiss via R-help
<r-help using r-project.org> wrote:
>
> Hi,
>
> this is a misunderstanding of my question. I wasn’t worried about invalid factor levels that produce NA. My question was why a column changes its class, which I thought was a side effect. If you add a vector containing one character string, the class of the whole vector becomes _chr_. And after this element has been added to a column, we have two NAs for the column which are factors, and a character string, which is responsible for the change of a numerical vector into a character string vector (see ?c, where you find: "The output type is determined from the highest type of the components in the hierarchy NULL < raw < logical < integer < double < complex < character < list < expression.“).
>
>
> Best
>
>
> Tibor
>
>
>
> > Am 19.09.2022 um 13:59 schrieb Ebert,Timothy Aaron <tebert using ufl.edu>:
> >
> > In your example code, the variable remains a class factor, and all entries are valid. The variables will behave as expected given the factor levels in the original dataframe.
> >
> > (At least on my system R 4.2, in RStudio, in Windows) R returns a couple of error messages warning me that I was bad.
> > What you get is NA for "not available", or "not appropriate" or a missing value. You gave the system an invalid factor level so it was entered as missing. If you get data that has a new factor level, you need to tell R to expect a new factor level first.
> >
> > levels(f1) <- c(levels(f1),"New Level")
> > levels(f1) <- c(levels(f1),c("NL1","NL2"))
> >
> >
> > Tim
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: R-help <r-help-bounces using r-project.org> On Behalf Of Tibor Kiss via R-help
> > Sent: Monday, September 19, 2022 6:11 AM
> > To: r-help using r-project.org
> > Subject: [R] Question concerning side effects of treating invalid factor levels
> >
> > [External Email]
> >
> > Dear List members,
> >
> > I have tried now for several times to find out about a side effect of treating invalid factor levels, but did not find an answer. Various answers on stackexchange etc. produce the stuff that irritates me without even mentioning it.
> > So I am asking the list (apologies if this has been treated in the past).
> >
> > If you add an invalid factor level to a column in a data frame, this has the side effect of turning a numerical column into a column with character strings. Here is a simple example:
> >
> >> df <- data.frame(
> > P = factor(c("mittels", "mit", "mittels", "ueber", "mit", "mit")),
> > ANSWER = factor(c(rep("PP>OBJ", 4), rep("OBJ>PP", 2))),
> > RT = round(runif(6, 7000, 16000), 0))
> >
> >> str(df)
> > 'data.frame': 6 obs. of 3 variables:
> > $ P : Factor w/ 3 levels "mit","mittels",..: 2 1 2 3 1 1
> > $ ANSWER: Factor w/ 2 levels "OBJ>PP","PP>OBJ": 2 2 2 2 1 1
> > $ RT : num 11157 13719 14388 14527 14686 ..
> >
> >> df <- rbind(df, c("in", "V>N", round(runif(1, 7000, 16000), 0)))
> >
> >> str(df)
> > 'data.frame': 7 obs. of 3 variables:
> > $ P : Factor w/ 3 levels "mit","mittels",..: 2 1 2 3 1 1 NA
> > $ ANSWER: Factor w/ 2 levels "OBJ>PP","PP>OBJ": 2 2 2 2 1 1 NA
> > $ RT : chr "11478" "15819" "8305" "8852" ...
> >
> > You see that RT has changed from _num_ to _chr_ as a side effect of adding the invalid factor level as NA. I would appreciate understanding what the purpose of the type coercion is.
> >
> > Thanks in advance
> >
> >
> > Tibor
> > ______________________________________________
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>
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--
Sarah Goslee (she/her)
http://www.numberwright.com
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