Re: [Rd] Documentation: format of read.table help text (PR#14180)

From: Duncan Murdoch <murdoch_at_stats.uwo.ca>
Date: Tue, 12 Jan 2010 13:53:16 -0500

On 11/01/2010 10:10 AM, henrik.parn_at_bio.ntnu.no wrote:
> Dear R developers,
>
> I find the format of descriptions of the arguments in the read.table
> help text slightly inconsistent.
>

"Slightly inconsistent" is not a bug. Your bug report is quite likely to be ignored because of that and because of the lack of an offer to actually do the work it entails, regardless of the validity of your observations.

A way to have attention paid to it is to choose a consistent style, then edit every man page in one of the base packages to follow it, and submit the patches to all those files, with an offer to do the rest once the style is accepted. Expect that there will be one or more rounds of discussion about whether your style really is usable. Writing a style guide would really help.

Sound like too much work? I agree.

Duncan Murdoch
> For example, the logical arguments comes in seven different formats,
> more or less explicit about the consequences of a TRUE (or FALSE):
>
> 1. check.names logical. If TRUE then the names...
> 2. blank.lines.skip logical: if TRUE blank lines...
> 3. flush logical: if TRUE, scan...
>
> 4. header a logical value indicating whether...
>
> 5. allowEscapes logical. Should C-style [...] ?
> 6. stringsAsFactors logical: should character [...] ?
>
> 7. strip.white logical. Used only when...
>
>
> First, I believe that a consistent style would make the help text easier
> to follow. Second, I believe that an explicit style (sth like: "logical.
> If TRUE/FALSE then...") is more intuitive and thus preferable over the
> other styles. This might apply to other help pages as well.
>
> I fully understand that the choice of style in help text is a matter of
> taste and not of very high priority. Nevertheless, I just wish to
> mention it as a potential for improvement.
>
>
> Thank you for your great work with R!
>
>
> Best regards,
>
> Henrik
>
>
> R version 2.10.1 (2009-12-14)
> i386-pc-mingw32
>
> locale:
> [1] LC_COLLATE=English_United Kingdom.1252 LC_CTYPE=English_United
> Kingdom.1252 LC_MONETARY=English_United Kingdom.1252 LC_NUMERIC=C
>
> [5] LC_TIME=English_United Kingdom.1252
>
> attached base packages:
> [1] grDevices datasets splines graphics stats tcltk utils
> methods base
>
> other attached packages:
> [1] svSocket_0.9-48 TinnR_1.0.3 R2HTML_1.59-1 Hmisc_3.7-0
> survival_2.35-7
>
> loaded via a namespace (and not attached):
> [1] cluster_1.12.1 grid_2.10.1 lattice_0.17-26 svMisc_0.9-56
> tools_2.10.1
>
>



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