Re: Significance stars (was Re: R-beta: glm bug)

Martin Maechler (
Thu, 18 Jun 1998 19:55:12 +0200

Date: Thu, 18 Jun 1998 19:55:12 +0200
Message-Id: <>
From: Martin Maechler <>
Subject: Re: Significance stars (was  Re: R-beta: glm bug)

>>>>> "Jim" == Jim Robison-Cox <> writes:

    Jim> On Thu, 18 Jun 1998, Jim Lindsey wrote: (snip)
    >> I might also say that I strongly object to the stars and
    >> significance levels in summary (sorry, Martin, we already discussed
    >> this). I consider fixed level testing to be bad statistics; at
    >> worst, a P-value should be given if nothing better (confidence or
    >> credibility intervals) is available. I do not want my students
    >> seeing such stars and fixed levels. Make it an option if you like
    >> but not the default display with summary().  Jim

    Jim>   I agree!  Is there a good way to set an option which goes to a
    Jim> print method (in this case print.summary.lm)?  Would it have to be
    Jim> a global option?

R> str(print.summary.glm)
function (x, digits = max(3, .Options$digits - 3), formatfun = format,  	    na.print = "", symbolic.cor = p > 4, signif.stars = TRUE,  	    ...)  
R> str(print.summary.lm)
function (x, digits = max(3, .Options$digits - 3), symbolic.cor = p >  	    4, signif.stars = TRUE, ...)  

Which  shows you there IS already an argument to turn off the signif.stars:

 print(summary([g]lm(....)), signif.stars = FALSE)

Jim Lindsey wanted  a  *global* option so that he can turn it off for all
his students when they just use


Any proposals for a NAME of the global option?

JL even looked for a possibility to turn off the P values..
Do we want/need this as well?


		A few afterthoughts:

Note that I introduced those both to print.summary.lm() and ...glm().
We (Statistics ETH Zurich) have been using these stars for about seven
years now (in S-plus, not R..),
both for teaching and (serious) data analysis.

Most of my teaching (and researching) colleagues, many students
and consulting customers  have made explicit *positive* comments about the
stars, (and asked for our S-plus replacement code in order to have it also
on their own machines...) and I haven't got any negative ones till both Jim

NOTE:  We do  *NOT* advocate believing in P-values,
	(some of you may know how little we believe in normally distributed
	 data here ..),
	the main point of the sig.stars is a
	``graphical summary'' of which coefficients might be significant

Martin Maechler <>			<><
Seminar fuer Statistik, ETH-Zentrum SOL G1;	Sonneggstr.33
ETH (Federal Inst. Technology)	8092 Zurich	SWITZERLAND
phone: x-41-1-632-3408		fax: ...-1086
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