Re: [Rd] help.request() for packages?

From: Jeffrey Ryan <>
Date: Tue, 26 Apr 2011 15:31:52 -0500

For what it is worth, I too would like to see something regarding a "Support" field in the description.

One issue with a single maintainer email is that it does make it difficult to assure that questions get properly routed/answered given projects that have multiple contributors or an active community behind them.

I would think even hinting to the best R-SIG list would be useful (in my case I typically only follow R-SIG-Finance closely and miss some questions that go to R-help)

At the very least, it would make it more obvious to users where they should send general questions about a package.


On Tue, Apr 26, 2011 at 3:08 PM, Matthew Dowle <>wrote:

> Hi,
> Have I missed something, or misunderstood?
> The r-help posting guide asks users to contact the package maintainer :
> "If the question relates to a contributed package, e.g., one
> downloaded from CRAN, try contacting the package maintainer first.
> [snip] ONLY [only is bold font] send such questions to R-help or R-devel
> if you get no reply or need further assistance. This applies to both
> requests for help and to bug reports."
> but the R-ext guide contains :
> "The mandatory ‘Maintainer’ field should give a single name with a
> valid (RFC 2822) email address in angle brackets (for sending bug
> reports etc.). It should not end in a period or comma. For a public
> package it should be a person, not a mailing list and not a corporate
> entity: do ensure that it is valid and will remain valid for the
> lifetime of the package."
> Currently, data.table contains the datatable-help mailing list in the
> 'Maintainer' field, with the posting guide in mind (and service levels
> for users). This mailing list is where we would like users to ask
> questions about the package, not r-help, and not a single person.
> However, R-exts says that the 'Maintainer' email address should not be a
> mailing list.
> There seems to be two requirements:
> i) a non-bouncing email address that CRAN maintainers can use - more
> like the 'Administrator' of the package
> ii) a support address for users to send questions and bug reports
> The BugReports field in DESCRIPTION is for bugs only, and allows only a
> URL, not an email address. bug.reports() has a 'package' argument and
> emails the Maintainer field if the BugReports URL is not provided by the
> package. So, BugReports seems close, but not quite what we'd like.
> help.request() appears to have no package argument (I checked R 2.13.0).
> Could a "Support" field (or better name) be added to DESCRIPTION, and a
> 'package' argument added to help.request() which uses it? Then the
> semantics of the Maintainer field can be closer to what the CRAN
> maintainers seem to think of it; i.e., the package 'Administrator'.
> Have I misunderstood or missed an option?
> Matthew
> ______________________________________________
> mailing list

Jeffrey Ryan

R/Finance 2011 April 29th and 30th in Chicago |

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