Re: [R] lme nesting/interaction advice

From: Andrew Robinson <>
Date: Mon, 12 May 2008 20:16:26 +1000

On Mon, May 12, 2008 at 10:50:03AM +0100, Federico Calboli wrote:
> On 12 May 2008, at 01:05, Andrew Robinson wrote:
> >On Mon, May 12, 2008 at 10:34:40AM +1200, Rolf Turner wrote:
> >>
> >>On 12/05/2008, at 9:45 AM, Andrew Robinson wrote:
> >>
> >>>On Sun, May 11, 2008 at 07:52:50PM +0100, Federico Calboli wrote:
> >>>>
> >>>>The main point of my question is, having a 3 way anova (or
> >>>>ancova, if
> >>>>you prefer), with *no* nesting, 2 fixed effects and 1 random
> >>>>effect,
> >>>>why is it so boneheaded difficult to specify a bog standard fully
> >>>>crossed model? I'm not talking about some rarified esoteric model
> >>>>here, we're talking about stuff tought in a first year Biology
> >>>>Stats
> >>>>course here[1].
> >>>
> >>>That may be so, but I've never needed to use one.
> >>
> >> So what? This is still a standard, common, garden-variety
> >> model that you will encounter in exercises in many (if not
> >> all!) textbooks on experimental design and anova.
> >
> >To reply in similar vein, so what? Why should R-core or the R
> >community feel it necessary to reproduce every textbook example? How
> >many times have *you* used such a model in real statistical work,
> >Rolf?
> There is a very important reason why R (or any other stats package)
> should *easily* face the challenge of bog standard models: because it
> is a *tool* for an end (i.e. the analysis of data to figure out what
> the heck they tell us) rather than a end in itself.

But a tool that mostly (entirely?) appears in textbooks.  

> Bog standard models are *likely* to be used over and over again
> because they are *bog standard*, and they became such by being used
> *lots*.

Well. I have documentation relevant to nlme that goes back about 10 years. I don't know when it was first added to S-plus, but I assume that it was about then. Now, do you think that if the thing that you want to do was really bog standard, that noone would have raised a fuss or solved it within 10 years?  

> If someone with a relatively easy model cannot use R for his job s/he
> will use something else, and the R community will *not* increase in
> numbers. Since R is a *community driven project*, you do the math on
> what that would mean in the long run.

Fewer pestering questions? ;)


Andrew Robinson  
Department of Mathematics and Statistics            Tel: +61-3-8344-6410
University of Melbourne, VIC 3010 Australia         Fax: +61-3-8344-4599

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Received on Mon 12 May 2008 - 10:41:50 GMT

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