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Rules of Thumb to Meet R Gurus in the Help List

Here is my personal list of rules of thumb for people who want to meet some R gurus (quickly) in the R help mailing list (R-help@R-project.org):

  • If you want to meet Dr Bill Venables, just say something about Type III Sum of Squares (better if you also mention the “unbeatable” SAS);
  • If you want to meet Prof Douglas Bates, say something about LSMEANS (of course, with SAS) and P-values for the fixed effects in lmer() (or wait in the mixed-models group r-sig-mixed-models@r-project.org – he often shows up there);
  • If you want to meet Prof Frank Harrell Jr, say SAS is unbeatable (or efficient, golden-standard, high-quality graphics, whatever);
  • If you want to meet Dr Martin Maechler, say something like “I need help on a library called ***” (it is said that he would show up in 5 mins upon such mistakes, but I feel he is tired of correcting people who don’t know the difference between a package and a library now);
  • If you want to meet Prof Brian Ripley (the-professor-on-whom-the-sun-never-sets), well, I guess you can say anything, because he is so devoted to the mailing list that you can see him a.e., but you have to be careful enough not to be “Ripleyed”;

I’ve been reading the mailing list for about 2 years, so I may not know enough about all the gurus. Let me know if I missed anyone. The above list is not given for serious purpose, and my real point is I learned a lot from their advice and arguments.