How to get unstuck

What to do when you are stuck …

Help yourself or, maybe, drag others into your hell ask for help. The links below contain excellent self-help advice.

While you are getting started, I recommend you seek help within the STAT545 community first (try Slack), before, e.g. posting to external forums. We are more cuddly.

Here are some good resources to get your head in the right place.

  • Google is your friend. Google is your friend. Google is your friend.

    • E.g. copy the error message, maybe strip out anything highly specific, such the name of your R objects, surround with quotes and Google it!
  • This stackoverflow thread How to make a great R reproducible example? is fantastic. I find that, in the process of preparing my great reproducible example, I answer my own question 90% of the time. YMMV. So it is a useful exercise even if you aren’t ready to call in the experts yet. The process of stripping your problem down to its bare essence often reveals where the root issue lies. Highly recommended!

  • Search stackoverflow and include the [r] tag. Or the [ggplot2] tag. Or the [plyr] tag. You get the idea.

  • Check out The R Inferno (see the 9th circle: “Unhelpfully seeking help”).

If someone has the wit and knowledge to answer your question, they probably have other things they would like to do. Making your message clear, concise and user-friendly gives you the best hope of at least one of those strangers diverting their attention away from their life towards your problem.

… demonstrate the kind of attitude that leads to competence: alert, thoughtful, observant, willing to be an active partner in developing a solution


Thanks to Jenny Bryan and her past teams for writing the majority of this.