Community Call v13 - How to ask questions so they get answered! Possibly by yourself!

Our Community Call on Tuesday, March 7th, 8-9 AM PST, will cover "How to ask questions so they get answered! Possibly by yourself!". Asking questions about programming is a skill you can develop - we're not just born with it. The speakers will cover some of the background and skills you'll need to increase your chances of having your questions answered by your peers or by a busy expert.

Join the Call


  1. Welcome (5 min, Stefanie Butland)
  2. James (JD) Long will review the historical challenges of getting R help and give some history about how the [r] tag on Stack Overflow was bootstrapped. (15 min)
  3. Jenny Bryan will talk about the mechanics of making reproducible examples using the reprex package. Just as important, she'll discuss the philosophy i.e. that forcing yourself to make little, rigorous, self-contained examples makes you think more clearly about programming. (20min)
  4. Scott Chamberlain will show you how best to raise issues and ask questions on rOpenSci packages (10 min)
  5. Q & A (10 min, moderated by Scott Chamberlain)


Soon after the call, we'll post the video and we plan to capture the highlights and links to resources in a follow-up blog post.

Speaker bios

James (JD) Long works in reinsurance in New York City. He builds risk models which, according to George Box, are wrong. In spite of this inconvenient truth, James has proved successful at convincing his employer that his models are useful. James writes poorly commented, inefficient code using Python, R, SQL, and expletives.

James grew up in Kentucky and has multiple degrees from the University of Kentucky. After being marooned on the archipelago of Bermuda for four years, James now lives in Jersey City, NJ with his Minecraft addicted 9 year old daughter and his wife, a recovering trial lawyer.

James on GitHub, Twitter

Jenny Bryan is a member of rOpenSci's Leadership team, a software engineer at RStudio and Associate Professor (on leave) in the Statistics Department at the University of British Columbia. She's a biostatistician specialized in genomics and takes a special interest and delight in data analysis and statistical computing. Jenny is known for her outstanding teaching and her use of lego and mullets (the hair, not the fish) to illustrate #rstats.

Jenny on GitHub, Twitter

Scott Chamberlain is co-founder and technical lead at rOpenSci and tries to answer lots of user questions via email/twitter/github/discussion forum. He has specific expertise in developing packages for handling taxonomy, geospatial analyses and accessing journal full-text or metadata.

Scott on GitHub, Twitter

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