What's that? You've heard of R? You use R? You develop in R? You know someone else who's mentioned R? Oh, you're breathing? Well, in that case, welcome! Come join the R community!
We recently had a group discussion at rOpenSci's #runconf17 in Los Angeles, CA about the R community. I initially opened the issue on GitHub. After this issue was well-received (check out the emoji-love below!), we realized people were keen to talk about this and decided to have an optional and informal discussion in person.
To get the discussion started I posed two general questions and then just let discussion fly. I prompted the group with the following:
The discussion focused primarily on the first point, and I have to say the group's answers...were awesome. Take a look!
Everyone seemed to be in agreement that (1) the community is one of R's biggest strengths and (2) a lot within the R community happens on twitter. During discussion, Julia Lowndes mentioned she joined twitter because she heard that people asked and answered questions about R there, and others echoed this sentiment. Simply, the R community is not just for 'power users' or developers. It's a place for users and people interested in learning more about R. So, if you want to get involved in the community and you are not already, consider getting a twitter account and check out the #rstats hashtag. We expect you'll be surprised by how responsive, welcoming, and inclusive the community is.
In addition to twitter, there are many resources available within the R community where you can learn more about all things R. Below is a brief list of resources mentioned during our discussion that had helped us feel more included in the community. Feel free to suggest more!
No community is perfect, and being willing to consider our shortcomings and think about ways in which we can improve is so important. The group came up with a lot of great suggestions, including many I had not previously thought of personally.
Alice Daish did a great job capturing the conversation and allowing for more discussion online:
To summarize here:
And, when times get tough, look to your community. Get out there. Be active. Communicate with one another. Tim Phan brilliantly summarized the importance of action and community in this thread:
Thank you to all who participated in this conversation and all who contribute to the community to make R such a fun language in which to work and develop! Thank you to rOpenSci for hosting and giving us all the opportunity to get to know one another and work together. I'm excited to see where this community goes moving forward!