Ripley Facts

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Normally, this blog would only contain technical and scientific related posts. But this time I would like to share with you a very interesting phenomenon I came across on the R mailing list(s). I call it ‘Ripley Facts’ after the prolific statistician, educator, academic, author and core developer of the R Software Professor Brian Ripley [here].  Facts are his replies to questions. I have listed some of my favourite quotes from those replies below.  The year of post is given at the end of each quote and linked to the archive:
  • Once you appreciate that you have seriously misread the page, things will become a lot clearer. (2005
  • You will need to do your homework a lot more carefully, as it seems you don’t have enough knowledge to recognise the errors you are making. (2007)
  • Well, don’t try to use a Makefile as you do not know what you are doing. (2013
So, be careful if you decide to post something not well formed there in the R mailing lists. You will be surely grilled.  Actually, that’s not the point. The main take home message here is practising  self-criticism and ability to find  the answers independently alone before asking any technical help and possibly waste other people’s time. Though, in some cultures this sort of replies may constitute an offensive reply, those cultures may have no idea about brilliant British humour. If you have a favourite quote from Prof. Ripley please do let me know.

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