Exploring 2018 R-bloggers & R Weekly Posts with Feedly & the ‘seymour’ package

December 31, 2018
By

(This article was first published on R – rud.is, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

Well, 2018 has flown by and today seems like an appropriate time to take a look at the landscape of R bloggerdom as seen through the eyes of readers of R-bloggers and R Weekly. We’ll do this via a new package designed to make it easier to treat Feedly as a data source: seymour [GL | GH] (which is a pun-ified name based on a well-known phrase from Little Shop of Horrors).

The seymour package builds upon an introductory Feedly API blog post from back in April 2018 and covers most of the “getters” in the API (i.e. you won’t be adding anything to or modifying anything in Feedly through this package unless you PR into it with said functions). An impetus for finally creating the package came about when I realized that you don’t need a Feedly account to use the search or stream endpoints. You do get more data back if you have a developer token and can also access your own custom Feedly components if you have one. If you are a “knowledge worker” and do not have a Feedly account (and, really, a Feedly Pro account) you are missing out. But, this isn’t a rah-rah post about Feedly, it’s a rah-rah post about R! Onwards!

Feeling Out The Feeds

There are a bunch of different ways to get Feedly metadata about an RSS feed. One easy way is to just use the RSS feed URL itself:

library(seymour) # git[la|hu]b/hrbrmstr/seymour
library(hrbrthemes) # git[la|hu]b/hrbrmstr/hrbrthemes
library(lubridate)
library(tidyverse)
r_bloggers <- feedly_feed_meta("http://feeds.feedburner.com/RBloggers")
r_weekly <- feedly_feed_meta("https://rweekly.org/atom.xml")
r_weekly_live <- feedly_feed_meta("https://feeds.feedburner.com/rweeklylive")

glimpse(r_bloggers)
## Observations: 1
## Variables: 14
## $ feedId       "feed/http://feeds.feedburner.com/RBloggers"
## $ id           "feed/http://feeds.feedburner.com/RBloggers"
## $ title        "R-bloggers"
## $ subscribers  24518
## $ updated      1.546227e+12
## $ velocity     44.3
## $ website      "https://www.r-bloggers.com"
## $ topics       data sci....
## $ partial      FALSE
## $ iconUrl      "https://storage.googleapis.com/test-site-assets/X...
## $ visualUrl    "https://storage.googleapis.com/test-site-assets/X...
## $ language     "en"
## $ contentType  "longform"
## $ description  "Daily news and tutorials about R, contributed by ...

glimpse(r_weekly)
## Observations: 1
## Variables: 13
## $ feedId       "feed/https://rweekly.org/atom.xml"
## $ id           "feed/https://rweekly.org/atom.xml"
## $ title        "RWeekly.org - Blogs to Learn R from the Community"
## $ subscribers  876
## $ updated      1.546235e+12
## $ velocity     1.1
## $ website      "https://rweekly.org/"
## $ topics       data sci....
## $ partial      FALSE
## $ iconUrl      "https://storage.googleapis.com/test-site-assets/2...
## $ visualUrl    "https://storage.googleapis.com/test-site-assets/2...
## $ contentType  "longform"
## $ language     "en"

glimpse(r_weekly_live)
## Observations: 1
## Variables: 9
## $ id           "feed/https://feeds.feedburner.com/rweeklylive"
## $ feedId       "feed/https://feeds.feedburner.com/rweeklylive"
## $ title        "R Weekly Live: R Focus"
## $ subscribers  1
## $ updated      1.5461e+12
## $ velocity     14.7
## $ website      "https://rweekly.org/live"
## $ language     "en"
## $ description  "Live Updates from R Weekly"

Feedly uses some special terms, one of which (above) is velocity. “Velocity” is simply the average number of articles published weekly (Feedly’s platform updates that every few weeks for each feed). R-bloggers has over 24,000 Feedly subscribers so any post-rankings we do here should be fairly representative. I included both the “live” and the week-based R Weekly feeds as I wanted to compare post coverage between R-bloggers and R Weekly in terms of raw content.

On the other hand, R Weekly’s “weekly” RSS feed has less than 1,000 subscribers. WAT?! While I have mostly nothing against R-bloggers-proper I heartily encourage ardent readers to also subscribe to R Weekly and perhaps even consider switching to it (or at least adding the individual blog feeds they monitor to your own Feedly). It wasn’t until the Feedly API that I had any idea of how many folks were really viewing my R blog posts since we must provide a full post RSS feed to R-bloggers and get very little in return (at least in terms of data). R Weekly uses a link counter but redirects all clicks to the blog author’s site where we can use logs or analytics platforms to measure engagement. R Weekly is also run by a group of volunteers (more eyes == more posts they catch!) and has a Patreon where the current combined weekly net is likely not enough to buy each volunteer a latte. No ads, a great team and direct engagement stats for the community of R bloggers seems like a great deal for $1.00 USD. If you weren’t persuaded by the above rant, then perhaps at least consider installing this (from source that you control).

Lastly, I believe I’m that “1” subscriber to R Weekly Live O_o. But, I digress.

We’ve got the feedIds (which can be used as “stream” ids) so let’s get cracking!

Binding Up The Posts

We need to use the feedId in calls to feedly_stream() to get the individual posts. The API claims there’s a temporal parameter that allows one to get posts only after a certain date but I couldn’t get it to work (PRs are welcome on any community source code portal you’re most comfortable in if you’re craftier than I am). As a result, we need to make a guess as to how many calls we need to make for two of the three feeds. Basic maths of 44 * 52 / 1000 suggests ~3 should suffice for R Weekly (live) and R-bloggers but let’s do 5 to be safe. We should be able to get R Weekly (weekly) in one go.

r_weekly_wk <- feedly_stream(r_weekly$feedId)

range(r_weekly_wk$items$published) # my preview of this said it got back to 2016!
## [1] "2016-05-20 20:00:00 EDT" "2018-12-30 19:00:00 EST"

# NOTE: If this were more than 3 I'd use a loop/iterator
# In reality, I should make a helper function to do this for you (PRs welcome)

r_blog_1 <- feedly_stream(r_bloggers$feedId)
r_blog_2 <- feedly_stream(r_bloggers$feedId, continuation = r_blog_1$continuation)
r_blog_3 <- feedly_stream(r_bloggers$feedId, continuation = r_blog_2$continuation)

r_weekly_live_1 <- feedly_stream(r_weekly_live$feedId)
r_weekly_live_2 <- feedly_stream(r_weekly_live$feedId, continuation = r_weekly_live_1$continuation)
r_weekly_live_3 <- feedly_stream(r_weekly_live$feedId, continuation = r_weekly_live_2$continuation)

bind_rows(r_blog_1$items, r_blog_2$items, r_blog_3$items) %>% 
  filter(published >= as.Date("2018-01-01")) -> r_blog_stream

bind_rows(r_weekly_live_1$items, r_weekly_live_2$items, r_weekly_live_3$items) %>% 
  filter(published >= as.Date("2018-01-01")) -> r_weekly_live_stream

r_weekly_wk_stream <- filter(r_weekly_wk$items, published >= as.Date("2018-01-01"))

Let’s take a look:

glimpse(r_weekly_wk_stream)
## Observations: 54
## Variables: 27
## $ id                   "2nIALmjjlFcpPJKakm2k8hjka0FzpApixM7HHu8B0...
## $ originid             "https://rweekly.org/2018-53", "https://rw...
## $ fingerprint          "114357f1", "199f78d0", "9adc236e", "63f99...
## $ title                "R Weekly 2018-53 vroom, Classification", ...
## $ updated              2018-12-30 19:00:00, 2018-12-23 19:00:00,...
## $ crawled              2018-12-31 00:51:39, 2018-12-23 23:46:49,...
## $ published            2018-12-30 19:00:00, 2018-12-23 19:00:00,...
## $ alternate            [ "https://rweekly.org/2018-53.html", "https...
## $ unread               TRUE, FALSE, FALSE, FALSE, FALSE, FALSE, F...
## $ categories           [ 1, 5, 5, 3, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 2, 4, 3, 2, 2, ...
## $ engagementrate       0.33, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, ...
## $ recrawled            NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA...
## $ tags                 [NULL, NULL, NULL, NULL, NULL, NULL, NULL...
## $ content_content      "

Hello and welcome to this new issue! "ltr", "ltr", "ltr", "ltr", "ltr", "ltr", ... ## $ origin_streamid "feed/https://rweekly.org/atom.xml", "feed... ## $ origin_title "RWeekly.org - Blogs to Learn R from the C... ## $ origin_htmlurl "https://rweekly.org/", "https://rweekly.o... ## $ visual_processor "feedly-nikon-v3.1", "feedly-nikon-v3.1", ... ## $ visual_url "https://github.com/rweekly/image/raw/mast... ## $ visual_width 372, 672, 1000, 1000, 1000, 1001, 1000, 10... ## $ visual_height 479, 480, 480, 556, 714, 624, 237, 381, 36... ## $ visual_contenttype "image/png", "image/png", "image/gif", "im... ## $ webfeeds_icon "https://storage.googleapis.com/test-site-... ## $ decorations_dropbox NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA... glimpse(r_weekly_live_stream) ## Observations: 1,333 ## Variables: 27 ## $ id "rhkRVQ8KjjGRDQxeehIj6RRIBGntdni0ZHwPTR8B3... ## $ originid "https://link.rweekly.org/ckb", "https://l... ## $ fingerprint "c11a0782", "c1897fc3", "c0b36206", "7049e... ## $ title "Top Tweets of 2018", "My #Best9of2018 twe... ## $ crawled 2018-12-29 11:11:52, 2018-12-28 11:24:22,... ## $ published 2018-12-28 19:00:00, 2018-12-27 19:00:00,... ## $ canonical [ [ FALSE, FALSE, FALSE, FALSE, FALSE, FALSE, ... ## $ categories [ [ NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA... ## $ ampurl NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA... ## $ cdnampurl NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA... ## $ engagement NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA... ## $ summary_content "

maraaverick.rbind.io

"ltr", "ltr", "ltr", "ltr", "ltr", "ltr", ... ## $ origin_streamid "feed/https://feeds.feedburner.com/rweekly... ## $ origin_title "R Weekly Live: R Focus", "R Weekly Live: ... ## $ origin_htmlurl "https://rweekly.org/live", "https://rweek... ## $ visual_url NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA... ## $ visual_processor NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA... ## $ visual_width NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA... ## $ visual_height NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA... ## $ visual_contenttype NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA... ## $ decorations_dropbox NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA... ## $ decorations_pocket NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA... glimpse(r_blog_stream) ## Observations: 2,332 ## Variables: 34 ## $ id "XGq6cYRY3hH9/vdZr0WOJiPdAe0u6dQ2ddUFEsTqP... ## $ keywords ["R bloggers", "R bloggers", "R bloggers"... ## $ originid "https://datascienceplus.com/?p=19513", "h... ## $ fingerprint "2f32071a", "332f9548", "2e6f8adb", "3d7ed... ## $ title "Leaf Plant Classification: Statistical Le... ## $ crawled 2018-12-30 22:35:22, 2018-12-30 19:01:25,... ## $ published 2018-12-30 19:26:20, 2018-12-30 13:18:00,... ## $ canonical [ "Giorgio Garziano", "Sascha W.", "Economet... ## $ alternate [ TRUE, FALSE, FALSE, FALSE, FALSE, FALSE, F... ## $ categories [ [ 50, 39, 482, 135, 33, 12, 13, 41, 50, 31, ... ## $ engagementrate 1.43, 0.98, 8.76, 2.45, 0.59, 0.21, 0.22, ... ## $ enclosure [NULL, NULL, NULL, NULL, [NULL, NULL, NULL, NULL, NULL, NULL, NULL... ## $ recrawled NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA... ## $ updatecount NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA... ## $ content_content "

"ltr", "ltr", "ltr", "ltr", "ltr", "ltr", ... ## $ summary_content "CategoriesAdvanced Modeling\nTags\nLinear... ## $ summary_direction "ltr", "ltr", "ltr", "ltr", "ltr", "ltr", ... ## $ origin_streamid "feed/http://feeds.feedburner.com/RBlogger... ## $ origin_title "R-bloggers", "R-bloggers", "R-bloggers", ... ## $ origin_htmlurl "https://www.r-bloggers.com", "https://www... ## $ visual_processor "feedly-nikon-v3.1", "feedly-nikon-v3.1", ... ## $ visual_url "https://i0.wp.com/datascienceplus.com/wp-... ## $ visual_width 383, 400, NA, 286, 456, 250, 450, 456, 397... ## $ visual_height 309, 300, NA, 490, 253, 247, 450, 253, 333... ## $ visual_contenttype "image/png", "image/png", NA, "image/png",... ## $ webfeeds_icon "https://storage.googleapis.com/test-site-... ## $ decorations_dropbox NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA... ## $ decorations_pocket NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA...

And also check how far into December for each did I get as of this post? (I’ll check again after the 31 and update if needed).

range(r_weekly_wk_stream$published)
## [1] "2018-01-07 19:00:00 EST" "2018-12-30 19:00:00 EST"

range(r_blog_stream$published)
## [1] "2018-01-01 11:00:27 EST" "2018-12-30 19:26:20 EST"

range(r_weekly_live_stream$published)
## [1] "2018-01-01 19:00:00 EST" "2018-12-28 19:00:00 EST"

Digging Into The Weeds Feeds

In the above glimpses there’s another special term, engagement. Feedly defines this as an “indicator of how popular this entry is. The higher the number, the more readers have read, saved or shared this particular entry”. We’ll use this to look at the most “engaged” content in a bit. What’s noticeable from the start is that R Weekly Live has 1,333 entries and R-bloggers has 2,330 entries (so, nearly double the number of entries). Those counts are a bit of “fake news” when it comes to overall unique posts as can be seen by:

bind_rows(
  mutate(r_weekly_live_stream, src = "R Weekly (Live)"),
  mutate(r_blog_stream, src = "R-bloggers")
) %>% 
  mutate(wk = lubridate::week(published)) -> y2018

filter(y2018, title == "RcppArmadillo 0.9.100.5.0") %>% 
  select(src, title, originid, published) %>% 
  gt::gt()

src title originid published
R Weekly (Live) RcppArmadillo 0.9.100.5.0 https://link.rweekly.org/bg6 2018-08-17 07:55:00
R Weekly (Live) RcppArmadillo 0.9.100.5.0 https://link.rweekly.org/bfr 2018-08-16 21:20:00
R-bloggers RcppArmadillo 0.9.100.5.0 https://www.r-bloggers.com/?guid=f8865e8a004f772bdb64e3c4763a0fe5 2018-08-17 08:00:00
R-bloggers RcppArmadillo 0.9.100.5.0 https://www.r-bloggers.com/?guid=3046299f73344a927f787322c867233b 2018-08-16 21:20:00

Feedly has many processes going on behind the scenes to identify new entries and update entries as original sources are modified. This “duplication” (thankfully) doesn’t happen alot:

count(y2018, src, wk, title, sort=TRUE) %>% 
  filter(n > 1) %>% 
  arrange(wk) %>% 
  gt::gt() %>% 
  gt::fmt_number(c("wk", "n"), decimals = 0)

src wk title n
R-bloggers 3 conapomx data package 2
R Weekly (Live) 5 R in Latin America 2
R Weekly (Live) 12 Truncated Poisson distributions in R and Stan by @ellis2013nz 2
R Weekly (Live) 17 Regression Modeling Strategies 2
R Weekly (Live) 18 How much work is onboarding? 2
R Weekly (Live) 18 Survey books, courses and tools by @ellis2013nz 2
R-bloggers 20 Beautiful and Powerful Correlation Tables in R 2
R Weekly (Live) 24 R Consortium is soliciting your feedback on R package best practices 2
R Weekly (Live) 33 RcppArmadillo 0.9.100.5.0 2
R-bloggers 33 RcppArmadillo 0.9.100.5.0 2
R-bloggers 39 Individual level data 2
R Weekly (Live) 41 How R gets built on Windows 2
R Weekly (Live) 41 R Consortium grant applications due October 31 2
R Weekly (Live) 41 The Economist’s Big Mac Index is calculated with R 2
R Weekly (Live) 42 A small logical change with big impact 2
R Weekly (Live) 42 Maryland’s Bridge Safety, reported using R 2
R-bloggers 47 OneR – fascinating insights through simple rules 2

In fact, it happens infrequently enough that I’m going to let the “noise” stay in the data since Feedly technically is tracking some content change.

Let’s look at the week-over-week curation counts (neither source publishes original content, so using the term “published” seems ill fitting) for each:

count(y2018, src, wk) %>% 
  ggplot(aes(wk, n)) +
  geom_segment(aes(xend=wk, yend=0, color = src), show.legend = FALSE) +
  facet_wrap(~src, ncol=1, scales="free_x") + 
  labs(
    x = "Week #", y = "# Posts", 
    title = "Weekly Post Curation Stats for R-bloggers & R Weekly (Live)"
  ) +
  theme_ft_rc(grid="Y")

week over week

Despite R-bloggers having curated more overall content, there’s plenty to read each week for consumers of either/both aggregators.

Speaking of consuming, let’s look at the distribution of engagement scores for both aggregators:

group_by(y2018, src) %>% 
  summarise(v = list(broom::tidy(summary(engagement)))) %>% 
  unnest()
## # A tibble: 2 x 8
##   src             minimum    q1 median  mean    q3 maximum    na
##                         
## 1 R Weekly (Live)       0     0    0     0       0       0  1060
## 2 R-bloggers            1    16   32.5  58.7    70    2023    NA

Well, it seems that it’s more difficult for Feedly to track engagement for the link-only R Weekly (Live) feed, so we’ll have to focus on R-bloggers for engagement views. Summary values are fine, but we can get a picture of the engagement distribution (we’ll do it monthly to get a bit more granularity, too):

filter(y2018, src == "R-bloggers") %>% 
  mutate(month = lubridate::month(published, label = TRUE, abbr = TRUE)) %>% 
  ggplot(aes(month, engagement)) +
  geom_violin() +
  ggbeeswarm::geom_quasirandom(
    groupOnX = TRUE, size = 2, color = "#2b2b2b", fill = ft_cols$green,
    shape = 21, stroke = 0.25
  ) +
  scale_y_comma(trans = "log10") +
  labs(
    x = NULL, y = "Engagement Score",
    title = "Monthly Post Engagement Distributions for R-bloggers Curated Posts",
    caption = "NOTE: Y-axis log10 Scale"
  ) +
  theme_ft_rc(grid="Y")

post engagement distribution

I wasn’t expecting each month’s distribution to be so similar. There are definitely outliers in terms of positive engagement so we should be able see what types of R-focused content piques the interest of the ~25,000 Feedly subscribers of R-bloggers.

filter(y2018, src == "R-bloggers") %>% 
  group_by(author) %>% 
  summarise(n_posts = n(), total_eng = sum(engagement), avg_eng = mean(engagement), med_eng = median(engagement)) %>% 
  arrange(desc(n_posts)) %>% 
  slice(1:20) %>% 
  gt::gt() %>% 
  gt::fmt_number(c("n_posts", "total_eng", "avg_eng", "med_eng"), decimals = 0)

author n_posts total_eng avg_eng med_eng
David Smith 116 9,791 84 47
John Mount 94 4,614 49 33
rOpenSci – open tools for open science 89 2,967 33 19
Thinking inside the box 85 1,510 18 14
R Views 60 4,142 69 47
hrbrmstr 55 1,179 21 16
Dr. Shirin Glander 54 2,747 51 25
xi’an 49 990 20 12
Mango Solutions 42 1,221 29 17
Econometrics and Free Software 33 2,858 87 60
business-science.io – Articles 31 4,484 145 70
NA 31 1,724 56 40
statcompute 29 1,329 46 33
Ryan Sheehy 25 1,271 51 45
Keith Goldfeld 24 1,305 54 43
free range statistics – R 23 440 19 12
Jakob Gepp 21 348 17 13
Tal Galili 21 1,587 76 22
Jozef’s Rblog 18 1,617 90 65
arthur charpentier 16 1,320 82 68

It is absolutely no surprise David comes in at number one in both post count and almost every engagement summary statistic since he’s a veritable blogging machine and creates + curates some super interesting content (whereas your’s truly doesn’t even make the median engagement cut 🤔).

What were the most engaging posts?

filter(y2018, src == "R-bloggers") %>% 
  arrange(desc(engagement)) %>% 
  mutate(published = as.Date(published)) %>% 
  select(engagement, title, published, author) %>% 
  slice(1:50) %>% 
  gt::gt() %>% 
  gt::fmt_number(c("engagement"), decimals = 0)

engagement title published author
2,023 Happy Birthday R 2018-08-27 eoda GmbH
1,132 15 Types of Regression you should know 2018-03-25 ListenData
697 R and Python: How to Integrate the Best of Both into Your Data Science Workflow 2018-10-08 business-science.io – Articles
690 Ultimate Python Cheatsheet: Data Science Workflow with Python 2018-11-18 business-science.io – Articles
639 Data Analysis with Python Course: How to read, wrangle, and analyze data 2018-10-31 Andrew Treadway
617 Machine Learning Results in R: one plot to rule them all! 2018-07-18 Bernardo Lares
614 R tip: Use Radix Sort 2018-08-21 John Mount
610 Data science courses in R (/python/etc.) for $10 at Udemy (Sitewide Sale until Aug 26th) 2018-08-24 Tal Galili
575 Why R for data science – and not Python? 2018-12-02 Learning Machines
560 Case Study: How To Build A High Performance Data Science Team 2018-09-18 business-science.io – Articles
516 R 3.5.0 is released! (major release with many new features) 2018-04-24 Tal Galili
482 R or Python? Why not both? Using Anaconda Python within R with {reticulate} 2018-12-30 Econometrics and Free Software
479 Sankey Diagram for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Forecast 2018-06-10 Achim Zeileis
477 5 amazing free tools that can help with publishing R results and blogging 2018-12-22 Jozef’s Rblog
462 What’s the difference between data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence? 2018-01-09 David Robinson
456 XKCD “Curve Fitting”, in R 2018-09-28 David Smith
450 The prequel to the drake R package 2018-02-06 rOpenSci – open tools for open science
449 Who wrote that anonymous NYT op-ed? Text similarity analyses with R 2018-09-07 David Smith
437 Elegant regression results tables and plots in R: the finalfit package 2018-05-16 Ewen Harrison
428 How to implement neural networks in R 2018-01-12 David Smith
426 Data transformation in #tidyverse style: package sjmisc updated #rstats 2018-02-06 Daniel
413 Neural Networks Are Essentially Polynomial Regression 2018-06-20 matloff
403 Custom R charts coming to Excel 2018-05-11 David Smith
379 A perfect RStudio layout 2018-05-22 Ilya Kashnitsky
370 Drawing beautiful maps programmatically with R, sf and ggplot2 — Part 1: Basics 2018-10-25 Mel Moreno and Mathieu Basille
368 The Financial Times and BBC use R for publication graphics 2018-06-27 David Smith
367 Dealing with The Problem of Multicollinearity in R 2018-08-16 Perceptive Analytics
367 Excel is obsolete. Here are the Top 2 alternatives from R and Python. 2018-03-13 Appsilon Data Science Blog
365 New R Cheatsheet: Data Science Workflow with R 2018-11-04 business-science.io – Articles
361 Tips for analyzing Excel data in R 2018-08-30 David Smith
360 Importing 30GB of data in R with sparklyr 2018-02-16 Econometrics and Free Software
358 Scraping a website with 5 lines of R code 2018-01-24 David Smith
356 Clustering the Bible 2018-12-27 Learning Machines
356 Finally, You Can Plot H2O Decision Trees in R 2018-12-26 Gregory Kanevsky
356 Geocomputation with R – the afterword 2018-12-12 Rstats on Jakub Nowosad’s website
347 Time Series Deep Learning: Forecasting Sunspots With Keras Stateful LSTM In R 2018-04-18 business-science.io – Articles
343 Run Python from R 2018-03-27 Deepanshu Bhalla
336 Machine Learning Results in R: one plot to rule them all! (Part 2 – Regression Models) 2018-07-24 Bernardo Lares
332 R Generation: 25 Years of R 2018-08-01 David Smith
329 How to extract data from a PDF file with R 2018-01-05 Packt Publishing
325 R or Python? Python or R? The ongoing debate. 2018-01-28 tomaztsql
322 How to perform Logistic Regression, LDA, & QDA in R 2018-01-05 Prashant Shekhar
321 Who wrote the anti-Trump New York Times op-ed? Using tidytext to find document similarity 2018-09-06 David Robinson
311 Intuition for principal component analysis (PCA) 2018-12-06 Learning Machines
310 Packages for Getting Started with Time Series Analysis in R 2018-02-18 atmathew
309 Announcing the R Markdown Book 2018-07-13 Yihui Xie
307 Automated Email Reports with R 2018-11-01 JOURNEYOFANALYTICS
304 future.apply – Parallelize Any Base R Apply Function 2018-06-23 JottR on R
298 How to build your own Neural Network from scratch in R 2018-10-09 Posts on Tychobra
293 RStudio 1.2 Preview: SQL Integration 2018-10-02 Jonathan McPherson

Weekly & monthly curated post descriptive statstic patterns haven’t changed much since the April post:

filter(y2018, src == "R-bloggers") %>% 
  mutate(wkday = lubridate::wday(published, label = TRUE, abbr = TRUE)) %>%
  count(wkday) %>% 
  ggplot(aes(wkday, n)) +
  geom_col(width = 0.5, fill = ft_cols$slate, color = NA) +
  scale_y_comma() +
  labs(
    x = NULL, y = "# Curated Posts",
    title = "Day-of-week Curated Post Count for the R-bloggers Feed"
  ) +
  theme_ft_rc(grid="Y")

day of week view

filter(y2018, src == "R-bloggers") %>% 
  mutate(month = lubridate::month(published, label = TRUE, abbr = TRUE)) %>%
  count(month) %>% 
  ggplot(aes(month, n)) +
  geom_col(width = 0.5, fill = ft_cols$slate, color = NA) +
  scale_y_comma() +
  labs(
    x = NULL, y = "# Curated Posts",
    title = "Monthly Curated Post Count for the R-bloggers Feed"
  ) +
  theme_ft_rc(grid="Y")

month view

Surprisingly, monthly post count consistency (or even posting something each month) is not a common trait amongst the top 20 (by total engagement) authors:

w20 <- scales::wrap_format(20)

filter(y2018, src == "R-bloggers") %>% 
  filter(!is.na(author)) %>% # some posts don't have author attribution
  mutate(author_t = map_chr(w20(author), paste0, collapse="\n")) %>% # we need to wrap for facet titles (below)
  count(author, author_t, wt=engagement, sort=TRUE) %>% # get total author engagement
  slice(1:20) %>% # top 20
  { .auth_ordr <<- . ; . } %>% # we use the order later
  left_join(filter(y2018, src == "R-bloggers"), "author") %>% 
  mutate(month = lubridate::month(published, label = TRUE, abbr = TRUE)) %>%
  count(month, author_t, sort = TRUE) %>% 
  mutate(author_t = factor(author_t, levels = .auth_ordr$author_t)) %>% 
  ggplot(aes(month, nn, author_t)) +
  geom_col(width = 0.5) +
  scale_x_discrete(labels=substring(month.abb, 1, 1)) +
  scale_y_comma() +
  facet_wrap(~author_t) +
  labs(
    x = NULL, y = "Curated Post Count",
    title = "Monthly Curated Post Counts-per-Author (Top 20 by Engagement)",
    subtitle = "Arranged by Total Author Engagement"
  ) +
  theme_ft_rc(grid="yY")

Overall, most authors favor shorter titles for their posts:

filter(y2018, src == "R-bloggers") %>% 
  mutate(
    `Character Count Distribution` = nchar(title), 
    `Word Count Distribution` = stringi::stri_count_boundaries(title, type = "word")
  ) %>% 
  select(id, `Character Count Distribution`, `Word Count Distribution`) %>% 
  gather(measure, value, -id) %>% 
  ggplot(aes(value)) +
  ggalt::geom_bkde(alpha=1/3, color = ft_cols$slate, fill = ft_cols$slate) +
  scale_y_continuous(expand=c(0,0)) +
  facet_wrap(~measure, scales = "free") +
  labs(
    x = NULL, y = "Density",
    title = "Title Character/Word Count Distributions",
    subtitle = "~38 characters/11 words seems to be the sweet spot for most authors",
    caption = "Note Free X/Y Scales"
  ) +
  theme_ft_rc(grid="XY")

This post is already kinda tome-length so I’ll leave it to y’all to grab the data and dig in a bit more.

A Word About Using The content_content Field For R-bloggers Posts

Since R-bloggers requires a full feed from contributors, they, in-turn, post a “kinda” full-feed back out. I say “kinda” as they still haven’t fixed a reported bug in their processing engine which causes issues in (at least) Feedly’s RSS processing engine. If you use Feedly, take a look at the R-bloggers RSS feed entry for the recent “R or Python? Why not both? Using Anaconda Python within R with {reticulate}” post. It cuts off near “Let’s check its type:”. This is due to the way the < character is processed by the R-bloggers ingestion engine which turns the ## in the original post and doesn’t even display right on the R-bloggers page as it mangles the input and turns the descriptive output into an actuall tag: . It’s really an issue on both sides, but R-bloggers is doing the mangling and should seriously consider addressing it in 2019.

Since it is still not fixed, it forces you to go to R-bloggers (clicks FTW? and may partly explain why that example post has a 400+ engagement score) unless you scroll back up to the top of the Feedly view and go to the author’s blog page. Given that tibble output invariably has a < right up top, your best bet for getting more direct views of your own content is to get a code-block with printed ## < output in it as close to the beginning as possible (perhaps start each post with a print(tbl_df(mtcars)))? 🤓).

Putting post-view-hacking levity aside, this content mangling means you can’t trust the content_content column in the stream data frame to have all the content; that is, if you were planning on taking the provided data and doing some topic clustering or content-based feature extraction for other stats/ML ops you’re out of luck and need to crawl the original site URLs on your own to get the main content for such analyses.

A Bit More About seymour

The seymour package has the following API functions:

  • feedly_access_token: Retrieve the Feedly Developer Token
  • feedly_collections: Retrieve Feedly Connections
  • feedly_feed_meta: Retrieve Metadata for a Feed
  • feedly_opml: Retrieve Your Feedly OPML File
  • feedly_profile: Retrieve Your Feedly Profile
  • feedly_search_contents: Search content of a stream
  • feedly_search_title: Find feeds based on title, url or ‘#topic’
  • feedly_stream: Retrieve contents of a Feedly “stream”
  • feedly_tags: Retrieve List of Tags

along with following helper function (which we’ll introduce in a minute):

  • render_stream: Render a Feedly Stream Data Frame to RMarkdown

and, the following helper reference (as Feedly has some “universal” streams):

  • global_resource_ids: Global Resource Ids Helper Reference

The render_stream() function is semi-useful on its own but was designed as more of a “you may want to replicate this on your own” (i.e. have a look at the source code and riff off of it). “Streams” are individual feeds, collections or even “boards” you make and with this new API package and the power of R Markdown, you can make your own “newsletter” like this:

fp <- feedly_profile() # get profile to get my id

# use the id to get my "security" category feed in my feedly
fs <- feedly_stream(sprintf("user/%s/category/security", fp$id))

# get the top 10 items with engagement >= third quartile of all posts
# and don't include duplicates in the report
mutate(fs$items, published = as.Date(published)) %>% 
  filter(published >= as.Date("2018-12-01")) %>%
  filter(engagement > fivenum(engagement)[4]) %>% 
  filter(!is.na(summary_content)) %>% 
  mutate(alt_url = map_chr(alternate, ~.x[[1]])) %>% 
  distinct(alt_url, .keep_all = TRUE) %>% 
  slice(1:10) -> for_report

# render the report
render_stream(
  feedly_stream = for_report, 
  title = "Cybersecurity News", 
  include_visual = TRUE,
  browse = TRUE
)

Which makes the following Rmd and HTML. (So, no need to “upgrade” to “Teams” to make newsletters!).

FIN

As noted, the 2018 data for R Weekly (Live) & R-bloggers is available and you can find the seymour package on [GL | GH].

If you’re not a Feedly user I strongly encourage you to give it a go! And, if you don’t subscribe to R Weekly, you should make that your first New Year’s Resolution.

Here’s looking to another year of great R content across the R blogosphere!

To leave a comment for the author, please follow the link and comment on their blog: R – rud.is.

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