R Flashmob

September 4, 2009

(This article was first published on "R-bloggers" via Tal Galili in Google Reader, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

Today I noticed a call for R users to gather around a single campfire for one hour and share their questions and answers.

The campfire name is stackoverflow.com, a site dedicated for handling programming questions. The event details are bellow:

From: The R Flashmob Project
Subject: R Flashmob #2

You are invited to take part in R Flashmob, the project that makes the
world a better place by posting helpful questions and answers about the
R statistical language to the programmer’s Q & A site stackoverflow.com

Please forward this to other people you know who might like to join.


Q. Why would I want to join an inexplicable R mob?

A. Tons of other people are doing it.

Q. Why else?

A. Stackoverflow was built specifically for handling programming questions.
It’s a better mousetrap. It offers search (and is well indexed by search engines),
tagging, voting, the ability to choose the “best” answer to a question, and the ability to
edit questions and answers as technology progresses. It has a karma system to
reward people who are happy to help and discourage MLJs (mailing list jerks).

Q. Do the organizers of this MOB have any commercial interest in stackoverflow?

A. None at all. We’re just convinced it is the best way to help and promote R. All
the content submitted to stackoverflow is protected by a Creative Commons
CC-Wiki License, meaning anyone is free to copy, distribute, transmit, and
remix the information on stackoverflow. All the content on stackoverflow is
regularly made available for download by the public.

Location: stackoverflow.com
Start Date: Tuesday, September 8th, 2009
Start Time:
10:04 AM – US Pacific
11:04 AM – US Mountain
12:04 PM – US Central
1:04 PM – US Eastern
6:04 PM – UK
7:04 PM – Continental W. Europe
5:04 AM (Weds) – New Zealand (birthplace of R)
Duration: 50 minutes

(1) At some point during the day on September 8th, synchronize your watch to

(2) The mob should form at precisely 4 minutes past the hour and not beforehand.

(3) At 4 minutes past the hour, you should arrive at stackoverflow.com, log in,
and post 3 R questions. Be sure to tag the questions “R”. See the posting
guidelines at http://stackoverflow.com/faq to understand what makes a good

(4) Follow R Flashmob updates at http://twitter.com/rstatsmob

(5) Post twitter messages tagged #rstats and #rstatsmob during the mob,
providing links to your questions.

(6) During the R MOB, you can chat with other participants on the #R channel
on IRC (freenode). To do this, install the Chatzilla extension on Firefox.
Click “freenode” on the main screen. Then type /join #R in the field at the
bottom of the screen. Then chat.

(7) If you finish posting your three questions within the 50 minutes, stick
around to answer questions and give “up votes” to good questions and answers.

(8) IMPORTANT: After posting, sign the R Flashmob guestbook at

(9) Return to what you would otherwise have been doing. Await
instructions for R MOB #3.

This invitation already gained exposure from 3 blogs:

I am waiting to see who else will join the fun.

Share with friends:


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