How to bug author

As an author of several Bioconductor packages. I found many questions from users are quite annoying. Some of them never use google and they are reluctant to read vignettes.

Step 1: make sure you are using the latest release

I found many peoples are using out-of-date packages. When they got an issue of an out-dated package, they never check whether the issue still exists in latest release.

> rvcheck::check_bioc("clusterProfiler")
package is up-to-date release version
$installed_version
[1] "3.0.4"

$latest_version
[1] "3.0.4"

$up_to_date
[1] TRUE

Step 2: read the vignettes

All Bioconductor packages contains a least one vignette and some of them are in very details. Most of the user questions can be solved if user go through the vignette carefully.

Don’t post question without reading the document as in the github issue.

Step 3: ask google

I received several emails asking why my Bioconductor package is not available when they try to install it using install.packages().

If they google search the package name, they can reach the landing page of the package. Then they will find installation guide of using biocLite().

User question may already have an answer posted in Bioconductor support site, Biostars or somewhere. Just google search it before bugging the author.

Step 4: make a reproducible example

If there is indeed an issue exists in latest release and it is not documented in vignette and google can’t answer it, then you need to make a reproducible example for package author to reproduce your issue.

A question from ggtree user is a good example. For more details, please follow the advice from http://adv-r.had.co.nz/Reproducibility.html or http://stackoverflow.com/questions/5963269/how-to-make-a-great-r-reproducible-example.

Then post the reproducible example on Bioconductor support site or Biostars tag with package name. Disucssion in public forum is useful since it may help other users.

An excerpt from http://lcolladotor.github.io/2017/03/06/How-to-ask-for-help-for-Bioconductor-packages should convince you to post in community website.

The Bioconductor project is a community project and it benefits from users interacting in public venues. When a user asks a question at the Bioconductor support website, they are providing information that future users might be interested in. That is, the user (U1) is contributing information to the overall documentation around the Bioconductor package they are asking a question about. Ideally, a new user (U2) can then read through the question U1 wrote, check the solution, and move on. This is one of the main reasons why we (developers) want questions to be well documented. There are a couple of quick things that U1 can check that will make their question much more useful to the community.

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