Matt Dowle edited this page Apr 14, 2018 · 31 revisions

When asking for free support please keep in mind that this software is written and supported by other users, just like you. Often it is written and supported in evenings and weekends. If you show that you have respect for our time you will get a much better response. In time, we hope that like us, you will progress to start fixing and improving the software yourself.

  1. Search data.table NEWS which is updated live as bugs are fixed or features are added. Many people fail to do this. If you have searched NEWS then stating in your question that you have, shows us that you are trying. If there's a chance the latest version in dev fixes the issue, then install dev and try it. A pre-compiled binary for Windows is made after every change in dev (multiple times per day) so you don't need any tools. All builds that pass all automated tests are immediately and automatically released.

  2. Thoroughly search Stack Overflow's data.table tag. In the top right of the screen type in the search box "[data.table]" followed by the actual error message. Yes, copy and paste the actual error message (or the most salient parts from it) since the error message will appear in the text of good questions. If you get no results then you could try the "[r]" tag in case a question has been asked about that error message but not tagged data.table. If so, please edit that question and add [data.table] alongside the [r] tag if and only if the question (not the answer) was about data.table. See S.O. search tips.

  3. Provide the output of sessionInfo() up front. This tells us your operating system, the version of R and the version of data.table. Many people fail to do this even after years and years of asking over and over again.

  4. Provide a minimal and reproducible example: how to make a great R reproducible example. Providing one should be possible in almost all cases.

  5. If you don't know how to do something, state what you've tried already; e.g., which search strings precisely did you try, what is your input and what is your desired output.

  6. Be sure to tag the question both [r] and [data.table] otherwise it won't be seen by those watching the tag.

Please DO NOT contact a project member directly (e.g. using email or twitter), UNLESS :

  • you have already raised a question on Stack Overflow or raised an issue on Github and the solution or progress is unsatisfactory. In this case include a link to the question or issue and why you are bringing it to our attention. We welcome such emails or tweets.
  • you are unable to raise a public question or issue (please tell us why not) or require enterprise support.

Further tips

  1. How to ask
  2. How to ask questions the smart way
  3. R posting guide for tips but do not post to r-help about data.table. r-help is for base R questions only. It would get swamped if you could ask about any and every package there.
  4. Github flavoured markdown (for formatting your code)
  5. Exclude the prompt > from the code in your question. Including it means it won't work when we copy and paste it to our prompt. Use "#" to comment the output parts.
  6. What is the intended behaviour? And what do you get instead? Show the output. If you get a warning or an error message, be sure to include the full message in your question otherwise nobody can confirm they have reproduced the same error or warning that you get.
  7. Turn on verbose mode with verbose=TRUE passed to the function or turn on the global option with options(datatable.verbose=TRUE).
  8. If you have found other similar questions but yours is different in some way, then link to the other questions and explain why yours is different to those. This saves everyone's time. It shows you respect our time. This is done so rarely that if you do it, people may bend over backwards to help you.
  9. Provide an external link to the minimal reproducible file and use that file name in your code.
  10. Look at closed issues. Observe the good and the bad.
  11. Type ?data.table and look at all the arguments. Do you know them all? For example, do you know which= and others? Make sure you do. It is likely that one of them is there for your task. If some seem like they could help, search Stack Overflow for that argument name within the [data.table] tag and see how people have used it. Many answers use data.table but the question was not about data.table, so in this situation search in the [r] tag (not [data.table]) for the "data.table" and the argument name.
  12. Read all the vignettes.
  13. Read all the questions in the data.table FAQ even if you don't have those questions yet.
  14. Take the Datacamp course

Best wishes!

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