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typeof() #294

bbolker opened this Issue Aug 1, 2017 · 2 comments


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bbolker commented Aug 1, 2017

This is a fairly major philosophical question, but: is it really worth leading with typeof() in the data structures lesson, or would it be better to lead with class() and possibly mention typeof() later on (in passing, or in a tip/callout box)?

Arguments for typeof():

  • systematic
  • will appeal to computer scientists and people who like to know how it all works "under the hood"
  • limited number of possibilities

Arguments against typeof() (and in favo(u)r of class):

  • typeof() adds to confusion over factors
  • class is explicitly a logical description of an object's type, not its underlying properties

Some more discussion here and here (including "mode", which lumps integer and double together as "numeric" but mode(factor) is still "numeric" ...

While we're at it, I would vote for leaving out the "complex" type, or mentioning it in a callout ...


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naupaka commented Aug 1, 2017

I am happy to have it either way. Preference @noamross @karawoo @aammd @tomwright01 ?


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karawoo commented Aug 4, 2017

Yeah, I don't feel that strongly on this one. But 👍 to glossing over "complex".

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