Is "create a reprex" becoming a bit too stackoverflow-esque?

tl:dr I believe we can have standards for our expectations on question askers, while still avoiding the unapproachable aspect of SO.

So I disagree with this for one main reason. Which is when you are told to provide a reproducible example it is either a comment that says "please post a reproducible example" or a link to this SO thread which gives general ideas of what a reproducible example is. While that thread has A TON of great suggestions, it is a lot to parse though.

Here, the user is pointed to a package page that once installed, all you need to do is use the RStudio Add in and it does the rest for you (while I am simplifying, that is essentially the gist of it). So in my mind the difference is that we are not providing arbitrary opinions about what should be included in your reprex, but rather we are giving you a tool that creates the reprex for you.

While I understand how this can be intimidating for people that are totally new to R, I don't think it is unreasonable to ask the person who is asking the question to put in the effort to learn how to best ask the question.

This happens all the time, there are threads on a regular basis that a user will ask a very vague question and get in return a very vague response (see one such answer from you today. Some users will post resources while some will post general code that could approach a similar problem. So it is not as if we close or put on hold questions that are vague and more open ended. Typically the only questions we will unlist is if the asker literally just copies and paste the recommended discourse question template with no actual information.

While yes that can be done (and is often done) I would hesitate to recommend that practice. If the user is clearly trying to make the reprex but is making errors in the reprex process (not loading libraries, trying to use global data outside of the reprex) then I would say this is appropriate. But as @andresrcs stated, creating a reprex for the user without them putting in any effort encourages them to repeat that lack of effort next time they ask a question (Why invest any more time than I did for the last question I asked when I still got the answer I wanted :man_shrugging:) . While asking a question here should not be a burden, an answerer should not be expected to ask and answer the question for the asker without the asker having put any effort into it themselves.

So I guess my main point is that while we do want to avoid the SO mindset of the user has to ask a perfect question, I don't think that means we have to have no standards for what we expect when someone asks the question. I think the big difference lies in how we ask the user for the reprex. When I ask users for a reprex i try to make it friendly (as an internet post can be) and to provide the necessary information and documentation they need to be able to ask the write question.

In case anyone wants to use it, my (really the one I stole from @mara) canned reprex response (without the typical manually added friendly first sentence) is here:

Could you please turn this into a self-contained reprex (short for reproducible example)? It will help us help you if we can be sure we're all working with/looking at the same stuff.


If you've never heard of a reprex before, you might want to start by reading the help page. The reprex dos and don'ts are also useful.

What to do if you run into clipboard problems

If you run into problems with access to your clipboard, you can specify an outfile for the reprex, and then copy and paste the contents into the forum.

reprex::reprex(input = "fruits_stringdist.R", outfile = "")

For pointers specific to the community site, check out the reprex FAQ, linked to below.