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(Gizmodo)   Three ways people lie with data visualizations, including inverting the polarity of the Y axis   (gizmodo.com ) divider line
    More: Interesting, data visualization, y-axises, bar charts, gun deaths  
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3189 clicks; posted to Geek » on 16 Apr 2014 at 5:23 PM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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ZAZ [TotalFark]
2014-04-16 04:00:53 PM  
That was surprisingly good for a gizmodo link. I remember the truncated Y axis trick from a high school debate, but I didn't know what to call it at the time.
 
2014-04-16 04:27:22 PM  

ZAZ: That was surprisingly good for a gizmodo link. I remember the truncated Y axis trick from a high school debate, but I didn't know what to call it at the time.


Truncating the Y-axis values is a useful tool for narrow-band variations on a high-value measure, especially in systems where a 1-2% change can drive significant changes in other parameters.  However it is dishonest to assume that when talking about anything more esoteric than the local temperature that most people would pick up on that, and the honest presenter would clearly denote the elevated baseline, historical average, or that they've truncated the axis.
 
2014-04-16 04:48:35 PM  

factoryconnection: Truncating the Y-axis values is a useful tool for narrow-band variations on a high-value measure, especially in systems where a 1-2% change can drive significant changes in other parameters


Or if you are talking about temperature, for example, which begins at 0 Kelvin.

Or the concentration or pH of a substance.
 
2014-04-16 04:59:56 PM  
My favorite trick is with percentages.

Halfway through a six-pack, I can either say I have 50% fewer than when I started or that I had 100% more than I have now, depending on whether I want to maximize or minimize how buzzed I am.
 
2014-04-16 05:32:59 PM  

factoryconnection: ZAZ: That was surprisingly good for a gizmodo link. I remember the truncated Y axis trick from a high school debate, but I didn't know what to call it at the time.

Truncating the Y-axis values is a useful tool for narrow-band variations on a high-value measure, especially in systems where a 1-2% change can drive significant changes in other parameters.  However it is dishonest to assume that when talking about anything more esoteric than the local temperature that most people would pick up on that, and the honest presenter would clearly denote the elevated baseline, historical average, or that they've truncated the axis.


I do it all the time, it helps to see the data points.  But yeah - you better believe I let my audience know I've truncated the axis to show detail.
 
2014-04-16 05:39:01 PM  
Actually, a graph is more informative if the Y axis is such that the differences in the data points are most accentuated. Which would be more valuable? A graph of global temperature anomaly or a graph of absolute global temperatures with the Y axis started with zero?

Now, those two bar graphs are just pointless.
 
2014-04-16 05:39:39 PM  
img.fark.net
The "Other" ingredient is love. Or spit. I forget which pie this was.
 
2014-04-16 05:40:26 PM  
Should have said "starting at zero" and "two-bar." noicurr
 
2014-04-16 05:49:03 PM  
img.fark.net

There are lies, damned lies, and statistics.
-Rand Paul
 
2014-04-16 05:52:06 PM  
That stand your ground graph at the end is a doozy, what a farkin morally bankrupt spin doctor to try and pass that bullshiat off.  I mean come on.
 
2014-04-16 05:53:38 PM  
I love how most of the examples at either from FOX News or are otherwise showing conservative talking points.  It's almost like conservative intellectual dishonesty holds no bounds and they know their ignorant base can be easily mislead by skewed statistics.
 
2014-04-16 06:13:43 PM  
Polarity?
 
2014-04-16 06:17:34 PM  

edmo: Polarity?


ic.pics.livejournal.com

/The best part of that technobabble is that it combines polarity and neutrons.
 
2014-04-16 06:25:37 PM  
img.fark.net

We need to reverse the polarity to fool the Borg population, captain!
 
2014-04-16 06:28:51 PM  
I tend to picture myself as a critical thinker, but I had problems understanding what was wrong with those graphs until I read the description, and of course now I can't unsee it, but damn.
 
2014-04-16 06:33:40 PM  
i1282.photobucket.com
i1282.photobucket.com
i1282.photobucket.com
i1282.photobucket.com
 
2014-04-16 06:34:33 PM  

make me some tea: I tend to picture myself as a critical thinker, but I had problems understanding what was wrong with those graphs until I read the description, and of course now I can't unsee it, but damn.


They take advantage of your mind's natural ability to find patterns and to fill in the blanks.
 
2014-04-16 06:40:46 PM  

jigger: Actually, a graph is more informative if the Y axis is such that the differences in the data points are most accentuated. Which would be more valuable? A graph of global temperature anomaly or a graph of absolute global temperatures with the Y axis started with zero?

Now, those two bar graphs are just pointless.


A good rule of thumb would be, any situation where bars a useful way to visualize the data is a situation where the Y axis should start at zero.
 
2014-04-16 06:43:58 PM  
Whoever wrote that is so obviously a global warming DENIER!

/lulz
 
2014-04-16 06:58:45 PM  
That last one, honestly, I think was an attempt for a dramatic 'blood flow' visualization. Poorly done, and misleading, but I don't know that it was malicious.
 
2014-04-16 07:06:02 PM  
I was told there'd be no graph.
 
2014-04-16 07:15:16 PM  
img.fark.net
 
2014-04-16 07:17:54 PM  
My favorite misleading chart (after having been corrected ― in the original, FY2009's bar was colored red):
lh4.googleusercontent.com
Thing is, see the text in the lower left corner, about when Fiscal Years end? That was in the original! This demonstrates that the people who made the original knew that they were being deceptive (FY2009 started over a full month before Obama had even been elected, yet alone inugurated! Its budget was in place well before then!) It was not an honest mistake. Oh, and FY2000 & 2001, with surpluses, are both Clinton's, not Bush's, for the same reason, despite being included in the "Bush Years" ↔.
 
2014-04-16 07:19:03 PM  
Haven't seen this one on Fark in awhile.  I'm disappointed.

www.venganza.org
 
2014-04-16 07:20:20 PM  
A bit dated now, but still funny.


img.fark.net
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2014-04-16 07:21:54 PM  
The choice of Fox News as a source tells us about the blogger more than the news source. I don't doubt you can find bad graphics or errors at any other network. "18 times the speed of light" and "57 states" are fun to joke about, but as isolated incidents don't prove anything.

The inverted Florida chart shows another problem with statistics: explaining clearly what you are measuring. The chart says both "gun deaths" and "murders" which are much different things.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2014-04-16 07:29:12 PM  
COMALite J

The deficit for FY 2009 also includes the 2009 stimulus bill signed by Obama. If I were making the chart I would show separately the Bush base budget, the 2008 bailout signed by Bush, and the 2009 stimulus signed by Obama.
 
2014-04-16 07:32:14 PM  

Son of Thunder: [img.fark.net image 500x330]

faculty.elgin.edu
 
2014-04-16 07:38:49 PM  
How about push-up bras? Now THOSE can be deceptive.
 
2014-04-16 07:42:40 PM  
The best graph ever made:
mousebert.files.wordpress.com
 
2014-04-16 07:44:31 PM  

ZAZ: That was surprisingly good for a gizmodo link. I remember the truncated Y axis trick from a high school debate, but I didn't know what to call it at the time.


I've always called that, and heard that called, a 'suppressed zero' (on the y-axis) but that could be specific to my field...

Banned on the Run: My favorite trick is with percentages.


Another trick is to mix percentage and percentage points, or at least make the distinction unclear...
 
2014-04-16 07:50:52 PM  

ZAZ: COMALite J

The deficit for FY 2009 also includes the 2009 stimulus bill signed by Obama. If I were making the chart I would show separately the Bush base budget, the 2008 bailout signed by Bush, and the 2009 stimulus signed by Obama.

Closest I could find:
1.bp.blogspot.com
 
2014-04-16 08:03:11 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: The best graph ever made:


Kudos on a tufte reference, can't believe it took so long to be made.
And when you want to emphasize closely spaced bars on a Y axis, it's always best to start the axis at 0 and throw an axis break in with appropriate scaling above to highlight your trend.
 
2014-04-16 08:08:14 PM  

Mad_Radhu: edmo: Polarity?

[ic.pics.livejournal.com image 480x600]

/The best part of that technobabble is that it combines polarity and neutrons.


The neutron flow. Big difference
 
2014-04-16 08:30:20 PM  
My favorite pie chart of all time:

img.fark.net
 
2014-04-16 08:38:04 PM  

brandent: Haven't seen this one on Fark in awhile.  I'm disappointed.

[www.venganza.org image 600x400]


Probably because of the significant rise in piracy off the HOA and to a lesser extent the Straits of Malacca.  It was fun while it lasted, but then reality stepped.  Boooo!
 
2014-04-16 09:18:42 PM  
Panel charts are much better option than broken Y-axis charts.

peltiertech.com
 
2014-04-16 10:40:42 PM  

factoryconnection: ZAZ: That was surprisingly good for a gizmodo link. I remember the truncated Y axis trick from a high school debate, but I didn't know what to call it at the time.

Truncating the Y-axis values is a useful tool for narrow-band variations on a high-value measure, especially in systems where a 1-2% change can drive significant changes in other parameters.


I went to a talk by one of the New York Times statistical graphics designers.  Someone in the audience complained about the truncated Y axis on one of their graphs, and the speaker's response was basically, "I get where you're coming from, but I think people who insist on never truncating an axis are sad people with no lives."
 
2014-04-16 10:59:37 PM  
so a pie chart showing how often fox news lies with statistics would just be a solid circle?
 
2014-04-16 11:44:15 PM  
There is only one way people lie with stats, they pick an ignorant audience that doesn't care. Works every time, regardless of the particular visualizations.
 
2014-04-17 03:12:21 AM  

Mega Steve: Mad_Radhu: edmo: Polarity?

[ic.pics.livejournal.com image 480x600]

/The best part of that technobabble is that it combines polarity and neutrons.

The neutron flow. Big difference


But how do you get neutrons to flow if they are not electrically charged?
 
2014-04-17 08:10:38 AM  

Mad_Radhu: Mega Steve: Mad_Radhu: edmo: Polarity?

[ic.pics.livejournal.com image 480x600]

/The best part of that technobabble is that it combines polarity and neutrons.

The neutron flow. Big difference

But how do you get neutrons to flow if they are not electrically charged?


You have to flood the injector pathways with gaseous cryonetrium, duh!
 
2014-04-17 08:21:39 AM  

factoryconnection: brandent: Haven't seen this one on Fark in awhile.  I'm disappointed.

[www.venganza.org image 600x400]

Probably because of the significant rise in piracy off the HOA and to a lesser extent the Straits of Malacca.  It was fun while it lasted, but then reality stepped.  Boooo!


Yes but that explains the recent cooling!
 
2014-04-17 11:57:59 AM  
4.bp.blogspot.com
 
2014-04-17 10:59:23 PM  

Flab: [4.bp.blogspot.com image 752x496]


Ya know, there's always been a part of me that wondered how Western women didn't massively die of heat-stroke in the 1800s with the amount of clothing they wore.

Cooler climate would make sense.
 
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