6 posts
✚ Line Chart Baselines Do Not Have to Start at Zero (The Process #39)

There was renewed interest in — gasp — truncated axes this week, a never-ending debate about whether starting axes at non-zero is misleading. Read More

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Useless Points of Comparison

Make sure you don't end up in an apples and oranges situation where the comparisons don't even make sense. Read More

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Misleading Medicaid funding with the baseline

The administration tweeted a chart that shows the Senate Republican health care bill increases Medicaid funding. The line moves up, so it must be true, right? Well, it depends on what you compare to. The original simply compares over time — against the past. Vox compared it against what spending would be under current law. Tags: baseline, Medicaid

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Shift Your Point of View

How good or bad something is depends on what you compare against. Read More

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Trump bar chart baselines are the worst baselines. Sad.

The Donald Trump campaign has a habit of highlighting poll results with a bar chart that just shows the top portion. The bottom baseline fades away somewhere or the values follow a random scale. They’re supposed to start at zero. John Muyskens for the Washington Post highlights the campaign’s bar chart usage, and why it’s problematic. Sometimes if the bars were placed correctly, the results would show more favorable for...

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Sometimes the y-axis doesn’t start at zero, and it’s fine

It's true. Sometimes it's okay for the y-axis to start at a non-zero value, which is why Johnny Harris and Matthew Yglesias for Vox tell people to shut up about the y-axis. The video might seem contradictory to what I said about bar chart baselines, but we basically say the same thing. The context must match the visual, charts that don't use length as the visual encoding can start at...

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