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As relative change is the interest, the graph would be better with the origin at zero.


Interesting post and blog! But the graph on the right does tend to suggest a multiple increase in troop size, although it is 'only' 70%. As Ken suggested, maybe setting the origin to zero would solve the issue.

Keep up the awesome work on your blog.


Ratios need an origin, but differences don't. So as an alternative to setting the origin to zero, you could transform the scale to a logarithmic one. On a log scale, ratios translate to differences, which don't need an origin.

I'm not suggesting it seriously in this particular case, though. Because the ratio is 1.7, a linear scale is quite comfortable. Showing a ratio of 1.007 would have been a different matter. Then, a log scale would be unavoidable.

Jon Peltier

The table shows the change, but not the rate of change (the slope), and not the variation of this rate. The only improvement over the "junkchart" version of the graphic might be the log scale suggested by Derek. However, with these numbers, there isn't really much difference between the log- and linear-scaled plots.


Note: There's a labeling error in your data table -- the 3rd element should be 3/09 not 3/08.


Not at all related to the post is this presentation featuring an interesting way to represent data: http://www.insna.org/pdfs/Power.pdf

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