Feb 24, 2006
One can scarcely find a media outlet more committed to printing interesting data graphics than the New York Times. By printing the following scatter plot, it shows a level of sophistication as yet unmatched.
The graphic has a few problems:
- confusing labels: it appears that athleticism is equivalent to "elements" so that "better elements" and "more athletic" are the same
- redundant labels: there shouldn't be a need to print "more artistic" inside the chart and "better artistry" along the axis; it's even more confusing as they point in different directions
- mysterious line: it's not clear how the line was created; is it a linear regression line? I'd have thought that a 45 degree line would be appropriate if the scoring scales for artistry and elements are identical
- bad choice of statistic: even though they have access to two years of data, instead of plotting average or median scores, they showed "highest" score. Thus, a poor skater may show up on the top right corner on the strength of just one performance during those two years
Reference: "Cohen Cultivates Sublime Status: Quiet Contender", New York Times, Feb 21 2006.
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