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I want to let you know that I really appreciate this blog. The subjects are typically outside of my own professional expertise which is exactly why I am intrigued. Thank you.


Great blog. I build data analysis/visualization software.

Jeff Weir

Hey J...some thoughts on your comment:

I don't agree with your comment about 'self sufficiency' concerning this chart, for the same reason as the blog author points out in his reply in his next post.

However, I DO appreciate that you've taken the time to thoroughly detail your criticism. Open critique is a good thing.

Unfortunately, when you later state that "The Junk Charts version is ugly and incompetently produced" you don't providing any detail at all. Why do you think it is ugly? What exactly do you mean by incompetently produced?

To me, any overly negative statements that are made without any supporting critique can only really be considered as rants. Or to put it in your own terms, they lack 'self sufficiency' (as you seem to be defining it, not as the blog author defines it).

You also say "This is an example of a recurring pattern at Junk Charts: visual displays of information that are only legible if you read the accompanying blog post." Well, if it is a crime to give your readers pertinent background information related to a graphic, then I'm quite happily guilty of that myself.

That said, you seem to be critiquing Junk Charts as if it was the blog's primary role to convey information in a graphical manner to its readers in the manner of a media outlet.

But I don't think this blog is meant to educate its readers on a particular story or dataset. Rather, It's about telling a story ABOUT the graphics. That is, it's SUPPOSED to go into lengths to explain the graphs. It's NOT SUPPOSED to be a substitute for the New York Times.

In fact, I'm glad that this is a recurring pattern at Junk Charts...it would be a real shame if the writer behind Junk Charts only told us that he thought a particular chart sucked, and that he thought a particular redesign is better, without explaining why.

You close by saying that "These hypothetical redesigns are an embarrassment". Question: Is your own comment equally embarrassing to yourself, or is your name actually 'J'?


I like JunkCharts because the reasons for changes are explained and there are interesting ideas. All the graphs need is a bit of tidying up and they would be suitable for publication in the NYT and would better inform people.

Mark Thomas

I am an avid reader of this blog, and appreciate all the work and analysis that goes into each post.

However, I am a bit confused about the notion of self-sufficiency. I was thinking that self-sufficiency meant that a chart didn't add data, but rather was understandable without printed data.

OK, so I just dug up an post from 2005 where you defined it in just this way:

This definition seems to be at odds with the one you presented in this post.

Jon Peltier

Kaiser - Just keep doing what you're doing. The chart in question was an improvement, clearer and more informative than the original, and in fact, I had similar adjustments in mind.


Kaiser, keep up the good work, & don't worry about the criticism.


This is a great blog. I don't know what J is thinking - maybe he/she made the original chart and is offended. This is my favorite visualization blog and I love that you have actual experience in the field and do it without ads and such, unlike other popular visualization blogs...


There's a reason those type of comments never have a real name or email address attached to them. I'm sure most of your readers know better to ignore that kind of bitterness.


Keep up the great work! I love your detailed breakdowns of design.


Kaiser, you're a star. Thank you for taking so much time and creating such valuable content. I really enjoy following your posts and read every word of the explanations. Don't let yourself be discouraged by unqualified criticism that can only be fuelled by jealousy.

Nick Barrowman

Your blog is a treasure! Keep up the wonderful work.

Avinash Kaushik

Let me join all the others in encouraging you to do exactly what you do Kaiser.

I enjoy your occasional posts on "good charts" but honestly it is all the love and treatment you give to the junk charts that has lots of learning value for me.

Ignore the J's of the world. You can't win 'em all, and I think it is futile to try.

Keep up the great work.


I actually somewhat agreed with J's comments... somewhat... I recall having a very difficult time understanding the chart you had produced, while having an easier time with the Times chart.

On the other hand the Times chart may have well been just a table. What was the use of the donuts? Your chart did a great job of actually visualizing the data and conveyed the illustrated concept much more clearly.

That being said, I highly appreciate this blog. It's one of my favorites. It would be a shame if you stopped writing it. Please keep up the fantastic work.

Bernard Lebelle

Being a reader from accross the pond, all I can say is that you should not let those type of comment alter neither the mission of this blog nor your dedication to it.
A huge thanks for all the efforts you've put in raising awareness & education on creating better graph.

Jérôme Cukier

Hello Kaiser,
I've been reading junk charts for a while now and it has helped me tremendously in developing a critical judgement about charts - in progressing from an arbitrary, self-proclaimed "expert" judgement to a more reasoned, scientific approach. For this I am grateful.

I think comments worded like J's show that people have very high expectations of your work and should be understood as flattery.


Thanks all for your comments. I appreciate the support very much. I intend to continue to blog, just thought it was a good opportunity to take a measure of where we stand.

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Kaiser Fung. Business analytics and data visualization expert. Author and Speaker.
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