Cashing in good
From light to heavy

Light entertainment

Reader Aleks is none too happy with the sets of charts here (what looks to be an online dating site).  It's hard to take these seriously but the people who made them sounded pretty serious.


Pay special attention to the whimsical placement of the horizontal axis.  Are those negative numbers?  Positive columns floating mid-air, and up-ended?

More at the site ("The 4 Big Myths of Profile Pictures").

[Update: 1/26/2010.  See the next post for my response to the comments below.]


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Looks like 27% is the average chance of a message leading to an actual conversation. Blue bars are above average and grey bars are below average.

From the article beginning of the article:
"All my bar charts are zeroed on the average picture."

Andrew Gelman

I agree that it's reasonable to center on the average.

Really, though, the graph would be much more readable if rotated 90-degrees to become a Cleveland-style dotplot.

My guess is that the people who made this graph have never seen a dotplot (or, if they had, they don't remember it).

Hadley Wickham

Andrew, have you even read that blog? It is an insightful exploration of the data behind online dating. I think the blog is one of the best examples of data analysis on the web, and a great resource to get students interested in statistics.

The bar chart is perfectly appropriate here, considering the target audience and what they are trying to show - advantages or disadvantages of a given tactic compared to the average response rate. I'm pretty annoyed by this whole post - just because you don't take the data seriously doesn't mean that other people don't.


Again - I have to agree with Hadley (I always do for some reason). On the other hand - the overlapping, and stacked barcharts would be very easy to improve.


I turn this back to you, OP. Did you *really* not understand the intent of the x-axis placement?

Honestly, it seems pretty obvious.


"For interested readers, I explain our measurement process, and how we collected our data, at the end of the post. All my bar charts are zeroed on the average picture."

The bars represent whether you're likely to do better or worse than the average user.


I saw this posted elsewhere, and thought the information was interesting. Honestly, though I did not understand the charts when just looking at them without reading the article. I don't think they stand on their own, and it would not have taken much effort to make it more clear on the charts what they were trying to display.

sale prove milano

Your blog is distinctive. I have found your blog innovative. You have chosen very incredible theme for your sketch. I cherished it.

The comments to this entry are closed.