RE: [S] Pie diagrams anyone?

Charles Roosen (roosen@statsci.com)
Thu, 12 Nov 1998 16:22:46 -0800


Note that I'm not at all speaking for MathSoft...

I like pie charts!

In particular, I like pie charts for showing the proportions allocated to
different groups. For example, displaying how my meagre 401K
(retirement) account is allocated between different mutual funds.

I'm particularly fond of the pseudo-3D pie charts available in Excel,
although the exploding 3D pie charts are perhaps a bit too much.

I do feel it's necessary to include percentage values describing the
amount allocated to each slice. Otherwise the pie charts are
pretty hard to read accurately.

I'll buy the argument that it's hard to accurately read proportions
off of a pie chart. I look at the number connected to each slice
to get the actual proportion. The pie chart itself just spices
things up a bit, and gives a rough feel for group sizes.

I also think barplots are just fine, thank you very much, and
have no real interest in dot charts.

Now my understanding is that it's too late to take back my
Statistics degree, even if I go around spouting such heresy...

Charlie Roosen

On Thursday, November 12, 1998 3:13 PM, Bill Venables [SMTP:wvenable@attunga.stats.adelaide.edu.au] wrote:
> I received the following very curious personal email today (from
> an address somewhere in the UK, it seems).
>
> >>>>> "N" writes:
>
> N> Dear. Mr. Venables,
>
> N> I have been recently converted to being an S-Plus user,
> N> and as an avid fan of pie diagrams I was gravley concerned
> N> to find some hostility from you aimed towards them in your
> N> set of notes.
>
> N> Please can you explain this please?
>
> Of course I am half inclined to think that it must be a leg-pull,
> but I am not completely convinced.
>
> The answer is yes, I do rather look down upon pie diagrams as an
> ineffective device and something that can be easily bettered, but
> also as something so typical of the abuses of statistics that
> Disraeli so justifiably ridiculed. Nevertheless I am curious to
> know what other people think about them. Am I alone in this?
>
> Irrespective of my opinion of their value I do support their
> inclusion in S-PLUS, though. After all managers, advertising
> executives, lawyers, politicians and their kind have as much
> right to use S-PLUS as any of us... :-)
>
> Bill.
>
> --
> _________________________________________________________________
> Bill Venables, Head, Dep't of Statistics, Tel.: +61 8 8303 5418
> ^^^^ (but not for much longer!)
> The University of Adelaide, Fax.: +61 8 8303 3696
> South AUSTRALIA. 5005. Email: Bill.Venables@adelaide.edu.au
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