[R] Subject: Re: how to include bar values in a barplot?

Frank E Harrell Jr f.harrell at vanderbilt.edu
Thu Aug 9 14:35:49 CEST 2007

Ted.Harding at manchester.ac.uk wrote:
> Greg, I'm going to join issue with your here! Not that I'll go near
> advocating "Excel-style" graphics (abominable, and the Patrick Burns
> URL which you cite is remarkable in its restraint). Also, I'm aware
> that this is potential flame-war territory --  again, I want to avoid
> that too.
> However, this is the second time you have intervened on this theme
> (previously Mon 6 August), along with John Kane on Wed 1 August and
> again today on similar lines, and I think it's time an alternative
> point of view was presented, to counteract (I hope usefully) what
> seems to be a draconianly prescriptive approach to the presentation
> of information.



You make many excellent points and provide much food for thought.  I 
still think that Greg's points are valid too, and in this particular 
case, bar plots are a bad choice and adding numbers at variable heights 
causes a perception error as I wrote previously.

Thanks for your elaboration on this important subject.


> On 07-Aug-07 21:37:50, Greg Snow wrote:
>> Generally adding the numbers to a graph accomplishes 2 things:
>> 1) it acts as an admission that your graph is a failure
> Generally, I disagree. Different elements in a display serve different
> purposes, according to the psychological aspects of visual preception.

. . .

Frank E Harrell Jr   Professor and Chair           School of Medicine
                      Department of Biostatistics   Vanderbilt University

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