Malofiej-week is here

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– 1% of the news in infographics …

The barchart that doesn’t explain anything and isn’t news

MAYBE THIS GRAPHIC appeals to the purists out there? The ones who think that everything can be explained in a barchart?

Over at infographic cool guy, David McAndless and colleagues  just posted this graphic to explain what goes on in Wall Street – what the protesters are so angry about …

I can tell you that my clients and the clients of McCandless hardly lives on the same planet. If I tried to sell this line-up of data obtained between 1989 and 2009 to explain what takes place in 2011, I would get kicked some place nonpleasant. No newspaper could print this. Why didn’t they start protesting in US back in 2007 then? The data is 4 years old.

And why does it say data obtained 2001-2009 in the small text below the graphic, when the dataset has no less than 15 older figures included. Sierra Leone – 1989 (that’s 22 years old data). New Zealand – 1997 (14 years ago). Is it even fair to compare numbers obtained in such a wide timespan to try and explain current events?

Shown here in a much reduced copy, but you can go to Davids website to see the full size very long graphic.

The graphic treatment – growing a line from the centerpoint based on a single figure and some colorblending as you move down the list – doesn’t really warrant a closer inspection.

In the original list from Business Insider there’s a note that clearly tells that the figures (the Gini-coefficients) reflect family/household income, not individual income. Compare that to the text in the infobeauty-graphic ‘Income inequality between high earners and low earners’. Who is telling it wrong?

Maybe we should create a rule right here, right now: Let’s call it the Tower-principle: The longer the graphic – the worse it is.

I have seen a lot of long graphics being spread on the internet. Most of them strike me as being unsuccessful and live up to the Tower-principle, but this graphic with a length of 9137 pixels certainly takes a place between the ones, that has no business calling itself an infographic.