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When Bar Charts Don’t Start at Zero

Alex Velez has a confession:

Spoiler alert: I made a bar chart that does not have a zero baseline. I should add that this was intentional and not for teaching purposes, but rather because it seemed like the more appropriate solution for my given scenario.

This is an interesting edge case, but honestly, I think a bar chart is the wrong choice for the job here. I definitely prefer a dot plot here, even if the one Alex put together was a bit noisy. I think the best answer might have been to have a vertically aligned dot plot, similar to the final bar chart except without the bars. That reduces a lot of the noise while letting you label the specific points.

As far as the topic, I defer to noted philosopher Ron Swanson: “There’s only one thing I hate more than lying: skim milk. Which is water that’s lying about being milk.”