3.32 Solution? Spelling = grammar = poetry?

  • Can software (such as ggplot2) solve those problems?
  • ggplot2 = spellchecker: Plot won’t work unless components correctly specified (Wickham 2010b, 24–25)
  • ggplot2 \(\neq\) grammar checker: Would need to identify common mistakes/warn user (Wickham 2010b, 24–25)
  • Too many variables: Hard to see relationship between more than three variables in a single panel (e.g., suggest facetting)
  • Overplotting: Too many points may make us fail to see density wrong conclusions (e.g., suggest adding density visualization)
  • Alphabetical ordering: Categorical variables often displayed in alphabetical ordering (“Alabama first!” mistake (Wainer 2005)) (e.g., suggest ordering)
  • Polar coordinates: Humans are better at judging length than angle or area (Cleveland and McGill 1987) (e.g., warn users?)
  • Tools: Default template, default parameters.. but mostly we need education! [Wickham2010-qe, 25]


Cleveland, William S, and Robert McGill. 1987. “Graphical Perception: The Visual Decoding of Quantitative Information on Graphical Displays of Data.” J. R. Stat. Soc. Ser. A 150 (3): 192.

Wainer, Howard. 2005. Graphic Discovery: A Trout in the Milk and Other Visual Adventures. Princeton University Press.

Wickham, Hadley. 2010b. “A Layered Grammar of Graphics.” J. Comput. Graph. Stat. 19 (1): 3–28.