TURD: When am I going to use this?

With thanks to Dan Meyer for finding this particular Truly Unfortunate Representation of Data [TURD]:

It is becoming clear that online colleges are major sources of TURDs.

A few of the TURD-lectable features in this one:

  • I can make neither head nor tail of the horizontal location of each bar. If it’s supposed to be according to the x-axis label, then why do we ALSO have the little bar-codey bars within? The legend says those count the number of concepts per subject.
  • What’s up with the little black triangles?
  • I get that vertical location of the bar tells me about salary. Does vertical width of bar mean something? (E.g. compare veterinarians to firefighters.)
  • Do agricultural workers really use that much more math than automotive mechanics? Seems dubious

One last point (and it was Dan’s original point in posting it in the first place): Garbage in/garbage out in terms of information and purpose. You could fix the critiques above and the graphic still stinks; was any student ever convinced to keep on keepin’ on in math class by the poster version of this?


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