Simon Willison’s Weblog


I’ve stopped using box plots. Should you? (via) Nick Desbarats explains box plots (including with this excellent short YouTube video) and then discusses why he thinks "typically less than 20 percent" of participants in his workshops already understand how to read them.

A key problem is that they are unintuitive: a box plot has four sections, two thin lines (the top and bottom whisker segments) and two larger boxes, joined around the median. Each of these elements represents the same number of samples (one quartile each) but the thin lines v.s. thick boxes imply that the whiskers contain less samples than the boxes.