Author Topic: How to mislead with graphs  (Read 6058 times)

KMMK

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How to mislead with graphs
« on: September 15, 2014, 06:37:41 PM »

Not really antimustachian, but certainly shameful and comedic.

Found this awesome graph on CIBC's website.



Notice anything wrong with the scale of the y-axis?
How does the average consumer survive when they are being intentionally misled all the time? Anyone else notice things like this?

firelight

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Re: How to mislead with graphs
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2014, 07:25:30 PM »
Another funny one about the above graph - minimum is $1000 but their example shows $500... I find it oddly funny.

RetiredAt63

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Re: How to mislead with graphs
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2014, 07:31:18 PM »
I've seen "lying" histograms because of the way the groups were chosen.

And of course using arithmetic mean ("average") when median would give a much clearer picture.

All sorts of ways to "cheat" at http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/stat3.html

deborah

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Re: How to mislead with graphs
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2014, 10:11:03 PM »
2% over five years? .4% a year! And why is it steadily going up if there is no early withdrawal?

Nudelkopf

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Re: How to mislead with graphs
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2014, 12:12:38 AM »
I like that they say it's 2.000%.... As if all those zeros make it bigger.

MDM

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Re: How to mislead with graphs
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2014, 12:54:49 AM »
Yes, it appears they are scum - but not as low on the scum scale as the folks here: http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/index.php?topic=23288.

If we can believe the example (and I share cutenila's wry chuckle at the dollar amount), the investment does return 2% simple interest over 5 years.  E.g., 2%/yr * 5 yr = 10%.  10% * $500 = $50.  $500 + $50 = $550, as advertised.

Retiredat63, thanks for that link.


Ian

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Re: How to mislead with graphs
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2014, 01:26:49 AM »
Y-axis manipulation is endemic in general and I'm pretty tired of it.

AH013

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Re: How to mislead with graphs
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2014, 05:21:05 AM »
More like mislead with words.  2% "interest rate" over 5 years turns $500 into $550?  As in like you don't compound that at all during those 5 years and just do 2% * 5 years = 10%?  So like a 1.91% (APY) interest rate?  Because, I mean, you want to use APY when quoting loan rates, so I'm confused why you wouldn't also want to quote APY when discussing your interest bearing products too.  Oh, because APY, while more comparable across products, produces lower numbers, and you wouldn't want that for a CD that already has a paltry rate?  Ok, thanks for clearing that up with a footnote*.

*Assholes

Kaspian

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Re: How to mislead with graphs
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2014, 12:53:16 PM »
Notice anything wrong with the scale of the y-axis?

What's wrong with the y-axis?!  Everyone knows that $500-550 is a way, WAY bigger number than $0-500.  It has to show larger in the picture.  The latter one has a 0 in it.  A ZERO for Gods sakes!  ;)

frugalnacho

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Re: How to mislead with graphs
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2014, 01:58:00 PM »
it's inverse logarithmic.  Just imagine if they boosted the return up to like 2.5%. 

mudgestache

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Re: How to mislead with graphs
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2014, 11:34:49 PM »
Hmmm, I wonder if I could utilize this to make the kids think they will be getting huge allowance increases with very small work increases?

jmusic

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Re: How to mislead with graphs
« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2014, 10:24:24 AM »
it's inverse logarithmic.  Just imagine if they boosted the return up to like 2.5%.

I could retire tomorrow then off my $500 principal! 

I know this isn't directly related to a totally fraudulent graph such as this, but I'm reminded of the Mark Twain quote:

"There are lies, damn lies, and statistics."

ender

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Re: How to mislead with graphs
« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2014, 05:29:15 PM »
I see graphs like this all the time, except instead of 0 they have 490 or something so it's "right" -- just misleading..

eyePod

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Re: How to mislead with graphs
« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2014, 09:50:42 AM »
I used to get yelled at all the time in math class when I would only put two numbers on each of my axes. X axis and Y axis both have numbers in the left corner (whatever I needed to show) and then on the right I'd put something like 8,492.

She wanted us to put in little hash marks and all that, and I told her that I just drew the graph to scale! Couldn't mark it wrong and felt so right to me. The best kind of right, technically right.

Prairie Stash

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Re: How to mislead with graphs
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2014, 11:00:17 AM »
I like that they say it's 2.000%.... As if all those zeros make it bigger.
Significant figures.

I like these products. They're aimed at non-savers, its a way to get people started. If it's not obvious why these are bad ideas then they're perfect for you.

AH013

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Re: How to mislead with graphs
« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2014, 11:43:21 AM »
I like these products. They're aimed at non-savers, its a way to get people started. If it's not obvious why these are bad ideas then they're perfect for you.

http://www.treasurydirect.gov/news/news_tdmarketablesqa.htm#zero
The ultimate non-savers product.  You're saving to save -- you think you deserve interest?!?  Be a patriot and make us indebted to fellow Americans instead of being indebted to the Chinese...or something...not sure how else this could be marketed to actually get people to buy them versus keeping the money in their checking account until they actually want to buy a TBill/TBond...