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 Post subject: Rotten pie
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 5:58 am 
Legend

Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2008 9:51 am
Posts: 1481
Location: Cynoscephalae
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I think decay and net negative values are having a screwy effect on pie charts for influence over a selected period of time.

For example, pull up Chimney Sweep, select Month, and display all factions but Purple. Alpha 13 shows three roughly equal wedges for Brown, Blue, and Red, while Green doesn't show up; I'd expect that would mean those three factions put up about equal amounts of net positive influence over the last month. But while the numbers show Brown and Blue at about the same of +91k, Red is at -145k ... why is Red showing up at all on the pie chart, then? Interestingly, this is fixed if Green (at -1,030k) is unselected but Red remains -- then it goes to a pie that's half and half for Brown and Blue, with Red not appearing, which is how I think it should be.

Similarly, Planet Claire shows bubbles for every skyland I'm in the top 10 at overall total, but when I select Month or Week, it continues to display bubbles for places I'm on the top 10 but my influence has been net negative over that timespan, where it should probably go blank at those skylands.

Also, what do the asterisks next to the numbers signify?


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 Post subject: Re: Rotten pie
PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2011 7:31 pm 
Tally Teller

Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2008 1:20 am
Posts: 388
Faction: Azure League

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The Chimney Sweep pies were an interesting data visualisation exercise for me. I mostly like the way they turned out, but there are some issues. I'll explain how and why they're sized the way they are, as much or more for my own review than in answer to your question; sorry if it gets a bit long. If you do read this and have any alternative suggestions, I'd love to hear them. I'm bored with the whole Vapour Trails map now though, so I don't know that I'd make any changes.

The numbers for any island can be seen in the table on the right. The pies are meant to complement that by giving an intuitive impression of where the action is across Skytopia. The aim is to help you decide which islands tu want to see details for, not to obviate the need for those details altogether.

Let's say we have three islands and we're just looking at one faction:

Code:
            A        B        C
purple    8,000    9,000    9,500

Let's try representing that with areas relative to score, scaled to make the largest pie a set maximum size:

Image

We're really more interested in the differences, so let's use score - (minimum score)

Image

Huh. Islands have to be a minimum size so they can be found on the map and serve as a click target. Let's add a small constant area to each.

Image

The differences are easier to discern if we relate the scores to radius instead of area.

Image

If you select Day, Week, or Month, Chimney Sweep sizes the pies by the score growth over that period. Thanks to {static} decay, that growth might be negative.

Code:
             A        B      C
purple    -1,000    -200    400

What to do about these negative values? Can't have a negative radius. Maybe those islands shouldn't be shown. They have to be visible to be clickable - maybe they could be greyed out? Thing is, those figures are significant. A large negative value may mean that a once-mighty bastion of empire stands neglected and crumbling; a small negative value might suggest that a long-term assault is ongoing, but fading. So I figure we just do what we did before, ie subtract the lowest value from all values.

Image

Well, that's not great. One big negative can skew the whole thing, making misleadingly large pies of islands with small positive or even negative values. You can see the effect on Zabrak!'s Planet Claire, which sizes its bubbles the same way.

We're lacking a frame of reference. How small is small, and how big is big? We need a graphic scale.

Image

But... it seems I lost interest in the project before adding such a scale. Engraving a nice cartouche is tedious work.

Okay, Heidi, bring in two more factions please.

Code:
            A        B        C
purple    1,000    1,000    5,000
green       100    5,000    4,000
bloo      2,000    4,500    3,000

We'll size the pize like before, now using the sum of the faction scores for each island. Wedges are sized in proportion to the faction's share of that total.

Image

Fine. But what about negatives?

Code:
             A         B       C        D
purple    -2,000    -4,000    700     6,000
green     -4,000     2,000    800    -1,000
bloo      -1,000     1,000    900    -2,000

No need to change how we size the overall pie. Can't have negative size wedges though. Not quite sure what to do here. I settled on sizing wedges in proportion to the faction's score compared to zero or the lowest score, whichever is less.

Image

You can consider this as trying to show how well each faction is doing compared to the worst performer, or how much everyone is growing if all selected factions have positive growth. I felt this approach generally gave the most helpful impression across the map. But if it has confused Pelosi-smart Zabrak!, what hope for the Boehners of this world in making sense of it?

Zabrak! wrote:
Also, what do the asterisks next to the numbers signify?

It indicates that I don't have a score recorded for that person at that place at the start of that period. Maybe my score grabber crashed, or the Skyrates site was unavailable, or the person has only broken into the top ten during the period. The number then represents the person's score growth since their first sighting in that period.

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 Post subject: Re: Rotten pie
PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:37 pm 
Legend

Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2008 9:51 am
Posts: 1481
Location: Cynoscephalae
Faction: Court of Violets

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Intriguing set of issues. I think most folks, myself at the forefront, mistake the ease and simplicity with which we read your work for ease and simplicity in producing it, and that's simply not so. Elegance is making a tough problem seem trivial, and I always like taking a peek behind the stage curtains to remind myself that It Ain't Easy.

If I'm reading this correctly, we're stuck between the rock of believing that significant decay is worthy of displaying, and the hard place of not being able to visually represent negatives in a pie chart. My suggestion would be to just yank the rock; that is, simply treat negative numbers as zero. If it's really useful they could go on a second ring around the primary circle of positive influence, or separated onto a new pull-down (I suggest an AC-DC reference, if you're Tip O'Neill-smart you'll figure out which one I'm thinking of). But honestly the absence of a wedge is enough of a tip-off to me that there's significant backsliding, since to paraphrase Thucydides, empires must expand or perish.

Not an elegant solution, more of Alexander's at Gordium.


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 Post subject: Re: Rotten pie
PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:54 am 
Tally Teller

Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2008 1:20 am
Posts: 388
Faction: Azure League

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Zabrak! wrote:
My suggestion would be to just yank the rock; that is, simply treat negative numbers as zero.

That's probably the right thing to do, all things considered. The mind tends to recoil from contemplating ways to not use data one has troubled oneself to collect. I've made the change. Tell me whether it's better now.

Zabrak! wrote:
If it's really useful they could go on a second ring around the primary circle of positive influence, or separated onto a new pull-down (I suggest an AC-DC reference, if you're Tip O'Neill-smart you'll figure out which one I'm thinking of).

Who, me? Fergawdsake, I'm as-dumb-as-a-Gingrich, as the saying goes. Even so, I know what you mean.

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 Post subject: Re: Rotten pie
PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2011 8:13 am 
Legend

Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2008 9:51 am
Posts: 1481
Location: Cynoscephalae
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Hey, it may be simplistic, but I have to say I'm finding it much more useful at catching my eye with unexpected trends. It's less information but more informative.


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 Post subject: Re: Rotten pie
PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2011 8:25 am 
Messenger of Service

Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2008 10:08 am
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Mine spectacles are all fogged up. You two write such steamy love letters.

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 Post subject: Re: Rotten pie
PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2011 1:57 pm 
Legend

Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2008 9:51 am
Posts: 1481
Location: Cynoscephalae
Faction: Court of Violets

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/me tugs on her slapping gloves ...


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 Post subject: Re: Rotten pie
PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2011 2:42 pm 
Developer

Joined: Tue Dec 12, 2006 7:05 am
Posts: 3638
Location: Skybrary Archives
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Zabrak! wrote:
Elegance is making a tough problem seem trivial, and I always like taking a peek behind the stage curtains to remind myself that It Ain't Easy.
Very. Well. Put.


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