Three different people came here searching for pie-chart related goodness this past month. I would have discussed this with my stats post I did recently but that post got crazy-ass long and I think this deserves a post all on its own, frankly. If you are bored by my complete and total obsession with my stats, FINE, you are a killer of all things JOYFUL, how does it feel to be a JOYMISER.
If the things the searchers were looking for were things that could be put into a pie chart, I assure you, I would be all over making these pie charts. There is no bad time for a pie chart. Also, related story: no bad time for pie itself. Pie is a winner of a dessert. I love pie. When I was a kid, I was very sad because there was only pecan pie for dessert one year, and I hate pecans. So the following year, my grandmother made me a pecan-less pecan pie. Do you know what that is? A Karo syrup pie. AND IT WAS THE BOMB YO. Also I think I’m still on a sugar high from it but that’s neither here nor there. I also like cake. And cookies. FINE ALL DESSERT ITEMS CAN COME TO ME THAT IS OK.
Anyway, this is what people were searching for in pie-chart form this month:
Pie charts of the top ten things girls like
What you know pie chart
Pie chart things you can suck
These are all funny things, and kind of awesome things, and in one case, a totally awesomely dirty thing, but NOT THINGS THAT ARE BEST COMPARED USING A PIE CHART.
I’m going to give you a quick lesson in what works best when you’re looking to compare things, statistically-speaking. I’ll try to keep it brief for ADD purposes.
A PIE CHART is used to compare parts of a whole. An example: “Things People Did in the Park Saturday” would be the whole; parts would be “played Frisbee,” “picnicked,” “read books,” and “masturbated behind a bush and then cried because they realized they would be forever alone.”
A BAR GRAPH is a little more confusing. There’s an X-Y axis. The X-axis is one value (for example, “% crazy”) and the Y-axis is another value (“how long I went out with them.) Then you put bars in the graph and you can see things like how crazy someone is compares to how long you dated them. (Spoiler alert, the crazier, the longer we were together. More of an indictment of me or them? I refuse to answer this question.)
A LIST is something you can make for any reason, at any time, if you are sane or a looney, and it can be adapted to any situation. You can make it a simple list; you can make it fancy and make it a pro and con list.
There are also much more confusing things that are harder to explain, like a line graph, an area graph, an X-Y plot, a scatterplot, a histogram, a Venn diagram, a frequency polygon, etc. But I’m just going to go ahead and assume, since you just keep searching for everything with “pie chart” in front of it, that the nuances of statistics escape you.
A note about lists. Lists are awesome because you can make them anywhere. On the back of a receipt. On a laptop. On a post-it. I am a consummate list-maker. So are crazy people, though. I know that. I get it. I’m pretty sure the Unabomber liked his lists a great deal. But I’m kind of a weirdo obsessive, and I like there to be lists. I like everything to be in list form, so I can CONQUER IT. I also like to be able to look over the lists. For example, I write down every book I read every year in list form. Then, at the end of the year, I make a list of my top ten books of the year. Why do I do this? No reason whatsoever other than to look back at the top ten books I read over the past 5 years and say, “Hey, I like that author, I should see if he or she has anything new coming out soon!” Things like that. Also, lists are calming. Soothing. Relaxing. Organized. Sane. Except if you’re a crazy, I suppose. How to tell? Well, if your list is titled “People I Want to Die in a Fire” or “Things I Haven’t Put Up My Nose Yet This Year” I’d probably say you’re a nutbag. But if your list is something like “Discontinued Nail Polish Colors to Look for On Ebay” you’re just obsessive-compulsive and a hoarder. You’re welcome!
I think what you want, people who are searching, are lists. Because pie charts wouldn’t work in these situations. You aren’t comparing anything. So here are your lists. I TOLD YOU I AM HELPFUL.
Top ten things girls like
A sense of humor
Ability to express emotion
Adult conversation and debate skills
No dead hookers in the closet
That sexy lower-back dip thing that man have that makes our knees wobble
What you know
That this is a stupid question
How to change my own wiper blades
That “I wanna tell her that I love her but the point is probably moot” is one of the best lines of rock music ever written
That most people are total jackholes but sometimes people will surprise you with their beauty and sincerity
That I am loud and annoying but for some reason people seem to like me anyway
That my nephew is better than anything ever
That certain Saturday Night Live skits will never not be funny to me, no matter where I am or what I’m doing
That if I don’t stop answering this question the rest of this post is never going to get written
Things you can suck
The government teat
A bag of dicks (credit to Cara)
See? LISTS. Lists, not pie charts. And, as a final example, some pie charts done correctly (none of which I made myself, sorry, they're all stolen from the Interwebs and I have no idea who the authors are so thank you, anonymous authors!):