[R] I've forgotten, why is box("") the default?

Duncan Murdoch murdoch at stats.uwo.ca
Tue Aug 31 15:44:43 CEST 2004

On Tue, 31 Aug 2004 14:13:49 +0100, "Simon Fear"
<Simon.Fear at synequanon.com> wrote :

>I've searched on CRAN for axes, axis, and other terms 
>I've already forgotten, without (re)discovering the 
>reason for S using "non-joining" axes by default, instead
>of box("l").
>MASS points me towards Cleveland (1993) but I don't 
>have ready access to this any more. Could someone 
>give me a one-liner to justify this choice to a sceptic?
>It's something to do with not mis-interpreting the axes
>intersection as (0,0), isn't it?

I'm not sure I understand your question:  the default in S is a full
box unless you ask for no box (bty="n"), isn't it?  The justification
for this is "The four scale lines also provide a clearly defined
region where our eyes can search for data.  With just two, data can be
camouflaged by virtue of where they lie" (p. 35).  There's also advice
to keep the data away from the axes and to put the ticks outside the
box to avoid hiding extreme points.

I can't spot a discussion in Cleveland of the reason the axes don't
join when bty="n" is specified.  

Duncan Murdoch

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