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

Simon Fear Simon.Fear at synequanon.com
Tue Aug 31 16:02:13 CEST 2004

Not helped by my typo and being in a rush!

It's true that plot.default and surely many others do a box, since 

> par("bty")
[1] "o"

But this isn't what happens if you do things via axis() ...
(see first example in help(axis)).

Anyway, point taken, I couldn't find it because it is NOT what
is recommended!

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Duncan Murdoch [mailto:murdoch at stats.uwo.ca]
> Sent: 31 August 2004 14:45
> To: Simon Fear
> Cc: R-help
> Subject: Re: [R] I've forgotten, why is box("") the default?
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> ________________________________________________________________ 
> 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
Simon Fear 
Senior Statistician 
Syne qua non Ltd 
Tel: +44 (0) 1379 644449 
Fax: +44 (0) 1379 644445 
email: Simon.Fear at synequanon.com 
web: http://www.synequanon.com 
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