Birds of a feather, drawn together

By Allison Horst, Curtis Kephart, and Yanina Bellini Cross-posted: Birds of a Feather banner for RStudio::conf(2020)! The “Birds of a Feather” (BoF) sessions at the 2020 RStudio Conference were a place where R-users with similar backgrounds, interests, and aspirations could connect in a low-stress social setting. In other words - these sessions let “birds of a feather flock together.” Building on the 2019 conference swag, we rolled out a bunch of new BoF buttons for rstudio::conf 2020.

RStudio Artist-in-Residence 2019/2020!

Since I started drawing R- and stats-related illustrations for my students in 2018, I have been overwhelmed by the reception from the #rstats community on twitter. I am extremely excited to share that as of October 2019, I am RStudio’s first Artist-in-Residence! You can read more about my motivation and goals for the position on the RStudio blog. I look forward to sharing a whole bunch more art with you over the next year!

Sharing (R lab) keys for success

I just finished my sixth year of teaching intro stats and data analysis in R to environmental studies grad students. For the first five, I convinced myself that I shouldn’t share my instructor code keys with students before our weekly #rstats labs. Here are a couple of my commonly regurgitated excuses, based on absolutely nothing: “If I share the key beforehand, no one will show up to labs!

There's value in trying your [dataviz] worst

In the past I’ve always asked students to create their best possible graphs in ggplot2 to practice creating clear, engaging data visualizations. Recently, I’ve realized value in adding a few early exercises that encourage students to make their worst. Why is it good to make ggplot2 graphs so (intentionally) bad? Here are four ways that creating a purposefully disgusting graph promotes learning and exploration in ggplot2: Making the worst graph encourages creativity while eliminating the stress of producing a perfect final visualization (unless, of course, it’s perfectly hideous) Making the worst graph requires extensive customization and code Making the worst graph means critically thinking about and identifying contributors to “bad” graphs Making the worst graph is surprisingly fun I was recently inspired to try my absolute dataviz worst by a #tidytuesday prompt using data from Sarah Leo’s efforts to improve imperfect graphs in The Economist.