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member_of_the_order t1_j4lq9b2 wrote

That's an increase of about 42%, for those wondering.

> The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline received over 1.7 million calls, texts and chats in its first five months.

(I really hate when articles etc. give bare numbers with no context. A better title would be "...988 saw a 42% increase in number of calls, texts...")


thetomahawk42 t1_j4nmcgh wrote

They need to give both.

A 42% increase on 100 calls is only 42 more calls.

A half million increase on 10 million is only a 5% increase.

Both numbers are needed: "...half a million more calls, a 42% increase, since..."


ayywhatupdoe t1_j4plyua wrote

If you had to choose one though it would be the percentage, since we’re trying to see the effect of the lower digits on willingness to reach out


Acewasalwaysanoption t1_j4powix wrote

Luckily we don't need to choose. Too many places try to manipulate you with stuff like super low chances of winning doubling, meaning basically nothing.


thetomahawk42 t1_j4ppiw7 wrote

If I had to choose, it would still be both. Both are needed in order to understand the significance of each. Without both I just assume someone it using a half-truth to over- or under-state something intentionally.


NutsEverywhere t1_j4qa33v wrote

You don't need to "choose" unless intentionally used to mask the truth.


ayywhatupdoe t1_j4tyrnk wrote

You do need to "choose" if you're not trying to inundate the headline with too many stats, they can dig deeper to find the absolute number. The percentage is more important


xAUSxReap3r t1_j4mgte6 wrote

Honestly, I'm not mad at it this time. Half a million more people teaching out to a suicide and crisis lifeline is a significant amount, regardless of the overall percentage.


yoproblemo t1_j4mhez2 wrote

That's fine for you. But I'm never okay with inaccuracy or sensationalism even in instances where they happen to be innocuous. It's important to demand consistency and truth, even if especially if it refers to something you support.


OldFashnd t1_j4n1c2n wrote

Saying half a million more isn’t inaccurate or sensationalized in this case though. There are a lot of cases where % based increases/decreases are sensationalized as well, maybe even more frequently than raw data. This was done a lot with covid. For example, if I say “the chance of getting myocarditis increases 50% with the covid vaccine” when in reality, it went from 0.2% chance to 0.3% chance, that’s sensationalized and hardly accurate even though it’s technically correct. We need all of the data, both the 42% increase and the 500,000 more callers, to get a full picture of the situation. Statistics are insanely useful, but also extremely easy to force into fitting almost any narrative.


diuturnal t1_j4nhxt9 wrote

Sounds like a you problem. Because this had neither.


PearofGenes t1_j4ns74l wrote

Thank you for answering my immediate first question


Fran_Kubelik t1_j4pccqt wrote

As staff for 8 years at a crisis line...this increase gives me instant anxiety. I left for graduate school. I hope the team is doing alright...


Llamasxy t1_j4pg01u wrote

That is a lot. Do they have enough operators? Has anyone called them? Is there a queue?


FunnyMathematician77 t1_j4q7plw wrote

Honestly need both because 200% sounds like a lot, but going from 1 to 2 might not actually be


imafraidofmuricans t1_j4mltvh wrote

But a percentage tells you even less.

"40% increase in replies to your comment!" when you go from 1 comment to 4.


member_of_the_order t1_j4mn5qe wrote

Going from 1 comment to 4 isn't an increase of 40%, that's an increase of 300%.

With small numbers like "replies to a single reddit comment", yeah, percentage is barely helpful. But when dealing with big numbers like "number of calls to a national emergency number", percentage is more helpful than raw volume.

An increase of 0.5 million from 0.25 million is way different than from 20 million. The difference in percentage (200% increase vs 2% increase) tells you how effective the increase is relative to the original.