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The concept of political war charts, or using visualization to obfuscate meaning and communication in general, is not particularly new. For instance, at least one seemingly incomprehensible information chart has been popularized to reveal the apparent complexity of the U.S. Healthcare reform.

So how do we call information charts that 'look' like they want to obfuscate a particular issue, but actually are, in the contrary, genuinely designed to clarify an extremely complex, yet socially relevant, issue? Dan Edstrom has released such a diagram [zerohedge.com], in an ultimate attempt to reverse engineer the mortgage construction of his own family residence. It took Dan over 1 year to take it this far.




I'm pleased that this mortgage securitization diagram was acknowledged by infosthetics. I saw it over on ZH's site initially, and was duly impressed. As you stated, the diagram doesn't try to obscure truth. Yet,it is well, it's VERY complicated. There are legends and color codes and lots of detail. I can imagine it requiring a year to draft!

The only thing I didn't see (I viewed it in the large size) was the rationale for using dashed lines versus solid lines as connectors, and as borders on processes. Is there a footnote I missed, or do you happen to know the answer?
Thanak you,
Ellie K.

Fri 03 Dec 2010 at 1:09 PM

I would argue that this is pretty much the same as the Healthcare chart. The authors are not trying to clarify or inform. They are simply expressing emotional frustration in an overly cumbersome graphic using archaic flowchart symbols.

Wed 08 Dec 2010 at 7:46 AM

Since we appear to be in a Reverse Engineering the Transaction Processes behind a U.S. Mortgage - information aesthetics state of mind, Bear in mind that loan modification companies take significant risk in offering a guarantee. They are performing a service with up front costs, so it isn't like returning clothes that they can re-sell.

Tue 15 Feb 2011 at 10:01 PM
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