Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Conversation

Coworker: We need the data.

FLG: Wait, why do you need that data?

Coworker: Because we need to make a decision. You can't make a good decision without data.

FLG: Okay, but the data you are asking me for isn't relevant to your decision. Even if you have it, it won't help you.

Coworker: Of course it will help. We will be able to analyze it and then make a decision.

FLG: Uh, this is kinda like you are trying to make a decision about obesity and the relevant data is weight, but you are asking me for height because you know I generated that already.

Coworker: It will be relevant. We'll assume the taller people weigh more.

FLG: Okay, but that doesn't mean they're obese. Wait, forget this. You already have access to the data I generated. It's in a different format on here.

Coworker: But I was hoping that since you generated the data that you could give me the analysis.

FLG: No way...the data is clearly useless to your decision. You either have no idea what you are doing or just want to be able to point to data, any data, to justify your arbitrary and capricious decisions when the data has no bearing beyond the very superficial on the decisions, but you know I generated some data and any data is good enough. I'm not going to waste my time to analyze data for you that you don't need and won't use beyond superficial appearances to create a facade of empirical support.

Coworker: I'll ask somebody in my group to analyze the data.

FLG: Fine. Waste their time.

1 comment:

Alpheus said...

You know the saying: if you torture the data enough, it will confess. It works for any data.

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