During a 1609 interview, William Shakespeare was asked his opinion about an emerging genre of theatrical writing known as Data Quality Whitepapers. The "Bard of Avon" was clearly not a fan. His famously satirical response was:
Data quality's but a writing shadow, a poor paper
That struts and frets its words upon the page
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by a vendor, full of sound and fury
Four centuries later, I find myself in complete agreement with Shakespeare (and not just because Harold Bloom told me so).
Today is April Fool's Day, but I am not joking around - call Dennis Miller and Lewis Black - because I am ready to RANT.
I am sick and tired of reading whitepapers. Here is my "Bottom Ten List" explaining why:
- Ones that make me fill out a "please mercilessly spam me later" contact information form before I am allowed to download them remind me of Mrs. Bun: "I DON'T LIKE SPAM!"
- Ones that after I read their supposed pearls of wisdom, make me shake my laptop violently like an Etch-A-Sketch. I have lost count of how many laptops I have destroyed this way. I have starting buying them in bulk at Wal-Mart.
- Ones comprised entirely of the exact same information found on the vendor's website make www = World Wide Worthless.
- Ones that start out good, but just when they get to the really useful stuff, refer to content only available to paying customers. What a great way to guarantee that neither I nor anyone I know will ever become your paying customer!
- Ones that have a "Shock and Awe" title followed by "Aw Shucks" content because apparently the entire marketing budget was spent on the title.
- Ones that promise me the latest BUZZ but deliver only ZZZ are not worthless only when I have insomnia.
- Ones that claim to be about data quality, but have nothing at all to do with data quality: "...don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry."
- Ones that take the adage "a picture is worth a thousand words" too far by using a dizzying collage of logos, charts, graphs and other visual aids. This is one reason we're happy that Pablo Picasso was a painter. However, he did once write that "art is a lie that makes us realize the truth." Maybe he was defending whitepapers.
- Ones that use acronyms without ever defining what they stand for remind me of that scene from Good Morning, Vietnam: "Excuse me, sir. Seeing as how the VP is such a VIP, shouldn't we keep the PC on the QT? Because if it leaks to the VC he could end up MIA, and then we'd all be put out in KP."
- Ones that really know they're worthless but aren't honest about it. Don't promise me "The Top 10 Metrics for Data Quality Scorecards" and give me a list as pointless as this one.
I am officially calling out all writers of Data Quality Whitepapers.
Shakespeare and I both believe that you can't write anything about data quality that is worth reading.
Send your data quality whitepapers to Obsessive-Compulsive Data Quality and if it is not worthless, then I will let the world know that you proved Shakespeare and I wrong.
And while I am on a rant roll, I am officially calling out all Data Quality Bloggers.
The International Association for Information and Data Quality (IAIDQ) is celebrating its five year anniversary by hosting:
El Festival del IDQ Bloggers – A Blog Carnival for Information/Data Quality Bloggers
For more information about the blog carnival, please follow this link: IAIDQ Blog Carnival