Section 004, Instructor: Laurel Miller

Weekly Question #6: Complete by March 10, 2016

Leave your response as a comment on this post by the beginning of class on March 10, 2016. Remember, it only needs to be three or four sentences. For these weekly questions, I’m mainly interested in your opinions, not so much particular “facts” from the class!

Answer one of these:

We spent a little time in class discussing the article Stupid Data Corruption Tricks.

  1. Have you ever made one of the mistakes listed in the article? Describe what happened.
  2. If you haven’t made one of those mistakes, which one of them do you think is the most important to avoid?

53 Responses to Weekly Question #6: Complete by March 10, 2016

  • Profile photo of Kelsey J Penney

    One common excel error I made at my internship two summers ago was with VLOOKUP. A few times I forgot to put the $ around the cells on the tab I needed it to match the data with. When this happened I had employee codes say that they were not a match because the data that the equation was looking up as I pulled the formula down the column was excluding the beginning employee codes. Luckily I was able to realize the problem that I made before going and editing the document based on the employee codes that came back as being wrong, when they were in fact correct.

  • I haven’t done too much work with excel, so I haven’t had too many opportunities to fall victim of the data corruption tricks. However, I did do fail to make a successful backup with Microsoft word at one point (Stupid Data Corruption Trick Number: 3). I used a public computer to work on my word assignment and I did save it to the desktop. After I finished, I saved it again, and I went to send the document to myself in my email (my flash drive was full). So I was pretty excited to be done with the project, and, because of my excitement, I forgot to actually attach the document to my email. I did not realize this until after I deleted the my word document off the desktop of the public computer and checked my email later that night. I ended up spending another two hours redoing the whole assignment.

  • I have never made one of these mistakes listed in the article because I rarely use excel. I would say the most important mistake to avoid is number one, “clicking “yes” without carefully evaluating the message that says “do you want to remove this from the server?”‘ It’s very important to read these message thoroughly because there is the potential that you could delete all of your metadata, configurations and data from your server. Since there is a potential of losing data, metadata and configurations completely from misinterpreting these messages, I think this is the most important mistake to avoid.

  • Profile photo of Melanie McComb

    I have never made one of these mistakes because I usually don’t work with data or excel, but I would consider not backing up your data before making changes to be the biggest mistake one could make. Forget about square 1 if you find that you have messed up in this scenario because you no longer have a square 1. You have to completely start all over to find the correct data to use. This could be the most detrimental, costly, and timely mistake one could make.

  • Profile photo of Ngoc-Tran Tran

    I seldom remember to make a copy of the Excel file before starting to work on it. And Since I am not proficient in using Excel, I often ‘accidentally’ tamper the original data when trying to figure out how to use Excel functions. If I am fortunate, I will recognise my mistake and use the ‘Back’ button to reverse the action. However, if I did not recognise my mistake until later on, Excel will either forget that action already or auto-save my file every 15 minutes, and I cannot do anything to revert it into the original file. I honestly think that duplicate before working on something is the most effective step to avoid making data dirty. If one make any other mistake, he/she can use the copy of the file and start working on it again. However, if the original data is tampered already, there is hardly anything he/she can do.

  • Profile photo of Kevin Vong

    Working as a Contract Specialist for the U.S. government involves a lot of data entry and verification. Since we are frequently working with millions in assets, dirty data can cause a significant amount of loss and damage. When I am working or verifying data in excel, I personally check and verify it countlessly because of the amount of damage a minor excel error can cause. I have noticed while working that many of my coworkers do not have experience with excel. Despite the lack of knowledge in excel, they are still entering data. The most common error I frequently see is wrong inputed numbers.

  • The biggest mistake that I’ve ever fallen victim to with Excel, and I would venture to say that most people are guilty of this in some capacity, is not reading a message before I click ‘yes’ to proceed. Many times we are in too much of a rush for no reason at all and think that there isn’t any way that the message could be of importance. One time in particular, I was doing work for Statistics and accidentally deleted a large portion of data and calculated formulas. Excel caught on and asked if I was sure that I wanted to delete the data, and I said yes without reading the message in-depth, giving myself much more work. I will now be sure to always read those messages.

  • I would believe that ‘clicking yes without carefully evaluating the message’ is the most unforgivable mistakes among all. The damage of these could not be estimated, depends on loads of work, only bringing more trouble to yourself. This could caused by lack of attention, which is a fatal shortage when you are dealing with all kinds of works. In other words, I would consider concentration as one of the very basic qualities to be required when working.

  • Profile photo of Samantha Ann Regan

    I haven’t done much work with excel, so I have never had much of a change to make these mistakes. I would say the most important thing to keep in mind while working in excel is to remember while working on the databases to do a full backup first. It’s important to back up any work when working on anything so if for some reason it exits you don’t lose everything that you’ve done. Not doing on a full backup first you could lose all beginning information and any new work you’ve completed, this would be very time consuming and aggregating over a simple mistake.

  • Profile photo of Rebecca Jackson

    I had a statistics class last semester where I worked extensively with excel for the first time. It took me far too long to even notice that there were data types. I kept having issues with my decimals turning into integers, and vice versa. It was more frustrating than actually detrimental to my work, since excel keeps exact track, but I can see how it’d corrupt data if I’d been working with more unique data types such as dates.

  • Profile photo of Ngoc (Nathan) Pham

    I have made mistake number 3: Start working on the database without doing a full backup first. I was basically reorganize the information of all the sponsors for my projects. I started to cut and paste the data cells without back-up first. Therefore, the database was messed up. Carefulness is simply the answer for the problem, but not everyone can remember to be careful while dealing with data!

  • Fox students are required to take an online excel class that takes about four weeks long. The series of videos and tutorials were very helpful in teaching the “ins and outs” of excel and how to manipulate it in certain ways to help you be more efficient. However, certain lessons required the use of formulas and I would most commonly fall victim to Number 9: Copy formulas that use relative coordinates. I would sometimes insert the formulas wrong or drag the intended formula too far down a row and an error message would pop up along with the word #NAME?. Excel can get tricky when it comes to anchoring cells down as well as the wording of the formulas themselves.

  • I have definitely made a mistake, actually 2 at the same time, from this article, while working on an Excel file, that became a relative nightmare to clean up. I was working on a set of NBA player statistics for daily fantasy use and was trying to calculate poisson values for player’s PRA per 48 (points + rebounds + assists per 48 minutes played). Doing that, however, violated #9 in regards to incorrect formulas. I did not take into account that a poisson calculation was inappropriate to use in this situation because it violated the rule for using poisson that states counting stats can only increase by 1 at a time, whereas, in hindsight, scoring in basketball can occur in increments of 1, 2, or 3 points scored at a time. I compounded this error by making mistake #3, not making a full backup of the original data before starting work. Once I found my error, I was unable to undo my mistake, and also did not have the original data to return to. So, I had to start from scratch in re-obtaining my initial data set. The silver lining to this was the fact that the original data set was not hard to obtain, as it came from open-source data that is now collected every game by the NBA using cameras positioned throughout every arena during games and then distributed for free by the league.

  • Profile photo of Shane T Burke

    I often make the mistake of copying formulas that have relative coordinates, especially when doing my accounting homework. Since creating accounting statements involves many formulas that intersect, it is easy to let a incorrectly copied formula go unnoticed. I once copied a formula for a whole row in Excel and did not realize it contained the wrong coordinates. Because I did not lock the cells with $ $, I got every cell wrong, which was unfortunate because I knew how to do it. I am much more careful when copying formulas now.

  • After just finishing a class in which all we did was use Excel, I can say that I have fallen victim to one of the mistakes. While it wasn’t a grade-killing mistake that I made, it was rather annoying to fiddle with. Using VLOOKUP on Excel is an incredibly useful tool that will help you sort through countless data entries. Unfortunately, it is a little tricky to figure out the first couple of times using it. There are multiple entries that you have to make when using VLOOKUP and if all the entries aren’t precise, you will receive some pretty corrupt data that could have some serious consequences if used in the workplace.

  • Profile photo of Bridget Beauty Warlea

    I haven’t had a lot of experience organizing or creating data, and the experience that I do have is pretty basic, so I haven’t made many mistakes. But the most important thing to avoid is neglecting to do save checkpoints. If all else fails and you mess everything up, at least you still have your data saved in a specific place. Neglecting to save data could lead to the loss of important information. And the loss of important information could lead to even more data mistakes.

  • Profile photo of Justin Kish

    I haven’t had enough experience with large data types in Excel but throughout time spent in it, I always manage to amen the same mistake. I have managed to mislabel the numbers that I have inputed into excel, whether I wanted them to be an integer or a price or a date. I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out what my problems were with my formulas to find out that they were just silly labeling errors.

    • I think number 3 is the worst mistake to make on this list, especially considering how simple it is. I have never done it with excel, but forgetting to perform a checkpoint save is one of the most frustrating things you can do. I have forgotten to checkpoint save some word documents, and the feeling of having to start over is terrifying, but I can only imagine it would be worse with Excel. Excel can become very tedious if you are constantly just entering numbers, so I think losing all that data you entered simply because you forgot to checkpoint save would be utterly devastating.

  • In my opinion, the worst mistake to make is number 3: start working on the database without doing a full backup first. This happened to me when I was using the class computer. I opened excel and punched some numbers in and saved it but forgot to send it to my email since I don’t have a flash drive and because of that, after I logged out, everything that was saved on the class computer was deleted so I had to redo the whole assignment. Redoing the whole assignment again is not fun and a waste of time.

  • Profile photo of Rachel Rempel

    Prior to this semester, I had very little experience with excel, so I would avoid it every opportunity I had. That being said, everything I did in excel was extremely basic, so I never made any of these errors. However, in my opinion, I think the worst error to make would be number three. Although all of the others mentioned sound pretty egregious, without a backup, you don’t have anything to reference. Furthermore, once its corrupted and not backed up, there’s nothing you can do to fix it.

  • Profile photo of Kyle M Haberman

    As someone who has not had much experience with excel, I have not made any of the mistakes listed in the article “Stupid Data Corruption Tricks.” Although, I believe that the most important mistake to avoid is to start working on the database without doing a full backup first. By backing up your work at various times, you can go back in case you make a mistake. This can save you time by not having to start from the beginning and can also help ensure that the data manipulated correctly throughout the whole process.

  • Profile photo of Donald M Tedesco

    Personally I have not done much with excel nor have I had a lot of experience using it. After reading the article “Stupid Data Correction,” I believe the most important mistake to avoid is the number 1 reason, clicking “yes” without reading first and accidentally removing data from your server. This can be extremely costly for whatever you are trying to do and could erase a lot of data that may have been difficult to obtain and then include.

  • I have personally never made any of the mistakes that were listed in the article. I think that the most important mistake to avoid is failing to backup the data before completely changing it. I think this is a really simple step, but if a person fails to do it then they might have to go back and try to find the original data set which might be time consuming. Even saving every few minutes is a smart thing to do to ensure success and to make sure you never lose your place.

  • Profile photo of Xiaowen Yang

    In my personal experience of using excel, I do not remember that I have made any mistakes. Every time before I use the excel or any computer programs I do save the document, because I know I should do that and I don’t want to redo the work, especially when the work is very complicated and needed a lot of time to finish. And according to the article and my experience, I think the most important part to avoid the missing data or make mistakes is saving the documents all the time before you finish the final work, and carefully see the any reminder that may lose the data or delate your document.

  • Profile photo of Enshen Guan

    I never made those mistakes before, but I think start working on a database without a backup would be the most serious mistake. If you forget the backup, once you delete some important information and save the excel, you cannot find out the original data. There is no technical difficulty in making a backup list; however, most people would forget this step. Start working on a database without a backup sometimes would be a uncorrectable mistake, while most other mistakes can be found and modified.

  • Even I do not use excel very often, I still had some bad experience about it. Especially in last two weeks, when I took an online excel test for the internship, which is about calculation and find out the answer base on the database. I made a table in order to make the calculation easier. However, because of too many numbers and formula, I decided to copy and paste some of them. I always get used to copy them to the end of the row(just like N0.9Copy formulas that use relative coordinates). But I did wrong because I did not notice some empty cells in the row. For my carelessness, I failed to get the further opportunities for the internship applying. Such a impressive lesson I learned.

  • Profile photo of Arlo Antle

    On this list, the one I found most significant to me personally was number 9. Copying different cells into non-original areas when there are formulas involved can often be a big problem. If the translated formulas do not reference the right numbers, clearly there can be problems. It doesn’t seem to be the most intuitive function and that must be taken into account and fought against with human intelligence.

  • Profile photo of Nicholas F Fieo

    I am quite inexperienced with Excel and its many functions. With this being said, I believe that I have not made any notable mistakes. However, one mistake that one should avoid and attempt to not make is to forget to save every once in a while, and create a backup file. Saving one’s work every so often is a great habit to get into; it ensures that work will not be lost, and it is also a great safety measure in case a computer were to accidentally restart/shut down, if the program accidentally closes, and so forth.

  • I seldom do things with Excel, so I do not have experience done something wrong, but I think the most important to avoid is start working on the database without doing a full backup first. Making a full backup is able to revise you mistake easily because you can find original data, instead of screw all data up. Once you make mistakes, you can use the original data and do it again, rather than lose original data and can’t do nothing about it.

  • No i have never made any of the mistakes that are listed in the article. I think the most important step presented is step 3 start working on a database without doing a full backup first. I believe this is the most important step because if you forget to do this and you are working on your project and something happens for example your computer shuts down or something else random causing the program to shut down you will lose all the progress you made since the last time you saved. This is not only annoying but very frustrating as you might have to start all over again.

  • Profile photo of Linh H Dang

    I have worked with Excel before, but I have not used it for any data-intensive operations or tasks that require complex functions. Therefore, I have not fallen into the traps in the list yet. However, I have made mistakes that have element of number 2 and number 3.

    I used to work for a non-profit organization. I interacted a lot with data files on the group’s Google Drive. I usually neglected to put Excel files I collected from my colleagues up on the Drive as backups. Because of this, I had to look for a file in the Download or My Document folder whenever I needed it. The fact that I seldom renamed files properly does not help. Given the number of files I had in those folders, it was a tedious and time-consuming task.

    I also ran into problems while using different accounts. I used two accounts for work: my personal email account and the group’s account. I made the mistake of making certain working folders on Google Drive accessible by both accounts but making some files only editable by one. I usually found out that I used the wrong account and had to tweak the settings or log out. Sometimes I wanted to send an email on behalf of the group using an email from the spreadsheet, but then realized that I was using my personal email to view the data. It was not until I set up the Drive to accept editing from both accounts that those time-wasting chores were minimized.

  • Profile photo of Hung Dau

    I have not made any mistake as stated in the article “Stupid Data Corruption Tricks.” However, I suppose the most important mistake that needed to be avoided is Click “yes” without carefully evaluating the message that says “do you want to remove this from the server?” It will be extremely frustrating if you spend all day or week to work on the data, metadata or the database but suddenly delete all of them in one click. Therefore, I’m always careful in order to not make this mistake while working on the data through Excel or Tableau.

  • Profile photo of Korah Sabu

    I have not made any of the mistakes listed in the article, but I do think that one mistake on there could be the worst mistake to make and should be avoided. Number three talked about people working on a database without doing a full backup first. This, in my opinion, has to be the worst because there will be no backup when there is an error or a mistake made. This has to be extremely annoying because no one is perfect so a backup should be made before working on any database. People should definitely try to avoid this one and it’s easy, just back it up.

  • I don’t have many opportunities to use excel but I do made some mistakes before. The most memorable mistake is clicking the wrong button without back up and losing all data. When you are ready close the profiles, it will ask you” Do you want save it or not?” People sometimes will click quickly without looking. If people not doing backup first, they would lose all information, which is time-consuming. When the data are lose, People only can starts over at the beginning. In my opinion, this is the simplest but fatal error.

  • Profile photo of Xiaoxue Xia

    I think the most important one to avoid is number three which is start working on the database without doing a full backup first. As long as you have the backup database, you can go back and fix many problems occurred in the article. However, if you forget to do a backup, everything will be destroyed. You can not tell from the right data any more. You time will be wasted and you probably even won’t able to recognize your real mistakes when you are organizing the data.

  • Profile photo of Anthony G Brusco

    I have not used excel much on my own so I have not made any mistakes that are listed but the one that I believe is most important to avoid is “Start working on the database without doing a full backup first”. It is always important to backup data and if you do not do so it can lead to the whole database you want to use not being correct if you are lucky it restored. If you do not backup the data and you run into your computer shutting off you will spend the unnecessary time to be fixing all of it.

  • Profile photo of Nhan Nguyen

    I think that the most important mistake to avoid on the list is to start working on the database without doing a full backup first. In addition to that, it is also helpful to remember to do save checkpoints at various times when working with the data. While these are very simple tasks, failure to do them could result in really annoying and terribly frustrating situations. It is useful, therefore, to develop the habit of saving one’s work, in Excel, Word or whatever tool he/she is using, at frequent intervals.

  • Profile photo of Erin R Kearney

    I cannot recall a time in which I have made any of the mistakes in the article because I do not use excel often. However, I think all of these mistakes could be extremely detrimental. Even a simple mistake could completely misconstrue the data.

  • I believe that missing the data type can be a very common error to make when data gets skewed. excel does not know if a number is date, time, coordinates, or phone number. This can really screw up the data set if you do not specify the number. I have made this mistake in the past working with excel.

  • Profile photo of Yan Chen

    I have dealt with a very limit amount of data, so I do not have experiences of making these mistakes. But in my opinion, the mistake that need to be avoided most is logging into the wrong system. All the analyses are only useful when they are based on the right system. Or you will get a useless result and you are trouble to clean it up later. Also this mistake could sharply decreases the efficiency.

  • While I have never made any mistakes listed in the article pertaining to Microsoft Excel, I think the most detrimental mistake one could make is not having a full backup of the project you are working on. For how long backups take to complete, they are extremely crucial in maintaining and securing the data you are working with and trying to preserve. In a scenario where data becomes destroyed in the even of some disaster, days, months, or even years of work could be gone in a split second. Having access to a backup database will allow the excel user to go back and make corrections without the fear of having all their data become unavailable due to some unforeseen circumstance.

  • Profile photo of Qisheng Chen

    I did not have many chances to use Excel before, so I did not make the mistakes in the article. In my opinion, the biggest problem which we should try to avoid is that putting values in fields that are supposed to be pointers or references. I had the experience that when I saw a Excel form, the data items is not entire. As a result, that make me really puzzle about that it actually point to. That will make a extremely negative effect on the understanding of the database. Therefore, I think it is the most important thing which we should avoid.

  • Profile photo of Joseph A Guadagno

    Although I have not had many dealings with Excel, I can definitely relate issues with Stupid Data Corruption Number 3. While working with Python last semester, I had an issue with saving multiple copies of my coding, such as the algorithm separate from the code. I was able to properly remedy this issue by submitting all of my changes to a repository on Github. Since Github hosts the master file in addition to a separate file for each save, I was able to label my changes and access the necessary file each and every time.

  • I don’t really use computer a lot in my life let alone make mistakes on excel. However, to answer the other question as to what mistake is most important to avoid would be missing the data type. This along with other mistakes can cause some serious messes. An example given was date misrepresented as integers which can cause huge mess since it will be different from other data.

  • I frequently find myself moving data sets that use functions that include cell table data. This the cell to appear as under=fined as it cannot complete the function. This mistake can easily cause a corruption in data and lead to a skew to the overall metadata.

  • Profile photo of Cheng Zheng

    I have never made one of these mistakes. However, I think the most common mistake is forget to full backup first before starting working on the database(Number 3). It is the most important to avoid because if you made some changes on the original data, and later, you want to compare it with the original one, you may lose it or you have to do the process that how you got the original data again. It will waste you a lot of time if you change it and then want it back.

  • Profile photo of Melissa Ashley Huck

    I used Excel a few times but not regularly, so I have never made any of the mistakes listed in the article. Although, I do believe that “Number 6: Miss the data type” is the most important. It is so easy to confuse an integer with a time or date, while filling out excel spreadsheets quickly this is something that can occur often. Dates, times, and integers can all be misinterpreted too while looking at a large set of data, especially if the data is being looked at quickly.

  • Profile photo of James J Dantonio

    When I first started working I use to open CSV files in Excel. To be honest, I didn’t even know I was doing it. I now always check to make sure it is an Excel file and not a CSV. Luckily for me when I sent an excel document that was supposed to be a CSV file the developer on my team he converted it to the correct format for me.

  • Profile photo of Nurrin Ajmal Nurrinanuwar

    I never had to deal with CRM data before I was in this class so I never did any of the mistakes from the article. However, in the last fall semester, I had an assignment from my statistics class that requires me to work with Excel. While working with that assignment, I guess it’s important to save or backup the file once in a while to avoid having to start over again just in case the file gets corrupted or there is something wrong with the computer (virus). Therefore, I think the most important mistake to avoid is number 3 on the list which is to start working on the data without doing a backup first. Without a backup, if we did a mistake, we had to start over and waste precious time.

  • Profile photo of Christopher David Jackson

    Fortunately, I can say I never caused CRM records to be corrupted. However, I can confidently say that the most important mistake to avoid is clicking yes without carefully evaluating the message displayed. Deleting something unintentionally is just an all-around unfortunate thing mainly because it becomes a hassle. Because of one avoidable mishap, more time gets spent on this than intended.

  • Profile photo of Heshuo Zhang

    I have never made one of these mistakes listed in the article because I haven’t done too much work with Excel. But I think number 3: start working on the database without doing a full backup first is the most important mistake. This could be the most detrimental, costly, and timely mistake one could make. Because even if your CRM vendor has continuous backup for free, that does not mean data restores will be gratis.

  • Profile photo of Michael L Baker

    It’s funny to talk about excel as a Fox student, being that we have about three or four classes based around it. I have in fact made mistake number six recently on an msom assignment. The data type was formatted as such that the dates for he column were (ex. ##/##/##), I missed one of the dashes ‘/’, and it became a larger integer. The thing is, the solution didn’t indicate a problem until I had answered the question. It’s important to double check mistakes.

  • Profile photo of Laura Nguyen

    I haven’t made a mistake as listed in the article, but the most important to avoid is not having a backup of the database before you start working on it. There are similar issue with programs like Word where we type a paper, forget to save, and the program crashes. In a similar way, if something were to happen to the database, it’s a good to have a safety precaution. In addition, if someone was to play around with the database and messed up such as deleting important data, you can refer to the backup to see what was missing.

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Laurel Miller (instructor) 9:30am-10:30am, Tuesdays and Thursdays, Speakman Hall 210 or by appointment.
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