Section 004, Instructor: Mark Sabat

Weekly Question #6: Complete by March 9, 2017

Leave your response as a comment on this post by the beginning of class on March 9, 2017. 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?

50 Responses to Weekly Question #6: Complete by March 9, 2017

  • I have made one of the Excel mistakes it was to Miss the data type. I was working on analyzing data to see in what months there was the highest customer sales for a company, but the data type was considers a data so the analysis was inconclusive. I had to use my back up copy of the data to continue the analysis because it messed up the data set.

  • I have never made one of these Excel mistakes, but I think the most important to avoid is Number 4, which is sort a spreadsheet but not include all the columns. I think this is the most important because when you select all they only select certain columns and some of the data won’t be included at all. The most important part of your work is the data.

  • Although I usually have no issues when using excel, one of the worst mistakes to avoid is “Missing the data type (#6). If one accidentally enters a date and it changes to an integer, one could easily mistake it as a data point rather than an identifier. Issues like this would make analyzing data difficult and increase the frequency of mistakes and errors. It is important to check all the points in the spreadsheet to make sure they are accurately identified and entered before you use them for your analyses.

  • I have never made any of these mistakes, but I think the data type is very important. Changing dates to integers could really be confusing to people and can mess up your data a lot. I also things not being careful of the columns you use is very important and could made a big mistake in your data as well.

  • As a Computer Programmer and a student I have done programming with lot of languages. The most common mistake I do is with using the wrong syntax and data type. It is very important for a programmer to think about your variables and instances you create. Also with syntax, same with tableau I have used wrong brackets, and also for instance print statement might have been missing semi colons or quotation marks. Without the debugger it is very hard to find those error and correct those.

  • Typically I don’t have many problems when using Excel, but one mistake on the list I have made is #9: Copying formulas that use relative coordinates. This seems to be a common mistake among college students. One time when I created a grade book for a course, I forgot to add a “$” before the cell location which corrupted my intended calculations.

  • I do not work with excel much using databases, I usually use it to make a form or a quick spreadsheet. I think one of the most important mistakes not to make is number 3, start working on your data without doing a full back up first. I can recall even in in class exercises students were having trouble with excel and it freezes, technology can not always be trusted. It is important to back up your work with anything.

  • I don’t use excel very often, but I have made mistake Number 7: Put Values in Field that are Supposed to be Pointers or References. I made this mistake when I was working on a budgeting project. When doing the calculations to determine my expenses, I put in criteria that helped me get to the sums, but I put this data under the column title “Final Expenses.” This was an issue because it effected my overall expenses greatly, and I had to go back and fix my Budgeting Project.

  • I have never made one of these mistakes but I think it is important to copy formulas that use relative coordinates. If you use the wrong coordinates in your formulas your answers that you get out of the formula will be wrong and mislead your work. The ability to navigate excel is so important to be able to do any type of work inside of excel.

  • I am guilty of committing a few of these excel issues but certainly the issue I have had a problem with most often is missing the data type and mixing up integers with dates/times. I would argue that this is one of the most important issues to avoid as well, because it could end up skewing the entire data set. The other issue that I frequently commit is clicking “yes” without carefully evaluating the message that says “do you want to remove this from the server?”. I think this becomes a problem not only because the dialog boxes are not specific enough, but we tend to just click through the prompts to get to the next step quickly, though sometimes at the cost of efficiency.

  • I have never made any of these mistakes, but the most important one from all of these is: changing dates to integers can be confusing to people and can mess up there data and excel sheet a lot.

  • I have absolutely used a deduping tool with “loose” criteria first. It was terrible and I’m lucky I caught it. I was importing data into our Salesforce tool at work and I didn’t realise that I had almost removed 1/5 of the data because my criteria did not include first AND last name, just last. As you can imagine in a list of 5k clients there are a fair few Smiths, Allens, etc.

  • A mistake I have made is number 10, where I open a CSV file directly from Excel. When I open up the spreadsheet, all of the data gets modified and corrupted because it was not supported by the program. Usually when numbers go into play, some cells will end up looking like this, “####”.

  • Yes I have made a mistake and I made the most common one you could make. When I was working on a basic excel assignment in high school I had finished and when i went to clean it up, i clicked yes and all of my data got corrupted.

  • I have made a few mistakes. I always us the Vlookup’s for some reason. I always just click on it and completely forget.

  • I personally have not made any of this mistakes before but the one I think that is most important is #4, the data type. If your dates change to integers that can screw up the rest of the data and make everything hard to comprehend.

  • I feel like if I used excel on a more day to day basis, I could definitely be prone to making one or some of these mistakes but the lack of Excel use makes it hard to say I have made any of these errors before. The error which would be most important in my eyes is probably case 4 that the author presents which states “Number 4: Sort a spreadsheet, but not include all the columns”, the reason being, without an entire column the data analysis will be highly skewed and not an accurate representation of what one is trying to find out.

  • I haven’t had to deal with any of these problems yet but if I had to say which I thought was the most important one to be wary of, it would have to be Problem #10.
    “Number 10: Open a CSV file directly into Excel”
    If your data is corrupted from the start, you have to take steps to fix it, or if you anticipate compatibility problems, prevent it otherwise all the work you did would be for naught.

  • I have never made any of these mistakes, but I think the most important one is #9 “copying formulas that use relative coordinates.” Because if you are working with numbers and statistics, this error could lead to miscalculations.

  • I haven’t had a problem with any of these problems, but the one i think is the most important is number # 6. Confusing a date or a date time with an integer, could mislead the user and cause a big mess.

  • The most important mistake to avoid is beginning to work on a database without actually doing a full backup first.I say this because it is easy to make a mistake when working with a large dataset, and having not saved the original dataset would result in the loss of raw data that would then have to be manually collected again

  • I haven’t made a mistake listed within the article, but I believe that #3 is the most important thing to be conscious of when working with Excel. The backup is essential to either refer back to revert back to. Without the backup there is no safety net.

  • The one mistake that I have made with excel is #9: copying formulas with relative coordinates. Often when I do homework for classes like accounting we reuse certain table so i will often copy and past the table from a previous homework into my current homework. Sometimes the data is not from formulas but given information. When i copy the tables i have to make sure that i appropriately put data in or correct formulas so that they do not reference a number or cell in the excel sheet that is irrelevant.

  • Since I don’t use Excel , I have never made any of the mistakes listed in this article . That being said , I think that #9 is really important because it can throw everything off when dealing with statistics . It can cause big miscalculations

  • I rarely ever use Excel , so I have never made one of the mistakes listed on this article . That being said, I think #9 would be a really bad mistake when dealing with statistics . It could throw off your calculations completely .

  • The mistake I made was the miss the data type. I do this often since date and times are converted to long integers and make a confusing mess on the spreadsheet. I believe this is an important one not to mess up because it can be a hassle to fix the problem.

  • I personally have not made one of these mistakes, but I do not use Excel a lot. Even though I don’t have much experience, I believe that the worst one is #4 because it could skew your data dramatically if you sort the rows without one highlighted.

  • I have not worked with Excel regularly therefore I haven’t made any of the mistakes listed in the article. At the same time, I think the most important mistake to avoid would be to start working on a database without doing a full backup. I think this is most important mistake to avoid because if a backup is not done regularly there’s a higher change for corrupt data to infiltrate the database.

  • While I’ve never made this mistake and realized my error after using the dataset to answer a question or make a conclusion about the data, there have been times where I’ve come close to making mistake #6, missing the data type. When downloading a CSV file into Excel, it’s often easy to either have the cells formatted wrong for the data type, or think dates are integers if there are no dashes or backslashes between the month, day and year. The times I have made this mistake, I’ve noticed when using formulas or creating pivot tables – I can usually tell when the data I’m working with is somewhat off when I begin to make calculations. Also formulas will result in errors (sometimes) if the data is formatted incorrectly.

  • I have sorted a spreadsheet with out including the columns and it set me back for a while until i actually realized what was going on. All of my data was horribly skewed and I eventually started over before realizing the problem. It was easier for me to just start from scratch the right way then to try to figure out what exactly was ruining my data.

  • I haven’t made any mistakes as regards data but one mistake I might be most likely to make is #9. Copying formulas across cells can be quite tricky but being careful enough can prevent other problems.

  • I made a mistake with the instructions when it came to which formula to insert into Excel. There were a fine print about before the next step explaining why there may an error on one of the rows of the column I was working on. However, when I went back on my steps to look for the mistake it was time consuming. So instead trying to go back fix the error I keep starting the whole process over whenever I messed up on step of importing data into Excel.

  • I have never had a problem using excel. The important mistake people should avoid is number 6. An error in data type can cause a lot of problems when analyzing data.

  • I have made a couple of the mistakes listed in the article. Number 9, I’ve copied formulas that use relative coordinates for my MSOM class and it threw my answer off but i was able to find the mistake and correct it. I also made a mistake of number 3 working database without doing a full backup first.

  • The mistake that I have made is #6: missing the data type. As I entered the dates into Excel, it keeps understand my dates as integers, which creates some problems for my Excel spreadsheet. Another mistake that I have made is not doing the back-up before using the Excel file, which I think is one of the most important ones to avoid.

  • I have not made one of those mistakes, but I think the most important to avoid for me would be number 9. For my job I do a lot of data entry into excel for clinical research studies, and formulas are almost always needed to interpret the integer data types. And often formulas are embedded in the spreadsheet itself. Formula errors will lead to misleading research results and could be catastrophic to the reputation of my department and the institution (Temple Hospital) that publishes it.

  • Without question the biggest mistake I make when using data is that I click yes without reading the message attached about removing from the server. I too hastily skim through messages and try to speed through my work which actually causes me too slow down. I think this is a very popular problem, people in the world today are in a rush to work and sometimes don’t read everything they need to read.

  • The mistake that I made a few times was #6 which is missing the data type. When I was putting the dates into Excel it kept my dates as integers which ultimately created a problem for the Excel spreadsheet. Another mistake that I made before was not doing the back-up before I used the Excel file and I made this mistake because I was in a rush to finish an assignment I had and I think this is one of the most important mistakes to avoid.

  • I haven’t made of these mistakes because I don’t remember the last time I used excel. I think the most important mistake to avoid is not backing up the database before starting. You did everything for nothing if it doesn’t save.

  • I have not often used Excel, but the one I’ll be most sure to avoid is number 4: sorting a spreadsheet without including all of the columns. From what I have learned thus far about Excel, being really sure of what you have selected is crucial to not making any mistakes. After sorting a spreadsheet and later finding your calculations are incorrect because of not having selected all of the columns could be hard to spot errors and cause me to have to redo the entire sorting all over again.

  • The mistake I tend to make most often is number 6. When working with tools outside of systems, I often misinterpret dates as integers, long integers as short floats, and similar data errors. This causes the whole data set to be completely wrong. I have also made the mistakes of putting things in the wring columns, making the results much different than expected.

  • I have definitely done number 7, entered data into fields that are supposed to be explanatory. When these fields are in row 1, my first instinct is to start entering data into this row. However, this is a quick Command+Z to fix. Number 6, however, would be a little messier. This isn’t necessarily a quick and easy undo.

  • One of the most common mistakes I have made in excel, would be mislabeling, or misinterpreting dates as integers. To shorten the writing, and display, I prefer to place my dates in numerical values such as (3.09.2017). By doing this, the program would read it as a valued number, rather than seeing it as a date. To fix this, I’d manually have to write out the date in it’s entirety (March 3rd, 2017). Because it would read it as a value, I’d confuse myself as to what the number actually was. This was especially difficult in my Accounting Class in High School. Where we would do all calculations, and recordings on Excel. It would mix up, and contribute the date into the monetary amounts.

  • I just finished a course on excel and I think something that is very easy to mess up when you are plugging in a formula to be followed for a certain column and the formula is wrong. That makes all the data in that column incorrect without you knowing why. It is important to check that the if function or formula you are plugging in is in the right format or you will have wrong information. This can easily be checked by pressing CNTRL and ~ (grave accent). This will show all the formulas behind every number on the sheet so one can check.

  • I don’t use excel that much. In my opinion the mistake number 6 is the one that could happen the most.This could lead to a serious mess in your data confusing and mixing it in a way you don’t want it to.

  • Missing the data type, in my opinion, is the easiest mistake to make and the most harmful, since it a erroneously computed value can skew an entire data set.

  • I have made the mistake of copying cells that have relative formulas and misusing the data type. Both issues, after I learned how to fix them, were easily recognizable and I rarely make the mistake anymore. I think it is important to understand the behavior of excel when working with it and if you can predict what it will do to your data before you perform an action, you will save many headaches from trying to fix mistakes.

  • The most important mistake to avoid is starting to work on a database without all the required knowledge because you can easily make a mistake while working with a large data and if you don’t save the original data set you would lose all the all the raw data. the most important save a backup before you start working on that data, so you don’t end up losing all the original data.

  • I’ve made the mistake from “number 6: Miss the data type” quite a few times in Excel. I’ve had number of data entries accidentally be entered as dates instead of integers. Specifically, I’ve tried to enter a value and it automatically switches to a date and then changes the entire function outcome without me realizing because, well, I knew I entered the data correctly and did not expect Excel to suddenly switch what I typed as soon as I clicked Enter to move on to the next data entry space.

  • I have never made any mistakes, but I think the data type is important. I think that being careful of the columns you use is very important and could made a big mistake in your data if you are not careful.

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