Some Proposed Rules for Data Etiquette

I can’t remember what caused me to begin to write this, but I gave up on it sometime last year. I’ve been digging about among my unpublished “draft” posts, and decided to fill out the ones worth finishing, and delete the rest. This one seemed like it was worth finishing. It’s simple a set of rules comprising “Dataquette”. If you think of anything I’ve left out, please do submit them via the comments function.

1. Never expect someone to duplicate data for you, and if someone offers, never never assume that they will provide you with the media onto which it is to be duplicated. Buy a blank CD or diskette. (The exception is when someone offers to duplicate data for you, and your relationship is such that it is the equivalent of a mix tape or some such irregularity.)

2. If you have borrowed some data from someone else, never keep someone else’s data for longer than necessary to duplicate it. (I am a major violator of this rule, I admit. However, I am also quite busy, which is the reason for the formulation of the next rule:)

3. If you have loaned someone your data, never tell someone to hurry up and duplicate your data until such time as you actually need it again.

4. Learn to use FTP. It will make everyone’s life a lot easier.

5. Make needed data as easily accessible as possible for those who need to get at it. If you have an FTP server, put it there. Put it on the web. Make it available and let whoever needs it, fetch it.

6. Do not lose or destroy another’s data. Do not, by neglect or by forgetting some action, lose a copy of someone’s data, especially if it is the only extant copy.

7. Should you violate rule #6, do not act as if it is a negligible loss. It may well be a negligible loss for you, but it possible represents the result of hours of work by someone else.

8. Should someone else lose your data by violating rule #6, do not think of it as the person’s fault that the data was lost. Do not vent your anger at losing the data at the offender. After all, if it was that important you would have backed it up. Even in cases where you made the best possible effort to back up the data and it was still lost through the actions of others, accept it with good cheer and humor and set about to salvaging what you can and recreating the rest. Data loss is a regular occurence in the world and we might as well get used to it.

9. Back your data up multiply, using several locations and several different media when possible.

10. Do not be greedy with your data. You should neither hoard it, nor should you let it take up so much space in your memory that you cannot make use of anything new. Data is like manna, and will come to you at an instant if you will it. Therefore store nothing that does not need storing. Waste not one CD on a movie that can be downloaded again at a later date. Even if data is endless, our environment certainly is not.

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