Sunday, November 17, 2019

On Numbers and Honesty

One thing you never do to a guy who loves numbers so much that he considers manipulating them a "hobby" is accuse him of fudging the data.

There's a mobile game I play with a bunch of people, friends I've made along the way. I run their stats. I don't get paid for it, I don't get anything out of it, our "clan" isn't inherently better or more competitive or more efficient for it. I do it because I see the numbers and I can't help but play with them.

Sometimes, I touch a set of numbers, start playing with them, making them dance, but I can't manipulate them to say the message I want them to say. It happens. I don't fudge the raw data to make them fit the goal; I either find new data, or I change my goal.

We all have rules that we never break.

I don't mix business with pleasure, and I don't mess with raw data.

I might cut some corners somewhere along the way, my formulae might be messy and janky and inelegant, my post might be backdated because I thought I had a deadline sewn up and I missed a week, my output might be poorly organized or clunky or ugly. But my raw data might as well be set in stone, built into the fabric of the universe.

If the message makes you feel offended, affronted, compromised... ask me for the raw data. I might just give it to you. But if you end up coming to the same conclusion I did, then don't blame me. Blame yourself for being unable to accept that you were wrong.

I'm wrong sometimes, too.