(Billy is walking to school. He is in black and white, but mostly white, between is grey blond hair, grey pale skin, grey khaki pants, and white white button up shirt. Only his shoes show black – certainly not his small town.)
Narrator: Woah. Hold on there, Billy.
(Billy stops and looks for the voice).
Narrator: Where you going in such a hurry?
(Billy holds up the books he is carrying and taps on his watch with a finger)
Narrator: Ah, going to school. And I suppose you haven’t even given a thought to DATA HYGIENE?
(Billy pauses, has a quizzical look, and proceeds to sniff his armpits.)
Narrator: No, not that type of hygiene. DATA hygiene. One of the things that makes America great (cut to stock footage of a flag waving and other good and wholesome things) is Americans doing positive, American things for other Americans, helping our neighbors, our pets, and our environment. For example, elderly people! Puppies! Parks! All of this is possible because of our positive, American civic associations of good people.
(Cut back to Billy nodding enthusiastically. If Billy were tragically stuck inside a paper bag, he could not act his way out)
Narrator: But what if ALL OF THIS CAME TO AN END? Were there no data hygiene, our civic associations won’t be able to help preserve our positive American way of life? They wouldn’t be able to reach new volunteers, get voluntary donations, or help out in your neighborhood.
(The previous images of an elderly person, a puppy, and a park, all disappear in rapid succession)
Narrator: THIS WOULD LEAD TO COMMUNISM!
Billy: Holy shit!
Narrator: Wait, you can talk? I thought we had you muted. Why didn’t you talk before?
Narrator: There are two types of data: data that you control and user-entered data. Let’s take a tour of data you control.
(Billy is whisked away to an average city street)
Narrator: Here is the hustle and bustle of a nonprofit organization’s traffic. All sorts of data come through here on a daily basis, from caging vendors to development officers to syncs with other databases. And we can control these with some basic community standards. But you have to make sure these community standards are followed, from address 1 line standards…
(close-up on the street sign, which magically changes from Mockingbird Lane to Mockingbird Ln)
…to address line 2 standards…
(close-up on an apartment, labeled as 123 Main Street, Apartment 3-B, which changes to
123 Main St
…to pick lists that dictate what titles and suffixes can be used.
(A mailbox that says Reverend Timothy Lovejoy, III, changes to Rev Timothy Lovejoy III).
Narrator: It’s better that these things are cleaned up in the database…
(Billy opens a door and see workers in a dank, grey office working on various spreadsheets. A supervisor is whipping them if they don’t clean lists fast enough. He recoils in horror.)
So that hard-working Americans don’t have to fix them later. Fortunately, you have professionals doing data entry here, so that should limit duplication and errors. The same can’t be said for…
(Click. Billy is instantly transported to a seedy red light district. Crude graffiti adorn the spare brick walls and trash lays, some in bags, some not along the street).
Narrator: USER GENERATED DATA!
(A scantily clad woman of the night beckons to Billy. He starts to walk over)
Narrator: Billy! What do you think you are doing?
(Billy stops and gives the camera a sheepish shrug).
Narrator: Here in user-generated data, anything goes. In order to get people to fill out forms, you have to make it very easy. Most of the time, that means leaving out items on the form…
(a metal mailbox is embedded in the wall. It says simply “Jim”.)
… not validating standard fields or following capitalization rules…
(the neighbor’s mailbox is labeled “mt. cHris hartnet, mbs”
… having people put data wherever…
(the camera pans up to reveal a steel mill in the background labeled “Dr. Alice Humphries, DDS”)
… and just plain having jokers plant fake information.
(the building next to the mill is labeled “I. P. Freely.” Billy looks frightened.)
Narrator: Yes, this lack of cleanliness is the price you pay for freedom. American freedom! But we all have to do our part, or else the civic organizations won’t be able to reach anyone in this neighborhood. And you know what that means, don’t you Billy?
(Billy nods and mouths the word “communism”)
Narrator: That’s right. Here we have to use more broad hygiene techniques. Enforce your capitalization rules, not theirs. Every one of these houses should be run for address standardization, so the addresses are correct. They should also go through strict National Change of Address forms, so you know when someone has moved. If someone’s email address doesn’t work, make sure to suppress it or you will be labelled a spammer. And you know what happens to spammers.
(The camera shows a man in a stockade. Residents are throwing cans of Spam at him.)
Narrator: Appending data like telephone numbers, addresses, and email address when you don’t have them is also usually worth the investment. That way, you know if Jim back there is the same Jim who just wrote your nonprofit a big check.
(Click. Billy is back on his school grounds.)
Narrator: So, Billy, you know the importance of data hygiene, right?
(Billy nods enthusiastically and runs off camera)
Narrator: Data hygiene: it’s the right thing to do. America.