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Limbic Region (3985)

Limbic Region
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I love to code perl. If you want to hire me, see details on my homepage.
Wednesday June 23, 2004
02:10 PM

Fat Finger - new definition

[ #19448 ]

For those of you who don't know - "fat fingering" is the process by which you make an excuse for a typo (the keys are too close and your fingers are too fat).

Here is the history (minus dates and names) of how "fat fingering" has come to be defined as "data entry".

During a conference call one techie asks another techie why X was A when it clearly should have been B. The techie being questioned responded - sorry, I fat fingered it.

What was going on behind the scenes:
A very non-techie who is fond of sounding cool, hip, and "in the know" is listening trying to pick up some vocabulary in hopes of sounding more knowledgeable than reality. He makes the conclusion that the error came from manual data entry (fat fingering) since the conversation just preceding it was how to automate the data ingestion process.

Time passes....

This non-techie happens to also very social politically rubbing elbows every chance they get. Using the term incorrectly, others in high places begin to use it as well.

Another conference call where the aforementioned non-techie is not present. A techie complains about the automated input feed being broken. A manager indicates that the deadline can not slip and that the techie is to fat-finger it if need be. The techie says "you want me to do what?". The manager thinking his authority is being called into question indicates that if the techie is not willing to do a little menial labor and enter that data in manually - they can look for work elsewhere. All of the techies do not want to have the wraith directed their way and steer clear of correcting the manager.

Time passes....

Another conference call - mixture of participants. The techies so want to please their superiors that they begin intentionally incorrectly using the term so that the managers feel cool, hip, and "in the know".

I didn't think much of this phenomina the first time I saw it with "data normalization" since it is often misused even amongst techies. In my group - it means any data cleaning/massaging/transformation/standardization. I couldn't help but laugh - and share - after seeing how the whole "fat fingering" came out though.

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