The first database rule

If you participate in a database about people or their work, the first rule is simple: it should be as simple to fix an error as it is to make one.

If you mischaracterize something, get a digit wrong, sort it wrong, include a typo, inadvertently leave something out, put someone on a list of privilege or denial… every one of these errors is expensive–to you and to the person you’ve misrepresented.

You make it worse, far worse, when you insist that the database can’t be changed.

It’s bad enough that we’ve reduced people and their work to digits. At least we can be agile in fixing our mistakes.

(And yes, I’m talking about the conceptual databases each of us carry around in our heads, not just the digital ones on our desks).