True Story from a Delaware child…

He was going through his online information for the first time, and found that  this:  Use of profanity: 2006

He goes WTF!  I didn’t cuss back then. I was 9 years old… WTF. WTF. WTF! 

There was a code… So he looked up the code on another page that listed all the codes…  It said “witness”….

Oh yeah, he said, their was that kid who was cussing on the bus and the principal called me and, oh yeah,  that was JoAnne who also went in there with me…  to the office and  to be questioned and sign a paper… Let me facebook her.

So he inboxed her, saying “check your school record.  See if you have that time in 5th grade we had to say we witnessed profanity.  She got back to him..  “Yeah, I just says  Use of profanity, 2006″….  He responded with the code and all were amazed.

Me, I didn’t believe it at first.  Said “show me” and there it was.  Right on their record… “Use of profanity. 2006.”

I wouldn’t have paid attention to that code.   Were I hiring and had the transcripts in my hand, unless absolutely desperate for a body, I’d have said, too much possibility of trouble; let’s pass on this one.

If I were a hall monitor and heard someone cuss among their friends walking past, and I pulled their record to determine if they should be punished for such a little infraction and saw  “Use of profanity, 2006” I would certainly make an issue out of it… “Better nip it in the bud the let it fester into something worse later.”

And this is the problem of data mining.  This is what too much information creates.  False expectations. Treatment based on shoddy reading.  Subjective interpretations.  Both of these students are good students, now in two different school systems; yeah, of course they are if they witnessed profanity and were willing to witness towards it while as early as in 5th grade.

But everyone like me reading this report, (and yes it is their fault they don’t look at it as hard as did the students themselves who thought they were falsely accused). thinks they must have done something quite horrible in 5th grade, to actually get written up for it….. Only the worst criminals use profanity  as early as 5th grade.  

So, with too much information, their lives are ruined.  They don’t get into the college of their dreams. They don’t get the first spot in the firm.  They don’t get into grad school… 

Because too much information was recorded….

In the old days of books, notebooks and paper ledgers, that information was there, just like today… but since it was so hard to delve and find it, it disappeared from history, as it well should have…. 

Perhaps, allowing students to challenge it, as in Wikipedia, with bright red font, and educating the public that these are very unreliable forms of tracking behavior,  might be what modern post-computer societies will be required to do.