Heidi Waterhouse

Documentation Mercenary, Waterhouse Consulting


The Death of Data
Session talk

Hoarding is only really painful when we run out of space. In a world with very cheap data storage, it never occurs to us that we should be getting rid of data instead of just storing it in giant silos. I'll explain why we are storing increasingly dangerous poison in our databases, and why we ought to care about automated de-acquisition and deletion. Data gets senile. It forgets its links, it only wants to tell you about the old days. Wikis overgrow like the thorns around Sleeping Beauty's castle, and reference manuals accrete into sedimentary layers. APIs gather and leak data like municipal water systems Even with search, we can't find what we're looking for. Too much data is as bad or worse than no data. We are building giant predictive structures on big data, but we are not evaluating the age or value of that data. Have you ever been boggled by your credit report? We are building thousands of reports like that with no consideration for the quality of the data we are using. This talk is not about data in the abstract, it's about ergot poisoning and hoarding and konmari and bitrot. When and why to kill your precious data, why data is a double-edged sword.

Speaker Bio

Heidi is a documentation mercenary, roving the world in search of software products that need to be documented and made stronger. When she is not writing incisive instructions, she travels around giving talks on the painful lessons she has learned on her journey, such as what you''re going to regret leaving out of version 1 of your software, and how to get your developers to write anything. Her interests include security, usability, and collecting transit cards in different cities.