Friday, June 25, 2010


Arbitrariness, I am not sure if it’s a word. But, it is a thing worth exploring. When folks do something for poorly thought out reasons, or no reasons at all, that is arbitrariness. Like, for example, making a record by filming the CIA interrogating terrorists. Why was it done and why are we continuing to do it--So that we can demonstrate to the world that we are not too tough on terrorists. But I digress.

A guy builds a spreadsheet for the Mine Safety and Health Administration but configures it so we can only see a mine that has safety problems and not the parent company which may own many mines, all with safety problems. It is arbitrariness that allows the bad design to limit the safety agencies ability to track trends by offending companies. Arbitrariness!

Or When the same Mine Safety agency only allows a certain number of offending mining companies to be “assigned tougher enforcement” for their failings—that too is arbitrariness. In the June 24 Wall Street journal, the article states “The Labor Department’s Inspector General found that federal mine safety regulators may have improperly limited enforcement of mines with serious safety violations… District managers could select no more than one mine a field office and a maximum of three mines a district office.” I sure hope we spread out the “bad boys” of mining so that it comports with the Mine Safety “one bad boy per region” rule. Arbitrariness.

When a CIO keeps 10 years of disaster recovery back-up tapes and asks why they keep getting their clock cleaned in discovery—that is arbitrariness.
When a records manager pushes out the updated retention schedule with 600 rules instead of the 1200 they had before “simplification” that is arbitrariness.

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