R. Holmes University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
A group of scientists sit down on a nice sunny day to examine a large tabular data set they have experimentally gathered. The first order of business is to figure out what program they should use for analysis; should they use Excel? OpenOffice? R? An online collaborative spreadsheet? Resolving the matter to everyone’s satisfaction takes an hour. Next they tackle the column names: should they be all caps? Can they contain spaces? Should they be short, or should they be descriptive? Agreeing to a naming scheme takes another 3 h.