A geophysist’s joke

I used to work in a geophysic prospection compagny (Compagnie Générale de Géophysique). Our clients were petroleum companies looking for oil, mostly. Our workers were geophysicists, they were interpreting massive scientific measures to produce a model of how the underground is made. How did they proceed ? It has to do with how we interpret our datas about membership in Rotaract. Let me tell a joke we had.

If you ask different workers “how much is Pi ?”

  • mathematician says : “the circumference of a circle divided by its diameter”
  • a physician says : “3,14159 plus or minus 10e5”
  • an engineer says : “almost 3” [I’m engineer 🙂 ]
  • a geophysicist asks : “how much you want it to be ?”

(If you’re a geophysist, please laugh)(I had to tell it, it deserve to be spread)

Usually the geophysist is missioned by a client, and the client has expectations. The geophysist anticipate clients expectations, so the results are partly oriented by them. About Rotaract, it is the same with clubs member directory. The presidents answers what the national boards are expecting.

Some national board had policies about member datas, so they influence the collect, unconsciously. Spreading the message “please clean the ghosts members from our database”, you launch a global ghostbuster effect the datas get shrinked quickly. On the other side, it can also happen that the national board call to raise the Rotaract manpower in France. Presidents want to be part of that success, they all want to bring hope. So you have a global ghost members effect : they keep as many members as they can in the directory.

Now imagine we want to analyze the tendency between two years : we have to consider the current board influence, the influence of the previous board, and compare them. Enjoy. It can’t be measured, it’s impossible. So, you get the point : to me, this national member count are not accurate, so we can’t analyze them : it is not a real evidence of an ongoing decline of Rotaract in France.

It is time to figure how healthy we are, apart from the number.

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