Hilarity abounds about #censusfail, the crash of the online census on August 9 2016: Census in Australia. And I will admit that, like millions of Australians that were under the impression we had to complete the census on that night (so the whole country hit the same server at 8 PM), I had a lot of merriment following the #censusfail hashtag on Twitter in between hitting Refresh (and the occasional ping).
But as a kinda public servant, I’m saddened. I’m saddened that the public’s trust in the Australian Bureau of Statistics has been trashed. I’m saddened that the data quality of the 2016 census will take a severe beating. I’m saddened that the census has ended up politicised.
Many people (particularly my fellow public servants) have been blaming the government for this, for stripping the ABS of funding. And yes, the rush to doing the census online was motivated by cost-cutting rather than efficiency. But the hubris and miscommunications out of the ABS, about the ability of their systems to deal with the load, aren’t the government’s fault. And no, I don’t buy it that hackerz brought the site down, rather than having five million citizens log in at once. Few Australians do.
“1 Million Forms Per Hour”: the amount of traffic the ABS stress-tested for. Double their expected volume. A fifth of the volume expected by anybody else.
I hate to agree with anything Newscorp publishes, but this nails it: http://www.news.com.au/technolog…
AUSTRALIA just lost something rare. The Census was one of the national institutions we truly trusted. Now that trust is gone.