A lot of companies are participating in a 5 km run every year. I signed up I a google spreadsheet. The deadline to signing up was yesterday, the teams were announced and I am not in any of the teams. I look at the spreadsheet, and I am not there. I go through the document history (maybe I am crazy and I didn't sign up) - but I was deleted about a week ago.

The deletion is from an official company user. (which a lot of the edits in the documents were).which means one of the organizers probably did it. We are a fairly small company (around 40 people) and I wonder why this happened.

The question is, should I act on this? I am pretty upset, because nearly the whole company is going and having a good time. A colleague offered me one of his spots (he has 2, because he wants to take the run 2 times). I politely refused because I didn't want to make a big deal out of it - now I don't really feel like going.

I could send out an email to the company politely addressing the issue (or using a slack channel). But I am afraid to igniting something up. I really want to know if someone did this on purpose, but I can't see a way to that in a polite way.

Is there a good way to bring this up and find out if someone did this intentionally?

  • It probably means that it was the organizers. It just means that the company name was used to make this Edit, and not a personal Google account which we were supposed to use to add our self. – Jonas Praem Aug 29 '18 at 15:03
  • Maybe it was an accident? They were re-arranging the teams and didn't realise they'd missed an entry? – user91714 Aug 29 '18 at 15:05
  • @Stacey the edit is only deleting me (the last line) - The teams were t organized in the document. I am not saying it couldn't be an accident. But the edit is only deleting the entire row of my entry (name, shirt size, run/walk/cheer option) – Jonas Praem Aug 29 '18 at 15:07

Don't read too much into this.

If I had a nickel for every time someone accidentally deleted critical data ...

Someone made a mistake and didn't realize it. The first mistake was in allowing anonymous users to edit the sheet directly, but here you are.

Bring this up to the organizer. Let them know right away. I bet that they can fix it. Also, accept that other person's second registration. Everyone around you is trying to make this right. Don't become the problem, here.

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    @JonasPraem that doesn't prove it was malicious. And if you bring it up, the only thing it might ignite is a look into who did this and why; it won't be an issue with you. – Erik Aug 29 '18 at 14:29
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    @JonasPraem That doesn't mean that it was intentional. Someone could have opened it to see how many people had registered and accidentally deleted your name in the process. Always remember Hanlon's Razor. Even if you suspect it was malicious, it's better to treat it as an honest mistake and know to watch your back than to make false accusations that turn out to be baseless. – David K Aug 29 '18 at 14:31
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    @JonasPraem Wesley states it pretty clear in their answer "Bring this up to the organizer." And just say "Hey, I did sign up for this last month, but it looks like my name got accidentally deleted at some point. Is it still possible to get a spot?" – David K Aug 29 '18 at 14:32
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    I would horrified if I had made a simple mistake that hurt someone, and that person never gave me a chance to fix it. It is actually polite to ask the organizer to fix their mistake. Do it by phone or in person if possible, and right now! – Peter Aug 29 '18 at 17:43
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    A good rule of thumb is "Goldfingers Principle": once is happenstance, twice is bad luck, thrice is enemy action. OP is in "happenstance" territory. – Captain Emacs Aug 29 '18 at 18:50

You're making a lot of assumptions here and it sounds like people are trying to get it right for you.

Chances are the person editing the spreadsheet had two open and when you added your name to the last of the list, it got deleted when he saved the older one. Just because your name was deleted, that doesn't mean it was a purposeful action. "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." - Hanlon's razor


I would bring this up with the person who is organizing the event: "I signed up for this, but somehow my name got erased, can I be added to the event, look here's the document history to show you that I'm not lying" and see what they say. It's possible that in a (seemingly) extraordinary and unlikely situation as this, that they would probably be able to do something for you.

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    "look here's the document history to show you that I'm not lying" seems pretty defensive. I'd just say I signed up but am not on a team, can I be added in somewhere? – user91714 Aug 29 '18 at 15:08
  • @Stacey I mean obviously I wouldn't say it in exactly those words, but I'd mention something like "if you look at the revision of the signup document dated xxx then you'll see that I signed up, but was later removed in the revision dated yyy" – Ertai87 Aug 29 '18 at 15:28

Odds are they had a few windows open, and didn't realize their cursor was in another one when they hit the key combination that removed the row.

Don't get all into why it happened, just assume it was a mistake, and ask the person in charge to add you back because someone must have accidentally removed you when they updated their entry.

Even in the face of malicious actions, it is a better approach to assume that mistakes are being made. It's ok to point out a resolution to a mistake if you don't care where or when the mistake was made; but, if you care about the origins of the mistakes, the kind of interpersonal conflict that creates becomes something you started (and that's bad).

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    Yeah, the deadline was yesterday, and the run is tomorrow. There isn't much they can do at this point. i will just accept that, Instead of making them rushing around for a quick fix. – Jonas Praem Aug 29 '18 at 15:10
  • @JonasPraem If you really want to be in the run, there's the opportunity to contact the organizers directly, indicating that as long as you can run, you don't need all the "extra" trimmings of T-shirt, etc. Sometime such a thing as a post-deadline add can happen. It's not as rare an event as you might think, but the ask has to be done with care, grace, and a willingness to get the answers you don't really want to hear. Oh, and I'd run it by everyone that might rightfully object, to keep sore feelings from happening. Good luck! – Edwin Buck Aug 29 '18 at 15:13
  • @JonasPraem I'll bet that there's a few people that just show up, unsigned. It's not like there's a shortage of land to run on, even during that race. Wear some company branded clothing, if you have some, and a big smile. It will all work out. – Edwin Buck Aug 29 '18 at 15:17

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