Sample Data

@graz Would be nice if there was a way to help people on this site provide sample data when they ask questions. Often more time is spent asking people to provide sample data ( and/or helping them on how to provide it) when it would be a wild guess or totally impossible to give an authoritative answer without it.



While I am not @graz I thought I would contribute anyway.

There are several sites where one can build sample data including INSERT statements. This site is easy and I have used it for years:

This site has other flavors:

I think it would be helpful to have a post with explicit instructions on how to take a question from sample data generation to post. Whenever a question is posted without the preferred format, the post can be referenced.

Paul Randal has a couple great blog entries on the subject too:

Contrast the polite way to ask/respond questions with any posts by our friend Joe C. Entertaining yes, but not very helpful.

I agree with your suggestion!


I took a look at that site and it would actually take longer to provide the site with data and you still wouldn't end up with necessarily pertinent data. The delivery format (seriously??? one row containing a hundred rows of values???) is making sucking sounds.

I'm thinking that a pinned article on how to extract data from real tables would be helpful along with an explanation as to why it's necessary to provide readily consumable data. We have such an article over on SSC. You might want to take a look at it. Here's the link...

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Jeff's pointer to the SSC post (by him, unless there is another Jeff Moden) seems perfect for this. Would it be improper to give people a pointer to that post when sample data is needed?

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