> Brad asked “What pray tell is a zombie?”
If we accidentally upload QSOs with errors in the vital data values that must match according to LoTW’s rules (e.g. wrong band, wrong time, wrong callsign …), our uploaded QSO record is a zombie that will never match except by sheer coincidence.
Once signed and uploaded, there’s nothing we (as ordinary mortals) can do about the zombies we have released. Only privileged database admins can and programs can hunt down and dispatch zombies … which is not as easy as you might think. Accidentally dispatching a live but as yet unmatched QSO record is presumably the main risk, although a well-designed relational database system should at least prevent anyone accidentally dispatching any matched and confirmed QSO records. That would cause a rip in the space-time continuum, perhaps triggering the zombie apocalypse. Provided the zombie horde remains a small proportion of the entire database, it’s easier and less risky to tolerate them.
Therefore, zombies haunt the LoTW database in perpetuity, moaning, rattling their chains, dropping superfluous body parts and smelling entirely unlike a nose. They are the undead, locked forever in limbo between the dead and the living worlds.
What we ordinary mortals can and should do, though, is strive to maintain accurate logs, free of zombies.
This is a good reason for discouraging instantaneous QSO uploads. I don’t know about you but from time to time, being vaguely humanoid, I make the odd typoo in my logg, some of which I spott and corect. If those erroneous QSOs had already been signed and uploaded, some would end up as zombies, adding to the horde.