I'm new to CiviCRM and I'm trying to help a non-profit clean up what looks to be a very large number of duplicate contact entries. I have searched this site and a few other resources and I have a grasp on the process, as I understand it. While I'm new to CiviCRM, I have worked with many other database and CRM solutions. Here are the two questions I have:
1) What are dedupe exceptions? While most things related to CiviCRM and dupe are well documented, I've not located an explanation for this. I assume it is some sort of white list of possible dupe contacts? What happens when I remove the exception? Do they become "eligible" for the dedupe rules engine?
2) None of the General rules that have been setup will work. The Supervised/Unsupervised rules work just fine when I use them manually. What I'm experiencing is basically a very long period where I'm waiting on the database followed by an unable to perform at this time message. Any thoughts on using General Rules. I have tried various approaches but basically trying to match on 3-4 fields. I understand the weight/threshold approach but it doesn't seem to be linked to that as much as to General rules. None of the rules I have setup nor the ones that existed before me seem to work as General rules.
Thanks in advance and please take it easy on a noob. :)