GBC - General Beta-Testing Conditions
Please note that by "beta testing" a tool/program/solution I understand actual testing (as in "trying to break"), documenting problems and/or improvement suggestions and a "technical approach" to dealing with software. A beta tester is NOT a key user who "just uses the tool, playing and trying to get a job done", but a development partner who wants to help making the product better. A beta tester is expected to provide reports on reproducible (ideally) bugs, ideas on enhancements (not just wild wishes, but concrete function layouts) and feedback on any aspect of the tool (look and feel, documentation, workflows, expected and observed behavior).
The best BETA TESTER will try to understand how the tool works and explore how far it conforms to its own goals, documenting bugs by trying to reproduce those and eventually spotting causes and/or dependencies. A good BETA TESTER never claims not to be a developer but completes the work of the developer by providing a second perspective, a second pair of eyes and a second Espresso, if required.
If you prefer to "just use it" or "play around and see what happens", please consider to become a KEY USER instead of a BETA TESTER.
A KEY USER is expected to have have a project that is suitable to test the tool/program/solution in, document what works and what fails, continue working in the project as far as possible and stop the project if necessary. Alternatively the KEY USER will try to explore each function of the tool according to documentation, noting down irritations, problems in understanding workflows and possible enhancements WITHOUT the need to give technical details.
The best KEY USER will have a specific expectation of the tool that can be expressed in words and/or pictures and will document how far the tool conforms to those expectations.
Note the difference:
KEY USERS are always right.
BETA TESTERS are always busy.
PLEASE DO NOT apply as a BETA TESTER or KEY USER if you consider anything of the above offensive. Please also refrain from applying if you feel that humor is uncalled for in software development. Please do something creative if you think that art is more valuable than craft.
What I expect from you, if we cooperate in a project:
No matter if the tool works as expected or crashes, no matter if it does what you expect it to do or fails, no matter if you like the "feeling" of the tool or not: I need your feedback. Please document thoughts, impressions, first and second glance+guesses. Be as thorough as possible - but, please, have fun. There is a lot more important stuff going on in life than ANY computer program.
If you find bugs and/or serious issues with the tool you are testing, please discuss your findings with me before publishing and/or demoing them to third parties.
What you should expect from me, if we cooperate in a project:
If not otherwise stated, BETA TESTER and KEY USERS will always get free updates, upgrades and all future installments of the tools they test (free as in "free beer"). Neither BETA TESTER nor KEY USERS will ever have to pay for the software the test with me.
Sometimes BETA TESTER and KEY USERS get badges (get listed in thank-you scrolls), sometimes they need to list themselves somewhere (e.g. some sandy beach).
BETA TESTER (but not KEY USERS) may get paid for their work, if the project allows for such compensation. This has to be negotiated upfront.
BETA TESTER and KEY USERS may receive provisions on sales they generate by presenting the tool and/or their testing efforts - this will be handled individually.
Neither BETA TESTER nor KEY USERS will ever have to pay for the software they test (now, that would be really silly, wouldn't it!).
BETA TESTER and KEY USERS are encouraged to talk about their participation in projects with me, if not otherwise stated upfront.
If any of the above has to be adopted to changes in reality, glitches in time-space-continua or something serious (like a sale of the program to some third party), everyone involved agrees to act like a grown up and not sue me for anything (as far as this whole matter is concerned). I mean it.