“The Stackoverflow.com for Software Testers”

Today I’ve released a beta version of testing.stackexchange.com which is a “stackoverflow.com for software testers.” I would appreciate your help in contributing content, and/or getting the word out.  Stackoverflow has become an extraordinarily useful forum for software developers to ask difficult, practical questions, and get quick, actionable, peer-reviewed responses from software developers around the globe.  While there are some software testing questions on stackoverflow itself, the questions are mostly software developer-centric.  There’s no reason why we can’t create a very similar forum geared primarily towards the software testing community.  So who’s with me?  Please show your support by posting a question, sharing an answer or voting on existing answers at  testing.stackexchange.com

If you share my belief in the significant potential benefit to the software testing community that would result from a mature, well-trafficked site with a rich collection of peer-reviewed questions on software testing and you would be interested in helping out beyond posting periodic questions and/or answers to the site, please post a reply here or contact me through Linkedin.  I’d love to brainstorm ideas and work with like-minded people to get this forum created for the software testing community.  As of now, the odds are against testing.stackexchange from growing to obtain the critical mass it needs (particularly since I’m busy day-to-day building my software testing tool company); a small number of active collaborators would improve the odds dramatically.

I first found out about stackoverflow.com through my brother’s blog at http://management.curiouscatblog.net/2009/05/04/joel-spolsky-webcast-on-creating-social-web-resources/

Joel Spolsky’s video is fantastic.  He set out to crack the code on:

  • How can you get a useful exchange of information between experts that results in very good questions and answers being actively shared by participants?
  • How can the community encourage visitors to the site to actively participate and share their expertise?
  • How can the site generate a critical mass and utilize Google to drive traffic to the site to make it self-sustaining?
  • How can users (who might not otherwise be able to tell which are the best answers from among multiple answers) tell which answers are in fact the best?

In my view, he has succeeded on all of the above counts, which is truly impressive.  We’re using the identical strategies (and Spolsky’s technology) at testing.stackexchange.com.  The way Spolsky lays out his vision is impressive.  He logically progresses through a graveyard of multiple Q & A sites that have devolved into largely useless forums where inane questions are asked and dubious answers are shared.  He then shares how he and his collaborators adjusted the model for Stackoverflow to maximize the value to participants.  Their self-described strategy amounts to taking the best ideas they could from multiple different sites and putting them together in stackoverflow (and “using Google as our landing page” as a way to build traffic).

Thank you in advance for helping to get the word out.

– Justin Hunter

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7 thoughts on ““The Stackoverflow.com for Software Testers”

  1. Pingback: Twitter Trackbacks for “The Stackoverflow.com for Software Testers” « Hexawise Blog [hexawise.wordpress.com] on Topsy.com

    • Itay.

      Thanks for the encouragement and thanks for the question you posted there! My belief is that if we just get the first 100 good questions, the rest will take care of itself.

      OK, this is really admittedly my “naive hope” rather than a well-reasoned “belief”; my point is that with each good question asked, the odds of reaching a critical mass of participants on the site increase. When we move from a “single digit” number of good questions into the “triple digit” number of good questions, we’ll really be making some progress. With >100 questions and answers, the content on the site will provide a significant amount of links to the site from Google and Bing to attract testers (who know nothing about testing.stackexchange.com) who are simply seeking an answer to whatever testing question they typed into their search box. At some point, that dynamic will push the site over the “tipping point” into self-sustainability. Getting those first 100 questions is critical. So thanks again for your question.

      – Justin

  2. I would need to know the applicability of the testing techniques for Agile Development which is making great inroads into the software development realm. With the typical development cycle, we spend time on having a detailed testing (which essentially includes time for test design, test cases creation and so on); however with Agile gaining prominence, it looks to be a gray area for most of the testers.

    The typical problems faced on this front are
    1) With the limited time available, how will the tester benefit in terms of coverage for the application under test?
    2) What are the most effective testing methods that could be applied for Agile development and testing?
    3) Can we use pairwise and combinatorial testing effectively for Agile testing? Please explain.

    Most testers who have worked with traditional project/ product development for a long time are at the juncture of having their skills pitted against the tight deadlines as characterized in the Agile development. A discussion on this would greatly benefit these testers.

    • Abilash,

      Thank you for your words of encouragement here and for posting your questions to http://testing.stackexchange.com

      Combinatorial testing methods can definitely be used effectively in Agile projects.

      I have posted my response explaining how they can be at:

      http://testing.stackexchange.com/questions/16/agile-testing-effectiveness-and-coverage

      Incidentally, A couple of the common reactions when people first hear about combinatorial testing methods such as pairwise is that “it might work elsewhere, but it won’t work HERE with my ‘unique’ testing challenges” or “it sounds too good to be true; if I execute fewer tests, I’ll wind up with less coverage.” The best remedy to those skeptical responses is to have one person try it for two days (while normal testing activity continues elsewhere) and just collect the evidence; invariably, in every time I’ve seen data collected, the tester using combinatorial test-based test cases/scenarios finds way more defects per tester hour than the other testers. This has happened over 3 dozen now. I should write a post about this when I get around to it.

      – Justin

  3. Pingback: Update on testing.stackexchange.com « Hexawise Blog

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