Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Consent first debate

Recently, I've been putting a lot of thought into how I want to handle myself in the professional circles. It started with a friend from Agile Finland mentioning he sees me getting into these arguments on twitter, where there just isn't a winner. Everyone loses. Time. Peace of mind.

From that comment, I signed him up as my personal coach. I wanted to work on "mindful online presence" and so far only thing I've learned that I feel much better when I manage to step away from the arguments. To remember that I don't have to respond, even if I sort of initiated a discussion by venting on something like people saying things like "detrimental to our craft" on something I believe might just as well be taking things forward.

Stepping back from the discussions doesn't usually please people, they tend to seek answers on why would I do that. The way I think about it right now found words from a blog post by Marlena Compton, titled "Feminism in the Testing Bubble". My takeaway from that article isn't the feminism, but the idea of a tax
"There is a tax for people who are part of any marginalized group.  The tax requires that you will spend your time and energy not on the actual topics you care about and want to write about such as software, but that you will spend time and energy defending your participation in the space and your right to be there.  The tax is so far-reaching and insidious that you will end up paying before you even realize what’s happening."
"Payment comes in many forms:  your influence, showing actual emotions on twitter, a boss’s anger, exhaustion from explaining yourself (again) and then there are all of the requests people make of you to teach them because they don’t feel like finding answers for themselves."
I feel part of a marginalized group in context-driven testing. I don't want to stop saying "exploratory testing" or "test automation". I don't want to discuss the one true way. I don't want to build walls where you only hang out with people in one camp. And I don't want to spend my precious little time on trying to convince those who want things I don't want that my way is the true way.

I blog to share what I think. I write more for myself than for an audience. If any of it is useful, great. If it starts discussions checking first on consent it's great. When I refuse to invest my time, I would rather have people accept my choice, than tell me that I must discuss all things testing.

I'm not paying the tax anymore if I learn to avoid it. I want to talk with my peers on how we teach testing skills without RST models, in a very particular style: pairing/mobbing and slow change, an idea at a time intertwined with reflection. I want to find time for that, and I prioritize other things out so that I have the capacity.

Marlena sums it well:
" I don’t mind if people communicate with me to tell me how wrong I am about that, just don’t expect me to give you a cookie."
 "...it is ok for me to push back on taking responsibility for fixing things.  It is ok for me to voice a frustration or call someone out and leave it at that."
Could there be a lesson on importance of consent in debates to take from here? At least teaching/coaching without permission is considered more of a bad than good thing.