October 9, 2006

[Industry] Blogging Without A Net

Some of you may have noticed that the number of QA-related people in the games industry that blog are...well...nearly non-existant.

There'a good reason for that. Testers are, by their very nature, pessimistic. They see the worst there is to see in this industry. They see the builds that require systems to be reformatted and reinstalled. They see the petty bickering that leads to severity-1 bugs being buried under a pile of politics. They have access to a lot of information (release dates, build status, feature lists, etc.) that nobody outside the company should have access to...and it scares people to have that kind of information in the hands of what they see as "cheap temp labor" for the most part.

So why am I blogging? It's a good question. To be honest, there have been several times over the last two years where I've nearly said, "Fuck it...it's not worth it." But I keep it up anyway. I keep thinking back to the "Mistakes" Demotivator...

I guess the biggest reason why I'm blogging now is because I was blogging before I started at Ritual. I asked the CEO during the interview stage if I could continue to blog after joining the Tribe, and was told that I could as long as I didn't divulge any information that would be under NDA in my blog.

That said, I can't say that blogging has been without its share of controversies. I've been accused of being a mouthpiece for the company, a vengeful ex-Microsoft employee, a profiteer, and a few things that I'd rather not print.

As for the mouthpiece accusation, I always try to toe the company line in forums and message board posts, but this is my space. While I've been asked to talk about certain items, I've never been asked to support or suppress any viewpoints. Anything that pops up on this server is because of me. If I've written it, it's been my own words and my own thoughts. Occasionally, it has put me at odds with the powers that be here, and in that respect, I'm really blogging without a net.

As for the vengeful ex-Microsoft employee accusation, I've never had anything against Microsoft itself. In fact, if I could go back to Microsoft, I most likely would. My only issue with Microsoft is with a single employee...someone that if I had to choose between unemployment and working with this individual again, I'd probably pick unemployment...and that's a hard thing to say. If you want to know who, go back through the blog archives. You'll be able to figure it out.

The profiteer accusation makes me laugh. Since I run Google AdSense ads on this site and occasionally link to Amazon, people think I'm raking in the dough. Trust me...nothing could be further from the truth. I've yet to earn any money from Amazon, and I haven't earned enough from AdSense to get my first check yet...even though I've been running the ads for over two years.

So I don't blog because I'm a corporate mouthpiece. I don't blog because I hate Microsoft. I don't blog to make money. So again, why do I blog?

The "Mistakes" Demotivator pretty much sums it up. Survival in Quality Assurance is mostly about making fewer mistakes than those around you. I know I've made more than my share of mistakes in this industry, but I keep learning from them and growing from them. If someone else can learn from one of my mistakes, then the industry as a whole improves...and that's actually motivating.


Sam Kalman said...

It's nice to hear your inspirations behind blogging, especially about game testing. Yours is only one of two game-related QA blogs I've found.

I still feel that there is lots that can be shared with those interested in testing games. Maybe I need to read through your archives, but there are lots of questions I didn't even realize that I had when I began testing. Maybe answering some of those questions for potential testers could help them decide if they want to be testers or not.

I'm actually thinking about starting a blog myself. I've just been so busy with a side project that I haven't wanted to put the energy into it. But that project is over now, so...

Anyway, great to hear your thoughts!

Sarkie said...

Very insightful Rom, I just hope that this blog never affects your aspirations in the future.