Wrote About Testing

I think it’s been a long time since I took more than a week between posts. I was busy at WAT2, and then busy catching up from being busy at WAT2. I’ve had a busy travel schedule this year (a plane trip every month so far this year), and although Durango is closer to home than most of the places I’ve been, it’s still travel, and it still takes time. I’m staying off of planes for the foreseeable future. I had an opportunity to travel to China later this month, but I had to turn it down. I’m on the hook for a web cast during the trip – and I just don’t feel up to more travel right now. I really, really want to go to China sometime, but it just isn’t the right time for me to make that trip.

I had a great time at the Writing About Testing conference. Chris McMahon is a wonderful host, and the Durango weather couldn’t have been more cooperative. I enjoyed the variety of conference activities – from full on presentations to lightning talks to writing activities, I was fully engaged for the entire conference. I met some new people, met some folks I’d known through twitter, and reconnected with others.

One of the first writing exercises of the conference was to pair up and take a shot at writing the traditional five paragraph essay. The 5PE is a staple of writing, and Chris spits these out faster than he can come up with blues bass lines. I think most of us learned the 5PE at some point, but I, for one, have drifted away from the form over the years (for better AND worse), so this was a welcome exercise for me. In addition, the fact that we were pairing on the writing added another dimension. I paired with @m8ttyb (aka Matt from Mozilla), and we came up with a draft for what I think will be a publishable article. I think the pairing format is an interesting opportunity to share writing styles and writing methods. My only regret with the exercise is that I worry I pushed my own methods on Matt too hard and didn’t take the time to learn what works for him. If this article works out, I’ll see if he wants to write another one some day, and use that opportunity to listen more.

After the conference ended on Saturday, a handful of us went to Carvers Brewpub for dinner and beers. Somewhere in the middle (or near the end) of those beers, in a story that I don’t think it will ever be possible to retell, "expectpants" blossomed as the phrase of the conference (some participants may disagree, but we’ll catch them up eventually). I’m not exactly sure what’s going to happen with expectpants, or if the full story will ever be told, but it was profound enough at the time that I felt it was worth sharing.

Last I heard, Chris is unsure if there will ever be a WAT3, but I figure if he’s not up for it, that if 15-20 of us want to "randomly" descend on Durango for a weekend in May next year that  he’d be welcome to show up at whatever informal gathering we put together.

Until next time…


  1. As far as WAT3, I’ll make a decision around October. For 1 and 2, my personal take on the testing zeitgeist in the fall has been a big influence on my decision, and on the themes of the conferences so far.

  2. Just remember that regardless of what’s going on, there’s nothing stopping a bunch of us from coordinating our “vacations” :}

    Thanks again for hosting.

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