Daily Grind

In which t kills some kittens.

Technical writing is what pays my rent. I like my job, and I like the people. I document software for a tier 1 webhosting company (we host the webhosts), so I end up doing a lot of documentation and QA while the applications are still being written and tweaked. It’s occasionally challenging, rarely boring, and always a learning experience. One of the by-products of “on the fly documentation” is the discovery of bugs (and lots of ’em). No sweat. They usually get fixed; however, in the past year, I’ve finally come to understand the old joke “Is it a bug, or is it a feature?”

We laugh about it, but half of the discussions in my department revolve around this. I’ll be absolutely convinced that a behavior is a bug. It won’t make sense to me, and I’ll be absolutely unable to figure out why it’s occuring, even with excellent design docs. No problem. I submit a bug or shoot an email to the programmers.

Programming Team: Actually, that’s what it’s supposed to do.
QA: Huh?
Programming Team: Yeah, if it doesn’t, the application starts running amok and killing kittens like mad.
QA: But that doesn’t make any sense from an end-user perspective! Can we get a warning in the GUI? Anything?
Programming Team: Do *you* want to be responsible for all those dead kittens?
QA: No . . .
Programming Team: Caveat the documentation. Have a nice day!

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