== Feel free to use this as required reading for new members. ==
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Hello Newbie,

You are most likely to fit into one of the following categories:
-- A student with no experience in Software Testing or Quality Assurance,
-- A student in continuing education with experience in Software Testing or Quality Assurance, or
-- A seasoned practitioner of Software Testing or Quality Assurance.
-- You may have written books or papers.
-- You may be young.
-- You may be ripened.
-- You may have been or are a developer.
-- You may have been a support desk person.
-- You may have been anything else.

Regardless, you are entering hallowed ground. When and if you ever leave this community, you will have conversed with the best and the brightest in Software Testing or Quality Assurance, and – should you stay and study long enough, you will have been educated by the best and the brightest in this industry. The IT-related education you will receive here is a cut above that you will find in institutions of higher learning. You ask, “How so?” The mentors here at SQAF have centuries of practical experience and decades of training. Real-world practical experience is far greater than classroom. In many ways, one should consider this an extension of the classroom and give it the same respect as the classroom.

This community has centuries worth of practical and real-world experience. Seasoned members use it to not only help, but to hear other perspectives, new ideas, old ideas that have new life, and locate tips-n-tricks.

Seriously, you are asking questions of:
* Masters of their professions
* Executives
* Managers
* Test Engineering Leads
* Software Engineers
* Test Engineers and/or Test Professionals
* Test Automation Experts (aka software engineers)
* Configuration Management Professionals
* Quality Assurance Professionals
* Authors, and very importantly -
** the founder!

... and finally - connoisseurs of good beer! [img]/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
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How do you keep those experts interested in servicing your requests? Simple! Follow the below payment plan. When you become seasoned and fluent, your payments will include contributions to discussions here. Jump in there and help. Become an educator!

The seasoned and fluent started out just like you in terms of knowledge level. Depending upon the era in which they started, they may have had far fewer tools and access to industry knowledge. You have an advantage over them. Put that advantage to work for you!
How much do you need to pay for this volunteer-based service and higher education? The cost of this education is as follows:

Your Payment Plan consists of Respect, Resourcefulness, and Self-sufficiency:
<font color="blue">=*= Respect: </font> You demonstrate extreme respect for the volunteer educators here, by taking into account all that is in this entire post. And when you have some useful feedback or guidance, do take time to follow-up with gratitude or other words pertinent to closing the loop on your post. When you are comfortable, please do contribute. Therein is your reward - helping people!

<font color="blue">=*= Resourcefulness: </font>Demonstrate that you have command of your question/topic when you post as follows. Do not ask “What is the difference between A and B?” without posting the source and context of the question and your knowledge of the topic at that point in time. Here is a good example and does not necessarily need the depth in the <font color="brown">example</font> just below. Just do your best, do not be shy, and you will be rewarded! [img]/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

<font color="brown">EXAMPLE: Please help me understand the basic difference between black and white-box testing. I am taking a course where the question appears on a review exam. As I understand it, white-box testing is something one expects of a developer and has to do with being able to see the source code. I think black-box testing has to do with not being able to see the source code, but more with exercising the application as a user would??</font>

Note that resourcefulness is a key industry survival trait. Many of us here are often schedule-scrunched much as an orange in a vise-grip!

<font color="blue">=*= Self-sufficiency: </font>This forum is front-end to a deep and broad knowledge warehouse. In it you will find discussion about specific topics to great depth. You will also find a broad range of topics covering IT and the tools necessary to facilitate certain aspects of IT as related to software testing, et al.

Here are some things that you should not do when posting. These do not represent all that is covered in the materials you received when you subscribed to become a member. (Note! If you have not read those instructions – do so now in order to avoid an unpleasant experience.)

The Brief List of Do Nots:
-- Do not ever expect that your demand timeline for a response takes priority over the the timelines of possible volunteers respondents. In other words, do not expect an immediate response. While you are waiting for a response and nothing else to do; do some research!

-- Do not post anything like this, “Plz tell me / send me / email me diff btwn A and C”. Why? You will either be kindly instructed to do some research of your own, or you will be e-spanked and your post will likely be deleted, or – anything in between. Not all here would agree with that e-spanking approach. However, the statement about spanking is to let you know something you already know - this community consists of human volunteers, each volunteer having their own level of tolerance. You are the requestor and you need to respect that. That is not to say harsh responses will happen. The point is that you need to honor the no-money payment plan. The volunteers do not wish you to leave. They simply wish better preparation on your part. They are also tolerant that preparation gets better with practice.

-- Do not ask for examiners materials. You will not get it.

-- Do not simply add a post to a topic that says, “I agree with so and so.” That is utterly worthless and does not count as payment.

-- Do not use cellular phone “texting” formats or methods. If your English is a bit rough, that will be acceptable unless it is confusing. Any poster may continue to question you until your question is clear.

-- Do not plagiarize or otherwise steal material. Always cite your sources and give appropriate credit.

-- Do not ask for anything illegal or unethical. Any respondent to such a request is quite capable and entitled to give you a severe spanking!

-- Do not assist anyone exercising any of these “Do Nots”! Use the “Notify Moderator” function to report the post.

Finally, understand that this community can grow only with meaningful and respectful contributions. Therefore if you are just starting out in both IT and here, it is expected that you too will eventually contribute and become a respected member of this global community! Also know that humor is both welcome and expected here. You are welcome here to stretch, grow, have fun, and help others!
Give respect and gain respect! Consider this place your most prized possession and it will reward you with all that you ever need for your professional advancement and professional well-being!

Do wear the SQAF badge with pride! Someday, having SQAF affiliation on your CV or resume' will carry more weight than any certification. You can make that happen!

Thank you!

credit to:
Jean Ann
Mark W
Mary M
Rich W
for feedback on ideas for improvements, and Wholly for his spark in this post!