Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Has the UK SIGiST lost its way?

The SIGiST used to be the go-to testing gathering in the South East, if not across the country. 

The meetings had genuine energy, the speakers were world-class (and from all over the world), and SIGiST-connected movements led towards successful (in numbers if not acceptance) standards and exams. The group was one of the largest and most active Special Interest groups in the BCS.

Over the last few years, it has come more firmly under the wing of the BCS. It has lost its website, and with the website has gone any degree of facilitated online interaction between attendees. Participants have been disenfranchised; firstly in losing their vote (you now have to be a BCS member to vote), and secondly by the extended term limits of the officers.

In the few years since these changes, London tester gatherings like the TMF and the Tester Meetup have risen in frequency and attendance, SkillsMatter days have taken off with a range of testing themes, and XTC and ACCU regulars extend a warm and knowing welcome to testers. There is constant twitter chatter. Here on the STC, the online community is fertile ground for newspapers, books, groups and ideas. 

It's two days to the SIGiST. The program for the event was announced on 24 August for the 16 September - less than four weeks before. The last post on the SIGiST's facebook wall was May. There's no LinkedIn event. Whack SIGiST into twitter, and all you get are references to the Brisbane SIGiST (let's ignore @mpkhosla reminding @MarkCTest that it exists, and my own plaintive self-promotional tweet). Until I set it up twenty minutes ago, there was no listing for the SIGiST as an event on the STC. There are still spaces available. 

At this late stage, one would not expect to get time off work, or funding. However, there is a single overriding reason to go, if you care about this once-fine forum: the meeting on Thursday is the AGM. 

If you're a BCS member (I'm not), and can spare the time, and want to say something, then please get yourself to the RCoG on Thursday morning and wake the place up. I've got the slot straight after the AGM - I'm more than happy to adjust my talk if you have something (anything) crucial to say. Note: You don't have to pay the entrance fee to attend the AGM. 

If you're on the SIGiST committee, and are blowing sparks because I've written this here and on STC, then I can't tell you how relieved I am that you're reading.

Cheers -