(A tongue-in-cheek look at the submission, review and selection
process, whilst examining the lasting testing legacy of Brett
Even as the EuroSTAR Program Committee assemble in Galway to
discuss the program for Amsterdam in November 2012, I have already
had the purple and green rejection slips. When I turned on my PC
less than 4 working days after the submission deadline I heard the
dull thud as the replies landed on my electronic doormat, consigned
to the waste-bin with the words "plagiarism - undoubtedly,
obviously and recognisably the work of Brett Ignatius
You may remember Brett had the first submission for
EuroSTAR 2011, inexplicably excluded from the program schedule.
After his untimely death, I was appointed his literary executor,
and it took WEEKS merely to catalogue his unpublished material. All
meticulously labelled, there were hundreds of EuroSTAR submissions
stretching into the future. Each year had the perspective venue,
program chair and theme recorded - when these details were shared
with the Qualtech team via Skype, conversation at the Ireland end
went very quite. They were especially disappointed that details for
2016 were so accurate. The program chair for 2017, a lady in her
40s from xxxxxxx (number of x's not relevant) is probably correct,
but taking the conference outside Europe in 2021 and the theme for
2019 ("There are more than 50 ways to leave your testing") were
categorically denied. It is significant that there was but a stony
silence for the other items.
With so rich a store of material, I felt it my duty to share
these with the testing community, submitting thirteen of the thirty
five labelled '2012'. Odd details were changed - obviously the
biography details - but the main ideas, themes and teaching points
were pure 'Brett'. Alas, I had ignored the possibility of
anti-plagiarism software, which must be very sophisticated. In two
instances, I had combined several of Brett's ideas into one
application, yet these were still detected. However, I STILL think
several of the pieces were worthy of the conference on the titles
alone: 'Renovation Techniques', 'Clouds evolve through innovation'
and my own particular favourite: 'Agile innovators renovate
clouds'. What insight, what purpose, what originality!
Surely many would be attracted to the conference purely by the
draw of Brett's reputation, ideas and learning from his
international experience. Perhaps my mistake was to try and pass
these off as my own. I should have submitted them in his name! That
would have sealed it. Then speakers and delegates alike would have
been able to shout with one voice: "Gone but not forgotten - Brett,
a true 'great' in the testing world". Still, there is always next
year: "Lessons learnt from Brett Gonzales". That has a ring of
quality about it.
As is usual with articles by or about Brett Gonzales, there is a
battle between truth and fiction, with truth the usual victim. The
selection process is underway and has been since the submission
deadline date. All papers are examined by a dedicated team from
across the testing community, and submissions are viewed blind -
reviewers are not aware of the originator. Each application is
marked for content, practicality, originality and alignment to the
conference theme. Even had Brett still been alive, his submissions
would have undergone the same scrutiny.
Tempting though it sounds, there is no all-embracing plagiarism
software. Reviewers and the Program Committee are looking for well
presented ideas, not just a snappy sound-bite of a title. If the
paper has been presented at another conference, this may be taken
into consideration, but will not be a deciding factor in anything
like every case.
Lastly, the venue and Program Chair of future EuroSTAR events
are a closely guarded secret, and the subject of much speculation
in the days leading up to the conference. Whilst there may be some
vague ideas about these details for EuroSTAR 2013, planning is not
so advanced that the 'details' for 2016 could be stolen.