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As a software developer and self-proclaimed geek of many years I have seen many words repurposed and mangled to reflect our new technologies and actions.

Words like Tweet, which used to be the sound a bird made. Selfie, which never even used to be a word. Google which started out as a company name and their flagship product and now is used as a verb, ie; google it, I just googled my name.

So I was in a conversation in the office and used the acronym QA [Quality Assurance] as a verb. ie; I QA my code before sending it to the QA team. Unbeknownst to me, this is now considered a faux pas. Apparently to some Quality Assurance folks, this is so heinous that you must be called out for it publicly. Made to answer for your crime, etc. etc.

I submit that the acronym QA has now been repurposed as a word and that the word can be either a noun or a verb. What say ye, the diverse and wonderful community of Daily Kos?

Follow me below the orange doodle for a deeper dive into this subject.

The arguments against this that I have read is that you would never say "I am going to send this to IT and have it IT'd." or that it would sound silly if you blew out the acronym in your sentence, "I Quality Assurance my code before sending it to the Quality Assurance team".  I was told that I should use the word "Test" instead.

Those arguments, while true, are red herrings. I am not using QA as an acronym. I am a software developer, not an IT specialist. I develop software. I am a subset of IT which includes our QA department.

When I "QA" my code, I am not just testing it to make sure it works. I mean the damn thing compiled so it works in some way right? No, what I am doing is making sure that my code does what is expected in the way it is expected. Currently that also means to insure that the User Experience (UX) is what is expected and acceptable and that the User Interface (UI) is correct and follows our standards and guidelines.

A Quality Assurance Specialist does oh so much more in my opinion. If all they did was test, I could write some kind of AI (Artificial Intelligence) code that would step through a test. Oh wait, our QA department already does that. Companies have created whole suites of tools to do the stuff that can be defined and automated. ie; click this button and this value should appear given these parameters...every time.

To me, a Quality Assurance Specialist's main focus should be, assuring quality. Quality of layout and design. Quality of user experience. Quality of consistent coding and calculations. Quality of the product as a whole package, not just the one issue on the one page that you are testing.

I get the argument that they gave me that they want to have the company use the proper terms for things. I want that too. When I work on an issue (or bug as most people refer to them as but that is a different diary for a different time), I send it to QA when I am done. I want them to Assure the Quality of my work. I do not want them to just test it. I can build a script to test it. I want them to look at it with the critical eyes they have developed over years of working in applications. I want them to use their knowledge of the product and our clients to Assure the Quality of the design, process flow and accuracy.

I am reminded of my days back in the PC (Printed Circuit Board but changed to PC because 2 letter acronyms are best) assembly division of Hewlett-Packard. I was a final inspector of the finished PC Boards. (They were called PCA Printed Circuit Assembly but again, just PC for that 2 letter sweetness).Our mantra was, you don't inspect in quality, you build it in. Software applications are not like an assembled product where you have a schematic, an assembly drawing and a build of materials (BOM), where every xyz Motherboard will have the same parts assembled in the same way and the same order. As a final inspector, my job was to insure that the quality of the assembly met our standards. It then went on to the Testers. They tested the board functionality which again was the same thing every time. You only needed a human to do it because someone had to physically load the board onto the machine and load the correct test program into the machine.  If something failed a test, we had the ability to "tweak" things so that it would pass. It would then go on to become part of an assembled product that also got tested as a complete product.

The level of skill, and pay, was greater for a tester than it was for a final inspector. In this analogy, final inspection is like software testing. Is the button there and does it do something? The QA specialist is more like the finished product technicians. Does this working button do what it is supposed to do? When I use it as it will be used, do I get back the correct results every time, no matter what has changed?

So, QA... verb, noun, both? Discuss...

7:22 PM PT: Updated: changed repurpose to re-purposed. My spell checker likes it better now.

7:44 PM PT: Added the snark tag because truthfully, even though this has been being pondered by my thoughtful side of my brain, I will honor and respect their request for me not to use it as a verb again.

Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 2:56 PM PT: Wow I find it kind of telling that no one voted for the "No Opinion".  I am also amused by the replies that read way more into the situation than was actually there.

I value the people who assure the quality of our product. I would much rather have them find things than have it get released and the client find it.


Is it OK to use QA as a verb to mean "Assure the Quality of"?

22%17 votes
46%35 votes
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10%8 votes
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| 76 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  It's only a little worse than "repurposed." (3+ / 0-)

    So I see only tatters of clearness through a pervading obscurity - Annie Dillard -6.88, -5.33

    by illinifan17 on Fri Dec 13, 2013 at 07:15:39 PM PST

    •  lol Yes OK I admit I am not a Literary scholar (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis, RiveroftheWest

      re·pur·pose  (r-pûrps)
      tr.v. re·pur·posed, re·pur·pos·ing, re·pur·pos·es
      To use or convert for use in another format or product: repurposed the book as a compact disk.
      The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

      I have never been called out for repurpose though Google auto corrected it to re-purpose so I will correct mine.

      We could write an entire site on words and how they are used and abused. Oh wait I think there already are many of them.

    •  repurposed is way worse-- (0+ / 0-)

      usually people who don't know the original purpose spray that one into the room : )

  •  Frankly, the English language has become so (8+ / 0-)

    mangled and bastardized, I don't really see that it matters. You might as well say, "I could care less," and believe it is proper usage. Or "same difference," or any of a thousand other imbecilities that have corrupted our language.

  •  Language is a living process (9+ / 0-)

    of human culture, It is what the people using it find useful in communicating their meaning. If the person you are talking to understands your meaning then it works.

    Just ignore the knuckle rapping school marms. They have no other means of justifying their existence.

  •  Language is not fixed. (9+ / 0-)

    If it doesn't change, it dies.

    So I am all in favor of inventing new words and seeing if they "take." If the neologism is useful, then it will become standard.
    That is what makes English such a vibrant language.  Of course, you have to be careful using non-standard terms in very traditional forms of communication.  Some folks are uptight.  

    What I hate, however, are gross grammatical errors like beginning a sentence with "me" or "him" as the subject.  Or using "less" when "fewer" is needed.  That kind of thing drives me up the wall.

    It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

    by Radiowalla on Fri Dec 13, 2013 at 07:29:49 PM PST

  •  You Code, But You Expect Supervisers to Be (5+ / 0-)

    not sensitive to syntax?

    In everyday American English, especially advertising speak where time and space are far more valuable than linguistic tradition, the verbbing of nouns is an established practice.

    Having been a programmer I'd have made the same construction in your situation, and while I'd have probably been surprised at the pushback I like to think if I were alert at the time I'd laugh at the syntax obsession.

    Google incidentally started out as a number.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Dec 13, 2013 at 07:30:44 PM PST

  •  things get QA'd all the time by my QA colleagues (13+ / 0-)

    Things simply get QA'd.  It is a thing.  It has been a thing for as long as I have been in IT (1992) having things getting QA'd.  It isn't new.  People need real things to worry about.

    Mmmmm. Sprinkles. - H.J. Simpson.

    by ten canvassers on Fri Dec 13, 2013 at 07:41:41 PM PST

  •  20 years now (14+ / 0-)

    I've been doing software development (including a stint as a QA engineer) for about 20 years. I've used QA as a verb and will continue to do so.

    If a QA engineer doesn't like it, he can suck on my test plan.

    Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them - Thomas Jefferson 30 July, 1816

    by Roiling Snake Ball on Fri Dec 13, 2013 at 07:43:16 PM PST

  •  I never use QA as a verb (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brooke In Seattle, PSzymeczek

    I always heard it wasn't polite

    Happy just to be alive

    by exlrrp on Fri Dec 13, 2013 at 07:43:57 PM PST

  •  I always used "QC" in these instances. (10+ / 0-)

    Quality Control / Quality Check / Quality Confirm / etc.

    When I told someone I needed to "QC" something there was never any question as to what it (or I) meant.

    Darwin doesn't care if you thought it was unloaded.

    by here4tehbeer on Fri Dec 13, 2013 at 07:44:41 PM PST

  •  QA is a verb because you have it quality assured (8+ / 0-)

    Just to clarify.  That is why it is a verb.  You aren't having it Quality Assurance, you are having it quality assured (QA).  Please QA this code for me (please quality assure this code for me).

    That said, here is an argument from 2011 apparently some guy in QA has a hissy fit.  I suppose it is his right.  He is in the perfection business after all.  He picks nits for a living.

    I respectfully disagree with him because his premise is wrong:

    QA is not a verb.  QA stands for Quality Assurance.

    So when you say "can you please QA this build", you are asking "can you please Quality Assurance this build?"  That's probably not what you meant.

    Perhaps you mean:
    Can you please check this build?
    Can you please test this build? copyrightjoestrazzere
    Can you please use your vast Quality Assurance skills to help ensure this build is of sufficient quality for our important stakeholders?

    You wouldn't say:
    Can you please IT this computer?
    Can you please Development this code?
    Can you please Engineering this system?
    Can you please Product Management this requirement?

    So please, don't use QA as a verb?

    But he is mistaken because I am not saying please quality assurance this build.  I am saying, please quality assure this build.  Can you please assure this.  Can you please certify this.  Those are real sentences.  WTH?

    Mmmmm. Sprinkles. - H.J. Simpson.

    by ten canvassers on Fri Dec 13, 2013 at 07:48:34 PM PST

    •  yep, that's roughly my usage (6+ / 0-)

      "testing" just means you've done some (unknown) tests on the product.

      QA'd means the pre-defined official test process has been completed.

      Two different things.

      •  Exactly. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bakeneko, elfling

        The code has been vetted by a QA engineer or vetted by someone following a trusted methodology.  

        I will say that QA people are grumpy because they generally are treated like dogmeat in the industry and they do critical stuff that most of us don't have the concentration to do well.  They are exceptionally talented folks w/ a history of being left out of the cool kids group.  On top of that, they have the responsibility for telling people that the work they believe is done is not done.  A guy I knew in QA said he basically had to tell people their baby was ugly all day long.  I try to let my QA folks know they are important and they are generally really knowledgable.  If you take one out for dinner/drinks during a project and ask them for a little mentoring ("what are the top 10 things systems analysts do wrong?"), it is totally worth paying for their meal.

        Mmmmm. Sprinkles. - H.J. Simpson.

        by ten canvassers on Fri Dec 13, 2013 at 08:14:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  When I worked at the EPA as system administrator (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PJEvans, Eyesbright, blueoasis, kurt

    of the scanning program (Atlanta region), we would say "perform the QA/QC"  or "QA/QC the images".  

  •  "Verbification" (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eyesbright, NE2, elfling, kurt, Kevskos, J Orygun

    Verbification, far from being some sign of the imminent collapse of civilization, is a time-honored tradition of the English language. Go for it.  It might even catch on.

  •  I just spent a week inside a freezing-ass boat (9+ / 0-)

    ...QA-ing a whole bunch of welds.  As a professional from the Land of Kwa, I think "QA" makes a fine verb.  I know I feel all action-like when I'm verifying product.

    But the purist in me insists that actually "QA-ing" something isn't QA, it's QC.  QA would be creating processes that prevent the need for QC.

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Gandhi

    by DaveinBremerton on Fri Dec 13, 2013 at 07:58:40 PM PST

  •  It's a matter of appropriation (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "A Quality Assurance Specialist does oh so much more in my opinion."

    Exactly.  So unless you are going to walk that code through the entire structure of process and procedures that they do, you are only testing it.  And probably only certain specific tests, at that.

  •  Eh. I'd say test (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brooke In Seattle, PSzymeczek

    because I think 'quality assurance' is a buzzword.  If I coded it, it doesn't get sent out til it seems to be doing what I want it to.

  •  I could care less... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    … if I tried.

    See?  "I could care less" isn't wrong, it's just an abbreviation.  The person cares so little that they don't even bother to finish the sentence.

    This .signature unintentionally left blank.

    by Avast Ye Swobbie on Fri Dec 13, 2013 at 08:11:00 PM PST

  •  Prolly gonna show my age here. I have been on all (3+ / 0-)

    sides of this as a developer and a tester and a liasion between development/customer support.

    As a developer - I tested my fix. As a good developer - I tested things around my fix.

    As a tester - I tested the fix and the baseline functionality around it. And if it directly passed data to another system - tested to make sure it was accurate.

    As a liasion (which I would call QA)  between development/customer support - I tested the fix, the baseline functionality around the fix and then the business function end to end that involved the fix. And if that fixed involved data that was passed to other functionality - you test those too.

    My 2 cents.

    if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

    by mrsgoo on Fri Dec 13, 2013 at 08:15:12 PM PST

    •  QU is (sometimes) far more formalized. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      And when it is, it is far more than "testing the fix and the baseline functionality around it".

      From my time as a QAA some time back, what you were doing was unit testing.  And a smattering of integration testing.  But without structure, which leads to less reliability, etc.

      Don't get me wrong, nowadays some of what I do goes right into production.  Most gets handed off to go through rigorous testing.  But I would hesitate to call the latter, 'QA'.  As it doesn't follow any sort of formal structure, Quality is certainly not Assured.

  •  Language changes alla time. No Duh. (4+ / 0-)

    Some people would prefer that it didn't, but it makes no difference.

    In France there is an official body which defines what is and isn't French. Makes no difference. Talk to folks in France about "le weekend" and suchlike.

    What does swipe mean? Either steal, or run your credit card through the little slot.

    Language changes, and oral language leads, and written language follows. Always has, always will. Trying to prevent languages from evolving is like trying to hold back the ocean. You may be able to for a little while but in the end the ocean always wins.

  •  Don't verb your nouns. (0+ / 0-)

    Just don't.

    "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

    by Brooke In Seattle on Fri Dec 13, 2013 at 08:45:44 PM PST

    •  Agreed, and I work in a Jargon filled profession. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurt, Kevskos, ten canvassers, PSzymeczek

      Which is, again, for another diary and another time.

      But just a taste:

      The Cloud

      a cloud is a puff to me. A cloud of smoke...puff. Cloud in the sky...named puff, like cumulus, nimbus, etc. A cloudy mind is a puffy mind.

      Enter the buzzword "Cloud" meaning putting your data on a remote server. It may seem puffy and magical but all you are really doing is putting digital bits on a different piece of hardware than your current one. Storing it in such a way that it is accessible from anywhere.

      We used to have clouds back in the day...we called them mainframes. You had a little dumb terminal and the mainframe stored all your data. Since the mainframe was on the network, it could be accessed from any other dumb terminal on the network.

      Now the marketing types say, what about The Cloud... lets start storing data on The Cloud. grrr.

  •  I use the term as a verb quite often. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kurt, Curt Matlock

    For example, nothing gets my dander up more than when I try to open something marked "Easy Open!" and of course I have to pry it, knife it, mangle it, or some other variation thereof which defies the label. At which point I heartily swear and say "I wish manufacturers would actually QA their damn products before labeling them as crap!".

    It is every person's obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what they takes out of it. - Albert Einstein (edited for modern times to include everyone by me!)

    by LeftieIndie on Fri Dec 13, 2013 at 11:01:16 PM PST

  •  I'm with you. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kurt, Kevskos

    I use QA as a verb all the time.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Fri Dec 13, 2013 at 11:15:46 PM PST

  •  Pleae QA my code (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ten canvassers

    Most of the BA's and QA specialists I've worked with have no problem with QA'ing my code. I've not once run across a complaint about using it as a verb either. It's a good thing I suppose that the QA Manager is very sensitive to details that few else care about but that should only apply to the code under test not the spoken language of the coders.

  •  We used it about airplanes all the time (0+ / 0-)

    When I was a QAR in the navy, most of us used "QAed" as a means to denoted that we had gone out and looked at some work and signed off on it.

    "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for a real Republican every time." Harry Truman

    by MargaretPOA on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 05:04:13 AM PST

  •  I don't have an opinion on this (0+ / 0-)

    I most opened the diary because I was curious to see what QA was.  I was hoping it was a word taken from a South American indigenous language or something.  I have to confess to being mildly disappointed.

    I'm not a language purist by any means but I dislike acronyms (although I recognize why people who type a lot use them) because they are only effective at communicating with people who are in the know.  If that was the case here then I don't see anything particularly wrong with that.

    "To see both sides of a quarrel, is to judge without hate or alarm" - Richard Thompson

    by matching mole on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 05:07:37 AM PST

  •  General vs technical language (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Whether your invented usage and acronym passes muster in your technical community is something only that community can decide. Doctors use "MI," but anyone writing for non-medical readers needs to say "heart attack." Military-speak is full of acronyms, but the only one that has migrated into general usage seems to be "snafu."

    As a writing professor, I will say that this repurposing of nouns into pseudo-verbs is troubling and I would downgrade a student paper on it. "Tweet" has become acceptable, although I prefer to see it capitalized as a trademarked word. (Birds tweet too, so it's not a new verb, just a new usage.) But "selfie," bad enough as a noun, used as a verb? No. "QA"? NG for anything. Write out the words, and no, it's not a verb, ever. It's a noun stack.

  •  I would (0+ / 0-)

    not use it in formal communication, such as in a letter to clients, advertising for customers or in a report to a superior more than two or three steps above you. If it is not in the dictionary it should not be used in formal communication.

     The people you wrote to do not seem to be in that situation, understood what you wrote and than pitched a bitch because they don't like change.  Language, both written and spoken, is for communication and you succeeded.

    "In short, I was a racketeer for Capitalism" Marine Corp Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler

    by Kevskos on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 07:03:46 AM PST

  •  Well, think of it this way... (0+ / 0-)

    When you reduce their work to a verb, the implication is that QA is a commodity - something generic that anyone can do. There's also an undercurrent of "I can do QA, so the QA team is superfluous."

    It's the same sort of reaction you might have when folks talk about "developers" in that generic, nothing-but-a-code-monkey sense of the word..."oh, yeah, there's a new developer looking at it"..."they threw another 2 developers at that project"...

    I've spent the last 30 years in IS/IT/tech, from data entry and punching cards to systems administration and network design/engineering, and I'm currently a senior software engineer for a rather large multinational firm. I've seen persons in all of those roles take offense at being "commoditized" in this fashion.

    The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

    by wesmorgan1 on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 08:23:56 AM PST

  •  What's next - a DKos coding standard? (0+ / 0-)

    I think the pie fights we have now would pale in comparison to THAT effort...

    The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

    by wesmorgan1 on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 08:30:08 AM PST

  •  it will become common in use, don't worry (0+ / 0-)

    really. I've heard it and used it, and I'm sorry the QAistas came down on you

    I swear some people make a fuss just to be the center of attn

  •  OK in theory; not so good in practice (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Unlike Rugbymom, I'm a software engineer, so I feel qualified to comment as a member of your technical community. Full disclosure: I'm old enough to be a certified curmudgeon.

    It depends on context. If this was an informal conversation, than normal social rules apply. I would certainly wince if you used it speaking to me, but I would consider it your problem if I didn't really know what you meant. .... But I would be annoyed enough that I probably would not try to figure out what you meant.

    If this was a technical communication, however, it is very wrong. Because we are in the business of creating new things -- including new quality assurance practices -- we have to be very precise in our writing and speaking. Your audience cannot safely guess what you meant; there are just too many possibilities.

    In this case, you were saying that you do something related to checking the quality of your code before giving it to the Quality Assurance group. Were you getting someone to review (read through) the code? Were you doing more than the usual (rudimentary?) testing? Were you doing everything that the QA group will be doing? This last meaning is the one that I would have guessed. If it were true and I were your manager, I would chew you out for wasting the company's money. We do NOT want duplicate work being done!!

    In general we are forced to create new words (or recycle old ones) to talk about new concepts. That is confusing enough. We don't need to invent new words for concepts for which we already have perfectly good words.

  •  I voted (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ten canvassers

    For omg, wtf, lol, before I saw the Apple crumble. Now I realize I made a mistake. That's what I get for failing to QA my vote.  

    I'm still mad about Nixon.

    by J Orygun on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 10:36:26 AM PST

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