Ilari, Indexicality & I

Ilari Aegerter wrote a great post on Indexicality a while back which really piqued my interest & the impact on how I communicate as a Tester. Unfortunately, due to my slightly obsessive nature, this experiment leaked into my personal life as well…

no-pointing-finger

After reading the post & burrowing (slightly) deeper into indexicality, I realised indexicality could be responsible for a lot of the ambiguity & confusion I experience in the workplace when I’m explaining my testing & test results to others.

The post made me think of Jerry Weinbergs thoughts about what the saying “It Works” actually means (better reference pending…)

So I tried out a little experiment – Basically, I’ve tried to stop using any indexicals (& derivatives there of such as demonstatives & deixis).

So far the results have “proved” positive in that people I’m conversing with seem to understand me “better” & those instances where I accidentally used an indexical in conversion required further explanation. I haven’t actually got any qualitative stats for this indexical experiment.

Here are examples of some of the words I have tried to stop using:

This
That
Those
It
There
Here
Later
Soon
Earlier
Then
We
Them
Us
They
Him
Her
His
Hers

Similarly, when other people, such as fellow testers, use indexical words in conversation with me, I ask them to qualify their statements. For example “It worked earlier” when reporting a bug. What worked? When did it work? How did it work? How is not working now?

The experiment is not all plain sailing though. It’s a fine line between removing unnecessary indexcals & keeping communication brief – check the sentence above as an example! I’m still working on this balance & I guess I will be for some time yet.

Have you thought of the potential problems & indexicality? Have you tried the experiment yourself? Let me know your thoughts!

Thank you Ilari – I appreciate you giving me the tools to start this indexical journey!

Duncs

P.S. I know the title should be “Ilari, Indexicality & Me”, but that doesn’t have the same tenuous alliteration does it?!