If I know that testing can’t be automated and you know that testing can’t be automated, and we both know why it’s important when we make decisions about automation then I genuinely don’t really mind. If you mention automation and it’s got nothing to do with checking then I’m not bothered. I do think there’s a responsibility to use somewhat accurate and careful language, when the audience isn’t fully known, in order to properly represent the idea in the mind of those that don’t study these things in depth, and a responsibility not to be too much of a dick about it when it doesn’t actually matter.
It’s possible to pick anything anyone says apart by treating the heuristic, metaphorical nature of language as a set of rules and finding counterexamples. I think that people who do that are excited to share what they know, especially if they’ve just learned it and want to solidify it in their mind, and share it in a way that’s both correct and annoying. I know for a fact that I’ve done that before, more than once. That doesn’t solve the problem but it might be good to test the waters of the other perspective.
As for being afraid of being part of a discussion I see that as a mixing of three team of people that I’ll stereotype as the Communitarian, the Scientist and the Evil Politician.
The Communitarian wants to engage, learn, teach, share, all in a safe environment without fear of feeling stupid or bullied or making anyone else feel that way. They have a lot of important information to share, especially about the vital social science side of testing. Sometimes they’re permissive of bad or wrong ideas to encourage other ideas or further engagement. They sometimes see human happiness as more important than a good solution to a problem. Sometimes they want to express themselves without it being an analytical discussions - without being told they are wrong, like wanting to show a friend their favourite band without being told that not only are the band rubbish but they’re wrong to like them. They sometimes see the Scientist as a Politician, using pedantry and/or complicated language to create a secret club to exclude them or bully them into silence or just make themselves look smarter.
The Scientist likes evidence and hard logic to be more central in discussions, they know the anti-fragile nature of science and problem solving and are generally okay with vigorous discussion (argument) because they put the solution of the problem above personal feelings. They like accuracy in wording both for clearer communication and thinking and to examine the complex meaning and thinking behind the words. Sometimes they value being correct, or getting to the correct solution, above being empathetic or permissive when both can’t be achieved at once. Sometimes they use complex terms without thinking about whether the other person understands them, assuming they’ll be prompted for clarification. They like to argue over ideas to build an understanding of them. They sometimes see the Communitarian as a Politician, using a “let’s be nice” facade to hide bad thinking and ideas, or trying to gain a reputation for saying something “good-sounding” without being willing to defend it (or attacking the questioners for questioning it)
The Evil Politician likes to look good, feel good about being right and feel that others look on them as smart and knowledgeable. Sometimes they use words to confuse in order to achieve these ends or to control a topic of conversation. Sometimes they use emotional arguments instead of defending or discussing an idea. They exist to build a reputation and have no real interest in the feelings of others or the quality of ideas provided they have an audience who think they’re totally awesome. They sometimes believe they should be able to say whatever they want, in a public space designed for discussion, without criticism and will respond with feigned anger or crocodile tears to manipulate public perception.
Both the Scientist and the Communitarian care about testing and about other people. The Evil Politician cares little for either.
I think it would be childish to think that one person fits into any of these categories. I think it’s healthy, and useful, to acknowledge that there’s some amount (of some parts) of these three people in all of us and they come out at different times. I also think it’s important to acknowledge the same of others.
Sometimes it’d be nice to know whether a conversation is more of a “anything goes in this safe space of love” Communitarian one or a “let’s quest for the truth through Socratic questioning and let’s use all capital letters” Scientist one to establish a level of consent for these things - our anger often comes from a sense that our boundaries have been violated. I have in the past often assumed the Scientist space in Communitarian zones and it didn’t go well for anyone. Either way I think we should try to control the Evil Politicians in all of us, and maybe try to see past the Evil Politicians in others, if we genuinely care about both the craft of testing and each other. Personally I just hope that I find that sort of patience.