Sandpanther (sandpanther) wrote,

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Freaky Conversations With Fluffy

I had another charming conversation with Fluffy today.

The way our new process goes, when users are testing the modifications I've made, if they find a bug (or any issue, really), they report it to Fluffy. He performs triage, and then passes along the issues to me. Specifically, what my manager told me he was to do was document the bug, add it to a bug tracking log for the project, and then forward the documentation and the tracking number to me. Pretty standard practice, right?

There was a bug reported last week. I finally got the documentation on it today. It was clearly written by the tester. Now, the tester is a really bright, contientious guy. But English isn't his first language, and sometimes that shows. In this document, it showed. Reading over it, I noticed two different bugs being reported -- one of them I knew about (since it had been mentioned in passing to me a few days ago), and one of them I did not. The one I did not sounded like a potentially complicated and unpleasant bug, and I vaguely remember encountering something like it when I was doing my testing -- but I had never gotten it to repeat. The steps taken to get the bug were, um, well, really just not there. So I fire a message off to Fluffy asking for a step-by-step description of how to replicate the problem. I think of this as being perfectly normal and reasonable. I mean, that's pretty standard practice in a testing environment, right? Sure, a lot of the time we let the documenting slide. But that's only when I'm dealing directly with the person reporting the problem, and can ask them to show me what they did step-by-step. Since I can't, I see nothing wrong with getting the steps documented. Heck, it's probably even a good thing to retain for our records. No bad here.

Well, I guess there is some bad. I'm not quite sure what the bad is. But whatever it is, it sure got Fluffy fired up. He said his e-mail contained a step-by-step description. (It does not. It gives a very high-level description and says "tell me when it's done.") He got all upset when I said that it looked like the document produced by the tester contained two issues, not one. He insisted (very forcefully) that there was only one problem, and if it was fixed just tell him and he'd test it out. I asked again for a step-by-step description, and pointed out that we need this kind of documentation so that we can prove that the bug was fixed. If you don't have recorded the steps you took to get it, how do you know you took the same steps when trying to prove that it's fixed? Fluffy said the tester probably didn't remember. I pointed out that no, really, they need to remember the steps to prove that it was fixed.

About this point the conversation got strange. Fluffy got really agitated, and I felt like... I don't know. Like I was in danger talking to him. I can't put my finger on what it was, but it was not the same as when he insults my intellegence or ignores my input or whatever, and it didn't feel like he was about to jump me. It just felt... bad. Kind of like bad touch, only no touch.

I tried asking him what his objections were, in an attempt to defuse the situation and come to some sort of a compromise, but he just stomped off. I fired off a "did you hear that? WTF?" message to one of my coworkers, then left the building. Leaving helped a little, but I'm still shaking and spooked even now, almost an hour later. I don't know what his problem was, but it was scary.

This is the second time I've felt physically in danger when talking to one of my coworkers here. The first time was with the Village Idiot. I think what he was doing was trying to be so forceful that he would bully me into submission. (Yeah, and everyone knows how well that tactic works on me, right?) I think Fluffy was kind of trying the same thing.

At any rate, I undid the fix that I had put in earlier, so this isn't going to just get swept under the carpet. I had a meeting scheduled with my boss to discuss some issues I have with Fluffy (like his complete and utter lack of job performance, and how he's pushing his work off onto me), so I'll just throw this incident in with it. But I am really not looking forward to coming in to work tomorrow. Hopefully by then Fluffy will have had time to calm down and get a grip.

Edit: After thinking about it for a bit, I think what freaked me out so much was just how suddenly Fluffy freaked out, and how completely unassociated with anything that happened it was. It was like out of the blue he suddenly got upset. It reminds me a little of the way the crazy homeless people act when you see them on the street. One moment they seem to be minding their own business, and the next they are suddenly having some loud, angry outburst. It felt a lot like being around that. Especially since it seemed that he was very much at the edge of his control. I think that's why Fluffy's behavior disturbed me so much.

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