All RPGs and Storygames by Tod Foley are now available at DrivethruRPG and RPGnow. Bring these games to your table!
This module provides a CKEditor integration of the Giella CKEditor Plugin developed by the UiT The Arctic University of Norway. It offers a SCAYT spellchecker for the Sámi languages.
Let’s talk about secret ingredients in menus. Like the right spices, they create special flavours that your guests really enjoy. When it comes to your Drupal website menus, the recipe is simple: just add some jQuery! Using the Superfish Drupal module, which integrates the jQuery Superfish menu plugin, you can create interactive multi-level menus with exceptional usability features. Let’s see how it works on Drupal 8’s example.Read more
Webform Sanitize module for sanitizing Webform submissions to remove potentially sensitive data. Also provides a drush command.
Do you use the excellent module Webform??
Do you move databases from production to test and need to sanitize sensitive data from webform submissions?
If yes, this module is for you!
Last month a few of us in the team attended DrupalCon Vienna with fellow Drupal enthusiasts and developers from across Europe and further afield.
Over the three days, my teammates and I hosted several Birds of a Feather (BoF) sessions between us. The format is more participatory than a traditional talk, so it’s a great opportunity to engage in discussion and hear other perspectives from within the community.
Deeson has been delivering digital projects since 2001, refining our agile delivery process over the years from the DSDM Agile Project Framework in combination with other agile practices particularly suitable for an agency environment.
My first BoF session invited other conference attendees to share their experiences (the highs and lows), tips and best practices for making Agile work in an agency. The following is a roundup of what we discussed over the hour.Starting slow.
We identified that the typical journey sees agencies start off being ‘agile’ with a small a. They have begun to implement some of the process tools around agile, such as SCRUM, standups, sprints and so on, but aren’t yet living by the core elements of the Agile Manifesto.Individuals and interactions over processes and tools. Working software over comprehensive documentation. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation. Responding to change over following a plan.
Agile ManifestoIncluding the client.
We talked about whether the client should be an integral part of the delivery team or should be kept at arm’s length. Those who believed they had an Agile workflow suggested that the client should be part of the team and involved throughout. The benefit being that – as part of the team delivering the product – they share the risk with delivery.
Those who felt they still had some way to go in becoming Agile were more wary of this approach, believing the client either couldn’t take on these roles or wouldn’t want to. These agencies were more likely to retain full control of the project and client, and accept all the risk as a result.Handling changing requirements.
There was a discussion about the time taken up with dealing with change, and how clients don’t always appreciate the efforts involved in managing their changing requirements. I described how we deal with this at Deeson with our Dual board in Jira.
This process separates new ideas neatly from refined and signed off units of work ready for development. The client can see their backlog of new ideas and what state each is in, and knows that effort will be involved in taking those ideas from concept to ready for development.
We also considered the need for developers to be able to highlight to a client when an idea is completely new, and to prevent them from trying to squeeze additional functionality into a sprint which already had been signed off.
It’s good to have a SCRUM master or some level of leadership position in the team so developers don’t have to make these decisions themselves and can defer to someone else if they are unsure.Questioning sprints.
Someone raised the idea that sprints were a waste of time in a truly agile project. They suggested that nirvana could be achieved with Kanban alone; there is only work in progress and with an engaged client and team you would be constantly refining the backlog so new work could constantly be pulled in and worked on. This works well in a model where the client has you on retainer as their technical team for a long period of time (rather than to deliver a specific thing, like a website).
So there’s always a finite amount of WIP (work in progress). If stories are always refined to the point that they are about half a day's effort for one person, and are complete (finishing them can be tested and, in theory, released) then you can calculate the velocity and the time remaining on sections of work fairly accurately.
We invest heavily in agile training for our staff and clients, and we’re currently hiring for multiple roles including a Delivery Manager.
The beginning of this week saw the hashtag #metoo trend to increase awareness about how many women have been harassed in their lives. On my Facebook feed alone, I’d estimate that around 85% of the women I know posted something. The actual number of women who have been harassed is higher than that, based on the stories I know about and was told about in private chats, but not everyone felt comfortable talking about their experiences on Facebook or Twitter and a person’s experiences are theirs alone to share. Talking about that sort of thing can be hard, and it’s uncomfortable all around. Talking about a constant problem that you could be the potential victim of feels like inviting that problem into your life. Having any part of your identity attacked (even if it isn’t a personal attack) can trigger feelings of self-defense and a desire to stand up and say not me. These are just SOME of the things that make talking about issues of harassment, gender, race, equality, or anything else that really matters hard to do.
Likely prompted by the #metoo posts, Jessica Price tweeted about interactions she had with Frank Mentzer.
If you’re unfamiliar with the expression, a missing stair is a problem everyone knows about, but works around and never fixes. I just learned that phrase in our staff gnome discussion chat. The tweet chain unfolded a story about Frank Mentzer contacting Jessica Price with a flirtatious message, and how Mentzer communicated his opinions on another post of Price’s about a woman getting groped on a Seattle bus.
A few others have talked about issues, and reactions have been strong. Mentzer’s Empyrea Kickstarter (which we posted an article and Q&A about earlier in the month) was cancelled last night, possibly due to low funding and probably because of backlash from this incident. With the backstory of the events prompting this article down, let’s talk about these issues.This is an issue for our hobby, and for every male dominated industry — which is all of them, but we need to talk about the one we’re a part of
Talking about a constant problem that you could be the potential victim of feels like inviting that problem into your life. Nerddom isn’t super kind to women, and it never has been. We can’t take umbrage at that, it’s a truth. Football isn’t kind to women either, neither is the business world, Hollywood, or any other industry that exists. For a woman in most industries or hobbies, there are many more struggles to gain acceptance and equal standing than there are for men in the same arena. This is partially due to how these systems have evolved (and been guided) over the years to keep people in power, and it is partially because we participate in those systems since dismantling and rebuilding them would be harder than trying to fix them, although what we often do is ignore the issues.
Nerddom has its own particular issues, and tabletop gaming has its own unique issues on top of that. Try finding as many non-sexualized female characters to cosplay as there are non-sexualized male characters to cosplay as. Look at the amount of art still being created that shows the female version of any monster as a sexy version of the monster. Read through the developer list on any book and see how many more males there are than women, look at how many of those are on the highest positions or are likely getting paid royalties in perpetuity. Mention an issue like that and wait for someone to say “But that’s because women aren’t as interested in games” in response, or to have an instant push-back on any exposure of an issue that exists in the industry. Look at the stories of women being harassed openly at gaming conventions or gaming stores, or just listen when someone makes a joke about women around a gaming table and how you would feel if you heard that joke from a group of women talking about men.
If you want to focus in on issues that are less speculative, here are 3 of many that I’ve heard about from friends in the past week. This morning while riding the bus I saw a female friend of mine who is studying for her PhD. She’s nerdy and was involved with a local comics convention, where she was offered a gig to be a “brand ambassador” for a small comics company. She learned, before showing up to an event to help promote the brand, that she was going to have to wear a ninja costume that left most of her midriff and arms bare, not the social media work she had been told about when offered the position. One of my friends told me that while sitting in a group of friends at Gen Con, that everyone assured them that a certain friend was all right and everyone vetted him, despite every woman in the conversation circle expressing discomfort about that certain friend’s behaviors. I was messaged by a friend and told that they won’t attend a certain small convention if some people (guests of honor) that we both know are present at them. They’ve brought up their issues with the convention runners, but gotten the same “he’s harmless” kind of responses.
I’d love it if I only had a few stories like that, but I haven’t even pulled a cup of water out of the well of stories I’ve seen personally or heard about harassment and how much it has been ignored. Our gaming hobby has a ton of positive things going for it, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have bad areas as well. Sadly, we don’t need to feed those bad areas to make them grow, we just have to ignore them. I don’t believe anybody set out to be a misogynist asshole when they drew the first piece of gaming art that could be considered “chainmail bikini” art. That sort of art was inspired by the art of Sword and Sorcery movies of the 70s, which pulled inspiration from the shocker movies of the 50s and Star Trek’s sexy green women, which pulled inspiration from 30s and 40s pulp noir covers, which pulled inspiration from . . . on down the line. It doesn’t matter their intention wasn’t to cause any distress, it was a product of the conditions that existed at the time and the people creating the products not going against a status quo.We didn’t start the fire, but sometimes we’re caught holding the gas can
These issues didn’t start in our hobby, and they don’t exist in a vacuum, but in our sphere of gaming and other associated nerddoms we have unique problems with them. Many of us, nerds and geeks of every gender and myself included, come to be nerds because of social awkwardness. We are drawn to the nerdy things at the fringes because we don’t quite fit the normal boundaries that occur around us. We find a kind of camaraderie in being awkward together and expanding our social circles despite not being great at traditional socialization. We tell stories that create avatars that are bigger than life and are analogues for the people we want to be and how we want life to be, and most of these stories (and the associated imagery) over the years are aimed at heterosexual white males and place women in greatly objectified roles.
You don’t even need to go to the blatant chainmail bikini art to see examples of the issues we have. Sometimes the messages are subtle – just look at the iconic first Star Wars posters below. While one might argue that Luke and Leia are both baring similar amounts of skin, you would have to ignore that Leia’s costume is nothing like her actual costume in the movie. Leia has a pose worthy of the Hawkeye Initiative and an exaggerated chest size that is nothing like Carrie Fisher’s. Luke’s pose says look how awesome I am as I’m about to strike down evil, while Leia’s says observe my physical, sexual assets as I bare my neck and legs, also I don’t need shoes. While the Star Wars movies are great, we can’t ignore the sorts of issues they have, and we don’t even have to go to the actual metal bikini of Return of the Jedi. We can’t ignore that this is the sort of message our associated nerd industries have had for a long while. We are very subtly saying that it is okay to objectify women, and that is a subtle message that says it is okay to harass them, or to not believe them when they speak up about it.
We may not personally draw chainmail bikini art, we may not run the game that makes people feel uninvited, and we may not have personally harassed anyone (but the chances that we unintentionally did aren’t zero), but no matter what we personally haven’t done we are still responsible for what survives in gaming into the future. When we talk about the gaming industry, what are we talking about? We’re talking about it all, every interconnected bit and what we’ll allow as members of this hobby. If we are participating in the tabletop gaming hobby and we aren’t speaking up about the issues we see with harassment, the issues that we see that disadvantage certain groups of people, the unintentional or unexamined decisions that act as gatekeepers, or the actions of others that make people feel unsafe around us, then we are responsible if those things don’t change as we move forward. And if you think that these issues will continue despite us talking about and bringing them to light, google D&D 5e art women and look at the official art. Talking about the issues over the years has had an impact on what sorts of art gets created, which has an impact on the perception of the hobby and how the hobby operates.What we need to do
Listen, nobody is perfect and nobody has a silver bullet to end issues like this, but we can always do better. That’s the goal. Do better than we currently are. So, how do we do better? That is always a moving target, but thankfully one that is often moving upwards. There are a few constants we can always work towards.
- Believe Victims – The first is to believe the stories of victims, especially if the currents of the hobby are usually against them. Bringing to light harassment by someone with a large following of people makes you a target. While Mentzer has a right to tell his side of the interaction, there has been a huge wave of backlash against Price merely for telling her story. In researching the facts of this, I’ve found 4chan boards drumming up support and planning campaigns against Price just by googling the terms “jessica price frank mentzer”. Social and public backlash keeps victims from talking about abuses, so not believing the victims or not providing a safe space for people to tell the stories of harassment cuts off any good that could be potentially done by them telling their story. Sure, we may want to defend the things we love, but we can’t do it at a horrible cost of enabling harassment.
- Stop The Harassment We See – Stand up for your friends and people that you know that have been victims of harassment or are potential victims of harassment. When you see someone acting in a way that harasses someone, or saying things that make people uncomfortable, call it out in whatever way you can muster at the time. You don’t necessarily need to jump up on a table and tell a person they’re being an asshole, but calling it out and making sure it is known that it is uncomfortable has to happen if it’s going to get better. The grand gesture may not be the best tool to use in that situation, but saying “Hey, that’s not cool to say” and explaining the factors that a person doesn’t see in that moment may mitigate future behavior. Choose how you fight your fight, and choose the best way available to you, but never choose not to fight the fight. We need to stand up and call out harassing behavior whenever we see it, not just for our friends and loved ones, but for the complete stranger who may benefit because you provided some push-back and helped craft a social situation that prevented that behavior in the future. Do it for your friends and for the complete strangers who deserve the same feeling of safety that we all do.
- Don’t Make It About Yourself – Whenever we encounter these sorts of situations, we need to make sure the solutions and help we provide don’t end up being about us. Every single person is, by innate nature, primarily self focused. That’s the nature of survival and the base way we experience the world, through our senses and our experience with the world, but when someone is having an issue we need to make sure we aren’t making our part of the solution about us. We need to make sure the focus of anything we do is about the actual issue and trying to make it better, not our reaction and efforts to make it better.
- When You Have a Position Of Authority As The Gamemaster, Make A Safe Space – As a Gamemaster, there is a bit of authority that means you can make the environment safer. Make sure to be open and available to talk with people and listen when someone says they feel uncomfortable. Make a policy that you are there to help if anyone feels uncomfortable or has an issue with something, and if someone in your group comes to you for help, provide that help. It can be scary to be a woman in a world of men, and it can be scary to be the gay gamer dealing with the homophobic slur someone else said while you weren’t around, and it can be scary to just be the person made uncomfortable when anyone else at the table is doing something different. As the game master, you can use your privilege as a proxy to deal with some issues more easily.
None of us are perfect, and none of us live in a vacuum. We’ve all been shaped by the forces of our lives and the hobby that we love, we’ve all been bombarded with messages about what is appropriate and what isn’t, and those messages aren’t always direct. They’ve shaped behaviors that we may not even know we have and they’ve shaped what we find appropriate or what even registers on our radars as inappropriate actions by someone else. We all need to understand what issues exist in our hobby, and those of us of the male persuasion need to understand what it is like for women in a hobby that we dominate and that has catered to us for years.
We can listen to people who have been harassed and make sure anyone with a story feels safe to tell it and prevent future harassment. We can stop the harassment we see in our spheres of influence and spread the message that anything less than respect for others isn’t acceptable. We can choose to be the grease that helps our hobby in its switch of gears to becoming a more open and inviting place for everyone to be. We can do better.
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Valuebound: Selenium: A beginner’s guide to automation testing tool to ensure better user experience
Before delving into the how of automation testing using Selenium, let me talk about the why.
Over the past couple of years, the demand for automation has increased at an unprecedented speed and scale as it indispensably minimizes the testing time, eliminate repetitive human tasks and make life easier. The advent of an open source automation testing tools, such as Selenium, has significantly reduced the demand and scope of manual testing.
Needless to say, every testing has its own quirks and best practices! However, there are certain standard best practices that generally apply to most automation, too. Let’s review the best practices of automation testing. You…