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Beta Buggers are the Wrimos who helped test out the shiny new Ruby on Rails version of the NaNoWriMo site before the move away from Drupal in October 2011, as well as beta testing the NaNo site before the site relaunch in 2012 and 2013. Beta Buggers were picked by late summer applications in both 2011 and 2012. Everyone is allowed to apply once per year.
2011 Beta Buggers can be identified by the bee icon in their profiles on the forums. They were led by Cylithria Dubois in 2011 and Heather Dudley in 2012 and 2013 . Longtime NaNo volunteer Rob Diaz is the Ticketmaster for the program.
The Beta Buggers are much loved by the NaNoWriMo staff, as shown by their mention in the Brought To You By page and the badge on individual buggers' profiles.
During the beta testing process, Beta buggers explore a beta NaNoWriMo website containing both planned new features and current features. They are to try to find a bug or bugs for as many hours as possible each day. When they find a bug, they report it in a private forum on the main NaNoWrimo Website. Rob Diaz then designates a ticket for the bug and sends a full report to the tech team so the bug can be repaired in time for the site relaunch in early October.
Each week, Beta Buggers submit a short check in form. Anyone who does not submit this on time is immediately removed from the beta testing team. Beta Buggers can also resign of their own free will at any time.
In 2012, there were 237 beta buggers. Even those who don't report any bugs are said to be very valuable to the experience because the attempt to find a bug, or 'break something', is still there.