No offense, but the "average user" on a forum like Overclockers is technically far above your average joe on the street. How savy is the average user on a forum like MacOSX? :lol:
Fah has no secrets. Anyone can join the beta team.
1) Beta Forum is hidden from view as not to add clutter to an already busy forum. That way new and typical users can find help easier and quicker.
2) Beta Forum is hidden, and the information therein is restricted, for several reasons. While the average Computer Joe might not get discouraged (although this IS known to happen) most average joes do not have the patience to put up with the known issues or work arounds while still in test mode, and then they form a bad opinion of the client.
For example, look at the assumptions you all made about keeping secrets, yet anyone can join the beta team. How secret is that?
3) Another reason for info restriction is that only half of what needs to be shared gets shared, so the leaked information takes on a life of it's own. Like the children's game of Grape Vine. The end message is completely different than the beginning. Again, it gives the wrong ideas, wrong impressions, wrong everything potentially.
Additionally, if you leaked info to your friends, and the friends had trouble, how would the friends get help? They can't go to the beta team and ask for help without burning their source. So gain, they get a bad wrap. Either the client looks bad, or the project looks bad for being unhelpful, at no fault of their own.
Let me ask this... if when you first learned about the V7 client in very early closed testing, and saw that it had over 500 bugs to be fixed, would you then form the same opinion if you didn't see the client until it went public a few months later and only had 5 lingering bugs? Tell me you'd all be as understanding as mbudden. :lol:
4) And like mbudden said, when it's beta, people should know better. Well, when on the beta team, your consent to join guarantees that you DO know better. If everyone, including the ones that DON"T know better, had full access, we're back to the uninformed, or under-informed, forming ill-advised opinions, and sharing that with their teams. People spread enough untrue myths and rumors as it is. They don't need any new fodder.
5) Out of sight, out of mind, and mums the word also helps to avoid hurt feelings and jealousy. If a new cool feature about v7 leaked out, but you couldn't get access to the client, you might get all butt hurt about it. Better to keep that under wraps and avoid that kind of problem. Not everyone is as magnanimous as your team's members.
Your own members, like the beast, will back me up on this. Beta testing is done under wraps for many good reasons, not all of them apparent or easy to explain.