I'm sure I've heard this phrase said before, but I can't seem to remember it or find it by searching.

A positive test is one where you make sure something specific happens - I hit a button and make sure it makes a noise, which is what I expect.

A negative test is one where you make sure something specific doesn't happen - I hit a button again and make sure that it doesn't explode, which it used to before the most recent round of changes.

But there's a term for a kind of test to make sure that absolutely nothing happens at all - perhaps that the button is completely disconnected, or that after changing a setting in software no changes are allowed to be made in a certain area. What's the name of that kind of test?

  • 1
    "My name is my passport. Verify me." –Sneakers 1992
    – Mazura
    May 13, 2016 at 14:56
  • 3
    Is 'null test' used hereabouts? May 13, 2016 at 14:58
  • @Mazura they had advanced audio voice recognition, but no cameras to see if their mouths were actually moving or if they were playing a tape. Strange priorities.
    – Jake
    May 13, 2016 at 14:59
  • @EdwinAshworth that's the phrase, can't believe I forgot it. Add it as an answer and I'll accept it!
    – Jake
    May 13, 2016 at 15:00
  • @EdwinAshworth - Assuming hereabouts is the programming world (or audio engineering, mathematics, etc.). In mine, it's verification. Verify that the power is off.
    – Mazura
    May 13, 2016 at 15:14

1 Answer 1


It's an invalid test.

In most cases, even if the button were completely disconnected it would be a positive test or a negative test. In the case where the test is somehow flawed as you describe, then it's an invalid test.

Other common terminology may include: incomplete test, insufficient test, incompatible test, or the test is considered null and void.

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