Originally Posted by ChienAboyeur
Beta cant mean alpha.
During the developpment of a commercial software, some decisions belong exclusively to the developpers while other decisions'd better suit the customers. The current situation does not change that.
In both cases, functionalities coming from decisions must be tested: during the alpha stage, decisions belonging to the developpers in an exclusive way are tested while it makes simple sense to introduce customers to get a feed back on decisions oriented to them.
It is just a crowdfunding consequence. Somebody came with the brilliant idea of monetizing a beta access as a pledge level. It was a cheaper way to get funds than manufacturing a goodie. Even better, it worked in reverse: instead of paying testers, they were charged.
Later, the escalation kept on with the even more brilliant idea of monetizing an alpha stage, even though alpha stage as it addresses concerns exclusive to the developpers is not a tradable good. Alpha stage cant be sold.
The difference: crowdfunding. In other cases, the pressure on the developpers pushs them to optimize resources by separating clearly alpha and beta stages. Introducing customers too early will only eat up resources.
With a crowdfunding process, the pressure is all the reverse: it is trying to introduce the customers as early as possible to try to increase resources.
So some projects spread the introduction of customers in alpha 1, alpha 2 etc beta 1, beta 2 etc in order to collect even more resources.
In all cases, they do not sale an access to an alpha as it can be sold and triggers betas as early they can.