how do we test maps with people? can it be done by publishing it and having them download it or does that map stay there forever once uploaded? can i get a pak file without publishing to send over msn?
We would prefer that you did some testing before uploading the map on the page. Sometimes it's enough to run around the map on your own, check if all objects are properly aligned and there are no places where the player can be blocked by the environment.
Nothing beats real play-tests though. If you want to play with other people before publishing the map, pack your map folder into a ZIP file and send it over to your friends. When they unpack it into their filesystem (MapsExtra folder for single- and MapsNet for multi-player maps), they will be able use it and test it - in fact such map will be no different then the usual .pak file. Just make sure that everyone has installed the latest version of the patch :-)