back to article Splunk to junk masters and slaves once a committee figures out replacements

Splunk has joined the ranks of software makers pledging to remove objectionable terms like "master" and "slave" from their code. As detailed in a post today by senior veep for cloud and chief product officer Sendur Sellakumar, a registration-walled post titled "Change the terms 'Master' and 'Slave' in indexer clustering and …

  1. b0llchit Silver badge
    Facepalm

    When STONITH falls

    Replace all instances of [something] that may offend [somebody]. Let us also do away with humor and sarcasm while we're at it. One reader's merry world is another reader's nightmare. That has always been the case. When will the madness stop? Do we really need to define all possible variations of "unwords" and replace them with new expressions that will be considered "unwords" by another generation? When STONITH falls, which is humorously and actually quite appropriately called STONITH, then nothing is safe. Can you "kill" a computer or are metaphors no longer an acceptable language construct to convey a specific meaning?

    Really? Remove "crazy" and "baffling" outliers? But, the checks are there to handle crazy and baffling outliers. Remove "sanity check"? Any programmer knows that the user is not to be trusted to input anything valid. The user is, by definition, not sane, from a programmer's perspective. A user is (probably) human and therefore a non-logical entity. The computer is nothing but logical. The programmer is the intermediate between the logical and the illogical. That perspective is both crazy and baffling.

    Fast-forward a few generations... the "blocklist" is not an acceptable term. It is discriminatory and therefore unacceptable. Terminology like "primary" and "secondary" is no longer acceptable because it denotes unacceptable preference and denies the egalitarian view. Any "word" will, at some stage, have multiple meanings in which some may be offended. Maybe we should do an introspective and think about what that says about us?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: When STONITH falls

      Indeed. Splunk (and others) need to look within and do a sanity self-check. Methinks they'll find a checksum error.

      Changing the meaning of meaning to soothe this generation's guilt over shit they had nothing to do with is kind of senseless, if you bother to think about it for a couple seconds.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: When STONITH falls

        I'd replace 'Methinks' with something less archaic. 'I think' perhaps?

        1. Outski
          Pint

          Re: When STONITH falls

          Per the late and much missed Clive James: "I save time on the web by reading nobody’s opinion that contains the word 'methinks'"

          https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/oct/24/clive-james-spring-poetry-methinks

          For you, Clive ---->

          1. Brian Morrison

            Re: When STONITH falls

            How can you know whether the word is there without reading it?

        2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

          Re: When STONITH falls

          I'd replace 'Methinks' with something less archaic. 'I think' perhaps?

          Forsooth, the incognito poltroon hath it aright.

        3. Michael Habel Silver badge

          Re: When STONITH falls

          You think?!

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: When STONITH falls

        In US terms maybe checksum error might be suggestive of a bounced cheque and disparaging of the impecunious.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: When STONITH falls

          Checksum error in the US is when you split the bill in a restaurant and some ****er doesn't include their part of the tip.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: When STONITH falls

        "Changing the meaning of meaning to soothe this generation's guilt over shit they had nothing to do with is kind of senseless, if you bother to think about it for a couple seconds."

        I thought about it for a couple of seconds, this is very odd thing to say, as in, soothing this generations guilt? So this is all white guilt?

        It's all kind of about recognising institutionalized racism, isn't just saying, oh it's just a bunch of white guilt the exact demonstration of the problem?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @AC - Re: When STONITH falls

          Actually it is about guilt. And there is a little more. After decades of thorough cleansing of all these terms, next generation of white people would finally be able to say, there's no proof harm has been done in the past. It's all stories.

          I was born an lived the half of my life in a country were statues were demolished hoping to erase the past. Twice.

          1. Jaybus

            Re: @AC - When STONITH falls

            "I was born an lived the half of my life in a country were statues were demolished hoping to erase the past. Twice."

            As George Santayana pointed out, "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

          2. jake Silver badge

            Re: @AC - When STONITH falls

            San Francisco got in a preemptive take-down of a statue yesterday morning ... They removed a statue of Christopher Columbus from the grounds of Coit Tower before a howling mob could organize itself enough to do it for them (they were recruiting online for what they were calling a "peaceful protest" ... tearing up public property is "peaceful"? Ok, if they say so ... ).

            Next up: Renaming Washington DC (can't have stuff named after Columbus, and Washington was a slave owner) ... And we should probably re-name the Americas, because Vespucci was a fraud. I'm pretty certain that with a little thought, we can dispense with the requirement to learn history entirely, because as we all know EVERYBODY was unenlightened prior to (roughly) last year[0]. Can't have anybody learn about all that nasty stuff from the past, now can we? Pollutes the mind, it does.

            [0] Note that last year, like tomorrow, is an ever-moving target ...

      4. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: When STONITH falls

        >Indeed. Splunk (and others) need to look within and do a sanity self-check.

        Particularly, as they obviously think the 'L' is sufficient to make their own name repeatable in polite conversation.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: When STONITH falls

      The whole problem seems to stem from those who can't deal with words with more than one meaning. How do they cope with the word "set"?

      Or several of the words in the previous two sentences including: "stem", "word" and "cope"?

      1. Jaybus

        Re: When STONITH falls

        Worse, how do they deal with the word f__k?

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: When STONITH falls

          "Worse, how do they deal with the word f__k?"

          Which word would that be? Near as I can tell (with a little shell script and an open-source word list), in English that could be fank, feck, fink, firk, fisk, flak, folk, fork, fuck or funk.

          See how important using English unambiguously is?

          More to the point, why do people think that using placeholders to mask letters somehow changes the word into something non-profane? We (TINW) know you meant fuck, so fucking type fuck. If some fucker can't handle it, they can fucking leave.

          Or we can let the fuckheads who pretend to be easily shocked take over.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When STONITH falls

      "Maybe we should do an introspective and think about what that says about us?"

      It says about "us" as computing folks, that we are willing to acknowledge and accept the transition of "our" community to one not being an almost exclusively or at least a predominantly white male dominated culture.

      It's hard, but still, try for a minute to think about how reading terms like masters and slaves makes black people feel. These terms are ubiquitious in Datenbank replication technology, Backup Technology, Networking, Software Development - Source code version control - it's everwhere you look in computing. I challenge you to find a book - any book on these topics that doesn't mention the word slave.

      Re blacklist: We can't pretend that "black" hasn't been historically and contemporarily associated with negative, bad and evil since - forever till now, or would you care to explain the expression: "pot calling the kettle black"? Does Blackmail sound positive to anyone?

      And just for giggles - feel free to look this up - in chess, white gets to go first and black has a statistically proven inherent disadvantage. Yes I know this sounds silly, but it is what it is, make of it what you will - or as a friend of mine once said "...even in the game of chess the black guys can't catch a break." He was joking of course, but the point stuck.

      Finally, basic human decency: if doing something costs you nothing and does you no harm but helps someone else, then you're morally obliged to do it. It won't be the downfall of civilization. Actually, I'm willing to bet that future generations will rather ask themselves what the deuce took us so long to get rid of these expressions.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: When STONITH falls

        >We can't pretend that "black" hasn't been historically and contemporarily associated with negative, bad and evil since - forever...

        You were doing so well until you missed the real nub of the issue namely, the deliberate use of a word with negative connotations to describe - in a handwaving manner - people of colour, likewise the use of a word with connotations of purity to describe people of (broadly) northern European origin.

        We see similar hand waving descriptions when people use the word "paki" to refer to anyone from the Indian subcontinent.

        The need thus isn't to ban the use of the word black (in the context of blackboard, blacklist, etc.), but to change the language used to refer to people's differing ethnicity. Yes that includes not using the word 'white'...

        1. Stork Silver badge

          Re: When STONITH falls

          I am reminded of the (alleged) exchange in a South African court a few decades back:

          - how come you call yourselves black when you are actually brown?

          - how come you call yourselves white when you are actually pink?

          Perhaps we should use pigmentally gifted/challenged? In any case, the cultural background is more interesting and not necessarily identical to ethnicity.

          Back to the discussion, I think it is right to find substitutes for the more crass cases such as master/slave. I do have sufficient empathy to realise how someone who knows their ancestors were enslaved could be at least reminded of it all the time. There are other cases where I would't bother (pot, kettle, black).

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: When STONITH falls

          "You were doing so well until you missed the real nub of the issue namely, the deliberate use of a word with negative connotations to describe - in a handwaving manner - people of colour,"

          Now here's another of the techniques used by the dedicated umbrage seekers: changing the choice of demonised word. Is it "black" or "colour" or something else that's offensive today - and perhaps all this week? By this means anyone who's done their base to adopt what they thought was the correct term can be wrong-footed in an attempt to make them feel guilty. But if you're correct here has MOBO changed to MOPOCO?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: When STONITH falls

        would you care to explain the expression: "pot calling the kettle black"?

        Sure. A pot and a kettle used on a range or open fire both get blackened with soot, so the kettle is applying a term which applies equally to itself. You weren't assuming that "black" means "bad", were you? In this case it's just the colour of soot.

        cf. "The Brexit voter calling the conspiracy theorist bonkers" or "The vegan calling the non-binary person attention seeking"

      3. shaunhw

        Re: When STONITH falls

        When computer (rather than human) slavery becomes illegal, that is the time to consider the use of terms such as "master/slave" in the context of computing. As far as I know it's still ok to have a computing device working as a slave. I can't imagine that Black people really are so hurt by this kind of use, though I will stand corrected. Rather it's other people feel offended on thier behalf, as is usually the case, when P.C. people try to erase history and modify our technical terminology. I suppose one could be offended for other reasons too... For making the assumption that the controller device is always male perhaps? Where will it all end?

    4. rcxb Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: When STONITH falls

      Any "word" will, at some stage, have multiple meanings in which some may be offended

      Perhaps a less offensive choice for Master/Slave would be Grand Wizard and Clansmen.

      I prefer Parent and Children, because it nicely implies that Master / Slave relationship, along with a nice little illegal forced child labor angle. Child processes can be launched with a goForkYourself() call.

      Terms like Director and Employee are useful to indicate which processes sit around just passing messages, and which ones actually do productive work.

  2. BigE

    Where will this end....

    What next, is someone going to be holding something your you know what when you to the toiler? oh I am sorry, you don't have one of those, so that makes me a misogynist. You must feel excluded.

    1. find users who cut cat tail

      Re: Where will this end....

      Next? They find out maths exists and demand that ‘perfect number’ must be replaced because it imposes an unrealistic standard of beauty…

      1. druck Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Where will this end....

        Talking of maths, this is right up there with the fuckwittery that removes 13 from house numbering.

        1. Dom 3

          Re: Where will this end....

          Never noticed a street missing a number 13. OTOH never seen a row 13 on an aeroplane.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Where will this end....

            "Never noticed a street missing a number 13".

            My own street doesn't have a number 13. It was built that way, there has never been a number 13 here. There are 24 houses, and the highest house number is 25. The only reference to a '13' that I've seen is on some early 'plot' layout plans of the area from when it was being constructed that I was able to unearth. Number 13 is labelled on an early plan, but not later ones. At some point early on they dumped it! I'm in one of the 'higher than 13' numbers, so my original 'plot' number was actually one-less than my final house number. On a related note: it was also facinating to see the subtle differences in the original layouts compared to the final one that was built; little things like some fences and paths in slightly different places. For example, on the earliest layout I've seen (dated only just before my end of the street was built) the rear entrance to my garden was originally in a completely different spot with a public footpath planned to go past the side of the property, which never materialised; that boundary is now up against a neighbour's property.

          2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Where will this end....

            Don't you just have to push the trolley into row 12 really hard ?

        2. Outski

          Re: Where will this end....

          My old apartment block in KL had neither a 13th or 14th floor, 14 having connotations of imminent death. Instead, we had 12, 12A, and 12B (our floor)

          1. Teiwaz Silver badge

            Re: Where will this end....

            12, 12A and 12B....

            Reminds me..

            All this is much the same as how they changed the class designations while I was at school to A1 and A2, B1 and B2 from A, B, C and D (so kids didn't have to bear the stigma of being in C or D presumably).

            Didn't really alter eventual grade outcomes...or improve anything else.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Where will this end....

              "Fine, you be crummy Universe "A", and we'll be Universe "1".

        3. Claptrap314 Silver badge

          Re: Where will this end....

          Fuckwittery on whose part? The fools who are afraid of the poor number 13? Or the developers that just want to sell a house with a minimum of fuss?

          That's the real parallel. These harpies are attacking a few people that have better things to do than fend of these ridiculous attacks. They think.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Where will this end....

        "the term future perfect was abandoned when it was discovered not to be"

      3. poohbear

        Re: Where will this end....

        That's just irrational.

      4. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: Where will this end....

        Next? They find out maths exists and demand that ‘perfect number’ must be replaced because it imposes an unrealistic standard of beauty…

        And weird numbers are renamed as non-mathotypical.

      5. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Where will this end....

        And, is it unfair to call irrational numbers "irrational" ?

        And if some numbers are "imaginary", are the NON-imaginary numbers being excluded? Do they LACK an imagination?

        (this will never end as long as FEEL supplants COMMON SENSE)

        1. Smooth Newt Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Where will this end....

          And, is it unfair to call irrational numbers "irrational" ?

          Yes. Henceforth they must always be called "judiciously challenged numbers".

    2. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: Where will this end....

      With black list becoming denylist and master becoming main?

      Are there any other genuine suggestions for change that people have seen? The only things reported here have been whitelist/blacklist and master/slave.

      This "where will it end" stuff is known as the slipperly slope fallacy.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Where will this end....

        "The only things reported here have been whitelist/blacklist and master/slave."

        RTFA. For comprehension this time.

        "This "where will it end" stuff is known as the slipperly slope fallacy."

        It's not a fallacy. People are actively seeking other words to sanitize, as you would know if you had both read and comprehended the article.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Where will this end....

          "People are actively seeking other words to sanitize, as you would know if you had both read and comprehended the article."

          As someone who is naturally lazy I can't fail to be amazed at the amount of mental energy devoted to this but I can't help thinking it would be better directed to something more productive.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Where will this end....

            <quote>

            Doctor Syntax wrote:

            Re: Where will this end....

            "People are actively seeking other words to sanitize, as you would know if you had both read and comprehended the article."

            As someone who is naturally lazy I can't fail to be amazed at the amount of mental energy devoted to this but I can't help thinking it would be better directed to something more productive.

            </quote>

            Your post perfectly demonstrates a phenomenon referred to as white Privilege. A non-white person does not have the luxury of being lazy about this if they are constantly reminded about their 'otherness'. To pretend that your situation is comparable negates a very valid criticism and is frankly insulting.

            Furthermore, i can assure you that Zero amount of energy is invested by most minorities into seeking umbrage whereas immense amounts of energy go into trying not to take offense at every offensive term/slur/situation encountered. That is what a 'more productive approach' means when you are a minority.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @jake- Re: Where will this end....

          So I must understand this will end up very bad indeed.

          1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

            Re: @jake- Where will this end....

            No, it will end up double-plus ungood indeed.

      2. Symon Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Where will this end....

        "change[s] that people have seen"

        Ballcocks -> Float valves

        Gropecunt Lane -> Grape Lane

        Racist politicians -> Errr?

        p.s. Facetious, I know. Too soon?

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Where will this end....

          At least we still have our packing glands, stuffing boxes and stern tubes. But they are coming for them, too ... and soon, undoubtedly, they will be coming for coming.

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Where will this end....

        "The only things reported here have been whitelist/blacklist and master/slave."

        Go back and read the article again, several others were mentioned.

        For avoidance of doubt the word "Go" in the previous sentence refers to the verb and not the programming language.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Where will this end....

          Damn, this is so hard to MASTER, and I have to SLAVE away at memorising it

      4. not.known@this.address Silver badge

        Re: Where will this end....

        Sabroni, it might have escaped your attention but it started with peaceful protests over the wrongful death of George Floyd (this is the UK, it's only murder if the police officer had intentionally killed him rather than just being a thug in uniform who went *way* too far) and it's now escalated into the Archbishop of Canterbury suggesting white people prostrate ourselves and beg forgiveness for "our" sins, and the attempted destruction and obliteration of English history.

        If that's not a slippery slope, then what is?

        1. cbars Silver badge

          Re: Where will this end....

          Thats religion. They always want you prone for something.

      5. Outski

        Re: Where will this end....

        Proofpoint (email security platform) have been using block list/safe list since before I started using their platform five years ago

        1. ChrisC

          Re: Where will this end....

          Calling something a "safe list" rather than an "allow list" or similar brings some potentially unintended (and legally questionable) implications over exactly how safe it might be to treat an email that gets through to you as entirely safe and guaranteed to be free from any nasties...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Outski - Re: Where will this end....

          And what is the color of people that are too often put on block list, may I ask ? Problem here is definitely not the color of the list.

      6. Blank Reg Silver badge

        Re: Where will this end....

        This is outside of computing, but there have been a number of calls recently to rename streets, towns, counties etc. that happen to be named after some long dead racist. If the person in question was well known for their racism and despicable racists acts then I could see the point. But when no one other than historians even know who this person was then the name has no racist meaning in today's world.

    3. Flywheel Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Where will this end....

      I'll tell you:

      LET P1=1

      LET S1=0

      LET F1=6

      I'm surprised no-one's condemned "Let's have Post-mortem on that software failure"

    4. poohbear

      Re: Where will this end....

      s/daemon/angel/g;

    5. b0llchit Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Where will this end....

      It ends when the if() statement is outlawed. Quite surely, the if() statement is about excluding, which is not a good thing. We programmers must program inclusive. Therefore, all future-proof programs shall be comprised only of inclusive or statements. No other statements are allowed. No text, no variables, no, only inclusive or. Then, at least, the probability of failure will both be one and complete. We'll all fail, but that is without any form of discrimination and happily ignorant. All hail the inclusive or.

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Where will this end....

        Quite surely, the if() statement is about excluding, which is not a good thing.

        The abstract programming language introduced in Dijkstra's A Discipline of Programming(*) enforced fully inclusive ifs(**), so programmers had to consider every possible code path.

        (*) Still worth a read 44 years on.

        (**) And fully inclusive case statements.

        1. b0llchit Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Where will this end....

          Yes, indeed, a good read and lots of memories.

          However, any if() branches. That means it excludes a specific path while it includes a different path. An egalitarian system cannot branch because any exclusion is prohibited. You are not allowed to prefer one path over another path, regardless condition and regardless consequence. Or, you must create code and input that will always take any and all possible path, all the time, at the same time. It is easier to say: the only valid statement is inclusive or and be done with reality.

          [edit] just let us forget about Turing completeness, shall we? Since when are humans Turing complete; also, humans encapsulate a continuous and fuzzy halting problem ;-)

    6. macjules Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Where will this end....

      I want Gulp and Grunt changed as this is offensive to pigs and other boar-derived animals. I also object to the word "Git" in version control since it is invariably prefixed by "Old".

      Remember Old Git Lives Matter, as do Boar Lives.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Where will this end....

        You're forgetting that ageism is not only allowed but mandatory as old people are always $DISCRIMINATORY_TERMist. That's just the way things are, no stereotyping involved.

  3. I am David Jones
    WTF?

    Ok....but whitespace?

    The word has no positive or negative connotations (that I know of), it is purely descriptive.

    Erasing the word “white” from our vocabulary would seem to be a step too far...

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Ok....but whitespace?

      The proposed replacement is no good because firing blanks might be offensive to impotent men. Also I prefer dark backgrounds so we will have to switch to blockspace.

      1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

        Re: Ok....but whitespace?

        As a Jaffa, I find your post conflating impotence and azoospermia highly offensive. I'm perfectly capable of making some very loud bangs, it's just that I can't successfully STONITH.

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Ok....but whitespace?

      The funny thing is that "blank" means "white" - see "blanc" in French, "blanco" in Spanish, and "bianco" in Italian. Both "white" and "blank" have their etimology in roots that mean "to shine". Empty spaces on paper are "blank" because they usually show "whitespace".

      The NewSpeak people should consult with someone knowledgeable in languages. I think they are "linguistic racists" because they think about English only ignoring any other language (LOL!)

      Otherwise they should remove the word "album" too. It comes from Latin "albus" (which means exactly "white") and was a white writing tablet. So please, start to burn all your music and photo records....

      Ah, and what about "whitepapers"???

      1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

        Re: NewSpeak people should consult with someone

        The NewSpeak people should consult with someone knowledgeable in languages. I think they are "linguistic racists" because they think about English only ignoring any other language (LOL!)

        I fear you're trying to apply logic and reasoning to people who seem incapable of such nuances.

      2. Dave559 Bronze badge

        Re: Ok....but whitespace?

        Regarding "blanks", it is perhaps most pertinent to remember that it is also the corresponding word in Afrikaans, where many people have very unpleasant memories of disgusting racist signs at the beach or elsewhere saying "Net Blankes" (I surely don't need to translate what these mean, I hope).

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Ok....but whitespace?

      The excessive amount of whitespace on gov.uk websites certainly has negative connotations for me.

  4. Zog_but_not_the_first
    Trollface

    Male and female connectors..

    Male and female connectors! Sexist.

    Support the trans-sisters.

    1. BigE

      Re: Male and female connectors..

      Yeah I mean those sisters that were born brothers with gold plated pins, what a struggle they must have. I mean you can easily turn those sisters into a bunch of pricks by inserting a pin.....

    2. OssianScotland Silver badge

      Re: Male and female connectors..

      And we'd probably better stop talking about "aborting an operation" too.

      1. BigE

        Re: Male and female connectors..

        That really depends on who you ask. Some would call it murder.

        1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

          Re: Male and female connectors..

          My detector is malfunctioning... can't tell if pot stirrer, joker, or other... not sure which vote button to use... aborting voting process...

          1. BigE

            Re: Male and female connectors..

            So the process has terminated or has it been terminated?

            1. Synonymous Howard

              Re: Male and female connectors..

              AbEnd perhaps.

              And the connectors are obviously plug and socket.

      2. Dave559 Bronze badge

        Re: Male and female connectors..

        I don't think it's unreasonable to think that the use of "abort" in a computing context might seem a bit insensitive if you were a programmer who had had an abortion recently, or were the partner of someone who had.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Male and female connectors..

          > don't think it's unreasonable to think that the use of "abort" in a computing context might seem a bit insensitive if you were a programmer who had had an abortion recently, or were the partner of someone who had.

          On similar lines, it isn't unreasonable to think that the use of "Alexa" or "Siri" or "Cortana" in any context might seem a bit insensitive to someone who had just split up with their girlfriend called Alexa/Siri/Cortana...

          As you can see, there is a deep rabbit hole you can easily get lost down if you pander to the whims of the PC nutters.

      3. Oliver Mayes

        Re: Male and female connectors..

        I once attended a talk titled "Zombie Orphans, and how best to kill them". People in the hotel gave some very strange looks at that on the board outside.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Male and female connectors..

          Does one unkill the undead? Or unlive the relived?

          1. Outski

            Re: Male and female connectors..

            I still love Sir Terry's word "inhume" to describe the main function of members of the Assassins' Guild

      4. cbars Silver badge

        Re: Male and female connectors..

        nah, that one is safe. Those idiots think its a sin, not offensive.

        We can probably all find something we deem as too offensive to include, for example a named reference to "your mother": but we can't all agree on where the line is that the offense is so uncommon as to make any effort exerted on considering whether to remove it a wasted effort. That line is subjective, and yes it will change over time - but hey, got to keep changing stuff or we'll all be out of jobs!

    3. John Miles

      Re: Male and female connectors..

      The connector world already has "gender-bender" ( though not sure I'd use that term in conversation now, but I doubt in context it would upset the trans people I know )

  5. jake Silver badge

    Give 'em an inch ...

    It's getting dafter by the second ... I mean, honestly, what programmer anywhere has ever considered whitespace to be a blank or blanks? Last time I checked, a TAB wasn't a blank. Nor was a space. Nor was any other non-printing character.

    Time to take the non-techies out of the loop when it comes to deciding what the lingua franca of the technical world is to be. It's our jargon, not theirs, and they can't have it! Best start speaking up now, before the hand-wringers take over and turn it all into grey goo ...

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: Give 'em an inch ...

      Are you talking about liberals or black people?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Give 'em an inch ...

        Again the comprehension issue ... I clearly said "non-techies". Last time I checked, that covered folks in all races, creeds, colo(u)rs, genders, political bents, and whatever other pigeonhole(s) you choose to shoehorn the human race into.

    2. Dave559 Bronze badge

      Re: Give 'em an inch ...

      I'm pretty sure I have (either mentally or out loud) sometimes referred to spaces as blanks, as in the idea of (say) padding an indent with some blank spaces (OK, arguably a tautology) to make multi-line comments line up, etc. I've certainly referred to blank lines, which are another type of whitespace.

      (But, as noted previously, if someone regards the entirely neutral and no-values-implied use of "whitespace" as problematic, then "blank" probably isn't a good replacement, not that one is needed in this case. We still refer to "leading" in typography, even though the technology no longer uses lead (Pb) spacers, so we can surely still use whitespace, no matter what colour setup our terminal/window has.)

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Give 'em an inch ...

      Inch? Isn't that imperialist?

  6. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    whether "whitespace” could be replaced with “blanks.”

    Oh no! It's the old 'tabs vs. spaces' fight again!

    p.s. have they looked at a piece of text on paper?

  7. Vincent Ballard
    WTF?

    Baffled

    Can anyone figure out what's "ableist" about the phrase "baffling outliers"?

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Baffled

      Other way around -- baffling is more inclusive than crazy, says Google. I've clarified that sentence.

      C.

      1. The commentard formerly known as Mister_C
        Boffin

        Re: Baffled - how does that work then?

        As a baffle is a device used to "restrain or regulate (afluid, sound, etc)", it follows that baffling something is surely more exclusive than inclusive.

        "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less."

        "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

        "The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master—that's all."

        If we continue down this rabbit hole then we're going to end up proving that black = white.

        Do be careful when using zebra crossings.

        1. Woza
          Joke

          Re: Baffled - how does that work then?

          Bzzt! Report for re-education:

          "The question is, " said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be trunk - that's all."

          1. The commentard formerly known as Mister_C

            Re: re-education

            I'll decline thanks, as it was a direct quote.

            But I will raise a negationism ticket for WinstonSmith.

  8. revenant

    Whitespace

    I'm not going to bother with a 'WTF?'-style comment - this just serves to demonstrate that the purity campaigners are losing it. No thought is required now - both Black and White are triggering terms no matter how they are used.

    I do suggest, however, that they reconsider the name "Splunk" - the Urban Dictionary definition is particularly noisome.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Whitespace

      Now there's an idea - fork the project to change the name but leave all the technical terminology intact.

  9. Natalie Gritpants Jr

    Let's keep crazy and mad and bonkers and looney etc

    and stop using them to describe people with mental health issues

    1. CountCadaver Bronze badge

      Re: Let's keep crazy and mad and bonkers and looney etc

      They are inexplicably tied to mental health and their use as a pejorative

      1. MCMLXV
        Headmaster

        Re: Let's keep crazy and mad and bonkers and looney etc

        inexplicably inextricably.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Let's keep crazy and mad and bonkers and looney etc

          Window-licker test or joey test is still OK?

  10. Elledan Bronze badge

    Grounds for firing?

    Does using any of these doubleplusungood words in company communications or source code/comments constitute a breach of contract that would result in a person being immediately fired from said company?

    Are we going to have people rejected from open source projects because they felt that censoring said doubleplusungood words is rather daft, but the Thought Police whose function has by then been enshrined in the Code of Conduct lacks any sense of humour or capacity for rational thought?

    Also, shame about the lack of action to fix modern day slavery, inequality in society (how many people living below the poverty line again?) and human rights abuses by countless governments. But you got those doubleplusungood words censored.

    Gawd, I loathe SJWs.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Grounds for firing?

      "Are we going to have people rejected from open source projects because they felt that censoring said doubleplusungood words is rather daft, but the Thought Police whose function has by then been enshrined in the Code of Conduct lacks any sense of humour or capacity for rational thought?"

      People can be rejected from the open source project but the nature of open source means that they can choose to take the source with them and fork the project. That would quickly clarify who was doing the work and who was playing games.

      1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

        Re: Grounds for firing?

        Unfortunately, no. You can take your cod(ing skills), but you cannot take everyone else's origin links. It is far, far less work for them to "raise consciousness" than it is to migrate a community.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Grounds for firing?

          OpenOffice > LiIbreOffice

          OwnCloud > NextlLoud

          Not for the same reasons but both are projects which were forked and, I think, for the most part the developer and then the user communities moved over.

    2. ThatOne Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Grounds for firing?

      > modern day slavery, inequality in society

      Wrong combat, it's only about keeping the neighborhood looking clean and proper. Property values, moral high ground and all that. If your lawn is neatly trimmed and your house clean and in good repair, you can keep beating your wife and abusing your children, as long as it doesn't show too much.

      Real world issues are complicated and hard to fix, it's much easier to outlaw reminding about them. The result is the same, peace of mind.

    3. Flywheel Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Grounds for firing?

      I can see some companies having to enforce a transitioning (can I still say that?) period for meetings and video calls. Plus, there'll need to be trigger warnings at the start of each meeting.

      Another question - how much if this stuff(?) is coming from real non-white people compared to SJWs?

      1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

        Re: Grounds for firing?

        My assumption would be that if people are calling you racist names in the street or refusing to employ you because of the colour of your skin then you are more concerned about those things than what 0x20 is called.

        Alternatively if you aren't being called racist names or denied opportunity because of your race then you aren't bothered what 0x20 is called either because you're more interested in getting on with your life.

        TL;DR: It's just the SJW's.

        1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

          Re: Grounds for firing?

          Oh, I'm getting called a racist more-or-less every time I dare to pop my head up and suggest that these people are not friends of liberty. And since it appears that the term "racist" can only apply to white people, it's becoming more and more clear that the term "racist" is itself---racist.

  11. LDS Silver badge
    Joke

    "as in the domains of "

    PLEASE, replace the word DOMAIN!!!! It implies domination of someone else!!!! It's not a democratic term!!!! How many people suffered and were deprived of freedom under someone domination in their domains???

    Once you started.... you won't know where it ends....

    1. OssianScotland Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: "as in the domains of "

      Would "demesne" be a suitable alternative?

      At least, after NT4, M$ got rid of the idea of "primary" and "secondary" (obviously inferior and therefore victimised) domain controllers and now all domain controllers are equal*

      *but inevitably, some are more equal than others

      1. LDS Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: "as in the domains of "

        The term must be inclusive. It should be "community", evidently. Don't know if a "community controller" implies inequality, though - and "controlling" others is a bad thing, of course. "Supervisor" might be also somehow linked to slavery, as "overseer" (the term have exactly the same meaning) - as beyond owners and "masters" there was obviously those tasked to make slaves work, and hinder any escape, without "owning" them.

        Maybe "community counselor"?

        In other meanings "domain" should be replaced with "field" or "matter", I believe....

        Then we have to abolish "authoritative" servers because of course there was no democratic vote on establishing them. And many people suffered and were denied freedom and killed under "authoritarian" governments.

  12. Mark192 Bronze badge

    The repugnant term is black or white

    The repugnant term is black or white to describe race.

    It encourages a mindset that we're entirely separate and can't mix.

    Race is not an absolute - we're all shades of melanin.

    1. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Re: The repugnant term is black or white

      There's only one race: the human one.

      1. John Doe 12

        Re: The repugnant term is black or white

        There's only one race: the race to be first in the lunch queue :-D

      2. OssianScotland Silver badge
        Pint

        There's only one race: the human one.

        And by all appearances, it has been lost a long time ago

        (Insert appropriate reference to Nobby Nobbs here)

      3. Mark192 Bronze badge

        Re: The repugnant term is black or white

        "There's only one race: the human one."

        That will certainly be true given sufficient time but, for now, the people that insist race does not exist are doing a dis-service. Race, and racism, both do exist.

        The people that say Race doesn't exist have defined it as something it isn't.

        To acknowledge something exists does not mean you see it as important or relevant.

        I assume the 4 downvotes on my original post are from people that don't think race exists but are simultaneously confused how racists manage to identify their victims.

        There is a chance that the downvotes came from people that think races shouldn't mix... perhaps someone with a mixed history should be forced to choose between the "two cultures" <-- rhetorical, there are more than two and cultures have plenty of fluid and ever-changing overlap and shared collaboration and identify as solely black or solely white... I'd be genuinely interested.

        If you downvoted for use of 'repugnant' then fair enough - no one likes hyperbole.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I assume you'll now be retiring Verity Stob?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Are you suggesting STOB's down to the wear bars?

  14. mihares
    Devil

    Sanity check

    Okay, this fingering with the language is all well and good and, above all else, it's extremely cheap.

    Should we perform a sanity check on the proportion of the workforce Splunk and Google and the likes employ, to see if they flawlessly reflect the gender and skin colour distribution of their surroundings? Shall we also see if pay is equal for equal position for non white and non penis-bearing people?

    Then, and only then, this fiddling with words will look like an honest attempt to make the world a little better and not an pathetic, useless endeavour to cover up for much bigger, much more important and consequential problems than how you call things --very often, obviously as a joke.

    1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

      Re: Sanity check

      Actually, they ran the numbers at Google & found out that (shock) they were paying women more than men (for same job & experience).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sanity check

        "Actually, they ran the numbers at Google & found out that (shock) they were paying women more than men (for same job & experience)."

        That's only part of the story. A NYT article about this study goes on to state:

        "Critics said the results of the pay study could give a false impression. Company officials acknowledged that it did not address whether women were hired at a lower pay grade than men with similar qualifications."

        And there's the rub. Gender bias during job interviews exists and is a real problem. There was a study a while back about how differently men and women behave in interviews, concluding that men tend to exaggerate their skills and qualifications and tend to get hired more often (1.5 times) than similarly qualified female candidates. Women tend to understate their skills and qualifications and end up more often than men in posiitions for which they are overqualified. The tendency to hire men more often is present even when it's female managers doing the hiring. This is a well studied phenomenen, just run a search for "Gender bias job interview"

        Equal pay for equal work is the lesser issue here. The major issue is equal work for equal qualifications. So the correct question to ask is: Are employees assigned to the appropriate pay grade for their qualifications? The answer is that for women that is less often the case.

  15. RobLang

    Unpopular opinion here

    Structural racism, ableism, gender equality is "death by a thousand cuts". No-one in those communities will be directly offended by the use of "blackhat" or "whitehat". However, they are small drips that add up. The government isn't banning them. Companies aren't firing people for using the old terms. They're just trying to gently change the language over time. And because society is built upon the way it communicates, thousands of tiny changes like that add up.

    Language evolves over time, especially quickly in tech and although I understand those that extrapolate to a dark future, cool heads will prevail.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Unpopular opinion here

      "cool heads will prevail."

      Assumes facts not in evidence.

    2. FeepingCreature

      Re: Unpopular opinion here

      "The government isn't banning them" yet. "Companies aren't firing people for using the old terms" yet.

      "They're just trying to gently change the language over time." The only reason they're being gentle is cause they think they can't get away with force. Yet.

      This is indeed "death by a thousand cuts."

      1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

        Re: Unpopular opinion here

        It might not be showing up on the HR documentation, but it is DEFINITELY already well in play. Was it one of the founders of Mozilla that got bounced for supporting the same side of an issue as Bill Clinton twenty years earlier?

        It's easier to accuse your rival of some sort of -ism than it is to get your act together.

    3. EvilDrSmith Bronze badge

      Re: Unpopular opinion here

      RobLang - I've no problem with unpopular opinions - challenging conventional wisdom is often useful, so have an upvote.

      I think the French have (or used to have) a bunch of academics that were responsible for preserving the purity of the French language, or some such.

      English doesn't, it evolves, often by stealing, erm, borrowing, words from other languages.

      Also, the individual meaning of words changes over time / with use.

      However, this change seems to me to be 'democratic evolution', driven not from on high by diktat, but from the bottom up, by people just using the language in everyday life.

      Pointing out that certain terms are offensive is entirely reasonable. Taking offense on others' behalf, less so. Taking offense on others' behalf, and then imposing your decision on everyone, whether they agree or not? Nah!

      Also, if someone wants to change vocabulary used in a process, it helps if they understand its use and offer realistic alternatives.

      Is 'a baffling outlier' close enough in meaning to a 'crazy outlier'? Sounds it to me, but not a term I use.

      Is 'Slows down' the same as 'crippled'? Not remotely, that's an order of magnitude difference in performance to my mind.

      Is 'a final check for completeness and clarity' the same as 'sanity check'? Possibly, but I'm not going to wander up to a colleague and say all that, I'm going to ask for a sanity check, because it's concise and conveys the meaning.

      Language is first and foremost about communicating. Trying to stop it evolving is foolish. But so is trying to impose politically motivated changes.

      1. RM Myers Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Unpopular opinion here

        Well that was much too reasonable. You do realize that this is the internet, don't you. Using logic is certainly not encouraged, but can be tolerated in low doses, and the lack of rancor can sometimes be forgiven, but having both in the same comment is a step too far. I hope you don't think the internet is a place for civil discourse!

    4. Tuomas Hosia

      Re: Unpopular opinion here

      "However, they are small drips that add up."

      Assumption that's based on nothing but will to control of what other people say or think.

      Basically, fascism. Of course none of these neo-fascists will *ever admit that*.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Unpopular opinion here

      > They're just trying to gently change the language over time.

      And one of the first words they changed was the definition of "gently"?

      Past behaviours have shown what happens when someone refuses to bow to changes imposed by political-correctness busybodies. I wouldn't call the threat of public shaming and subsequent loss of one's livelihood "gentle".

      > Companies aren't firing people for using the old terms.

      Aren't they? People have certainly been fired for "bringing the company into disrepute" when their private non-ideologically-aligned opinions have been made public by those with an ideological agenda.

    6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Unpopular opinion here

      "they are small drips that add up"

      They are indeed. When I was young a drip was a term of disparagement.

    7. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Unpopular opinion here

      Remember when the French Revolution wanted to change names to things to make the world "better", for example the months names? It ended well, didn't it?

      Language evolves, sure, but beware of those who want to force changes because they feel they are superior and could make the world "better". It's no surprise Orwell made it a focal point of 1984.

  16. JcRabbit

    Crazy

    Why is the world going crazy? But, even more important than that still, why are we, adult sane reasonable people, LETTING it happen? Time to start speaking up and saying enough is enough, no?

    1. d3vy Silver badge

      Re: Crazy

      Not sure what side of the debate you're on here?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Crazy

        He was just being all-inclusive.

    2. James 47

      Re: Crazy

      The amusing thing about all this is that it's pretty much cemeted Trump a second term in office. Sane people will speak up at the ballot box.

  17. CountCadaver Bronze badge

    Ableist language is sadly everywhere

    Even "inclusive" politicians like Mhairi Black freely use words like "dafty" https://twitter.com/MhairiBlack/status/1269583277494611968

    For those who don't know, dafty is a word that refers to mental patients derived from "going daft" (historical context: Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon), its a seriously nasty term if you know its history and one that people shouldn't be chucking around as an insult.

    Asked her not to use it due to its history - deafening silence in reply, shameful that people are only for equality in some respects....

    Thiink how many mental health related slurs there are out there - fruitcake, nutter, headcase, fruitloop, psycho, loony, loony-bin, funny-farm, nuthouse, schizo the list keeps going on and on and on, stigmatising those with mental health issues and making it harder for them to seek treatment due to social attitudes about mental health, that people see it as a joke or something to deride people about. When mental health is anything but a laughing matter.

    Others especially for those across the Atlantic - Spaz - means spastic meaning someone with cerebral palsy, so essentially like Trump using disability as an insult, same goes for spacker (a Newcastle one), dumb - referring to someone non verbal and yet co-opted to mean stupid, even moron comes from a clinical definition of a specific intellectual impairment / learning difficulty

    So props to Google for doing more than the bare minimum and actually looking at things more indepth.

    1. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: Ableist language is sadly everywhere

      I upvoted you because I'd downvoted you and you didn't merit that and I can't withdraw it, but I disagree strongly. Citing a doric speaker from a century ago is irrelevant to any 21st century Glaswegian.

      I also upvoted you because I remember when spazz was such a common insult that the Spastic Society rebranded. I've also complained here about plays on the word retard.

      Bit dafty is fine, it's non-judgemental. A daftie is anyone who is daft, and that includes clever jokers.

      1. CountCadaver Bronze badge

        Re: Ableist language is sadly everywhere

        I have to (respectfully) disagree with you, just because some people have forgotten the origin and meaning of the word, doesn't change its offence level, particularly when its still being used in the same way - referring to people deemed as "stupid" (mentally ill people were and are viewed as being "lesser" by sections of the public and the medical profession, the change in atttiude from doctors when they discover you have a mental illness of any sort is quite saddening, your immediiately treated wholly differently like a dangerous child incapable of understanding or making any decisions no matter your condition and current state of mind, which makes you feel even more stigmatised and unwilling to discuss mental illness with others)

        I'm not a Doric speaker nor from that area, but I am Scottish and I've heard the phrase "he's gone daft" uttered all too frequently - meaning to have gone insane or lost his mind, so the usage is still current, even if people don't realise or see it.

        By your example of Glaswegians using "dafty", then surely Geordies and others in that area are entitled to use the term "spacker" freely as they don't use it about cerebral palsy sufferers anymore.

        Cretin is as bad, someone affected by Cretinism aka Congenital iodine deficiency syndrome, when you look at the word in that light and see its origins, to me at least it makes using it wholly abhorrent.

        Mongol / Mongoloid again something I hear used all too often here and in the USA, another medical term co-opted as insult (down's syndrome)

        1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

          Re: Ableist language is sadly everywhere

          Actually, I'm pretty certain that the move to "Mongoloidism" in the common vernacular was intended to be less problematic than "retarded". And the term itself refers to the superficial similarity to the Western mind of the characteristic facial features. I've never heard anyone who thinks of the Mongols as stupid. But then, I didn't grow up in an urban area, so I'm obviously not in touch with all of the insults people come up with.

          1. CountCadaver Bronze badge

            Re: Ableist language is sadly everywhere

            I don't live in an urban area either, but Mongol was frequently used as an insult to mean retard or worse with a severe stigma about people with down's when I was a kid in the 80s and 90s and I've heard kids still using it today, showing that societal prejudice has not altered much...

            1. cdrcat

              Re: Ableist language is sadly everywhere

              Calling somebody a mong is an insult in New Zealand, which I presume it is a abbreviation (and nothing to do with the Hmong).

        2. Danny 2 Silver badge

          Re: Ableist language is sadly everywhere

          I love Lewis Grassic Gibbon, but he didn't speak the same language as Mhairi Black. In lowland Scots today the word daftie runs the gamut between idiot and smart-guy. Even as an insult, it's the very mildest of insults.

          We Scots have more pejorative words than the Inuit have words for snow, for the same reason - we are surrounded by pejoratives and need to be specific.

          At primary school I was called c-nt, cock, fud, fanny, twat, prick et al, and none of us had any idea those words referred to genitalia. They were just generic insults.

          1. CountCadaver Bronze badge

            Re: Ableist language is sadly everywhere

            Now you are just deflecting and making excuses to justify using a term which has severe prejudice at its root

            Just because Glaswegians have forgotten its origins (and its a Scotland wise usage) then that doesn't change the discriminatory nature of the term.

            We put "spaz" "spazzie" "spastic" into unacceptable terms despite them, being commonly used variants for "stupid" not that long ago ,its now time to put mental health slurs into the same category,

            Its not a mild insult either, i've heard it used by plenty of "lowland" Scots as one of their upper end insults along with c*nt, usually being screamed at the top of their lungs while picking a fight

          2. CountCadaver Bronze badge

            Re: Ableist language is sadly everywhere

            Also just because you don't know where it comes from, doesnt make it ok to use it

            Otherwise schoolkids would get away with yelling racist abuse, they don't

    2. thondwe

      Re: Ableist language is sadly everywhere

      Astrophysics - Black Hole, White Dwarf, Eclipsing Binary, PMS (Pre-Main Sequence)... !

      Surely it's about context of word usage, not the word itself?

      1. CountCadaver Bronze badge

        Re: Ableist language is sadly everywhere

        Problem is when the word is being used as a variant of its original meaning and society treats the intellectually disabled poorly then it conditions people to discriminate by default as it normalises it.

        Racism and homophobia has only diminished as there has been a strong effort to make it socially unacceptable and to subject those using racist language to being excluded and ostracised and criminal sanctions for the worse offenders.

        I just wish transphobia would go the same way and the mods here would take action against the myriad of openly transphobic comments often nor bothering with coded language. For all the effort to be progressive, there is a defined lack of action against transphobia vs racism and homophobia....and thats not right.

        I generally disagee with ever more speech restrictions but on this I can't argue against terms with a loaded history being replaced, its a simple step and an evolution of my own position after some careful thought.

        I will say that a colleague emailed Ms Black and they had a fruitful conversation and she apologised for any offence caused albeit inadvertently. So thats a good resolution, things change when people are willing to listent to the viewpoints of others.

      2. OssianScotland Silver badge

        Re: Ableist language is sadly everywhere

        Not to mention "minor planets" Who are astronomers to say that a planet is major or minor? Has anyone asked them?

        And don't get me started on Pluto!

  18. FeepingCreature

    Wouldn't it be much easier (and more accurate)

    to rename "black people" and "white people" to brown and pink, respectively? Nobody's using "pinklist", or "brownhat".

    1. EvilDrSmith Bronze badge

      Re: Wouldn't it be much easier (and more accurate)

      But some of us are only pink in summer, and are more a shade of pale blue in winter.

      This could get very complicated.

      1. Danny 2 Silver badge

        Re: Wouldn't it be much easier (and more accurate)

        I have Raynaud's, pale white skin that rapidly goes orange and purple and blue. "Coloured" would fit me better than white.

        I got in trouble on a US forum for referring to my neighbours as coloured people, but they refer to themselves as coloured people - they are/were South African and the old apartheid terms linger.

        1. Robert Grant Silver badge

          Re: Wouldn't it be much easier (and more accurate)

          The US's number one export is a set of universally applicable, context-free bad words.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Wouldn't it be much easier (and more accurate)

          The US census IIRC had to reintroduce the term "negro" as an option as older African Americans found "black" offensive as it described them by their skin colour rather than their race.as white is down as "caucasian"

          So it becomes a minefield at times, espcially when different age groups have different views on whats offensive and whats acceptable.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wouldn't it be much easier (and more accurate)

      "pinklist" and "brownhat" sound like niche pr0n categories. I'm sure Rule 34 applies...

  19. Simon Ward

    Enough ....

    TBH, I'd rather have the folks working at $WHEREVER slaving[*] away developing code which works rather than sitting in healing circles wringing their hands about whether or not someone, somewhere will be offended by what has been written.

    Y'know what? I don't give a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut whether your code uses 'master/slave', 'parent/child' or 'this/that' - as long as it works, I don't care. I really don't. If you must insist on this new-age, touchy-feely, snowflake bullshit then please, keep it to yourselves - or failing that, you can look through some of my code: the terminology used therein would probably make your fragile little heads explode.

    [*] - yeah, I used 'slaving'. Downvote away ...

  20. Povl H. Pedersen

    Swedish situation

    The US is trying to end up in a swedish situation.

    To not make difference between people is pure socialism.

    BlackLivesMatter are racists because they use skin color to promote their case. They should change their slogan to "All LivesMatter", and put action behind it, instead of meeting at virus spread meetings

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Swedish situation

      When you see "Black Lives Matter" think of it as a reminder that "Black Lives Also Matter". and not as "Only Black Lives Matter".

      At least, I'd hope that's what they mean, although I do sometimes wonder if some people who use the phrase do so very deliberately because they know that it winds-up some non-Black people who feel (perhaps not always entirely unreasonably) that they are being excluded from those whose lives matter (far from every white person gets a fair deal out of life either, although I fully acknowledge that most white people don't have to deal with racism against them on top of everything else).

      It does none of us any good to inadvertently or deliberately convey that (any) other people's lives don't matter (all of us are human, first of all), but it is for BLM (BLAM?) organisers to decide what slogan/name they want to use to get their message across.

      1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

        Re: Swedish situation

        They got a (progressive) university president fired because she use the term "all lives matter" in public. Once. With her apologizing profusely as soon as she was called out.

        BLM is explicitly anti-white but mostly anti-cop. Their chants of "oink oink bang bang" make that clear.

  21. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Let's remind ourselves of who else changes well-established terms: Marketing.

  22. Christoph

    Similarly, "sanity check" is objectionable when "a final check for completeness and clarity" is more inclusive.

    So there ain't no Sanity Clause?

  23. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Dream Warriors - You think I don't know

    Radical noise? Black music

    Illegal sales district? Black Market

    Stockmarket crash? Black Monday

    Subconscious psychology reversed

    You think I don't know

    But everything you fear is black

    The bad guys wear black

    Evil vengance, black widows

    Followed by evil black shadows

    You got to help me out

    When disease wipes out millions of people?

    Black death

    Subconscious psychology reversed

    You think I don't know

    But everything you fear is black

    I am black and beware if I cross your path

    Because I bring bad luck

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dream Warriors - You think I don't know

      Our accounts department have no problem with black; in fact, they rather like it.

      1. Danny 2 Silver badge

        Re: Dream Warriors - You think I don't know

        Well "better dead than red."

    2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: Dream Warriors - You think I don't know

      "When disease wipes out millions of people?

      Black death"

      Serious lack of historical knowledge again! Bubonic plague (before it got that name) was called "the Black Death" because of the distinctive buboes which appeared black, especially after death. It was and is a purely descriptive term based on what was observed. It has nothing whatsoever with people of other skin colours. See also "yellow fever".

      Oh, how I wish people were educated to a reasonable minimum standard.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They must be joking, right?

    ". We can – and should – find better terms that remove unconscious bias from our work"

    This guy is an idiot. In master-slave the slave *is literally a slave*. There's 0 bias there as it's an exact term. That's why anyone *demanding* more vague terms is an idiot. And an a**hole.

  25. Danny 2 Silver badge

    BAME Covid deaths

    Excess Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic deaths from Covid were speculated to have a genetic component. Scottish data last week, and a new English study, proves it doesn't.

    More BAME folk are dying simply because they catch it more. It's the overlap with the older pandemic, socio-economic racism.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: BAME Covid deaths

      There are at least two genetic elements to deaths and serious illness from Covid-19. One relates to blood group, and the other to ACE2 and chemokyne receptors. People with blood group A have a greater chance of death or serious illness than other blood groups. See https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/two-genetic-regions-linked-with-severe-covid-19-67619, for example.

      I haven't had chance to refresh my memory on the distribution of blood groups amongst different ethnicities, but I do remember that group A is more prevalent amongst some non-European groups.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When did El Reg get so old?

    I came expecting “where will it end’ ‘political correctness gone mad’ and ‘this is an outrage’. Was not disappointed.

    If your long term memory can no longer survive a few name changes it’s probably time to check out some ‘supported living’ arrangements, lest you forget to turn off the stove.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: When did El Reg get so old?

      Troll.

  27. Potemkine! Silver badge

    New wave

    Instead of Master and Slave, I suggest Master and Servant

    1. BenDwire Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: New wave

      Or how about Wife and Husband? (i.e. SWMBO)

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: New wave

        If more people knew the etymology of wife and husband then those terms would be banned, too.

  28. cantankerous swineherd Silver badge

    dom and sub?

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Sadist and masochist?

  29. Vasten_the_Barelegged
    Pint

    Relaxed of Tunbridge Wells

    May I turn this issue rather personal. It's likely that most commentards around here are white, and most are probably older than they care to admit. I know I am in those categories. And I know it is difficult even to acknowledge that one may have an entrenched view that really is unnecessarily entrenched. And I know that the IT industry really can use some self-scrutiny, as a lot of the time, it is ideologically up itself, and that sometimes the ideology that underpins it has been a problem rather than a solution.

    I will further admit that I have difficulty in understanding what the fuss is about regarding some things. But just because I can't understand it, does not seem to me, on reflection, a reason to dismiss it, as that is a circular argument which is intellectually bereft. And I must place into the category of things I do not fully comprehend many aspects of the societal discussions currently taking place.

    Why all that introduction? Because for the last several years, I have called myself by a silly little in-joke here on ElReg and elsewhere - tinslave. It's just an anagram of my first name and initial of my last name, but is a little in-joke that probably could only be made among those in the IT industry (unless another industry refers to hardware etc as "tin".) As far as I was concerned, that is an utterly innocuous name, and if someone objected to it, it would almost certainly be because it's such a pathetic in-joke rather than for other reasons.

    But I have changed that name, and registered a new domain as well.

    Why? Because its not a problem to do so, and it is a small acknowledgement that there is something I do not fully understand, but do understand that words carry connotations for some that are unhelpful. I don't think for one second that anyone would be "offended" by my tiny strand in the web, but that's not the issue. Similarly, the "it's only a word" argument applies to me too - it's only a word, so replace it. So I took action and changed the name. If you like, I did it for myself, for my own intellectual good, and perhaps the good of my conscience, rather than for others.

    I am not concerned about the "whatever next" argument either, as I understand enough about the current societal debate going to see that there really is a systemic issue to be corrected, even if my understanding is not thorough. That argument is also not a rebuttal to the issue at hand.

    I offer these thoughts not as a confession of any kind, but simply because I've thought long and hard about this recently, and concluded that the "it's no big deal" aspect applies more t my use of these terms than it does reflected the other way. I therefore support the idea of re-thinking entrenched concepts when new or hidden information comes to light.

    ----> Beer, because I needed it after so much thinking.

    1. graeme leggett

      Re: Relaxed of Tunbridge Wells

      Your erudition does you proud.

    2. CountCadaver Bronze badge

      Re: Relaxed of Tunbridge Wells

      Well done, its harder often to say "i'm wrong" or "i might be in the wrong" then it is to ignore things.

      Its long overdue that we take a long hard look at our society and values, we claim to be better than our ancestors but all too often I seriously doubt that, look at the net, its rapidly descended into whats all too often a cesspit, when before it became mainstream, it felt different, somewhere where you could have a discussion without someone swatting you or cyberstalking etc, where you could trust you were speaking to a person, not a bot or some scammer

      I met and still talk to a lot of people from back then in the late 90s, haven't had that in the last 15 years.

      1. Vasten_the_Barelegged

        Re: Relaxed of Tunbridge Wells

        > its harder often to say "i'm wrong" or "i might be in the wrong" then it is to ignore things.

        This is true, and perhaps the downvotes to my post, which I find genuinely puzzling, prove it. Maybe it's because some Kentish commentards know I'm not really from Tunbridge Wells

    3. Claptrap314 Silver badge

      Re: Relaxed of Tunbridge Wells

      The issue is not really any particular change. On their own, you could make a pretty good case for any one of those. It's the question of the bigger picture. Someone attempted to call out Slippery Slope as a fallacy. Except it's not. In many endeavors, it is easier to make a bunch of small changes than one big one. So if they big change is the intent, you better fight the small changes.

      Some of us have a broad enough view of the world to see the links between these changes. They are coming from people who are explicitly Marxist in their views, and increasingly Maoist in their behaviors. Yeah, I don't want to have to fight this from inside a prison, so I'm fighting it here. Now.

      1. Stork Silver badge

        Re: Relaxed of Tunbridge Wells

        Isn't it already too late then - think of all the references to women you are not allowed to make anymore?

        I can imagine master/slave being at least annoying beyond the professionally offended.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Relaxed of Tunbridge Wells

      I'd like to respond in kind by also turning this personal - well kind of, i prefer to remain anonymous. I'd like to quote from an earlier post I made:

      ...Finally, basic human decency: if doing something costs you nothing and does you no harm but helps someone else, then you're morally obliged to do it. It won't be the downfall of civilization. Actually, I'm willing to bet that future generations will rather ask themselves what the deuce took us so long to get rid of these expressions.

      Finally, someone who gets it! I thank You and commend your stance - speaking as a black person who's been in the IT Industry and has been reading el-reg since way back when the weekly BOFH article was the highlight of my week.

      I do so abhor arguing over theroretical "slippery slopes" - I don't care about some imaginary scenarios that *might* occur at some point in the future and don't believe changing a few words to be more inclusive will be the downfall of civilization, that's just imho plain silly. I do care about actual discomfort/non-inclusiveness being caused *now* to black and brown folks. The "Master-Slave" terminology is one that i find particularly irritating when I stop to think about it, which most times i avoid doing.

      Anon, for obvious reasons.

  30. James 47

    None of this is truly inclusive

    There is an underlying assumption here that people invovled in software are largely a) American, and b) speak English natively.

    The first is just American Privilege pure and simple.

    The second negatively affects anyone who has to use a dictionary or online translation service to contribute to a project. They're not likely to be aware of the nuances of certain words.

    1. A. Coatsworth
      Thumb Down

      Re: None of this is truly inclusive

      Of course it is not inclusive.

      It is nothing but a way for loud, obnoxious people to show how much better than us plebs they are. Any actual improvement to society caused by this would be merely coincidental.

      1. James 47

        Re: None of this is truly inclusive

        This is a direct quote from a non-natively English speaking colleague:

        "I can't believe this is actually happening. Using English turns into walking through a minefield."

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: None of this is truly inclusive

          And it's not a thought exclusive to non-native speakers. For avoidance of doubt "native" refers to those born into an Anglophone culture and has no racial connotations. Also for avoidance of doubt "speakers" refers to users of a language, not to electro-mechanical acoustic devices. One has to be so careful these days to avoid being misunderstood. For avoidance of doubt "one" in the last sentence was being used as a pronoun, not as a numeral. For avoidance of doubt "sentence" in this post was being used as a grammatical construct, not as the pronouncement of a court on evil-doers, no matter how tempting the latter might be.

  31. Munchausen's proxy
    Pint

    Can I still say

    "Oh, for fuck's sake!"

    Or is that too hurtful to the lonely?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Proximity and stuff

    I understand offence by proximity. I think Scott Adams wrote about it (was that before or after he went mad? not sure).

    So, if I live and work in a society where slavery exists, or has existed in recent history, I can see how if I use the phrase "ok, we can't recover replication, just fucking kill the slave and use a new one" that would be offensive.

    I don't feel like I live in that society, because it's 2020 and I live in Europe. I'm also white, but I'm guessing that the non-white people I work with wouldn't have an issue with "master/slave" either. Maybe I should ask them.

    Usanians have more recent memories of slavery, so maybe for them there's a proximity issue. The ongoing racial division in clearly rooted in slavery. If they'd properly healed and rebalanced then nobody would get offended, right?

    The issue is that we now have a global community of software engineers. So the bar is naturally set lower.

    Reluctantly then, I feel fine about getting rid of master/slave, because it reduces the possibility of me accidentally saying something that is offensive to a Usanian.

    But "sanity check"? "Crippled?". I'm not on board with that yet. Maybe I can change, I don't know. Maybe I'll be "that old guy that doesn't know any better". Hopefully I won't get fired.

    1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

      Re: Proximity and stuff

      There are no memories of slavery in the US (1865, people), except by recent immigrants--mostly from North Africa.

      This is cultural Marxism using its tools of divide and conquer to attempt to bring down civilization.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Proximity and stuff

        I've no idea what Marxism has to do with this, but anyway, you carelessly tossed aside my use of the word "recent", which is subjective.

        There exist audio recording from freed slaves, e.g.

        https://www.loc.gov/collections/voices-remembering-slavery/about-this-collection

        That satisfies the "recent" criteria for some people.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Proximity and stuff

          >There exist audio recording from freed slaves...

          Suggest you read To Kill the Truth"

          It's fiction but it makes a big point...

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Proximity and stuff

          "There exist audio recording from freed slaves"

          There also exist documents from feudal times in England. It doesn't make feudalism "recent". And properly curated those audio recordings will still exist in several hundred years time.

      2. Stork Silver badge

        Re: Proximity and stuff

        Realistically, slavery has f*cked up generations after. Apart from general social inheritance and direct race discrimination, I am convinced that slavery messed up large parts of the black populations family structures. Role models matter.

        1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

          Re: Proximity and stuff

          OMW--do I actually have to say this? OF COURSE, the adaptations that blacks undertook in an attempt to limit the effects of the horrors of slavery took root in a way that was hugely detrimental to post slavery existence. OF COURSE, the enactment of Jim Crow laws and the reign of the Night Riders continued to inflict outrages which likelywise reinforced and broadened those patterns.

          But no one alive today has been a slave in the US except by a wholy criminal action-or some weird kink. There simply is nothing to remember.

          What there is is an unfortunate tendency to carry these memories from generation to generation in a way that makes it easy for race merchants to exploit. My family was very deliberate in preventing me or any of my cousins from learning what had been done to us until we were adults. THAT is my privilege--being raised that my efforts will bear fruit. I wish that privilege on you and upon your children.

    2. CountCadaver Bronze badge

      Re: Proximity and stuff

      As someone with personal experience of dealing with those with mental health issues, I can tell you that "sanity check" or anything else to do with mental health isn't something that should be used flippantly and unfortunately, much of society seems to think mental health is a joke, that depression is just a feeling "a bit down in the dumps" - its far more than that, that PTSD is just "bad memories" again its far more and far more horrid than that, that "bi-polar" is something that they "have a little bit of" etc

      Along with co-opting various terms for intellectual disability as pejoratives, along with dreaming up a million more related to mental health that adds to the stigma

      Yelling homophobic or racial slurs in the street will in most places land you in a cell for the night before an appearance before a judge, yet use insults clearly based around mental health and no one bats an eye....

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: Proximity and stuff

        I think you are confusing two different things there. I speak as an ex-psychiatric nurse and depression sufferer when I say that I abhor the trivialisations you mention - depression isn't unhappiness, bipolar isn't not quite knowing what mood you're in - because they make nearly impossible to explain why depression and bipolar are so disabling. However, using mental health-related terms actually normalise having problems. I will not stop using "crazy", "nutty", "daft", "barmy", "bonkers" "looney" etc, because they no longer mean what they used to. As the pro-language buggering lot keep saying, language evolves.

  33. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    I need help

    (quit the snidey remarks)

    I'm a master craftsman, thats how I'm described..... so what do I change 'master' to to reflect the years of learning and practising I've put into my trade?

    But the serious problem is actually english, in that its a langauge where 1 word is used to describe several different unrelated situations.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: I need help

      "1 word is used to describe several different unrelated situations"

      All real languages do that. Metaphor is fundamental to applying language to new situations. Computers as we know them did not exist 100 years ago so pretty much all computer jargon is metaphorical.

      The argument here is just about which metaphors are allowed.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: I need help

        "The argument here is just about which metaphors are allowed."

        No. The argument here is over who gets to choose the allowed metaphors. It's primarily a control issue ... with the vast majority[0] of us wanting no overt control (it's a FOSS thing), and a few controlling hand-wringers and namby-pambys (egged on by curtain-twitchers, as always) wanting to gain control.

        [0] Judging by the commentard's thumbs up & down ratios in articles of this nature here on ElReg. (I consider the collective ElReg readership to be a fairly representative cross-section of the computing and networking world ... perhaps I'm being naive.)

        1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

          Re: I need help

          There has been a HUGE shift in the last five years. I've not bothered researching the nature of it. The moral preeners are as aggressive and annoying here now as many other places. We used to have a sense of humor.

  34. Emir Al Weeq

    stty

    $stty complete and clear

    Nah!

  35. Not Enough Coffee

    I'm part Polish, just letting you know it's okay to keep Reverse Polish notation.

    1. cdrcat

      Polish part I own; Reverse Polish notation okay to exist, opinion mine humbly.

  36. ken jay

    but who has ide drives

    cant find it on my nvme drives

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: but who has ide drives

      I still use IDE. It is pretty much everywhere in industry, and probably will be until sometime after COBOL and Fortran are retired. (cf I know a few places that still use paper/Mylar punched tape and cards to load program code into equipment, and three places that still use 8" floppies. All are in Silly Con Valley.)

  37. Stork Silver badge

    Has anyone got black friends/colleagues they could ask?

    I have the idea that the majority of commentards (incl. yours truly) are relatively low in melanine. How about asking someone who is not? Like, when used in terms like blacklist, does it bother or do you not think about it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Has anyone got black friends/colleagues they could ask?

      As a black person, I try not to think about it. But, I AM conditioned to respond to the word "black" when i hear or see it as referreing to me or someone similarly "melanin enhanced" like myself. But then again, context is king. So I always try to appropriately consider if "black" is not being used in a negative context or is not being used to mean unwanted/undesirable. Unfortunately, it quite often is. I wish it would be used more often and in more positive and uplifting contexts than when referring to the purported length of my ...nose.

      Clearly, not all terms are equally offensive, some terms are more so and Master-slave comes to mind as an egregious example which could easily have been avoided: I for example would personally have gone with names like "controllers and drones", or "primary and secondary", or "primary and subsidiary". But masters and slaves? really?

      And don't even get me started on the whole slippery slope argument: Slave owners in the south actually argued that: "We should not grant ‘colored men’ freedom from slavery, because this might cause us to grant them all sorts of other freedoms such that ‘a colored man might be the next governor; and colored men might constitute their Legislature, and sit on the bench as judges in their courts’". Now that's one heck of a slippery slope argument.

      But that's just me, forgive my long-winded rant. To finish my thoughts and to answer your question thoroughly, terms like Blacklist get a tired smile and a shrug if I'm directly asked about it. I wouldn't have named it so, but I can ignore it as not being as deeply offensive as others - you have to pick your battles.

      I obviously do not speak for all black people, these are strictly my personal views.

      Anon for obvious reasons.

  38. idiottaxpayerhere previously ishtiaq/theghostdeejay

    Bonking

    Better burn Depeche Mode's Master and Servants record then. (as if)

    Cheers… Ishy

  39. very angry man

    I am morally offended

    By all this bull dust

    FTW i want to get off, they've all gone crazy, wanders off into the distance.

  40. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Disney question

    Goofy is a dog who wears clothes but has Pluto, also a dog, naked on a leash.

    Is this slavery or just a kinky sex thing?

    1. OssianScotland Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Disney question

      Sorry to lighten the serious mood, but there used to be a joke (probably no longer acceptable for a number of reasons)

      Minnie and Mickey Mouse are in the divorce court

      Judge: So, Mr Mouse, the witness states that you said your wife was crazy

      MM: No, your honour, I actually said she was fucking Goofy

      (sorry, I'll go quietly....)

  41. CommanderGalaxian
    Big Brother

    This would be funny, if it wasn't for the fact that the loony tamperers of language are actually serious (and seem to be in the driving seat).

    Book burning parties can't be far off now.

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Flame

      Quote

      Book burning parties can't be far off now.

      And remember kids, when one burns books, burning people is never far behind.....

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