Nat Friedman on Twitter
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It's a great idea and we are already working on this! cc @billygriffin22— Nat Friedman (@natfriedman) June 12, 2020
@skrlet13
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162 anni

I know you Microsoft, I know this is just a PR move and you won’t do anything else to challenge racism (considering all the power you have).

It’s a good move, but I know that coming from Microsoft is not sincere.

@AgreeableLandscape
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2 anni

Exactly. Big companies talk about huge issues like this but rarely actually do anything meaningful. Imagine if they used same effort they used to lobby against privacy laws to lobby for better protections against discrimination.

@wraptile
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152 anni

I honestly hate how america centric internet has become. Seems like every context is considered from american culture even though there are 7 billion more people on the planet.

The rest of the world doesn’t really care about your internal politics. Don’t change international standards because of some cultural issues in your home.

Also human trafficking is real world slavery that enslaves more people in a single year than in entire history of american slavery. How about we start from there and get rid of the word traffic?

Maya
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52 anni

Github is an American company acquired by Microsoft which is an American company. Feel free to name your branches whatever is appropriate to your cultural context

@wraptile
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2 anni

Just because it’s incorporated and registered in america make it an american company? That’s not how internet works. If you have international community you should respect it as an international body.
You’re kinda the problem I mentioned in my OP: “Everything is american! hur dur” ugh 🤮

ant
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12 anni

Literally that’s exactly what this means. Company incorporated in country X is a country X company. Why are you so upset that they’ve made this semantic decision which will likely barely affect you?

@wraptile
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32 anni

No that’s not what it means. For example if country services France it has to obey French laws, the “incorporated location” is completely irrelevant for anything but taxing. Same way if you serve mutli-cultural user base you shouldn’t be forcing everyone to follow single country’s culture.

@k_o_t
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12 anni

I honestly hate how america centric internet has become. Seems like every context is considered from american culture even though there are 7 billion more people on the planet.

nah, you’re just browsing the wrongs parts of the internet if you’ve gotten such impression :)

@wraptile
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52 anni

maybe I am; what would you recommend to browse that is more aware of international context?

@developred
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@wraptile
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52 anni

yet the word “master” has absolutely zero relevance to slavery in Europe. I mean it’s not like Europeans translate “master” to their equivalent of “slave lord” in their git repository. In Lithuanian for example word “master” is a de facto loan word for “someone who mastered something” as in master craftsman and absolutely no one would associate the word with slavery.

Maybe Americans should start mandatory linguistic classes to catch up with the rest of the world a bit?

@ajz
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@AgreeableLandscape
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2 anni

My opinion? Meaningless token action, basically a PR stunt. If they actually want to fight racism, this energy would have been better spent on more useful ways of doing it.

@nutomic
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82 anni

On the other hand, this doesnt have any negative consequences. In the worst case, it will do nothing but piss off right-wingers, and then it would still be worth the effort for me.

@AgreeableLandscape
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2 anni

Assuming this is intended to be a publicity stunt, my biggest problem with this is that they’re using a massive issue like racism as essentially a marketing tool. IMO this waters down the importance of the issue and is all around disrespectful.

@nutomic
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32 anni

Who is “they”?

@AgreeableLandscape
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72 anni

The GitHub team or the Microsoft exec who ordered this.

@nutomic
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52 anni

True, Github needs to stop working with ICE before they do anything else.

Dessalines
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32 anni

Agree, this is good fly paper. Changing it is painless anyway.

I saw someone on that reddit thread say, “master bedroom doesn’t have any negative connotations” lol.

@AgreeableLandscape
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2 anni

Changing it is painless anyway.

This could break a lot of Git scripts, CI/CD configurations and probably a bunch of other stuff.

@deathdisco
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22 anni

if they do it retro-actively it will break a lot of projects. hopefully they do not, but github kinda has a history of deprecating older methods of doing things (look at the github app).

@Rumblestiltskin
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22 anni

I don’t think they can retroactively change everything. Some projects don’t even have their ‘master’ copy on GitHub. I think they will probably just change default behavior on new projects.

@lordofbud
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22 anni

“In the worst case, it will do nothing but piss off right-wingers, and then it would still be worth the effort for me.”

And do you expect it to change their minds? Because pissing people rarely does. Pissing people off closes their minds to you and the influence you might have had. Oblivious meaningless pandering just makes everyone roll their eyes.

The word master has had and still has meaning completely unrelated to human slavery, pretending one use of the word should dictate the ability to use all other uses is asinine.

@nutomic
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32 anni

Its probably not possible to change their mind, so I’m happy if they stay as far away as possible.

@Rumblestiltskin
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02 anni

I think that people that get pissed off about this are going to get pissed off about any small change to their lives due to people trying to help with equality. So nobody should be worry about pissing off snow flakes like that when real progress could be made. Not that I think the change to the word ‘master’ in software development is actual progress.

Ephera
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82 anni

This is some really dumb shit. This use of “master” has nothing to do with slavery. Practically all uses of “master” have nothing to do with it. But let’s just break all kinds of scripts anyways, for a fucking PR stunt.

@couldbeanybody
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32 anni

Wait but the words master and slave have meaning, don’t they?

@wraptile
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12 anni

Master has different defintions as well. Welcome to human languages!
In the context of git master means “master copy”.

They do. And slave basically has only one meaning and should be banned, also from technology. But master has a lot of different meanings, and it is ridiculous to ban it. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/master

@oriond
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52 anni

But they (Microsoft) will keep enslaving the users of their products by all means and fighting free software. How hypocrites they are.

But, I didn’t know master was a racist term or something. Is it, though? Probably master/slave is, but master only… I don’t see the problem. Am I missing something? AFAIK, GitHub doesn’t use the term slave.

@blaha
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12 anni

virtue signaling

@ksynwa
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goddamned liberals

edit: Now that I am done knee-jerking, “main” does seem to be a better name for the branch considering what its purpose is.

Ephera
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52 anni

I don’t think, it’s better. The master branch is the master-copy, the original, and all the other branches, the other copies, are modifications of it. That’s how the term is used in the music industry and for documents.

I don’t think, “main” is worse either. If we were choosing it as name at the start of git’s existence, I would absolutely not be opposed to it.

But changing it now, will break many scripts, will require updating of documentation and will cause confusion and various long-term problems, especially if not everyone switches to the new default. And worst of all, there is no sensible reason for doing this. The term “master” is used all the time, and basically never for referring to slavery.

@nutomic
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62 anni

People use different branches all the time, and non-programmers wouldnt even notice this change if it wasnt for the whining of right-wing snowflakes.

Ephera
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32 anni

They do use different branch names all the time, e.g. many projects have a development branch or branches for developing new (larger) features, but it’s still useful to have one standardized branch name in each project and especially so for the code that you want to present to the outside.

It’s what GitHub, GitLab, Gitea etc. show by default. It’s what gets checked out when you run “git clone”. It’s just been perfectly clear terminology up until now, for discussing the handling of branches.

And now we’re throwing that all away for really just no reason. I’m not saying that I disagree with the reason, I’m saying there is no reason presented. “Master” is not related to slavery in any way here. And no, calling me a right-wing snowflake is not a reason either, especially since I’m a far-left snowflake.

@nutomic
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62 anni

According to this it actually is a reference to slavery.

https://mail.gnome.org/archives/desktop-devel-list/2019-May/msg00066.html

@ksynwa
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32 anni

HOly fuck. That guy whom it was a reply to got owned by facts but kept yapping on about “master” copy in the replies lol

Ephera
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22 anni

I had a think about this, and I don’t want to drag this out too much longer anymore, but I think this is important:

I don’t think, that’s a good enough reason, specifically because many will think it’s bullshit. Which is an important metric in itself, because those who think it’s bullshit, will take the BLM movement less serious and will become more receptive for right-wing ideology.

It’s well possible that this was even started by right-wing trolls trying to achieve exactly that. Wouldn’t be the first time.

And I do think, it’s absolutely worth offending those hypothetical black people that actually do get offended by this, in order to prevent strengthening the right wing. Because the right wing is what causes the actual problems for black people.

@lordofbud
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22 anni

Ah, pandering to people who were never offended in the first place. Good job guys…

@deathdisco
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-42 anni

Free the slave IDE drives while you’re at it! How could it have taken this long! :upside-down face:

@AgreeableLandscape
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42 anni

I mean we basically solved that by, uh, not using IDE drives any more.

@deathdisco
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-22 anni

We should bring it back so that we can ban it again, but this time for… uh… ‘reasons’.

Look at all this injustice!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master/slave_(technology)

@falx
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-32 anni

What’s next? Master/slave replicas should also be renamed, right? What about client/server? Black/white-listing? This is really dumb

@fruechtchen
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82 anni

Actually, black/whiteliste was one of the cases where i didn’t notice the negative connotation before, but it is obviously true. the subtle negative connotation leads to stigmatization. So i like it.

i think client/server is fine, it doesn’t have a colonial connotation.

@falx
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Is this really a good way to move forward? Rename everything and pretend like it did not happen? It feels like this kind of approach is just hiding things under the carpet. Renaming things that may have negative connotations due to a troubled history is too extreme form of censorship (similar to book burning) and a bit lazy IMHO.

All these technical terms are very descriptive of the concepts they abstract, (eg. it could be argued that black/white-listing is in relation to physical light and how it reflects off white and gets absorbed by black).

Disclaimer: I am culturally very far away from the colonial history so I may be a bit biased when I say renaming things like that is just dumb.

@nutomic
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102 anni

Blacklist/whitelist is objectively a less accurate term than blocklist/allowlist.

@falx
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32 anni

Very true, I think I just got used to the former but the latter is objectively better indeed, will start using that from now on.

Dessalines
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12 anni

Good point, we should actually change that one too, its harmless.

@nutomic
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32 anni
@SirLotsaLocks
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52 anni

I dont get this “pretend it didn’t happen” thing people like to push these kinds of changes as, because they are actively admitting that bad things did happen and they would like to avoid associating themselves and normalizing the idea of something as horrible as slavery and instead use objectively clearer and language and terms less rooted in historical trauma.

@falx
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42 anni

I just imagined (incorrectly I should add, or over-generalized at best) that a person like this coming with a proposal to rename something that suggests past oppression is doing it to appease their conscience without even trying to solve the issue of racism. Just a PR stunt for their (and their investors’) peace of mind.

The ‘pretend it didn’t happen’ person just renames eg. ‘master’ -> ‘main’, washes their hands of the whole thing and in their conscience they are saints, made a difference, fought the good fight, etc. but when racism rears it’s ugly head again they just will look for the next thing to rename. It’s like kids putting a black profile pic on their IG essentially. What good does that do? You’ve eradicated racism, have you? Well good on you mate, what global issue should we tackle next? Let’s rename fossil fuels to ‘poison’ and call it a day, eh?

I have since learned in this thread that the renaming in fact should be a part of it (but I would argue not the main part) which is what I sort of agree with. For the real anti-racism we cannot realistically expect github, or Microsoft, or any corporation to do anything about it since they care only about profit margins and to look good.

@fruechtchen
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22 anni
  • There exist alternatives that also are very descriptive of the concepts they abstract

  • the point is not to pretend it did not happen, it is to avoid the subtle negative connotation. When one has no experience with black people but works a lot in tech, the term “blacklist” will form the opinion and behavior regarding black people. This person will think it is more likely, black people do negative things like robbery, etc.

  • the person alice hasters who has written at length on this topic germany cites one example, where she was on a market and wanted to look at stuff to buy, but the selling person thought alice intended to rob him. So he shouted alice should go away. When alice said she was interested to buy things and even has a white person besides her to “prove” that she was not intended to rob him, he was fine with it. But he didn’t even excuse himself for this language. Such things are more likely when terms like whitelist is used for positive things and blacklist is used for negative things. Because the color black is not inherently bad, so why is a blacklist bad?

  • I also suggest to read the draft: https://tools.ietf.org/id/draft-knodel-terminology-00.html where these things are explained.

@fruechtchen
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22 anni

And i also suggest to not describe things as dumb when you already know that you are culturally far away from colonial history.

for black people, colonial history is still very important to understand

@falx
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12 anni

I am certain I am not the only one far away from colonial history. I am also certain there are black developers who are unaffected by these terms. These 2 certainties make me view this renaming idea as very much centered around current American politics and climate and therefore dumb.

Technology should not revolve around one single culture but forge its own culture and internal references.

This is not to say that I do not think that what is going on right now in the States is not important, I fell it is way overdue and I want to help in any way I can.

@fruechtchen
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22 anni

I was refering to germany and not the USA. in the USA it is probably much more severe

@falx
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12 anni

Germany has a lot of things censored as well due to its past. What is the outcome of this censorship? We have neo-nazis encroaching, meeting in secret and gaining in numbers (especially young uneducated people) because they sell themselves as being ‘cool’ and the ‘rebels’ fighting an unjust system.

Tell a human not to do something and that something becomes irresistible.

@fruechtchen
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32 anni

Notice that because we as society have banned racist terms and racist concepts mostly from usage, we notice nazis who refuse to use that sooner.

Tell a human not to do something and that something becomes irresistible.

Yeah, of course we would have to educate people on moral things.

@fruechtchen
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32 anni

also notice that it is not useful to try to explain complex things, as the rise of right-wing politics in many countries by simple explanations like banning some words from public use.

For instance in germany, one big reason is that germany hasn’t removed all nazis from public service and additionally, nazism was very popular in the population. So many people in Nazi-germany didn’t experience things like prison.

As my mom (who grew up in a dicatorship) rightly has said: as long you would play by the rules (of this country), you had a very good live. After she said this the first time to me, i didn’t understood that. But after reading the book "hitlers volksstaat by goetz aly, i understood why she was saying that.

I highly recommend to read this book.

The movie “the people vs fritz bauer” wikipedia also covers this topic. I recommend it very much.

So as you can see, the rise of neonazis is very complex, and even these points here didn’t covered many things.

@falx
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02 anni

As for the anecdote in your third bullet point: instead of renaming black/white-list terms to something else, what if we actually educate that shop owner about racism and why it is idiotic and evil to discriminate against a person because of their skin color?

@fruechtchen
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  1. it doesn’t work, usually. When you go to people and call them racist, they will go defensive. Very few people actually think about this and try to find out what was racist and how they could improve. This is the experience of many marginalized groups, be it people who suffer sexism, racism, ableism, etc.

So because racism and being racist is rather severe, people usually refuse to acknowledge it, the first time. So a common response when people are confronted about a subtle racist stereotype is to say that they have a black friend or had a black girlfriend, and therefore can’t be racist. So they understand the “hey, you are here a little racist” as “hey, you’re racist, nazi”. They don’t see that racism can be subtle.

  1. the point i’m trying to make is that racism is much more widespread than people usually believe. This is one of the thousand examples black people have to prove such things. So of course, we should work on that as a society and educate that. And one way of educating that is to provoke a public discussion about such terms as blackness/whiteness, maybe we slowly get to the point where the majority of the society listens and believes black experiences (which we currently don’t, mostly). And the other important point is to remove the subtle association of “black/dark = bad” which a blacklist has. So the idea is to especially educate further tech-generations.
@falx
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22 anni

I concede to your second point, and I am starting to see why black/white-list can be a sensitive term and just trying to change the connotation like I suggested somewhere above is not tractable.

I still think that education is key. Not going outright and calling people racist, that is counterproductive I wholeheartedly agree. But instilling in them from a younger age the evil of racism instead.

@fruechtchen
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32 anni

I agree with you.

I still think that education is key. Not going outright and calling people racist, that is counterproductive I wholeheartedly agree.

But one important thing i understood after reading the alice hasters book which is this one is: because racism (and also things like sexism and ableism, classism, etc.) is SO common, basically everybody is somewhat sexist, rascist, ableist and classist. Including me.

So i think when somebody tells me that this or that thing is sexist/racist/etc. i will probably be less shocked and more willing to change it. Because i already understood that i am myself racist, sexist, etc. at least slightly.

@falx
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32 anni

Thank you for the recommendation I will add it to my to-read list.

@fruechtchen
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32 anni

Thanks for listening.

@falx
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42 anni

I may have been quick to react calling this move dumb because of my distance from this issue, thank you for your patience to educate me, I will think 5 seconds more before I react in the future.

@PopeRigby
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@deathdisco
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-12 anni

Really? I don’t. Some protocols use the term slave because it performs in a master-slave relationship. It has nothing to do with race. Server-client is fine too though, but choosing words out of context because of race is a dangerous and slippery slope to to go down. MS is just virtue signaling.

@fruechtchen
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72 anni

Some protocols use the term slave because it performs in a master-slave relationship. It has nothing to do with race.

the IETF draft on that: https://tools.ietf.org/id/draft-knodel-terminology-00.html#rfc.section.1.1

Still, the first defining usage of the master-slave terms are from colonial history. Also, a picture search suggests that the term “slave” is widely associated with oppression, racism and inhumane treatment: https://www.ecosia.org/images?q=slave

With that in mind, i think “it has nothing to do with race” is just your modern interpretation. I think the persons who created those protocols didn’t care much about this inhumane treatment.

Like, who sane person would describe a Leader-follower relationship with terms from slavery? The only way i can think of is that this person would think it is funny/edgy to call the follower part slave.

@deathdisco
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-32 anni

This feels like justification-backflipping, and to be honest, nobody really cares what the term actually is or whether it fits semantically. The discussion that people are having is whether we should be renaming unrelated things in the name of racial hysteria. I am 100% behind the black lives matter movement, and other minority groups struggles, but these kind of things actually damage it by coming off as irrational.

Lets just put things in perspective: Microsoft, the same company that has an ongoing relationship with ICE and was one of the first to sell out to the NSA under pressure to sell our privacy out, is now pretending to care about people.

Remember to stay on topic. I couldn’t care if it branches were originally named chicken and egg or something crazy either and that really was not the point I was making.

@developred
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@Rumblestiltskin
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-52 anni

I think you are just virtue signalling your beliefs in free speech. Virtue signaling is what all humans do with most of their conversation.

@deathdisco
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42 anni

I honestly don’t mean to sound trollish here, but, not it’s not. Virtue signalling has a fairly clear definition and I don’t believe we live in a land where every word is spoken purely for the sake of seeming like a good person.

@Rumblestiltskin
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22 anni

I don’t think you are trolling. There is a definition of virtue signalling in current social media that seems to only mean when the left is signalling their virtues, but virtue signalling is a pretty straight forward phrase that can mean any sort of signalling of virtues. I think you are also using it as if people are being insincere about why they are wanting the change. Just because you believe that changing the word ‘master’ in software development will not change anything does not mean that those who want the change do not believe it will have an effect.

@PopeRigby
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@deathdisco
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-22 anni

We can’t outlaw negative words, the connotations of that are insane. You use words to describe things. Non-sentient software might act in a slave-like manner, and if the word fits, use it. If it doesn’t, don’t. Thankfully platforms are starting to become decentralised and not at the authority of any one person, so relatively free speech and anonymity will eventually be upheld regardless of the law and what people on social media think.

@Cream
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@skrlet13
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82 anni

I think that people were just more subtle being conservative, but these moves make them show it more. Is really this name change so big that will change some people’s political leaning?

@otso
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42 anni

No, but conservatives know their ideology is flawed and they like to have an excuse

@Rumblestiltskin
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32 anni

I understand your point, but I also think the people that get pissed of at this would have gotten pissed off about any change in their life to help with equality. Things are gonna change. People are gonna get pissed off. Not that I agree the change to the term ‘master’ with regards to software development will help anybody, but it isn’t hurting me to accept the change in case it does.

@developred
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@Cream
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@aeroplain
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@wraptile
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02 anni

But is this vanity virtue signalling really worth breaking all of the scripts and international standards?

@developred
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@aeroplain
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@anonymous
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