Hacker News Re-Imagined

GitHub, fuck your name change

  • 3353 points
  • 6 months ago

  • @leontrolski
  • Created a post

GitHub, fuck your name change


@jay_kyburz 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I work in the games industry, and as a small piece of anecdotal evidence, some of the best programmers I've ever worked with never completed a degree, and some never even started one.

There is a lot of talented people out there, willing and able to work hard. Limiting your search to university graduates is really shortsighted.

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@tacitusarc 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

The idealism of every age is often a cover story for its thefts.

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@zanethomas 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Last time I checked cars have master and slave cylinders.

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@Narann 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

> So while the tech community was rushing around, trying to do their best impression of a black square post on Insta I remember thinking, “oh for fucks sake, they’ve completely missed the point”. Why? They forgot to talk to people who are actually members of the black community.

In practice, big techs don't care about POC, they care about mobs.

"Inclusive" words is just what make mobs happy and it's cheaper to do than being accused of discrimination for real reason: POC representation in big tech.

Changing a default branch name is cheaper than try to fix the real world.

That's the point, and that, unfortunately, the reason why the situation will never change: Because we act only on the exposed representation; movies, text on web site, etc.

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@chrisweekly 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

This IETF memo^1 makes a rational, compelling case for adopting alternate terms. Fewer characters, less baggage, clearer semantics. What's the harm?

1. https://tools.ietf.org/id/draft-knodel-terminology-04.html

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@Ekaros 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

This whole change seem like rather Anglo-centric. Why don't we start utlizing other languages and scripts to be truly inclusive. Some Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Russian, Arabic, Hebrew or Sanskrit would do wonders. Or maybe even smaller language like Finnish, pää would be entirely fine and neutral alternative to main or even master...

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@weeboid 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

What a weird and useless take, all the yt commenters in there, "yeah!!

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@danso 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

> I just don’t appreciate the idea that we as software engineers can now sit back and believe we’ve made some kind of positive change, coz we haven’t

Why does the author think that GitHub — and the people who support the naming change — think of this as “real” change and are complacent to leave it at that?

As opposed to, say, the name change initiative being both a small thing and one that is a natural outgrowth of the mindset already committed to making positive change?

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@29athrowaway 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Github does business with ICE and CBP.

What does ICE and CBP do? Perhaps you've seen CBP at a port of entry when you enter the US. But that's only part of what they have been doing.

Visit this link, and skip to 01:23:03 to hear Elora Mukherjee's testimony of what CBP has really been doing in their detention facilities.

https://www.c-span.org/video/?462505-1/house-hearing-migrant... (video)

https://docs.house.gov/meetings/GO/GO00/20190712/109772/HHRG... (transcript)

Maybe you heard some of this on TV in 2019. But what was communicated then was a very watered down version of what actually happened.

You could say those children are detainees, but even detainees have dignity. Some of those detainees were newborns. What does a newborn know about immigration? laws? countries? You have to be a real idiot or a racist to take it against them.

And meanwhile, Github gladly offered their services to help CBP and ICE to operate.

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@Razengan 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Where’s the obligatory dang comment reminding us about cUrIoUs CoNvErSaTiOn?

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@throwaway8834 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Background: I'm white, my grandfather who is sadly no longer with us, was captured as a slave in the early 1940s forced to work on the Burma Railway, also known as "Death Railway". Content warning: if you Google Image Burma Railway, you're going to see things other than just the railway.

In all my years of pushing to and pulling from master branches, I have not once made an internal association between that action and slavery. Until now.

Offence is subjective of course and having never made this stretch of a link between a master branch and slavery, it is in no way and has never been personally offensive to me. People are different and I accept that others do take offence to this kind of language. But it is a stretch. It is a word that when taken out of context has other meanings.

If a company such as GitHub are saying that this is wrong and must be changed, my question is why now? Why not 2 years ago or 5 years ago? Is it something that wasn't considered offensive and now is? There is so much outrage about this particular subject which doesn't actually solve any real problems. There are of course real issues that we need to get on top of. Contemporary slavery for example. Slavery is still massively at large in many places of the world including and especially the U.S.A. Just because it's gone underground it does not mean that it doesn't exist. We need to do something about it.

This name change only seems to be creating more separation between us all when the world needs us to come together as one to solve the real problems, of which there are many.

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@cultofmetatron 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Anecdotally I admin but I've seen tech's filter for black people first hand.

A few years ago, I invited a friend of mine to stay at my place in SF while he works on learning to code and break into the SF Tech scene. IN no time at all, he qualified to get into hack reactor and quickly fell into a mentoring role.

Despite this, it took several months to almost a year before he got his first fulltime gig. Before, I always thought maybe there was something else I wasn't seeing. In this case, I knew he was good. I worked with in personally and knew what he was capable of. I know plenty of engineers that weren't as good at engineering that were getting jobs within a month. I coached him on his interviewing skils but nothign was moving the needle for him.

It wasn't until he got a "internship" position by a diversity initiative at a prominent startup that he finally started getting work as an engineer. He excelled at that role and now he works there as a fulltime engineer.

That someone with his ability had such a hard time getting a foothold was all the proof that I needed that something is up with tech and a bias against black men.

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@sago 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

> I just don’t appreciate the idea that we as software engineers can now sit back and believe we’ve made some kind of positive change, coz we haven’t.

Boom.

So I'm indirectly asking a black software engineer by virtue of reading the blog: What are the things that should be done instead? Not a lot we can do it about stop and search. How do we actively bust bias? He slams the 'meritocracy' meme: I know that is widely backed here. So what can be done instead?

> Personally, I have no attachment to any of these words.

Sadly, I think a large proportion of people absolutely have a very strong attachment to not changing anything. Who will agree with you on this front but be against anything more substantial? I've been told on this board that the only racism is antiwhite.

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@boltzmann_brain 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

The word master, like every word, exists in a fucking context. It's such idiocy to think that somehow the name of the branch has anything to do with slavery. People have collectively lost their minds in the pursuit of empty virtue signalling.

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@SPBS 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

While I wholeheartedly agree with the author, I feel like it's a bit pointless because it feels like the politically correct wave has already won. Just keep thinking what you want, don't cancel me. This is not a hill I want to die on.

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@optimiz3 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

When Darth Vader tells Luke that one day Luke will call him master, is he also committing a microagression?

Maybe the writers were, but I doubt it. To most English speakers master just means person in control or source of truth.

Or we should retcon Star Wars. Time to ban some more books and film I guess. Yay?

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@princevegeta89 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Sorry I would call this name change nothing but an overreaction

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@adultSwim 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I'm with GitHub on this one.

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@hurril 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

As so often is the case, people are conflating mentions of the crimes with the crimes themselves. Bickering about terminology takes away from getting at the actual offences.

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@otikik 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

The word "master" (or "slave", really, if I am honest with myself) doesn't mean anything to me.

However I can think of other words which _would_ be very offensive to me, and I would not like to have to use them every day in my job.

Imagine being black and having to type "Negrolist" several times per day. Or being a jew and having to write the word "marrano" (Spanish word which means "pig", but also a despective word used to refer to jews in the past). Or a recovering drug addict having to type "heroin" every day.

My point is that this list of words is probably a little different for everyone, and changes over time. I have heard some people express that "master" and "slave" (and "blacklist") feel that way to them. I have decided to trust that this is a real sentiment shared by a non-insignificant amount of people, even if for this particular black person they do not.

So, if they want to change it to main, sure. It is not a big deal to me, and it can help some people.

I also agree that it is not a big deal for companies like Github, and that the gesture feels empty if not accompanied with a more substantial effort.

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@EGreg 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

So are we still for changing

  blacklist and whitelist
     to
  blocklist and allowlist
Or are we scrapping that one also due to the underrepresentation of PoC in tech and the statistical small sample of 3 guys (and they are probably guys) out of 250 people not being enough to make a policy?

If you ask me, the problem with underrepresentation is all upstream. Whether it’s women in tech, or Black people in classical music etc. the solution isn’t to remove the audition screen and do affirmative action downstream. The idea is to fix it upstream.

Also with many other things such as non biodegradeable plastic. Why are our “solutions” involving a massive change to all the individual people not to use straws or plastic bags when this has a tiny effect on the result, while disrupting many people’s lives? Instead, it takes pressure off from the real solution: pressuring the Capitalist corporations to switch from non biodegradeable plastic to something sustaiable, by taxing the negative externalities and internalizing the costs TO THEM instead of offloading them to the consumer.

We have to practice upstream thinking and not be afraid to speak openly about the SOURCE of all that plastic. If you want more Carribbean musicians for example, consider your immigration and visa policy. If you want less plastic, ask why companies switched from glass bottles. I’d rather have a directed policy upstream than trying to use tons of bandaids downstream.

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@LockAndLol 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Agreed, fuck this virtue signaling. If somebody chooses to be offended, then so be it; they can go be offended somewhere else.

I don't follow social trends anyway, so it's pretty easy to ignore these things.

If people just followed the doctrine of "Be awesome to one another" more often, the world would be different. Unfortunately, people aren't born nice.

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@jssmith 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I want to share my own reactions to the name change since this is a really interesting topic. For context, I'm an African American, so many of my ancestors were slaves.

  - The first time it occurred to me that "master" in this context could offend anyone was when GitHub changed the name (and broke my workflow).
  - My immediate reaction was, "this change is by white people for white people," where "white" means anyone who isn't black.
  - My next reaction was, "they may be changing the name for the wrong reasons, but the change is brilliant."
Let me explain a little more. Whether motivated purely by virtue signaling or by more genuine intentions, changing the name doesn't fix any of the problems that black people face. The article explains this well.

What's powerful about this name change is that it pushes us to alter a habit, in my case one embedded deeply in my fingers, something that I do every day without realizing that I'm doing it. Thus it is a useful reminder of the implicit bias that contributes to the lack of diversity in tech. Never mind that the old name was harmless, the change brings repeated awareness to an important topic, and it reaches a the developer community in a targeted way.

So, next time you are annoyed that you have to fix a script or you accidentally type master when you needed to type main, please just take a deep breath, change the name, and remember to reflect upon whether you have are subconscious habits or biases that work against diversity in tech.

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@sennight 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

...and nobody in the valley seems to be aware of the etymology for "slave" :)

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@qaq 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Here's github leadership https://github.com/about/leadership thats all you need to know about how deeply they care

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@arunc 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Lots of good points made in this. We have eradicated the usage of the exclusive terms in our team not recently but well before 2014. It's a cultural change to be precise. We are very conscious of the biases that could arise. In fact, during hiring we specifically ask the recruiters to look for diverse pool of engineers.

Still I concur with the OP's statement that the percentage of African American in the tech industry is marginal (in the US, not sure elsewhere). I don't know what we can do about this. But we have to change as a society and as individuals.

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@stewx 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

> I’m not pissed off because I expected tech companies to do more, no, I didn’t expect them to do anything. I’m pissed off because they pretended to be doing good and wanted me to congratulate them for it.

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@airhead969 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

It's virtue-signaling nonsense like planting a tree, declaring climate change "mission accomplished" and calling it a day.

If software engineers actually cared about diversity, they'd work with community leaders on the rough side of town to mentor kids who otherwise don't get all the chances they did. I seriously doubt many would do that. I hate to say it, but a lot of office tech people don't have a lot of life experience. And maybe as a consequence, they tend to act like stereotypical self-absorbed yuppies who don't engage with the world or donate emotional labor. It's easier to outlaw certain words because of incidental associations rather than help real people.

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@vesinisa 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I know the topic is explosive, but I see a pattern here that is being repeated over and over again: people thinking they know for better what is good for some minority, and then making a big fuss about it. At no point does anyone think to ask people in the said minority if they think this is actually a good idea and what they want.

Another similar(?) example. In my country, there is a growing immigrant Muslim minority. Recently, there was an extremely rare case of the anti-immigration right wing party and the liberal green party rallying behind a unified cause: criminalizing male circumcision. The anti-immigration folk will of course get on any bandwagon that marginalizes the immigrant minorities.

But I also talked to some of the liberals who supported the initiative. They support it because they view circumcision as torture, mutilation and a violation of the child's rights. One even described circumcised males are "handicapped". I got the impression that many of these supposedly "liberal" people have never actually discussed circumcision with a person who is circumcised. Nevertheless, they seem eager to ban the entire practice and further marginalize an entire section of the population.

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@himujjal 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

My problem is that this is an American company trying to impose their culture to us. There are a lot of developers from China and India whom Github didn't even consider asking.

Question is why should "we" who face far worse challenges than the Blacks in US be asked to change the name. That is what doesn't make sense to me.

The idea imposition happens just because we are a poor country and nothing else. I am sure 20 years down the line, if I don't follow an American culture I will be a villain.

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@ThePhysicist 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Does master not also designate a person that has achieved mastery in a given craft or art, like a "Kung Fu master"? Within git I think the term is used in the meaning of a "master copy" in the sense of a reference. I also think this change is pointless, and it will break so so many things.

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@vmception 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I’m a black American and agree with everything that this person in London wrote.

It is also a common criticism of the American “left”, and is entirely accurate.

For everyone perplexed about black Americans and other people of color walking away from the left, its because you/they don't see us as equals that can be bothered by the exact same things that other Americans can be bothered by: being told what to think, watching people be vicariously offended without asking if context in question is offensive, and the obsession with signaling instead of meaningful action.

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@OJFord 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Even when it's an overt master-controlling-slave analogy, what's the actual problem with that?

It's not like there's any 'har-har silly slave' value judgement attached, why is it any different to 'teacher and pupil', 'controller and controlled', 'leader and follower'?

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@Bellamy 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I think this is not about offending black people. It's about trying to forget what a white man did to black people.

It should never be forgotten what Nazis did to jews or white to black. Naming a main branch is just... A joke?

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@MockObject 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

For context, I'm an African American, so many of my ancestors were slaves.

I don't want more people thinking about my race. I also don't want my presence to constitute a burden on my coworkers. I want white people to be colorblind around me.

Unfortunately, white people don't care what I want.

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@gibblets 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Language matters. The way we use language and tell stories, associates white with good and black with bad. A snippet from Languston Hughe's 'That Word Black':

"Now as I were saying, the word black, white folks have done used that word to mean something bad so often until now when the N.A.A.C.P. asks for civil rights for the black man, they think they must be bad. Looking back into history, I reckon it all started with a black cat meaning bad luck. Don't let one cross your path!

"Next, somebody got up a blacklist on which you get if you don't vote right. Then when lodges come into being, the folks they didn't want in them got blackballed. If you kept a skeleton in your closet, you might get blackmailed. And everything bad was black. When it came down to the unlucky ball on the pool table, the eight-rock, they made it the black ball. So no wonder there ain't no equal rights for the black man."

Sure, it's a small change. And yes, it takes time away from doing something else productive with your day. But it is valuable to reflect on our usage of these terms in everyday life, and how it might affect others, even in subtle ways.

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@scottydelta 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

what sucks more is Github creating default main branch on repo creation. It's an unwarrented hassle to rename it and if you don't rename it, you will definitely try to push to master and then realize the mistake and push to main, every effing time.

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@MrWiffles 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Just wanted to call out this excerpt from the article - the author makes an extremely good point:

> I don’t want this post to be about The Solutions™ but here’s one for your noggin; there is this a significant intersection between career changers/developers coming from non traditional backgrounds (i.e. people with no CS degree) and minorities. Put your money where your fucking mouths are and hire these people. Every summer countless tech companies of all sizes run internship programs, would it be a stretch to run an apprenticeship program of the same length for non traditional applicants?

People of color often don't have the cultural or economic incentive (or capability) to engage in STEM roles for many reasons (especially in the United States), so an emphasis on bringing in people from _non-traditional backgrounds_ can have a real, quantifiable impact on workplace diversity.

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@timvisee 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

> Either do some real shit or stay silent. Stay the fuck out of our way and don’t pretend you care. Then we can all get on with our lives.

Yes! Also, I think that if you see 'master' for a git branch as a problem, there is something seriously wrong with you.

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@alimbada 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Black people make up 3% of the UK population according to a quick Google search. If there are 7 black people in his company of ~250, that's almost 3%. This is just one data point but it's the one he's using in his post and getting upset over the lack of black representation, when it's proportionate with the overall ratio of ethnicities in the wider population.

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@wokwokwok 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

sympathetic, but also, feel that:

> I don’t want this post to be about The Solutions™...

is lazy.

yep, thats right, doing something meaningful is hard, and figuring out what to do is too.

...but like, raging for 3 pages and giving 3 lines to consider what solutions might look like is just a rant.

I get it, maybe if more people were focused on finding solutions, we’d get better solutions... but come on, lead by example.

“Im angry” doesn’t fix things.

“what youre doing doesnt help” doesnt fix things.

Someone has to actually do the hard work of coming up with solutions that are compatible with the HR and budget demands of large companies, otherwise, you get lame ass outcomes like this from the people who (perhaps misguidedly) tried.

Companies will go for minimal effort, minimal cost, minimal disruption unless you give them a compelling alternative narrative; its just daydreaming to expect anything else.

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@KaiserPro 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Now I know this post is going to be jumped on by a whole bunch of tech bro going "I TOLD YOU, ITS POINTLESS TO CHANGE THE NAME" and yes, yes it is, for the reasons described so clearly by OP.

However what the tech bros then get upset by is increasing participation in IT in general. muttering things like "lowering standards" and "they'll get promotion before me". No darlings, they are doing a better job, because they are not snowflakes who throw their toys out of the pram for being asked to actually document their shit, or not replace good code with an entirely new language because they were bored.

I work for a FAANG in london, and what pisses me off is that despite having >4,000 staff in london alone, we only had 10, yes fucking 10 apprentices in 2019.

For those that don't know, its essentially a free pipeline of eager, cheap and clever teenagers. You get them for 3 days a week at below minimum wage, and they spend two days a week getting academic education. Whats more, because they are local to central london they are actually representative of the local demographics.

And they have the brass bollocks to complain about how difficult it is to recruit.

We had a juneteenth thing, where lots of our leadership took that as a sign to get a new headshot done so they could put the tiniest ring of text saying how they will work tirelessly to increase D&I.

almost a year later, and with a huge glut of 18-25s out of work, have we increased the apprentice count? nope.

fucking sort it out, and no, a butterfly rule is not going to fix it.

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@GekkePrutser 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Microsoft did the same with Edge. They forked Chrome but they did a big search/replace of certain configuration keys... Everything called Whitelist is now called Allowlist.

This tripped me up in work, as the configuration variables I pushed for Kerberos authentication no longer worked. AuthNegotiateDelegateWhitelist became AuthNegotiateDelegateAllowlist and AuthServerWhitelist became AuthServerAllowlist. Sure, I understand why this is better. What I have a problem with is the way this is done. It wasn't very well documented or announced, they just did a big search replace, on internal configuration variables that no end user will ever see.

I don't even mind the work, but at least make it known. This was not handled very well and had all the hallmarks of an emergency PR-fueled scramble. It feels more like window dressing than an actual desire to change things.

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@smashah 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Cannot argue with any of the points brought up by the author at all. That being said, "main" is a better name for that branch, especially for people new to VCS. The change would've been worthwhile on its own without the expectation of a standing ovation.

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@matthewmacleod 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

The entertainment value of watching whining snowflake techbros get absolutely foaming mad about something they claim doesn’t matter at all makes the tiny amount of work I had to do to support this in my build system completely worthwhile.

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@musicale 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I wonder what an MS degree will become? I would vote for "minion" but "mentorship [in science]" seems more likely.

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@rvnx 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Wasn't it GitLab actually ?

Otherwise, about the article, it's unfair to say that we need to correct the AI/ML to a more "neutral" perspective.

I'm always worried about artificial "neutrality", as neutrality often ends up just adding more weight to the perspective that you consider more socially and politically acceptable.

In Australia for example, French people have a bad reputation because they tend to steal from shops ("french shopping": https://www.traveller.com.au/french-nickers-cause-a-stink-do... ).

If tomorrow you build software for the shops to identify risks; well, whether you like it or not, it'll target French.

Should we artificially add more examples of non-stealing French in the dataset just because it's socially more acceptable ?

(I took French because it's socially and legally ok to blame French for mistakes of this planet, and I was born there, but replace with whatever suits you)

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@dna_polymerase 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I think that measures like renaming stuff creates a bunch of problems that ultimately make things harder than they already are.

Once people understand that there is a changing nomenclature that has to be used they will completely shut up about a topic in fear of repercussions from a hate mob. This in turn will eventually lead to the unconscious but very real behavior of distancing from minority groups. It worsens things. People need to understand that by forcing language change they will further divide people.

Geroge Floyd isn't dead because Linus called the git branch master. He is dead because of police misconduct. And GitHub won't be able to change that, the government needs to send police officers to academy for longer and train them right. They also need to introduce an environment in which this behavior is not tolerated and officers will lose their jobs if they behave this way.

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@varjag 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

As mentioned elsewhere, the prose doesn't read British, this is the only post from an anonymous account and there is a link to Daily Stormer. Flagging this.

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@augustk 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

This got me thinking about the Unix command "kill". As a non-American I would prefer a less violent name.

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@horns4lyfe 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Why are we pretending that the term master is specific to one race? Some group of every race out there has been enslaved at one point or another. In fact, at certain points in history, black masters have had (gasp) white slaves!

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@dariosalvi78 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

EXACTLY THIS, thanks for writing it our clear and loud

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@mfontani 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I've had to deal with projects where the "main" branch was named: master, main, blead.

I almost never "name" that "main" branch, thanks to commands and aliases.

When I want to pull (and rebase) to the "main" branch, I run "git prom". When I want to check out the "main" branch, I "git com". What actually happens depends on what the project's "main" branch is. If a project later moves to a "live" branch, I'll just update the "git-main" script to detect it ahead of the rest, and off I go.

https://github.com/mfontani/los-opinionated-git-tools/blob/m... is less than ten lines of bash.

git-com is really just: git checkout "$(git main)"

git-prom is really just: git pull --rebase origin "$(git main)"

I'm not particularly sold on "main" vs "master" being an important thing, but if it's important to some I at least want to ensure I don't get frustrated when interacting with a project which uses it. With the above aliases and functions and programs, I don't care anymore.

main, master, blead... call it whatever.

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@calibas 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

With computers there is often a master/slave relationship, there is one system that's in near absolute control of another. It's practical and there's no ethical issues, the slave computer doesn't feel anything. Of course, with human beings it's a completely different story, but we're talking about computers.

As far as human beings, the problem was (and is) slavery, it's not the word "master". Especially in the US, there's this idea that we just have to change the terminology around, ban a word, and suddenly racism will disappear. Both political parties, the mainstream media, and major corporations all love this, because they get to make superficial changes and then sweep racism under the rug.

Now if GitHub wanted to do something truly radical to fight racism, they'd change the name of the "master" branch to the "black" branch. I understand most people will be resistant to this, simply because "black" has a negative connotation, but please be aware of your own personal reactions to the word, as that's my whole point. The word "black" also means darkness, evil, it's something dirty, while "white" means purity, goodness, and cleanliness. And I'm just pointing out the what's already in people's minds, don't shoot the messenger!

If something is "black and white", there's a clear right and wrong. In our language, "black" is synonymous with "wrong", and yet this word with negative connotations is used for an entire race of people.

Instead of practicing censorship, which is reprehensible in a free society, and reminiscent of the same kind of authoritarianism that produces master/slave relationships among human beings, why not do something actually progressive? Have we forgotten what that looks like? Challenge society's entire perception of the word "black", rename the "master" branch "black", and begin to associate the word with something good for once. Start by changing the way people think. Turn black into something positive, and if you really want to see people's racism come out, use white in a negative sense.

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@mikece 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I am reminded of the quote from Malcolm X: "The only way the problem can be solved -- first, the white man and the black man have to be able to sit down at the same table. The white man has to feel free to speak his mind without hurting the feelings of that Negro, and the so-called Negro has to feel free to speak his mind without hurting the feelings of the white man. Then they can bring the issues that are under the rug out on top of the table and take an intelligent approach to get the problem solved."

This quote, in a more complete context, starts at 1:06 in this clip: https://www.facebook.com/Malcolmxvideos/videos/4725356262694...

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@3saryHg6LP2e 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Christ, I agree with this article so much it hurts.

I am convinced future people will find this whole saga quite an interesting anecdote of how, for a period of time, _appearing_ to be "anti-racist" was far more important than doing anything positive.

As an aside I find it highly amusing watching the proponents of such changes eat themselves (see Twitch: womxn debacle).

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@desktopninja 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Why can't we move this fast and effectively to eliminate the nonsensical concept of race?

https://www.britannica.com/topic/race-human/The-history-of-t...

Its 2021 and we're thoroughly adamant on tribalism.

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@markdog12 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

And check out how GitLab frames their change: https://twitter.com/gitlab/status/1369777337252904960

> You spoke and we listened

Some voices are more equal than others, I guess.

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@agustif 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I just hope they don't come for Stromae.

Which is Maestro (master) in Verlan.

leave the guy alone!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHoT4N43jK8

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@buttholesurfer 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

As a black dude this is so true. I can't believe the extent other people go to "help" the black community. When will you realize it has to come from within and a little name change does nothing to help but make you feel better.

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@atomashpolskiy 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

In Russia we have a joke that would roughly translate to this:

Lesson in the primary school. Teacher says: "Kids, today we will be learning letter 'A'. Who can tell me some words that start with this letter?" Kids: "Apple! Address! Adventure!" One boy, Vova, says quietly: "Ass." "How rude, Vova!", the teacher exclaims, "There is no such word in English!". Vova, quietly: "How strange... Ass is there, but the word is not?"

Sums it up pretty well, I think.

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@mythz 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Well 'main' is a more intuitive & UX friendly name than 'master' which new devs are going to intuitively relate to as it's commonly used to refer to the 'main thing', e.g. main road, main course, etc. I can't recall the last time I used 'Master' as a synonym to 'main' outside of technology (as a Redis Client author I still deal with Master nomenclature a bit). Can only think of 'Masters degree' but that has to do with Mastery knowledge rather than 'Master copy'. The only other usages of 'Master' I can think of (from TV & Films) is basically what they're trying to move away from.

As a library author I often deprecate & rename new APIs when I can think of (or have been proposed) a more appropriate and a descriptive name to replace a misleading name. I put a lot of weight into the name of symbols as it basically has the largest bearing in understanding its functionality & purpose. This is effectively what GitHub is doing, deprecating 'master' in favor of 'main' for new repos, which I don't see a problem with as it's looking pretty clear that all new technology is moving away from master/slave terminology - I don't see why Software needs to be forced to use their old legacy names forever if they're able to deprecate it and move to new more appropriate naming without immediate breaking changes.

This change hasn't broken any of my 100+ existing repos, GitHub is only changing the default branch to 'main' for new repos & have implemented a bunch of work behind the scenes to reduce the friction for orgs & users who also wish to rename their existing mater branches [1]. I don't understand the hate this effort to more modern & inclusive naming is inciting, if you want to criticize GitHub for their lack of action in other areas, criticize that instead.

[1] https://github.com/github/renaming#renaming-existing-branche...

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@dboreham 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I've been surprised that there is a new generation of developers who never heard that master/slave is offensive/irritating to some people. I first ran into this in 1996 when I joined a team building a product that had replication. We changed all the uses of master/slave to supplier/consumer. I had just relocated from the UK, where (at least by my perceptions) race is less of a core societal issue. I remember asking what this was about, someone said there were people who didn't like the use of master and slave, I thought "ok that's interesting" and moved on to fixing bugs.

Fast forward more than 20 years and I find people complaining about github branch names. This seems odd because it's like whoever came up with the default branch name (Linus?) didn't receive the memo I got in 1996.

Anyway, I see this pattern every so often : something that offends group A, where group B is asking "what's the big deal?". I've seen it with dogs in the workplace, with "blackface" and with use of the "n-word", and on and on. To be honest it mystifies me (the "what's the big deal" part). Why not just take folks at their word? a) they say they're offended, b) whatever change they are asking for is minimal and low-cost, why not react with "I didn't know that, but ok no problem"?

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@tester34 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

idk what's going on, it's lack of war or something

that makes SF computer people want to "save the world"

or some shit with those ridiculous things like this main branch?

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@ffggvv 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

>> “Meritocracy!”, I hear you cry. “They pick from the most talented students. The ones that worked the hardest to get into the most elite schools. The black students should have just worked harder”. I guess mummy and daddy paying $20 mil for a new library to get me a seat at an ‘elite’ school is still meritocracy eh?

yes everyone who gets into these schools donates a library. thats why harvard has 10,000 libraries. theres no jewish or asian students whose parents came here with a penny and worked menial jobs. its all rich white people.

and im sure if they didnt change the name this person would write an article about how they didnt change it because they are racist. racist if you do. racist if you dont.

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@SideburnsOfDoom 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

There is a difference between "necessary" and "sufficient".

I am (mildly) happy with the name change, but as the author of the piece makes clear, it it not enough in itself, not even close.

Maybe you view it as a distraction from real change? However, I'm sure that many of the people publicly dunking on this change have even less interest in more substantial change.

GitHub has issues hiring and retaining minorities ( https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26480024 ) perhaps they should look at those next.

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@JabavuAdams 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

100x this. Can you blame them though, they're scared shitless of being called racist on the Twitters, so they do dumb things.

Apprenticeship programs are a great idea. I'm amazed at how credentialist software dev is becoming when all the best hardcore developers I know are largely self-educated.

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@wellthisisgreat 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

that whole thing was incredibly USA-centric for a global company like Github. Slavery is not a US thing and that drama stemmed pretty much from US Twitter segment

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@jpxw 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

>Every summer countless tech companies of all sizes run internship programs, would it be a stretch to run an apprenticeship program of the same length for non traditional applicants?

Many of the most prestigious tech companies already run internships like this. They’re desperate to hire minorities, frankly.

Similar practices exist in elite universities. If you’re from a minority background, you can expect a significantly higher chance of being admitted, and a significantly lower SAT requirement.

I agree that the change from master to main is dumb, though. “master” has a specific meaning (as it does in “master record”), which “main” does not adequately convey.

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@Siira 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

This blasted PR stunt has already wasted hours of my time.

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@lnsru 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Currently I am writing technical SoC documentation with few bus masters and many slaves on the same bus. Honestly I don’t know how to avoid these bad words since these are everywhere in the bus vendor documentation. And these words perfectly describe the relationship between instances on the bus. I guess next word to ban will be “handshake” since this is shown in movies as a greeting between criminals ans that’s what masters and slaves do in my system.

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@mbrodersen 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

What a perfect honest great read! Kudos to the author for articulating so accurately what PC is really about: virtue signalling by privileged white people.

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@dmje 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Wow, I nodded so much my neck hurts. Well said.

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@GNU_James 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I would say, what I really think, but HN mods would also ban me for my words.

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@kspacewalk2 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

>This shit aint for us, it never was.

Or, as another article I read this week put it,

>It seems to me that progressive elites, despite their pieties, don’t really want to live in a more equal society. They prefer the imperfect meritocracy we live under—the rule of the smart, the talented and the rich, most of whom traffic in the fiction that their status was earned.

>Still, progressives see themselves as compassionate. What they needed was a way to explain the inequality found in the meritocratic system they hold dear, a way that made them feel they were still on the side of the good without having to disrupt what is good for them. Moral panic around race has been the answer, taking the uneasiness a meritocratic elite must at least unconsciously feel around their economic good fortune—something they could easily share with the less fortunate, should they care to—and displacing it onto “whiteness,” an immutable characteristic that one can do nothing to change.

>In other words, critical race theory is the perfect ideology for affluent progressive whites who want nothing to change—but who still want to feel like the heroes of a story about social justice.

[0] https://www.persuasion.community/p/the-warped-vision-of-anti...

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@tobyhinloopen 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I still get very annoyed with the name change every time I encounter it. I have a bunch of poorly written scripts that occasionally break with repos that have a main branch, so I have to fix these scripts I’ve written like 8 years ago

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@staeke2 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

One day, IKEA chooses to change their kitchen countertop depth from 28 inch to 29 inch. Supposedly 28 is a nazi number, since 2 and 8 can become B and H, which could mean Blood and Honor, i.e. a nazi reference. Thus, IKEA, issues a press release where they emphasize their inclusive policies and awareness. Since they don't want to cause further trama for their Jewish customers, they're making this change. You happen to know a good number of Jewish friends and ask them what they think. They all think this is crazy, and have never thought about a number being offensive in that way. However, there is one Jew on the internet who has had now published a blog post about being relieved. A lot of non-Jewish carpenters, shop-assistants and handymen debate online on Handymen News and conclude that maybe this doesn't prevent nazi violence today but "it's the least we can do". Why would somebody hold 28 inch so deerly? Unless they're a little bit nazi of course. Also, they agree that any non-Jew really doesn't have a right to speak on the matter, since they can't fully understand what it's like to be a Jew. With IKEA's change, more and more furniture companies follow suit and with the attention, pretty much every company starts to decide to remodel their kitchens, since they obviously don't want to be perceived as promoting nazi ideas. People keep saying that nobody would judge you if you keep your 28 inch kitchen countertop, but you suspect that's gonna be less and less true, as both homes and offices get renovated around you. Also, a lot of people claim that the 29 inch depth is just better, so what's there to complain about? And, if you're building a new kitchen, how hard is it to just mount a 29 inch rather than the 28 one. Turns out there's an adapter for the old shelves too. So what's there to complain about? You feel a little annoyed, but replace your countertop with a 29 inch version and move on.

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@turtlebits 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

This is one of those unfortunate "damned if you do, damned if you don't" scenarios.

Being PC is trying to appeal to the masses instead of addressing the real issue. Though you can't really blame Github in this instance.

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@peterhadlaw 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

The word slave comes from the enslavement of Slavic people. I don't care for GitHub's / SV culturally insensitive history revisionism one bit.

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@secondcoming 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

This is a SJW's worst nightmare... being told they aren't needed/helping by a PoC.

There are PoC on my team and they were asked about the master/main thing. None had an issue with 'master'.

They were also sent on the same Diversity 'education' course as everyone else. Again, they found it dumb and patronising. One even got into an argument with the WASP presenter. It was quite funny to witness.

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@golemiprague 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I don't understand why the whole world have to suffer because some blimp in American history. So there was slavery, big deal, there were much worst things around the world at those days and people from all races suffered. Black Americans are one of the most privileged people in the world these days just by being born in a rich and relatively free country, I am sick about hearing their grievances and whinging, in my eyes they are just spoiled brats who don't want or can't from some reason put the hard work everybody else is putting in order to better their life.

This guy from London in the article did the right thing and good on him but he shouldn't complain that he is getting searched when many of the black community there is focused on gang banging and glorifying it in every second song possible. Fix your community instead of demanding other people to solve your issues.

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@dudeinjapan 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

When my interviewer asked why I didn't pursue a Master's degree, I replied "You mean a SLAVE Master's degree?" and I reported him to HR. Needless to say I got the job.

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@delaynomore 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I often wonder if these name change/inclusion initiatives are started for promotion purposes. At least from my observation at work, it seems none of them are led by under-represented groups. Instead, they are mostly led by white/over-represented PoCs.

Of course I don't dare to raise these questions at work (or with my real identity). These days if you are not onboard with these changes you might get labeled as racists.

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@beaconstudios 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I've always seen this sad twitter-oriented political correctness dance as being upper middle class white people catering to the complaints of other upper middle class white people who think they know what a working class black person would want. It's a silly middle class status dance of displaying conspicuous virtue while not actually having to lift a finger, just like how Facebook used to be full of people posting cause petitions. Ie, the latest iteration of slacktivism.

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@VBprogrammer 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

As a white person, the difference this change will make to my life is so negligible that if it makes one PoC feel more included then it's fine by me.

I totally take on board the point that a lot of man hours have been consumed debating how and when to execute this change. Possibly to the exclusion of doing something potentially more meaningful.

However, the glee with which the authors opinion is accepted as the opinion of an entire race of people by other comments here strikes me as an example of confirmation bias. Simply finding one PoC who agrees with you doesn't validate your view point.

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@bbarn 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

> there is this a significant intersection between career changers/developers coming from non traditional backgrounds (i.e. people with no CS degree) and minorities. Put your money where your fucking mouths are and hire these people.

I am white, and grew up in what would best be described as a mix between military housing and a trailer park. Crime was a part of daily life, upward mobility was "join the military", and access to educational resources was a joke. I made it to software because I was incredibly lucky and ahead of the curve in the industry. Pre-internet, programming was something I found because I was bored and the one library I had access to had a computer and a few books by Peter Norton. I was programming when adults around me couldn't figure out wordperfect to type a letter (not that that was an easy task). A kind person gave me an old clunker of a machine to take home and that was enough to spark a career. (after my mother yelled at me for using so much electricity, of course)

I am now in a place where I can use my experience to speak for me instead of my educational credentials, but the first half of my career I worked some abysmal tech jobs because many companies gate kept positions behind college degrees, even with relevant work experience (and compared to most unskilled jobs, even a bad tech job is a good job). Even now, among my peers the phrase "Where did you go to school?" is one I hear often, and when I say "I didn't." it gets me some strange looks and often a feeling of instantly being devalued in this person's eyes. I've done what I can to remove these hiring practices in orgs I've been a part of in the last 20 years, and I have seen positive change in general, but the system is still fundamentally biased against those with the financial means to enter it.

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@pja 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

An ordinary writer on a topic like this does not bury a link to Daily Stormer in the middle of the text.

Odds on this is a false flag "AsABlackMan" article & everyone responding to it has been had. Lobste.rs pulled it for this reason & the comments on r/programming are pretty direct.

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@rcurry 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

"I guess mummy and daddy paying $20 mil for a new library to get me a seat at an ‘elite’ school is still meritocracy eh?"

As someone who never even finished college, I think this is a pretty cheap shot. My former boss on Wall Street went to MIT and only got there because his father was a migrant strawberry picker who worked his ass off to get his kid a good education. My last boss was African American, and went to Harvard and MIT - also probably the best damned general manager I've ever worked for. Everyone has their own story, and most of the people I've met who have Ivy degrees are no different from anyone else I've worked with except they were more driven (or guided) as kids and put the time in that it took to get where they wanted to go. I don't begrudge them that for a second.

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@AshamedCaptain 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

My suggestion is to replace master/slave with burgeois/proletariat, if the goal is to keep up with the times. (/s)

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@nromiun 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

> Black representation in tech is truly abysmal.

I guess the author is talking about a Western country? There are plenty of countries where another color is dominant across all sectors (not just tech). For example, brown in Asian countries, black in African countries. I don't hear any complaints about that.

If the OP is saying that people of minority race are discriminated, that is a different and valid point. But blindly saying that there should be more people of minority race (which would make them the majority, not the minority) in every sector, doesn't make any sense.

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@rglover 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Around and round' we go:

1. https://youtu.be/ruP-WVgfkMM?t=197

2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hm8wXZmRD8

And for those needing a qualifier: I'm mixed race, black/white—I've observed both sides of this my entire life. The answer isn't wordplay, it's directly investing in black communities.

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@austinjp 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Personally, I think the underlying issue is polarisation of opinion.

Polarisation produces frustration, fear, and anger. This in turn produces responses like GitHub's, intended to anticipate criticism, since the criticism trends inevitably towards fury. This is true on right and left and everywhere else. It's always been the case, just look at polemics aimed at Darwinians, suffragettes, Catholics, anti-slavers, whatever. The difference today is the sheer volume, the ease with which anyone can instantly reach a global audience. And of course the cash produced from all those comments and views and clicks.

It's still all bread and circuses, it's just been made ruthlessly efficient.

As has been pointed out by other comments, consensus is lacking. Who's asking the people who are actually affected? And who's doing that in a calm, productive, collaborative way? I'm sure it's happening somewhere but that content is hardly going to drive traffic.

Perhaps there could be a concerted, deliberate effort at helping all of us disengage from polarising media, and instead engage in meaningful conversation.

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@trevor-e 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

While I agree with some of the points made, this article is mostly a rant filled with generalizations and untruths.

>They forgot to talk to people who are actually members of the black community.

>Regardless, did anyone try to reach out to black software engineers or developers

>Yet at these same companies the majority of each grad scheme cohort tend to be from basically the same five colleges/universities.

>I guess mummy and daddy paying $20 mil for a new library to get me a seat at an ‘elite’ school is still meritocracy eh?

How does the author know any of this? From the original discussions around this topic ~9 months ago I remember several instances of companies asking their employees.

>We’re going to change the branch name to be more inclusive of minorities but we’re going to carry on selling software to ICE. Get the fuck outta here.

If this is referring to Microsoft, since they own Github, they explicitly banned law enforcement from using their facial recognition technology.

>It signals to other privileged white boys, “hey, come work for us, we pretend to care more than all our competitors xoxo”. This shit aint for us, it never was.

This is a good point.

>I’m pissed off because they pretended to be doing good and wanted me to congratulate them for it.

I don't think Github asked for any pats on the back for their change, but I can see how it's implied. Also, master/slave can be offensive to a lot of communities, not just the black community.

I do totally agree that major tech companies need to sponsor way more outreach within black communities. It's way too easy to blame diversity problems on the "pipeline" and then do nothing to improve why the pipeline is like that in the first place.

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@scrollaway 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I've said before; I don't mind the master->main rename in essence because I think "main" is a better fit if it were to be picked today. Is it worth the hassle? Probably not, but we're past that now.

But Github went way too far by aggressively pushing devs to rename their own local master branches to main. This caught me by surprise and I almost accidentally renamed the branch of one of my previous clients.

https://twitter.com/Adys/status/1354468440753508355

Really, really gross.

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@tamrix 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Microsoft is a very left organisation. Change my mind.

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@klunger 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

It seems to me like companies have gotten away with virtue signaling without performing any meaningful change for a long time. So, the fact that this article (and others like it) is getting so much attention now feels like a sea change. Or maybe it's just me that is paying more attention, but I don't think so.

This new level of accountability makes me hopeful that we can look forward to more meaningful, impactful changes on a systemic level.

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@daniellarusso 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Github’s head of HR resigned in January.

Can anyone here comment on the culture at working at github?

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@0xdky 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Do we next change naming of RB Tree in all existing documents and software? IMHO, there is no end to this.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red%E2%80%93black_tree

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@forgotmypw17 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I've never in my life met a single human being who was white or black. Why do we still use this terminology when yellow and red have gone out of style?

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@devwastaken 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

There is limited energy available for resolving important issues. By focusing energy upon name changes that have no benefit we now rightfully criticize it for doing so, which wastes more energy. It also convinces people that the very idea of name changing is bad, and that this is a bad culture of people. Which harms future real movements for actual good change.

Therefore changes like these are far more harmful than good for everyone.

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@ElectricMind 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Is there comprehensive list of all words that all races or genders or some other kind of group find offensive or get "hurt"? Thanks.

By the way I find all articles offensive. Please don't use them. Thanks for understanding.

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@megaseahorse 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

How about the word class? Because of class hierarchy and struggle

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@etchalon 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

The best of this comment section is that the OP's point was "you make barely-consequential changes like x instead of difficult ones like w, y, and z which would help more" and people are utilizing the post to argue why they should have to do even less.

Neat.

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@soheil 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Using a term other than master is technically annoying as most developers have that memorized and would disrupt their work to a small degree. Nevertheless this is a non-zero cost put on the entire tech community. There isn't much difference between forcing people to not user master branch than let's say not being able to use VSCode, Atom or Sublime, just because the name happens to fit the bill doesn't mean the cost isn't real.

I still believe it makes sense for the tech community to incur this cost. Awareness of these issues is an important part of the solution, no matter how idiotic the change that is making us aware actually is.

There will be people who will use this to their benefit like the example given where Github sells software to ICE and at the same time pretends to care about master branch? Even if a small portion of this change helps with a solution that's a win even if most of it is for publicity stunts or corporate America opportunistically jumping on a social cause bandwagon to sell more products or virtue signal to hire more talent, etc. (I'm looking at you Apple recent diversity/inclusive commercials.)

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@sakopov 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

> I don’t want this post to be about The Solutions™ but here’s one for your noggin; there is this a significant intersection between career changers/developers coming from non traditional backgrounds (i.e. people with no CS degree) and minorities. Put your money where your fucking mouths are and hire these people. Every summer countless tech companies of all sizes run internship programs, would it be a stretch to run an apprenticeship program of the same length for non traditional applicants? As someone with a psychology background I can’t overstate what difference it makes to get a legit company to give you a chance, both in terms of your CV and your confidence.

I would one-up this and say that tech companies should be opening offices in under-represented areas with large minority populations and start investing in public education there, if they really care about workplace diversity. However, this quickly turns into an argument about money, money, money and effectively would never be accomplished. And so what they're doing is just simply a virtue signaling clown show which gets enough done to not get picked on.

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@derpthebert 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Github is woke AF. All hail master branch.

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@justin66 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

It's interesting the way old problems come back around. The master/slave terminology was a controversial thing people argued about when I started with Usenet in the early nineties. It's a pity those old Usenet postings aren't easier to search and reference.

More recently, the comments on this 2003 Slashdot story echo what's had been written here today pretty closely, just replace "woke" with "politically correct". [1] A quick scan makes it seem like there is a master/slave drinking game to be had, involving finding the same comment in that comment section and this one.

I assume the argument about master/slave terminology dates back even further than my experience, but the question of how a person would conduct a controversy without NNTP or at least, for the love of God, UUCP is a mystery. Magnetic tape transported via sailing ships? Signals transferred great distances by lighting fiery beacons atop mountains? Passenger pigeons? The way people are using this extremely old argument and their peers' engagement with it to draw conclusions about where their current popular culture is going is entertaining.

[1] https://slashdot.org/story/03/11/25/0014257/la-county-bans-u...

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@enriquto 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I'm a bit late to the game, but I don't understand what this fuss is all about, from a technical point of view. I just created a git repo this morning and the default branch was named "master" (using the git command line). Then I pushed it to github to make it visible, as I have done several times before. The command line instructions at the "new repository" interface on github suggest changing the branch name to main, but I did not do that (just for trying) and now I have a brand new github repository whose branch is named "master". Basically github allows to name your branches however you like. The example instructions suggest that you rename your master branch to "main", by running this code on your command line:

    git branch -M main
But that is all. You can name it "trunk" if you want, for all that matter.

Now, I think that the whole github renaming thing is a bit ridiculous and probably a faux pas on their part. But the people complaining about "the great rename" sound even more ridiculous: as far as I can see, there's no rename, just a stupid modification of the initialization instructions that suggest that users rename their branch. All that fuss for the damn "git branch -M" line?

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@intricatedetail 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Very well said! The systemic racism of law enforcement is just crazy in the UK but it is somewhat a taboo. It exists in statistics buried deep and never to be looked at. When I was out with some of my friends that happen to have darker skin they were stop and searched but I was told to just go, as if they thought they kidnapped me? Where are the stop and searched of the City coke heads? The tech industry really needs to pull their head out of their ar$$

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@throwitaway1235 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

It's disingenuous for an author to disparage racism while being racist in his or her own article.

Rich/privileged White boys is racist. It's framing a race negatively. Gross.

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@zzo38computer 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

What I have read is that it is only changing the default setting for new repositories, and does not affect existing repositories, and that either way you can still change the default branch name. (I looked, and it also looks like you can now rename any branch easily in GitHub, so maybe that can also help with some things.)

I think that the change is unnecessary, but is probably mostly harmless (although, I do not use git; someone who does might know better than I do).

If you want to import from a different version control system, if it uses a different name such as "trunk", you can keep the same name in a mirror with a different version control system, if that is supported by the system that you are using.

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@stevenhubertron 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I'm a white middle class American so I realize I don't have much of a voice here but I do want to say that this change is so minimal compared to all the other various BS I have to put up with in my job that that who cares if its virtue signaling or not.

MSFT decided to make the change, we deal with it and move on. Things change, and things change that are out of your control. Complaining about it won't change anything. Be more accepting that there are things in this world that you cannot change. Especially as something as simple as this.

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@hinkley 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Did Linus ever explain why he chose master in the first place? Is that a Bitkeeper thing?

Master and branches made no goddamned sense at all. It’s trunk, doofus. Trunk and branches. Like a tree?

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@karpour 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I was indifferent about it at first. main is a good name, master as well. It was completely unnecessary for reasons pointed out in the article.

Now, I can agree, f ck this change. I work with a lot of legacy repos, multiple devs, and I always have to check whether a repo uses master or main. Sometimes we end up with both master and main branches, then we have to deal with that too. It's nothing bad ever, maybe in total I wasted 1-2 hours. But if millions of other devs also wasted many minutes of work time on this unnecessary change, that adds up.

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@jonathanstrange 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

As I've said when this was discussed a while ago, the problem is not with the word "master", it would be with the word "slave". "Master" has many uses that have nothing to do with slavery, as evidenced in words like "master's degree", "master" vs. "apprentice", "mastery", etc.

Once "master" is used in combination with "slave", it refers back to slavery and leans on it, there is no doubt about it. That's the case for MIDI, for example. But in the Github case it is not related to that at all, and the change is wholly unnecessary. That doesn't make it wrong, as a sign, to change your master branch to "main" branch, of course. There is a lot of arguing in bad faith in this area. As if showing a bit of good will and following a simple name change guideline would seriously harm any of those complainers. But I agree that this change can is not really justified linguistically.

My 2 cents, for what it's worth.

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@dtmmax33 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

1.5k comments so far. I think this was a great move and opened up a lot of discussion.

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@imtringued 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Githubs actions are manufactured outrage/racism.

By declaring a gray area word as forbidden it loses its legitimate meanings and only the undesireable meanings remain. The forbidden word becomes a slur because its potential to become a neutral or positive word has been removed.

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@SirensOfTitan 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

From David Foster Wallace’s Authority and American English essay:

> “My own humble opinion is that some of the cultural and political realities of American life are themselves racially insensitive and elitist and offensive and unfair, and that pussyfooting around these realities with euphemistic doublespeak is not only hypocritical but toxic to the project of ever actually changing them. Such pussyfooting has of course now achieved the status of a dialect […] I refer here to Politically Correct English (PCE), under whose conventions failing students become "high-potential” students and poor people “economically disadvantaged” and people in wheelchairs “differently abled” […] The same ideological principles that informed the original Descriptivist revolution - namely, the sixties-era rejections of traditional authority and traditional inequality - have now actually produced a far more inflexible Prescriptivism, one unencumbered by tradition or complexity and backed by the threat of real-world sanctions (termination, litigation) for those who fail to conform. This is sort of funny in a dark way, maybe, and most criticism of PCE seems to consist in making fun of its trendiness or vapidity. This reviewer’s own opinion is that prescriptive PCE is not just silly but confused and dangerous. Usage is always political, of course, but it’s complexly political. With respect, for instance, to political change, usage conventions can function in two ways: On the one hand they can be a reflection of political change, and on the other they can be an instrument of political change. These two functions are different and have to be kept straight. Confusing them - in particular, mistaking for political efficacy what is really just a language’s political symbolism - enables the bizarre conviction that America ceases to be elitist or unfair simply because Americans stop using certain vocabulary that is historically associated with elitism and unfairness. This is PCE’s central fallacy - that a society’s mode of expression is productive of its attitudes rather than a product of those attitudes. […] There’s a grosser irony about Politically Correct English. This is that PCE purports to be the dialect of progressive reform but is in fact - in its Orwellian substitution of the euphemisms of social equality for social equality itself - of vastly more help to conservatives and the U.S. status quo. Were I, for instance, a political conservative who opposed taxation as a means of redistributing national wealth, I would be delighted to watch PCE progressives spend their time and energy arguing over whether a poor person should be described as “low-income” or “economically disadvantaged” or “pre-prosperous” rather than constructing effective public arguments for redistributive legislation or higher marginal tax rates on corporations. (Not to mention that strict codes of egalitarian euphemism serve to burke the sorts of painful, unpretty, and sometimes offensive discourse that in a pluralistic democracy leads to actual political change rather than symbolic political change. In other words, PCE functions as a form of censorship, and censorship always serves the status quo.) As a practical matter, I strongly doubt whether a guy who has four small kids and makes $12,000 a year feels more empowered or less ill-used by a society that carefully refers to him as “economically disadvantaged” rather than “poor.” Were I he, in fact, I’d probably find the PCE term insulting - not just because it’s patronizing but because it’s hypocritical and self-serving. Like many forms of Vogue Usage, PCE functions primarily to signal and congratulate certain virtues in the speaker - scrupulous egalitarianism, concern for the dignity of all people, sophistication about the political implications of language - and so serves the selfish interests of the PC far more than it serves any of the persons or groups renamed.“

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@rayiner 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

> Yet at these same companies the majority of each grad scheme cohort tend to be from basically the same five colleges/universities. Are HBCUs one of these colleges??

The resistance of the software industry (and other elite professional industries) to recruit from HBCUs is an indictment of their DIE efforts. It’s not that reasonable name changes don’t matter, it’s that they don’t matter when you refuse to fix glaring pipeline problems like narrow recruiting strategy.

Food for thought: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/02/hbcus-blac...

> Yet more important than their famous alumni is the Black middle and upper-middle class, which HBCUs have almost single-handedly created. HBCUs have produced more than 80 percent of Black judges, 40 percent of Black Congress members, and roughly half of Black public-school teachers. More than 70 percent of Black doctors and dentists earn their bachelor’s degree at HBCUs.

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@quickthrower2 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I’m offended by Git can they call it PersonIDisagreeWithHub

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@lionkor 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

This is not a GitHub issue - Git itself now asks you if you would like to use the more inclusive `main`.

I personally don't care for these changes, I will likely keep using `master` because I "automatically" type it in my workflow, and I find master to be a lot more descriptive. `main` is the name of my main.c, main.go or main.cpp file, the name of the main function, etc. I dont need another "main" to mess up my autocomplete.

If they (github/microsoft) want to make a difference, I'm there with them, if they decide they want to put a few more millions a year towards getting lower-class children a higher education, I'm happily going to buy some GitHub pro or whatever.

Until then, they need to step down and just be the tool they are, nothing more.

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@lanevorockz 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Microsoft doing what it does best .. ruining well established products. I still remember when they bought Skype and I thought they won't mess up this time.

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@f430 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

yeah this virtue signaling by Github and many tech companies was cringe while ignoring shit like this:

> Being a highly paid software engineer, like most of you reading this, did not stop a bully van flying up the curb I was walking on and 7 City of London police officers pinning me against a wall with guns in my face. They wouldn’t believe it was possible for someone like me to work in central London till one of them searched me and found my work ID. All this because I fit a description. What was this description? I don’t know, black male between 4’11 and 7’4 probably. What did I do after that? I carried on with the rest of my day like nothing had happened because I’ve fucking been there and done it all before. Out of curiosity I asked my manager, who is like 20 yrs older than me, if he had ever been stopped and searched, he said not once in his life.

this is fucked.

2000 upvotes and this submission is already disappearing.

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@nelox 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Yet another example of corporatist human resources feel good ‘spin’, which decontextualises the historical conditions that give rise to the need for anti-discrimination, equity and diversity issues in the first place.

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@RexKramer77 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

The powers that be are quite happy to have us fighting with each other, rather than focusing on them.

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@gspr 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

There are parts of this article I agree with, and parts I disagree with, but this part just screaaaaams "I cannot possibly picture that any part of the world is in any way different from the US":

> “Meritocracy!”, I hear you cry. “They pick from the most talented students. The ones that worked the hardest to get into the most elite schools. The black students should have just worked harder”. I guess mummy and daddy paying $20 mil for a new library to get me a seat at an ‘elite’ school is still meritocracy eh?

It also seems like a complete digression from racial justice.

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@pjc50 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Basically I agree with tda's post: this does nothing to address the real problem, and allows people to feel they've done something when they haven't.

On the other hand, it's not a big deal to do it and we've done it.

If you're bothered by the demands for empty gestures, how about addressing the root cause: the rising tide of racism, especially official and policy racism, and the tragic outcomes it produces.

(We're having another round of the policing discussion in the UK, since within the same week we've had a woman murdered by an off-duty police officer, a vigil for that woman broken up by the police on the pretext of COVID restrictions, and a law proposed that makes it illegal for protests to be "annoying".)

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@xony 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

go fk urself

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@JabavuAdams 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Do you eschew mastery of skills, of topics? Does it make your fingers itch? Fooooooor fuuuuuuuuucks saaaaaaaaake! This is the lamest generation.

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@aphelion 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

The great irony with these terminology changes is that those most tripped up will be learners with access to fewer up to date resources and autodidacts who lack access to the usual educational opportunities afforded to those pursuing a career in tech.

Isn't the sort of person most likely to be tripped up by this the sort of person it is nominally supposed to help? Isn't it much more likely that it proves a stumbling block to the black teenager teaching herself to code from resources a few years old than to the white undergraduate whose new edition textbook will include the change and who has a professor and peers to explain it just in case?

If you want marginalized outsiders to have an easier path into programming isn't a change that makes that just a little bit trickier in order to make those with established tech careers feel better about themselves the wrong sort of change?

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@ycombigator 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I initially felt similarly to the person that wrote the OP.

Then I thought - would anyone be offended if we use the term "holocaust" for wiping a hard drive.

The language we use does impact how we think and frame things, that's part of being human.

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@JetAlone 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I have to agree with the writer's suggestion of hiring non-traditional job candidates. I'm teaching someone how to code pro bono to help him provide for his young family, and the anxiety that he experiences about not having the advantage I do with my degree is real.

If companies really want to do social good, they will have to prove it by putting their money where your mouth is, taking some risks, maybe they'll benefit from some new blood and a fresh perspective.

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@e79 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I generally think of it as “cheap” inclusivity. Companies looking to cast the biggest virtual signal with the smallest amount of capital. On paper it looks nice enough, but dig a little deeper and you realize that it’s everything under the sun minus the most important part: training and hiring more women, people of color, and other minority groups in tech.

I’ve worked for companies that do this with mental health too. Everyone is burned out and unhappy? We’re bringing in a professional on workplace happiness! We’re partnering with non-profits! We’re doing everything! Except, you know, addressing the actual cause of the burn out and unhappiness. Because that requires a hard, sober look at our own behavior and wrongdoings. It’s so much easier to look outward instead.

I don’t identify as a minority in tech, so I won’t even pretend to understand exactly what that’s like. But it seems like being gaslit constantly. It sounds so painful and invalidating and exhausting and outright maddening to be told to look at all of this progress when you know they know it’s all the cheapest version of it and it’s mostly just for show.

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@MeinBlutIstBlau 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

This article is spot on with more white americans beliefs about the issues than many would publicly admit. I'm from the midwest and all I can hear are the same white people that wound racist according to today's left, but in reality, match this exact same thought process. But because they are white they can't say these things.

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@_def 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

So I'm a european white guy and I know that Identity Politics covers topics which make it extremely hard to find a consesus, but here are my two cents. Please share your thoughts with me.

Tackling huge problems in society (and in general) takes time. It's good do discuss the direction society should move as whole, and act accordingly in the future. But it's also important to act _right now_ as best as we can to put the fire out.

Will adjusting our language get rid of social problems? No. Will it help getting rid of social problems: in the longterm, maybe? I don't know. But I know that it doesn't hurt you to act considerate towards other people. So why not just do it?

The thing is, it shouldn't stop there. Inclusive language is just a small step towards a more peaceful society. We'll need many of those.

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@4gotunameagain 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I just wish that all the weirdness of US politics didn't just spill out on the rest of the world like that.

We live in an age of profound cultural exchange between civilizations, and as with anything of this magnitude it has great benefits and major drawbacks

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@oji0hub 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I don't care what the branch is called, but people should never give way to harassment. That only emboldens the people who do it.

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@Quarrelsome 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I work for a major tech corp that employs thousands of people, went to an internal tech conference a few years back. They're based near a major US city with a big black population. I met a ton of Asian and Indian Asian people there. The only black people I met were hotel staff. Wtf America?

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@wiremine 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Disclaimer: I'm a white engineer who is now a VP. I also have a black daughter. I can't speak for the black experience(s) because I'm not black, but I'm also acutely invested in seeing things get better in terms of race relations and opportunities for all people.

A few thoughts:

1. Words matter. They aren't the most important thing per se, but they shouldn't be ignored. Over time, all these little changes do add up.

2. What is the most important thing? Authentic relationships. As I've gotten to know more people of color over the last decade, relationships are what grounds my perspectives and shapes my thinking. Truly understanding someone, and having yourself understood, is critical to overcoming the long-term race problems in America (and beyond).

3. Alongside relationships, doing the hard work of educating yourself is critical. White people in America tend to only see the dominate white culture as the _only_ culture. You need to educate yourself to understand this isn't true. But this is where relationships come in: "Black" culture (or Asian culture, or Latinx culture) is not monolithic, so the relationships create the commentary to understand the broader trends. Both the right and left in America tend to not do this part well.

A final thought: it starts in the schools. Those of us with authority and decision making power need to be investing in spending time mentoring the next generation of engineers.

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@kazinator 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

If any of these intellectually-challenged persons have main's degrees, they should have them revoked back down unmarried male person's degrees.

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@yamal4321 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

1473 comments, 2656 upvotes in 10 hours.

Well, seems ycombinator is poisoned now. It was a good time. Time to go further.

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@desktopninja 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Our hyper sensationalized (social) media coverage is also casting The Florida Effect wide.

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@elihu 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I doubt there are very many people seriously offended by "master", "whitelist", and so on. However, I think we should probably stop using them anyways. The reason is that many people who are introduced to these terms for the first time are likely to have a negative reaction of some sort. Like "is it okay to say that?" or "eww" or "that's not aging well" or whatever. Maybe I reacted that way, or maybe not. The point is, it was long enough ago for me to forget and my tendency is to use them without thinking about their possible connotations to someone (often children) who encounter them for the first time. Until recently when people pointed out that maybe we should use other terms.

This is a small change, but a good one. There are bigger things that need to be changed as well, and we shouldn't use this one thing to pat ourselves on the back for being especially enlightened.

(Regarding those other things: at my employer, some guidance came down to transition away from these terms in our code and documentation, and there was the kind of debate you'd expect in any tech company. I made a comment something along the lines of: "not using master/slave in our technical documents isn't silencing speech. It doesn't mean we can't use the word 'slave' when talking about the real issues of forced labor, it just means we should stop using it in a case where that language is unhelpful and confusing." Fast forward a month or two and we had an opportunity to share questions we had for our CEO during his quarterly business update. I submitted a question about our manufacturing facilities in China and whether we should continue doing business there given the bad things the government is doing to Uighurs. This was removed by a moderator and I got a sternly-worded email about not trolling and complying with (internal) social media guidelines and so on. So, I guess it turns out you can't talk about slavery after all. I don't think there's any correlation between avoiding master/slave in technical communication and corporate hesitancy to allow internal communication about doing business in a country that's causing a major humanitarian crisis. But still, it seems like even companies that are in some ways committed to doing the right thing still behave erratically when it comes to some moral questions.)

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@mensetmanusman 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

This is amazing and true.

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@cuddlecake 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

> They forgot to talk to people who are actually members of the black community.

Afaik, modern slaves are mostly Asian (women).

Whatever, I prefer the name "main" over "master", and moreso I prefer "trunk". Often, branch names like "develop" are used as well.

What this change helped produce was mostly that tools do not rely on `master` being the default branch, which is very helpful in some regards.

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@idownvoted 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Yet another sad attempt to impose your narrow focused view of the world on it.

The author seems to have forgotten: There are people outside of the US who work in tech.

As shocking as it might be to him, they don't wake up in the morning thinking "O gosh, I'm white, I need to repent". They actually read and write things like "master-slave" and not for a second think about what went wrong 150 yrs ago in some far away land. An no: Not thinking that isn't racism.

Yet we all have to endure your petty fights and identity politics.

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@m12k 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I think the point about involving the people that you're supposedly helping before forging ahead is really important. An ally that picks the wrong fight on your behalf is almost worse than an enemy.

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@HerbsMan 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I'm waiting for the moment when they change all "black" to "dark" or something equally stupid.

BTW. "Black Lives Matter" is totally wrong - It should be "All Lives Matter", otherwise it is kinda racist, no? ;- )

BTW2. By avoiding terminology "Master", "Slave" etc, what we trying to achieve? hide the truth that White managed to catch and enslave Black and roll on like that for years? cmon.

We are living in times of hypocrisy.

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@unixhero 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

In world history dating back several thousand years or more, slaves have existed. It is nobody today's fault this happened. I do not see how using a medieval historical reality to be offensive. Master slave hardrive settings on IDE drives for instance, who were offended by that?

What is next? What about the byzantine generals problem? The byzantines, I am sure someone will dig up some dirt in them and label them off limits.

Is it now offensive to say "Slaving around?"

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@kizer 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I was on Reddit saying “let’s ask the black devs”! What do a bunch of non-black nerds really know about race in America. I’m white btw. That’s a lesson you have to experience; you won’t find it in a textbook or solve it with an algorithm.

Go to the (obvious) reference for this, and ask them (almost entirely) what should be done. It’s all about black people in the first place, just ask them. That’s not politically incorrect, not even “uncomfortable” if brought up appropriately in a formal context.

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@beshrkayali 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

The issue is way bigger than a stupid meaningless branch-rename.

I'm very happy to see this post. This whole stupidity is so extremely frustrating to me. It's a perfect example of how little thinking the mainstream wants to put into important issues, how toxic American-liberalism is, and how easy it is for the masses to follow any seemingly-positive action just to avoid seeming negative.

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@pron 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Saying that the left spends too much effort on rhetoric might be valid criticism, but focusing on it as reasons to "walk away from the left" (which not too many black Americans are doing, BTW) is disingenuous. Sure, the left talks about rhetoric, but it also fights for higher wages, civil liberties, healthcare, affirmative action, investment in education, workers' rights, and voting rights. It's fine not to like everything a certain political camp does, but presenting things as if that's where all or even most of the effort is is just factually wrong. Of course, knowing that this aspect is less popular, media organisations like Fox News have chosen to focus on Dr. Seuss for the past couple of weeks rather than the debate on minimum wage, so really this aspect is more of the right's focus than the left's. "Wokeism" (and the even more made-up "cancel culture") is the new War on Christmas. Sure, there are enough instances to turn into hysteria if that's in your interest, but the actual work is elsewhere.

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@KittenInABox 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I overall agree with the broad message here. If GitHub, Microsoft, other tech companies cared so much about diversity they'd have an entire recruitment arm for women-only bootcamps and HBSUs.

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@throw7 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Stuff like diversity training and wokeness and virtue signaling is all counter productive. What you've done is planted the seed of discrimination where there was none to begin with. Congratulations.

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@gvv 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

We did it Patrick! We solved racism!

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@samkone 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I am black, and I honestly find this change ridiculous. Born in Africa and lives in the US. And honestly this is ridiculous. At some point this becomes painful it spare the real discussions that need to have about slavery and history.

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@stunt 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

These ideas about inclusion and language aren’t actually new. They just got more attention recently.

While I agree that we should start fixing bigger and more perceptible issues about racism (e.g., hiring biases), but let's not mix these things together. I assume people that pushed these changes don't have influence on hiring. So let's celebrate their small but impactful success.

I was personally a bit skeptical about the whole idea of not using “master” or “whitelist & blacklist” because my brain never associated them to race and racism and I assume it’s just the same for everyone. So it seemed like a pointless change at first glance.

But, maybe we should change it. Maybe the whole notion of “black” being used in “bad” and “negative” context has an influence on our perception about other things that we are not aware of.

For comparison, the notion of associating Pink to girls and Blue to boys isn’t something very old at all. It’s a 20th century change and yet it comes so naturally to us that you would be surprised when you learn about its history. Perhaps “black” being the label for unfavorable things has an influence on our subconscious and how we see other things around us.

There are many studies about how language has influence on our culture and the way we think. Actually you can even see it with programming languages. A Scala programmer solves a problem very different than a Python programmer would. Their mental model is very different.

So I personally don’t mind changing them anymore. Why resist the change and insist on something so cheap to change? Let’s try it and perhaps it will take a few generations until it becomes the new normal. Every small progress is still good especially if it has deep cultural impact.

I welcome changes and I admire forward thinking. Don’t fall into the trap of false but appealing and convincing arguments against this and also don't mix it with other issues that we have.

At some companies diversity & inclusion initiatives are just about language and nothing more and we know that’s very wrong. But, progress even in a company like that is still a progress. Let's try to fix other things too while we take some other small steps.

After a few times hearing it, I think I quite like “main” for branch name. I think it even makes more sense to say this is the main branch.

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@major505 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Because somewhere in my company pipeline there was a hardcoded "master" branch. So no new projects where building. The old guy have quited, so they asked me to review scripts, and only after a few hours It ocurred to me that was because new projects where being created with the main branch.

So... fuck you github. You changed nothing, and annoyed a lot of people. And being all honest, if that is a thing that annoys you because when you hear master you thing of slavery and stuff like that, you probably get too much free time on your mind.

I for example hear naster and immediately thing immediately about kung fu and stuff like that.

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@JacobSuperslav 5 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Imagine what happened if black people were as angry about what happened in the past as white people about a name change

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@huntercross 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

The words we use matter. If they didn’t you wouldn’t feel the need to use fuck in your title. If you think it is inclusive to use old terminology the. why don’t you use old technology? Because it is worth it communally for us to update and get better at cooperating. Running around tellkng Github to fuck themselves is just more toxic masculinity wrapped up in a need to stay at the center of every conversation at work and at home. I am happy I don’t have to work on your team.

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@rdiddly 5 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I'm late to the thread (had to find it satirized on n-gate.com) but I'm against all conflation/confusion. Against conflating/confusing master (as opposed to copy) with master (as opposed to slave). And especially, since it seems so widespread and dangerous, I'm against conflating/confusing the accurate use of master and slave whether metaphorical or literal, with endorsing slavery of humans, i.e. conflating/confusing the act of merely mentioning with the act of endorsing. Slavery is a thing and we need words to describe and name it; isn't that the whole point of drawing attention to it? Outlawing words actually works counter to the goal. And sometimes we do make computers serve in master or slave roles. They're not sentient so it's fine. Hopefully everybody with half a brain knows the difference between that and doing it to people.

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@anothernewdude 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

The biggest thing that annoys me is now I have multiple repos with different branches that are main/master.

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@Bumkatio 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I got used to using main quickly and have to say, its much shorter than master and writes nicer.

Was the time and effort worth it?

Honestly, i have an opinion but i don't want to take a stance; My company paid me for changing it so who am i to complain?

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@shirro 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I have never strongly associated the word master with slavery. I think of a master copy or a ships master, master/apprentice as much as anything. Master/slave specifically seems problematic. It does express the relationship between the software components better than most alternatives but I am happy to defer to people who know more than me on the social costs of keeping that terminology.

There was indentured labour (effectively slavery though it was technically outlawed) practised in my country but many people aren't even aware of it and it hasn't created huge racial divides, civil war and political division that persists to today. I don't feel qualified to have an opinion either way. I find 'main' totally acceptable for the default git branch.

I think change should be real and pragmatic and improve peoples lives, not just symbolic change to appease peoples guilt, but the truth is symbolic changes can have an impact. I am totally fine with saying sorry to my countries indigenous people. It isn't an admission I have personally done anything horrible myself to them. It is just saying sorry. It is what a decent person would do when they saw an injustice done. But I guess seeing that takes a certain level of emotional maturity and I guess that is often missing from these debates.

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@nathias 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I don't believe anyone was ever offended by this, if they were, that would be their problem and corporate language policing or any other institutionalized efforts like that are evil

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@mesozoic 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Whatever dude we solved racism by not using master branches anymore.

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@Symbiote 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

> Out of curiosity I asked my manager, who is like 20 yrs older than me, if he had ever been stopped and searched, he said not once in his life.

I had a similar conversation when a black colleague was late for work, having been stopped and searched by the police in London.

The other 10 (white) developers were all shocked, but he said it as casually as someone might report they'd missed the train, or had a puncture on a bicycle. He was stopped regularly, nothing to be done about it.

No one else had ever been stopped.

(A few months later, one of these white developers and I were walking away from the office when the other guy was stopped by the police. They searched his backpack on suspicion of theft. They told us the description was "white youth, short black hair, red football shirt, riding a blue mountain bike with a black backpack", which exactly matched my colleague.)

The government figures say, from April 2019 to March 2020:

> there were 6 stop and searches for every 1,000 White people, compared with 54 for every 1,000 Black people

and this is an improvement!

https://www.ethnicity-facts-figures.service.gov.uk/crime-jus...

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@joseluisq 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Copied and pasted from the article:

> So what would our tech bro saviors have found out if they had actually bothered to talk to anyone black? Well, at least this black person would have told them that calling the branch master is not offensive. Furthermore, black people as a collective are not triggered by words like master wherever they appear in the wild. Context people, context. Banning a word because you think it’s offensive is basically telling us what we should and should not be offended by. There are bigger problems around inclusivity that deserve our time, let us put this drive for change into those.

It speaks by itself. I agree.

--

Honestly trying to connect vaguely the calamity of racism or the master/slave human abuse and then bringing them forcibly into the context of a software term "master" used as a naming convention to describe the root (default) repository's branch is just stupid and insane.

Simply because both contexts are completely different. So try to mix them is big mistake and confusion-prone. Even it can fracture your community (if maybe it's already).

It's sad see how devs/companies are supporting this stupid idea of the change or even worse they encourage you to do it so.

Fortunately there are humans (devs) who really understand the matter and don't buy this nonsense.

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@iamflimflam1 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

This topic has been done to death. If you're offended by the name change from master to main then you really need to be asking yourself why you're so upset about it.

And you need to be answering that question honestly.

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@evgeniysharapov 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Ha, I am surprised no one yet cried about "black hat" being bad hackers and "white hat" being noble ones. When is that change coming to DEF CON? Most surprising is how hypocritical this charade is and likely everyone understands it, but follows the proverbial "school of fish".

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@saint_angels 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Usually companies try to hire more minorities out of guilt, or because "it's the right thing to do", but I think it's a wrong motivator. If the industry is not hiring part of society for some reason, then it's missing huge amount of unused talent. We should be doing diversity and inclusion out of greed rather than guilt

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@JeremyBanks 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Why is this empty vapid rant so upvoted? Who cares?

Writing so many words about this change that doesn't really affect anyone unless they want it to... I wonder why he was so upset?

(I don't actually wonder. Enjoy your lovely community of wonderful like-minded wholesome people, Dang.)

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@idm 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I'm quite comfortable saying that master/slave is an unsavory metaphor to use in your distributed architecture.

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@ankurpatel 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

As a South Asian/Indian and an immigrant to USA coming from a lower middle class background, I would argue that just like Blacks we are also disadvantaged but unlike the African Americans South Asians/Indians have taken over the STEM programs. I do not think acts like these make a change but rather change in mentality of the African American community is what matters for their youth to choose careers and opportunities that help them prosper.

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@Number157 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

He had a masters degree. We were impressed by her mastery of the subject. They were master archers. The zen master suggested they should meditate.

Etc etc etc...

I realize the word can be used in a negative context but that's the case with any word and in none of the cases is it the word itself that is the problem, but peoples actions.

I don't care if we call master 'main' or whatever. They both work. The discussion around the name change does annoy me. This isn't D-day, it's a name change for the sake of PR.

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@pulse7 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Word "master" has many meanings, not just "a man who has people working for him, especially servants or slaves"...

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@rvz 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Told you how useless this branch change was to bring this 'inclusivity' in. Nothing but woke virtue-signalling as a whole. They want real change not solidarity stunts like this. GitHub and everyone else might as well have done nothing instead of bringing this attention to themselves.

This fallacious logic of 'If you are silent, you are against us' or 'Your silence is violence' means that when we are still waiting for Mastercard to change their name, at the same time they are also virtue signalling for 'inclusivity' as well. One can just say: 'Why haven't you changed your offensive name yet?' 'Since they are still silent about this demand, they are probably still against us and what we believe in.'.

It is better to ignore them in the first place rather than give in to their ridiculous demands and copy their virtue signalling stunts which achieve absolutely nothing.

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@phasnox 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

> "I’m pissed off because they pretended to be doing good > and wanted me to congratulate them for it. Either do some real shit or stay silent. Stay the fuck out of our way and don’t pretend you care. Then we can all get on with our lives."

This

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@krzyk 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

This reminds me of a discussion in my company after the BLM movement.

It was a talk under article about moving away from blacklist/whitelist. The discussion was done by purely white people and they were suggesting what other names they could change. It looked like people started looking at dictionary for words containing "white" or "black" and started suggesting strange changes.

Going as far as suggesting that "whitespace" is offensive, because it has "white" in name and suggests "opportunity". I was hard to explain to this person that whitespace comes from book printing.

Basically a savior complex which trivializes the problem, but makes some white folks happy because they did something "important".

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@cblconfederate 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

yeah it sounds like github went overboard on fake 2020 sensitivism and forgot to turn off the machine after biden was elected

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@paracyst 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

A lot of people in this industry are not going to like it, but this post needed to be written and is 100% spot on. Wake me up when I can go to an "about our team" page for any of the companies posted on here and not see virtually the same exact team picture, from a diversity perspective, for nearly every company.

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@kludgeon 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

if you scroll past the left v. right and recycling sideshows, there is half-decent discussion that is relevant to the article below.

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@ggggtez 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

This is bikeshedding to the extreme. Who cares if Github changes what words they use (from "master" to "main").

The poster claims that they personally were not asked about the change. Who cares what that person thinks? Seriously, this is just one voice (an "anon" user, so they won't even put their reputation behind their words).

This poster is clearly uninformed which doesn't help their case. This conversation has a long history in the computer world, and many companies for years have been removing the Master/Slave terminology (including Master/Slave disks). Don't believe me? Go look at Wikipedia, which has a page devoted to this topic! This is hardly new ground!

There may be problems of race in tech, but fighting against the "good" in order to hold out for the "perfect" is a stupid approach. There is no reason to argue against this change.

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@temptemptemp111 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Slave Branch Matter!

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@andreygrehov 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Companies do whatever they can in order to avoid being criticized. Nobody really cares about the root cause of things. The thought process is simple: "Company A did this, so we'll do the same, because otherwise they'll blame us for NOT doing that, so we may lose partners and that will affect our revenue".

A great example is advertisement. A lot of tech companies suddenly started to work with black/asian fashion models. This change is obviously driven by movements, similar to BLM. It's not a natural change, not an honest idea coming from a production team. They do it purely from the perspective to shut everyones mouth, so to speak.

These days, everyone expects diversity, except that if you are thinking differently or having a different opinion, then you'll be taunted, banished and then canceled from everywhere. This is not good and goes against principles of innovation. People are scared of being different.

My personal take on master branch thing is that GitHub had to either stay quiet and do nothing OR, if asked to change master to main, say "f*ck you, go build your own company and name things however you want, we are not going to change foundational things just because YOU think master word is offending". Because, what if in 5 years someone is offended by branches being named `main`?

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@gher-shyu3i 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙



@mikaeluman 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I agree that the intense focus on changing names and appearances in general is at best a waste of time. It's a very US/UK-centric discussion.

"Master/slave" has no relevance at all in many countries like Sweden where serfdom (träldom) was forbidden or else ended in the 13th century and never involved foreign peoples.

"Whitelisting" and "blacklisting" have never been associated with skin pigmentation. This seems like a paranoid interpretation.

Meanwhile, the real problems still remain. I will say that I think even the author makes a serious mistake in framing the discussion around skin color.

These ideas about race that prevail in the discussion are not helpful and stem from poor scientific work in the 18th to 20th century.

The genetic diversity of Africa is more diverse than the rest of the world (https://www.geneticsandsociety.org/article/study-africans-mo...).

To refer to all as "black" (or worse, "Black" with a capital B) is a simplification that has no relevance today.

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@kajaktum 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

This name change only gives the satisfaction/feeling of doing something but actually not having any impact (and possibly negative) on the world.

As a person of color, the LAST thing I want is attention. Granted I am SEA in Canada, but when someone talks about minorities i just cringe. In my country, my race is the majority and I myself feel bad/awful about my own ra

Honestly, if your company is such a moral pillar that you oh care so much about minorities and the poor people then why the *ck do you have billions of dollar stashed in some foreign company? Fix that first you dipshit.

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@impeplague 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

The american left is lagging behind in therms of political theory and this "identitarian ideology" is a symptom of that. The fact that this ideology now is being imported by leftists in other countries creates a really bad image of the whole political movement.

It is interesting that this innocuous terminological justice is now a thing in a lot of english speaking social environments (and internet), as far as I can tell, but is a joke for the majority of population (included left organizations and political parties) where I live. This is, for me, a clear sign of the elitist agenda that has minimal impact in the real life, but delight the middle-class left of american universities.

I consider myself a left minded person, and being from a third world country, I first was amused by this when this started since I do a general research of leftists movements around the world. But now that this evolved on a entire "ideology" (quoted because it has really poor political substance) and is now present, albeit not as much as in the USA and Europe, in my country, my take is that this is a dissuasive factor in the political development of the masses.

Sorry for my english.

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@zxcvbn4038 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I guess OP didn’t realize the default branch name is configurable in repo settings, and that organizations can set it at an account level (which is an easy fix to not have to retool all the ci/cd pipelines). Much more effective then a blog post that nobody is going to see. Have we learned nothing from Rick and Morty?

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@s9w 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

This will be flagged and [dead]ed in 3, 2, 1, ...

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@0xdeadfeed 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Anyone who thinks that the word "master" should be removed from English dictionary is just plain stupid.

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@dogman144 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Crux of it:

> We’re going to change the branch name because it could be seen as offensive but we’re still going to sell police facial recognition software that is biased against black people and women.

Some parts of tech are populated and led by 29-35 y/os who were sold a bill of goods in their early 20's about how virtuous and pro-social their tech was. "Making a better place through....", well it turned out to be to through surveillance-y adtech and working with China but not the DoD because "war is bad."

So much of tech's labor challenges right now seem driven by the above.

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@maverwa 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

> I just don’t appreciate the idea that we as software engineers can now sit back and believe we’ve made some kind of positive change, coz we haven’t.

I might have missed the GitHub communication there, but thats not at all what I think when thinking about changing the default branch name for new repos to a name thats, in my perception, at least as good as the old one, maybe better.

If there is window dressing involved around this change, then thats bs and need to be called out, but I nonetheless think that this change itself is not bad. Like many of these terminology changes discussed and implemented in the past, I actually think `main` is a better term for the (default) main branch. Personally I would opt for a branch name that better fits the projects needs, like 'stable' or 'production' or 'less-broken' or whatever you want. But we are talkin about a default here.

> I’m not pissed off because I expected tech companies to do more, no, I didn’t expect them to do anything. I’m pissed off because they pretended to be doing good and wanted me to congratulate them for it.

Yes, I agree with this.

[edit] only syntax fixes, my markdown is lacking

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@sneak 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Why are you censoring your own title in a post complaining about GitHub censoring themselves?

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@gher-shyu3i 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙



@mbeex 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Where are the other 700 comments?

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@worik 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I propose "mistress"

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@sunaurus 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I feel like this topic has been discussed a lot already, but I think it's important to keep pushing back against useless wasted man-hours like this effort is.

I live in a country that was almost entirely enslaved by foreigners for ~700 years. I've discussed this rename with dozens of engineers in my country. Without exception, every single one of them thinks it's completely ridiculous. We need to keep voicing these thoughts so that decision-makers in large companies have a chance to hear us and realize that they should focus on more useful issues instead.

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@tomp 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I'm Slavic, i.e. the ethic group of people that is the likely etymological origin of the word slave.

I'm not offended by the concept of slavery, or by the words master or slave. Indeed, I think it's important to keep this important concept in mind, so that we can solve the related problem of enslaved humans. In addition, I don't see a problem with these words being used in non-human concept - slavery is only a problem if slaves are human. Personally, I want to be the master to my (non-concious) computer slaves (well, better than the reverse, at least...).

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@dshpala 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Yeah? How about the other way around - I'll start using 'master' more in my code from now on. No more 'primary' things, only 'master'. What do we have here, serverUrl? How about masterUrl?

I'm less than half-joking here.

God this woke stuff is worse than Trump I swear.

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@gammalost 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

This reminds me what Assad said about Trump.

>I tell you, he’s the best American president. Why? Not because his policies are good, but because he’s the most transparent president[1]

The quote being about how Trump didn't pretend to have a humanitarian foreign policy in contrast to past presidents.

It's about two different situations but they are similar. People pretending to care about a cause and through that making it worse than not caring at all. While Assad and Mooseyanon both want people to drop the act to make everything easier

[1] https://www.politico.com/news/2019/11/01/syria-assad-trump-b...

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@bloody-crow 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

> They forgot to talk to people who are actually members of the black community. The very people they are trying to not offend.

I don't get what makes the author think that any such change should only happen with an explicit approval from "black community". TBH I don't see how community's opinion on this topic is relevant at all.

This is a change by people who felt uneasy about the old name for people who felt the same. If you're not in this category, it's a no-op for you. Existing repos still have master, new repos can have main branch renamed to master trivially.

Don't attach so much meaning to something so fucking insignificant. It makes zero difference for some, it makes some difference to others. Who gives a shit?

My only problem with the rename is that I apparently have muscle memory of typing `gco master` and `git rebase master` without thinking so I now lose a few seconds of productivity on newer repos until I learn to adapt to it. I can live with that.

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@ismaildonmez 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

A good article about this naming issue - https://reason.com/2020/08/12/is-your-master-bedroom-racist/

For me, it seems like since no one dares to solve real problems like Police violence, income gap, real racism that's ingrained in the society (like people calling the police because a black guy is wandering around), they pick up some non-issue and dress it like a problem and solve it.

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@dusted 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

"Either do some real shit or stay silent. Stay the fuck out of our way and don’t pretend you care. Then we can all get on with our lives."

In general a brilliant writing.

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@viach 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Relax, this is just a marketing move. It doesn't matter the tone of the the news buzz, negative or positive. What matters is someone have written a post with "github" in the title and it's on the top of HN. Kudos to Github marketing team, exellent provocative move, everyone is talking about it.

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@hezag 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

> "We really don’t need to arm police with any shitty, biased facial recognition software. Their eyes already do a perfectly good job of that. George Floyd and Breonna Taylor can both attest to that. I can attest to it."*

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@auggierose 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Great article. First time I heard about this name change. WTF?

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@ecmascript 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

This is a topic I feel cannot be openly discussed on HN (and basically everywhere else), sadly.

I switched from Github to Gitlab after this change. Political correctness is a great way to know that a company has the completely wrong focus and will be unable to innovate and create good products.

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@dustinmoris 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

The biggest genocide in human history was against people of the Jewish community, yet we are still using words such as:

- boot "camp"

- Let's go "camp"ing

- you need to "concentrate" more

- lots of other words which remind of concentration camps and other cruel crimes against humanity

When will we eradicate those words from our every day language?

Heck we even use the word "work" when we know too well that Nazis used the slogan "Arbeit macht frei" (Work makes free) at the top of Auschwitz.

What does it say about Microsoft that they are still labelling the employees as "workers" and asking them to do some "work".

Maybe Microsoft should rethink the words they use and how they are harmful and contribute to genocide.

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@thinkingemote 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

My and your progressive peers would say "Don't let perfect be the enemy of good".

How would you argue against that?

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@stevenhuang 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I am reminded of Antirez's experience on being pushed to rename the master/slave terminology in Redis: http://antirez.com/news/122

> I believe that political correctness has a puritan root. As such it focuses on formalities, but actually it has a real root of prejudice against others. For instance Mark bullied me because I was not complying with his ideas, showing problems at accepting differences in the way people think.

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@yrombinator 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

The only way to win this game is not to play. Which is why the game is being set up this way!

Had GitHub not done anything it would have looked bad. Now that GitHub did do something, it's not enough.

I disagree that GitHub needs a minority consortium to ask them about every little detail and the impact it has on their culture/etc.

I really wish we could set up a "Culture Firewall" around the US for the next decade lest the whole world gets infected with these mind viruses.

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@xyproto 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I fully agree that changing master to main doesn't really solve anything. When supporting people, they should be supported in a way that matters.

git itself changing the default branch name to main was a sufficiently good reason for me to go for main as the default branch name for my projects as well. It's a central project and their decision carries weight, regardless of their motivation.

If people choose to use main for their new projects, I see the argument for also renaming master to main for older projects, to be able to have a slightly more uniform git workflow on the command line. It depends on the project if making this change outweighs the hassle.

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@snemvalts 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

You know it's all for show when the employees actively celebrate ICE contracts for $56k, and when minorities use the word "nazi" to describe far right protesters they are fired as a kneejerk reaction.

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@ryneandal 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Incredibly entertaining writing. Keep writing.

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@xroche 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

> “Meritocracy!”, I hear you cry. “They pick from the most talented students. The ones that worked the hardest to get into the most elite schools. The black students should have just worked harder”

Crazy idea: if companies that do virtue signaling on inclusivity were paying their taxes, decent schools could be funded and we would not have so many of those issues.

But instead, those companies are actively lobbying to avoid any taxes, and as a result, poor kids will never have any chance of getting a decent education:

* The IRS Decided to Get Tough Against Microsoft. Microsoft Got Tougher. https://www.propublica.org/article/the-irs-decided-to-get-to...

* Facebook, Google and Microsoft 'avoiding $3bn in tax in poorer nations' https://www.bbc.com/news/business-54691572

I am baffled by the naivety of people in our IT industry who swallow the hypocrite "inclusivity" discourse of those big tech giants. They don't care about inclusivity, they only care about money folks.

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@knorker 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

By taking away words like "master" and "hit" because with completely different context they mean other things, these people are making it worse.

"Master" does not mean slavery until you ban every other interpretation. Then it does mean slavery. Well done, you encouraged slavery views.

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@flippinburgers 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Someone "finds" an inane pattern.

They tell everyone else.

The trick is that by being told and because the human mind likes to make associations suddenly some of the listeners see it too.

And then we find ourselves in this odd state of affairs.

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@hit8run 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I was okay with master and I am also okay with main. Main is shorter to type so hey we‘re all saving some keystrokes a day.

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@bfgoodrich 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

"So, what was tech’s big song and dance? Let’s remove offensive terminology from our collective lexicon."

The movement to remove unfortunate terminology (master/slave absolutely being one) from our stack has gone on long before the George Floyd protests - literally decades, including many discussions on here. This framing renders the entire article just noisy hysterics.

Of course it has yielded the predictable "As a gay black man..." commentary. Right.

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@skrebbel 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I teach 2 git classes each year. I used to use GitHub for the pull/push section of the class, but last autumn half the class got stuck with branch name mismatches.

I switched to GitLab in the next class.

Surely this is just anecdata, but it seems to me that there can be real commercial consequences to letting your business get hijacked by the thought police.

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@mik09 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

reminds me a passage in the opening chapters of the three-body problem: instead of maxwell equations, they called it electro-magnetic equations. (and so on.)

identity politics is basically infighting and it's not very productive as pointed out by some other comments.

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@newswasboring 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

> We’re going to change the branch name because it could be seen as offensive but we’re still going to sell police facial recognition software that is biased against black people and women. Facial recognition software that misidentifies black people as gorillas. Facial recognition software that was used to identify unmasked BLM protesters. We’re going to change the branch name to be more inclusive of minorities but we’re going to carry on selling software to ICE. Get the fuck outta here.

This is a weird paragraph. They are contrasting GitHub's decisions against some other companies entirely.

edit: These were the links cited [1] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-50865437

[2] https://www.cnet.com/news/google-apologizes-for-algorithm-mi...

[3] https://www.theverge.com/2020/8/18/21373316/nypd-facial-reco...

[4] https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/tech-companies-quietl...

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@shantara 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I think we've reached the peak of absurdity, when a linting utility adds an enabled by default inclusive language rule that breaks people's builds for daring to use racist terms like "MasterViewController" or "MasterCard".

https://github.com/realm/SwiftLint/pull/3243

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@maxrev17 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I'm in the UK and disappointed in all this 'awareness' bullshit. It is a complete cop out for making real change.

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@SeriousM 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

That's exactly what I think about that topic. Master branch is the master record. Nothing more or less.

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@swayvil 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Word-usage is a natural meritocracy.

It's a practically perfect interface between mechanics and morality.

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@hackwith 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I like main better

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@lcrz 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I just want to add a link to this[0] post here as a counterpoint for why changing language _can_ matter.

The author seems to imply that the name change is all about being non-offensive to some people. Since the author doesn't find the language offensive, they conclude that name change is only political correctness or virtue signalling and a hollow gesture. I do not agree with that. Language and words are very powerful in how we perceive the world. A changing vocabulary is part of cultural change.

[0]: https://mokacoding.com/blog/main-vs-master-xcode-12/

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@garfieldnate 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I view language policing as a type of misguided adherence to a strong version of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, which basically states that people can't think what there is no word for in their language. This is utter nonsense; people have likes and dislikes and biases and will always find new ways to express these views.

There was a long period in linguistics research where linguists thought they could understand language best by discovering the etymologies of every word; this drove a lot of the work of recovering Proto-Indo-European. They thought that if they knew where a word came from that they would then know the absolute truth regarding the meaning of the word. Things changed at the beginning of the 20th century, and this approach is now considered pseudo-scientific; linguistics is data-based now, with meanings of words determined by their usage and context.

"Master" is a pretty neutral word, with about a dozen meanings if you check Meriam-Webster. Even if the top meaning listed were "one having authority over another" (and it's not), this is still too vague to simply declare that it's associated with slavery and needs to be avoided. There's nothing about a Git repository that's directly reminiscent of American slavery, so it's quite arbitrary to declare the word "master" inappropriate in this context. It could be quite a different story if the spelling were "massah", which would directly evoke the image of slavery.

In general, though, even for actual offensive words I think the banning approach is counter-productive. Melioration, the loss of a negative connotation, is a perfectly natural process, and by outright banning a word you prolong the process or even strengthen the negativity of it. Let negative word meanings fade out of our consciousness as the negative feelings that gave birth to them disappear.

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@elygre 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I had zero ownership of the name “master”. That just happened, and I lived with it.

I will remain having zero ownership to the name “main”. That just happened, and I will live fine with that, too!

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@asmr 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I'm a black american and I think it's more racist to attribute the word "master" to master/slave dynamic. Especially when I've always thought of something like "master" in the context of GitHub to refer to a "master" copy. This change is ineffective.

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@kkoncevicius 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

> Last summer an(other) unarmed black man was killed by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota. [...] So, what was tech’s big song and dance? Let’s remove offensive terminology from our collective lexicon. There were several casualties, white/blacklist are examples of words deemed to be too offensive to use.

In my memory this started way before the recent BLM protests - around the time CoC (Code of Conduct) was being introduced.

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@supergirl 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

> They forgot to talk to people who are actually members of the black community.

everyone should be consulted. however today’s black people in this case should not have the final word. they adapted to a system that opresses them so they might not have the vision of what the ideal system is. i. other words, even if today’s black people are not offended by this word it doesn’t mean it’s ok. same with the n word. black people use it but I think it is not ok. their grandchildren might do better in a world where black people don’t use this word. same with women. today’s women might not have the vision of what equality is. people with vision are needed and they might be black, women or even white men

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@qwerty456127 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I would agree "slave" seems a weird choice of a word but I can see nothing wrong in "master". Not a single moment in my life I thought about slavery when hearing/seeing the word "master". Should we also rename master degrees perhaps?

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@gordian-mind 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Another "radical" take that basically boils down to saying "stop trying to do good, white people, what we really need is to replace you with more positive discrimination".

With the usual scarecrows, like algorithms being racist, "white boys" being used as a slur, etc.

The conclusion? Stop being racist, and make black-only employment programs, you bigots!

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@tda 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Though I initially sympathized with the name change from master to main (cause I don't care what it is called), I am now more of the opinion that this kind of window-dressing might actually be harmful as it distracts from addressing the root cause. It is a bit complicated as the name change in itself is not bad, but given the context, and that it distracts from addressing real issues it actually is.

Same thing with plastic recycling, in and of itself it is better than landfill, but as it allows us to feel good and look away from the real problem (plastic is cheap because most impacts are externalized) the recycling of plastic contributes more to the problem than to the solution. I know people who traveled around the world about once a year, own a big house and altogether have a pretty big impact that could easily be reduced, but they do recycle plastic and think of themselves as somewhat environmentally responsible.

For the record, I do recycle plastic.

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@xupybd 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Seeing this gave me the warm fuzzies. Finally some push back against the pointless posturing that makes people feel good about themselves while helping no one.

This made it to the top of HN. I'm filled with hope.

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@throwawayhhn 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Many may agree with the author, but the fact is that many people do get offended about words. In the last few days there has been a significant firestorm about South African academic Adam Habib, who was recently appointed as head of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the a University of London because he stated on a Zoom call with some students that if someone used the word n**r that would be a breach of policy. His sin was uttering the word, rather than saying “the n word”, which as a South African person with Indian ancestry, he is apparently not entitled to do. He tried to explain that words need to be understood in context, but was ripped apart by a woke Twitter mob (he has also made enemies in South African politics who gleefully amplified the outrage). After initially standing firm, he seems to have issued a grovelling apology.

If an outrage mob on social media is going to go after you, and they can be placated by changing a few words, it seems eminently rational to change the words.

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@tigerlily 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

> We’re going to change the branch name to be more inclusive of minorities

It struck me that GitHub's suggested alternative, "main", could be taken to mean "mainstream", as in not inclusive of minorities. In which case OP's suggested "fuck-github" is by far the more preferable branch name.

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@redkinght99 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I just wanted to comment how great it was to "Something for ya ears while you read." music on this post. I wish every Hacker News tech link had a music link to accompany the information being shared.

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@vletal 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Anyone else here whose script actually broke due to this change?

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@stared 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

It's all about symbolic actions.

In principle, symbolic actions are meant to show the intention. (E.g. pointing to an object instead of grabbing it.) In many cases, it is impossible to act quickly, or at all, yet - someone wants to point to the direction where they head.

In practice, everywhere when PR is involved (by people, companies, or government), symbolic actions are usually used instead of actual actions. They are orders of magnitude cheaper and offer an easy way to fool people with a false sense of care and engagement.

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@fbunau 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

My company changed our team name: "Black" to something else. just because .. really ? are we not allowed to use colors anymore ? Everyone on the team is white and european. I wasn't there when the team was named, but I think it had to do with rock cool factor, not slavery.

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@schwartzworld 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Late to the party, but I have a relevant story:

My last job did a bunch of faux diversity tactics starting around the same time this happened at google. Part of it was starting "support" groups for different groupings, for example one for Asian employees or another for LGBTQ. This is good.

However, I had to work weirdly hard to also have one for us Jewish employees. Weirdly hard when you consider all that had to be done was make a slack channel.

Anyway, I suggested a group for Jews, and when I finally got someone to make the channel (begrudgingly), they asked what I wanted to name it. The other channels had names like "InspirAsian" so I wanted to be clever. I came up with "the tribe", as the term "member of the tribe" refers to someone being Jewish. The channel was made, the other 10 Jewish devs were happy.

A day later I got a worried slack message from another employee. He was worried the name "The Tribe" would be offensive to Black employees, I guess because African societies are supposed to be called tribes? How about the 13 Tribes of Israel, Steve?

I think it's a great example of the kind of fake progressivism discussed in the article. The org didn't care about making a group for us because we are white, the overly concerned employee getting preemptively offended over his own ignorance. It's all so telling about how little people really care about inclusion.

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@ceod 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Yeah i've always looked at my master branch and stared into the horizon, missing the good old days of slavery. People forget white populations were subjected to horrible stuff too. Looking back long enough one will have a tough time accounting and redressing stuff. Hey my Neanderthal ancestors were tortured by your Neanderthal ancestors. You owe me big time and also a branch name change...

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@greatgib 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Fun fact, in a mean time, so far, no one targeted the term "scrum master" yet.

Despite this being the closest to software dev modern slavery in big companies ...

So, please, can we profit of that to cancel the usage of 'scrum' everywhere ? :-)

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@christiansakai 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I'm Asian, wasn't born in America and didn't grew up in America as well. I don't have a horse in this race. I don't feel annoyed to change that term. I'm only annoyed if someone guilt trip me if I don't change the name out of ignorance (i.e, I don't follow politics, no time for social media). I don't think I have any bias against women or minority in tech. Changing main or master or slave doesn't ring a bell or evoke an emotion in me. If my boss wants it master or main or slave or white or black, I'll do it.

I'm very very surprised about this whole identity politics thing. First time I came to the US and I conversed with this Asian women friend, who told me that she wanted to go to business school, and I asked her "why business school?" and suddenly another Asian women (friend of her) cut me and said "Oh why not, because she is a woman?" and I was like "wow, where did that come from? what does that even mean?" and since that day I know that US racial issue is fucked up big time.

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@onelovetwo 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

As a black man in tech, I can say its always frustrating to me when a company tells me what I should be offended by. The master word has never even crossed my mind in that way, I've always thought of it as in the music term. Its one of those settle racist things that I've noticed time and time again in tech. Its as if a bunch of white people come together to prove how "not racist" they are to their other white friends. They start to try to out do each other so much It starts to have the opposite effect and alienates people that just want to be treated normal, not like former slaves.

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@sergiotapia 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

>Every summer countless tech companies of all sizes run internship programs, would it be a stretch to run an apprenticeship program of the same length for non traditional applicants?

Specifically how would you define non-traditional, and in your opinion why should this non-traditional segment of people get a separate funnel?

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@is-ought 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

When can I downvote posts?

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@oh_sigh 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Isn't "git" an offensive word for a disabled person? At least it is in the society I grew up in. When will github stop their insensitivity and change their name?

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@justtopostthis3 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

> All this because I fit a description. What was this description? I don’t know, black male between 4’11 and 7’4 probably.

I have been stopped, searched, and detained in handcuffs for over an hour because I "fit a description." (I was fired for being late.)

I have missed international flights because I was "randomly selected," again, to be subjected to additional screening and interrogation.

I was held at gunpoint in middle school while officers tore apart my backpack looking for a stolen pen.

I am a cis white male, the paragon of privilege, and I'd be standing right there with you if you would only stop excluding me based on the color of my skin.

Pot, meet kett--no, wait, I didn't mean--it's just an expr--aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

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@dijit 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

it should be noted that git (the binary) is also in the process of deprecating `master`.

This is the message I get on my machine when running git init:

  hint: Using 'master' as the name for the initial branch. This default branch name
  hint: is subject to change. To configure the initial branch name to use in all
  hint: of your new repositories, which will suppress this warning, call:
  hint: 
  hint:  git config --global init.defaultBranch <name>
  hint: 
  hint: Names commonly chosen instead of 'master' are 'main', 'trunk' and
  hint: 'development'. The just-created branch can be renamed via this command:
  hint: 
  hint:  git branch -m <name>
  Initialized empty Git repository in /tmp/test

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@user-the-name 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

There sure are a lot of people here who read this as saying "don't change anything", rather than the actual message "this is nowhere near big enough a change". Here is what the article actually says:

> We’re going to change the branch name because it could be seen as offensive but we’re still going to sell police facial recognition software that is biased against black people and women. Facial recognition software that misidentifies black people as gorillas. Facial recognition software that was used to identify unmasked BLM protesters. We’re going to change the branch name to be more inclusive of minorities but we’re going to carry on selling software to ICE. Get the fuck outta here.

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@cheschire 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Eliminating the usage of words with offensive connotations from the English language is double plus good.

edit: Downvotes and the wording of some responses make me concerned that some folks may be unaware of the reference. Doubleplusgood is a newspeak word used in the book 1984. Newspeak is a language that is used to eliminate the ability for people to express unapproved thoughts because there are no words with which to express the concepts to others.

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@shultays 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

is it company's fault that the some groups are underrepresented as their employees? Cant talk for all companies but in my experience females are underrepresented simply because we dont really get any female applicants.

If there is a racism/sexism within the sector it happens before the job application and I find it hard to blame companies for that. If anything I know some examples of people getting advantage during the hiring because of their race.

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@droopyEyelids 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

The key quote from that passage, to me, was "Is it too much to ask for tech companies to run an apprenticeship program for people changing careers, etc?"

Certain people face _structural_ impediments to getting into tech. CEOs and HR love to brow-beat _individual_ managers and recruiters to fix the diversity issue in companies.

But you know what the decision makers never, ever do? They never create a _structural_ program to address the _structural_ problem. What if they expanded headcount by 10% to add an apprentice and make time for the team to train that apprentice. How much difference would we make in 'fixing our ratios' every year?

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@mgarfias 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I think this whole freak out is just dumb.

It’s just a name. It needs an identifiable name be it Master, main, develop, hell you could call it beavis and it would mean the same thing.

Or don’t.

It just don’t matter.

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@RawaHorse 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Maybe it's just me but, outside of tech contexts, I associate "master" and "slave" much more with bdsm than I do with actual slave ownership.

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@sammorrowdrums 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I largely agree with the sentiments of the article, but side-effect I like is that it tests assumptions in git systems about "default" branches, and ensures that software isn't too committed to a certain branch name - so that people can call branches whatever they like.

Even on Github people can still use master if they want, it just isn't the default.

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@antattack 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Why do people call themselves Black in a first place? Neither calling someone White or Black is accurate - perhaps why we have: Brown? Calling someone Yellow, I think, is still considered offensive though.

Indicating your belonging by color confuses. Color is such a crude indicator as it groups individual certain way, whether one wants it or not.

Overall, color coding, or grouping people by how well their skin is absorbing light, removes part of personal autonomy.

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@aaronbasssett 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Please name one country that never had slavery?

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@saos 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

This article made me really emotional. I really didnt think anything of "master" branch until Github pointed it out. There are bigger problems to solve and. For starters I hope the tech industry can be more open to people of colour.

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@CivBase 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

> “Meritocracy!”, I hear you cry. “They pick from the most talented students. The ones that worked the hardest to get into the most elite schools. The black students should have just worked harder”. I guess mummy and daddy paying $20 mil for a new library to get me a seat at an ‘elite’ school is still meritocracy eh?

That's quite a straw man. If you're genuinely in favor of meritocracy, you should inherently be against the rich buying their way into positions. Just because bad thing A happens, that doesn't mean we should just allow bad thing B to happen too. We should stop bad thing A!

I do agree with the basic sentiment of this article. The tech industry would benefit from more diversity - particularly diversity of thought, which does not necessarily mean increasing diversity of skin color but would probably make the industry a more inviting place for minorities in the future. Nonsense like renaming benign technical terms does absolutely nothing to help with that.

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@phnofive 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

It’s the politician’s syllogism -with the added benefit of the ‘something’ being effectively free (no new headcount), though all the more visible by virtue of it being an annoying find and replace exercise all the line engineers get to participate in.

Read to the end, and the author suggests SWE apprenticeships - I support the idea, but by contrast, it isn’t free, and would require some actual effort by line managers, so...

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@dkdbejwi383 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Digressing here, but I really dislike Medium. I wanted to look up HBCUs which is an acronym in this article I was not familiar with (I am not American), but Medium's crappy UI displays a "quote on Twitter" popup thing when you select any text, and then deselects the text. This means I can't use the "look up" feature but into the OS, like I can on almost every other web page.

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@sequoia 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Another potential issue with a change like this, for the reason that they give for doing it, is that it may communicate an inaccurate picture of what black people care about to non-black people. "Oh wow, black people are offended by and 'hurt by'[0] the use of this term. I didn't know this would make them feel hurt!"

Articles like this clarify that at least some black people in fact do not feel "hurt by" this use of this term.

I'm Jewish, if someone said "we have to take all the swastika imagery off this Hindu graphic because it will offend and hurt Jews," that would bother me. I'm not offended, much less hurt, by seeing a swastika in a cultural context unconnected to Naziism. To suggest most Jews would be "hurt" by this paints an inaccurate and extremely unflattering picture of my own resiliency and ability to contextualize words and imagery. I can't speak for black folks but I would be surprised if some didn't feel similarly about being informed that reading the word "master" would or should offend and hurt them.

0: https://sfconservancy.org/news/2020/jun/23/gitbranchname/ (this is the rationale linked to by github[1])

1: https://github.com/github/renaming

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@hivacruz 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I dislike this name change for almost the same reason. I switch back to master on every new project.

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@jrm4 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Black tech person here.

The fact that the argument over the name change (which, hey, who knows) is the most commented thing I've ever seen here, as opposed to, e.g. another article where the focus is a substantive issue, speaks volumes and furthers the author's point.

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@PhilosAccnting 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

As a trend-resistant individual, this entire discussion is ridiculous. While I'm white as the plowed snow, my wife is distinctly black.

Whatever injustices that happened have, for the most part, been committed by long-dead people. The concept of "ancestral guilt" is mostly a social fashion for people to maintain their lifestyles without their status quo being disrupted.

I believe this is a fashion that's moving to pivot back again, based on my metamodel of trends[1]. This may take months or years, depending on the culture, but at some point the practical use cases of judging others by what's in their minds will outpace even bothering what skin color someone is.

Though, I must concede, this fashion of demanding reparation-driven political action has gone on for decades in many black communities, so it'll probably only change when their community leaders start forgiving stuff and moving on[2] without getting ostracized by their community[3].

[1]https://gainedin.site/trends/

[2]https://adequate.life/happiness-2/

[3]https://gainedin.site/taboos/

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@jpm48 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

This explains my WTF moment when teaching a class full of students to push to the github classroom using push -u origin master and it being rejected and having to use main!

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@albertopv 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

The project I work on is going to migrate codebase from SVN to Git one of next days (yeah, like it's 2011...). There are collegues that have never used Git before (e.g. one is a junior dev and this is its first job ever), so they are learning Git right now. No one supported the use of name 'main'. It's just a name change and everyone considers it to be something totally stupid and just bc of that we are not going to use it. I can understand whitelist vs blacklist change, master\slave from the days I built PCs with IDE HDD, but this, God...

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@selectnull 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I fight against this useless political correctness with my own, albeit invisible, rebellion:

I've set repository default branch to `master` [1] on Github.

I've created init.templateDir with HEAD set to `master` [2]

That way, whenever I init a new repo, either locally or via Github, the default branch is master, not main.

[1] https://github.com/settings/repositories

[2] http://git-scm.com/docs/git-init

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@chrisjs95 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I'm really tired of when someone groups all white people in the same category like we all have rich parents and only where we are because they paid off someone at a college. It's really offensive because I worked hard to get where I was at and had no help. It's like assuming all African Americans like rap and fried chicken. It's just really offensive.

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@sensanaty 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Western lunacy will truly never fail to amaze me

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@Der_Einzige 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Well - the usage of "Fuck" in the title of this post is itself extremely sexist. See [1] and [2] and [3]

[1] https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/what-filthy-word...

[2] https://kathmandupost.com/art-culture/2020/06/23/the-underly...

[3] http://www.mountholyokenews.com/oped/2020/3/6/common-swear-w...

I hope someone here sees the irony.

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@ashtonkem 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Semi-related: one of the things that really bugs me about master/slave terms as applied to databases is that it's a really bad metaphor. Sure, one node controls all of the other nodes, but if the master node dies one of the slaves will randomly get promoted to master. Or if you need to move regions maybe another slave will get promoted to master while the master will get demoted to slave.

Needless to say, this isn't how most slavery systems have worked the world over. I feel that writer/reader terms are more accurately descriptive anyhow.

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@msiyer 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

Banning a word is pointless. The word itself has no power. It is the feeling piggybacking on the word that gives life to the word. The feeling will find another word as vehicle.

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@ghotli 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

I won't waste an opportunity to frame this as a modern shifting of the overton window. Rather than editorialize, here you go.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overton_window

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@throwaway894345 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

> It signals to other privileged white boys, “hey, come work for us, we pretend to care more than all our competitors xoxo”. This shit aint for us, it never was.

This, a thousand times. It was never about black people, it was always about wealthy, largely white progressives comforting themselves with the narrative that they're valiant defenders of black folks (namely from those horrible oppressors, middle- and lower-class whites) without having to do anything. This is why "defund the police" is supported by a majority of wealthy progressives but a small minority of black Americans.

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@neronero 6 months

Replying to @leontrolski 🎙

EDIT: For comparison:

* "Common Mistakes of New Engineering Managers" (5hrs ago, 110 points, 30 comments) -> rank 2

* this post (2hrs ago, 1000 points, 500 comments) -> rank 20

Why is this post being penalized? Too many black folks commenting and up voting? (/s)

-----

Amazingly well written. I'm going to say some things. You'd guess wrongly if you infer that I'm bitter - since I'm personally very lucky. Having been born in a not so privileged family (more common than not in the world), by the luck of the draw I am today very privileged because I work in tech (in itself not that common).

The actual problem that is at the core of all of this is - incredible disconnectedness from the plight of even regular people by the world's tech bubbles. On average, people of color have it (!!!) even worse (!!!), but it seems that these SV/NY/LDN/etc. tech bros are completely devoid of any conception of how difficult any average Joe has it.

To illustrate disconnectedness: there was an interview with a YC partner a few years back that went like this:

INTERVIEWER: "What would you advise to the young folks interested in startups?"

YC-PARTNER: "I would tell them to be ambitious, try their best, work hard and if it doesn't succeed - it doesn't succeed. You should take a vacation and try again." (the emphasis and the exact phrasing of the vacuous advice are mine)

How the fuck does one TAKE A VACATION after your startup fails?!

It goes without saying that the YC partner and their brother received tech stocks from their grandparents for one of their teen-birthdays.

Here's a litmus test to know whether you're likely disconnected: As a techie/doctor/engineer did you become by far the highest paid person in your wider family by your mid 20s? If the answer is "NO", then you would be disconnected by default - unless you consciously invested effort to educate yourself.

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