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Problematic tech jargon

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This page lists problematic tech jargon, that is, technical terms that invoke oppressions or that oppressed people find marginalising, together with possible replacement terminology.

  • "master" and "slave", sometimes used to refer to one machine that has the original copy of data and others that automatically update themselves to match its data. Invoking slavery as a metaphor for a non-violent technical process is racist. Replacements include primary/replica, primary/standby, leader/follower. (See eg @LynnMagic calling attention to a request to fix this in Django and our later article Django primary-replica terminology patch dispute.)
  • "high infant mortality", a real tragedy experienced by marginalised groups, is used as a metaphor in garbage collection (a process for discarding unused data from computer memory). Replacements include ???.
  • References to "housekeeping", "maids" etc, work that people (disproportionately marginalised people) do for income. "Maids" is also gendered language. Suggested replacements: "[routine] cleaning/cleanup/fixing/maintainence".
  • "sanity check". Suggested replacements: "smoke test", "reality check".

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