More than words…

“That’s what careless words do, they make people love you a little less.” – when I read this line in ‘The God of Small Things’, little did I know that this would someday be so applicable to technology in the world trying to acknowledge diversity.

Since the wrap up of Adobe Max 2021 – the biggest creativity conference every year – in October, there has been a constant debate on one particular update in InDesign software: renaming of ‘Master’ pages to ’Parent’ pages.

“Words paint pictures that speak loudly. The use of words with racist, sexist, oppressive connotations, overtones, or history can make the reader feel hurt, traumatized, or unwelcome. With this in mind, non-inclusive content and reference imagery in Adobe’s products are being replaced with those that reflect the company’s core values of diversity and inclusion.” – as suggested the information on the website.

But do you know this is not the first time that there have been efforts to promote inclusivity in tech industry? Infact, giants like IBM and SAP have been very vocal about re-doing certain terminologies to promote inclusiveness in their programs and software.

Below is a list of terms that have been changed to make a wholesome and inclusive narration when it comes to technology and that one shall be aware of:

  • Master to Leader/Parent
  • Primary/Replica or Primary/Standby
  • Gendered pronouns (like ‘guys’) to folks, people, you all, y’all etc.
  • Gendered pronouns (like ‘he/his’) to they/their
  • Manhours to person hours/engineer hours
  • Sanity check becomes quick check/coherence check
  • Dummy value to placeholder value/sample value
  • Blacklist to Denylist
  • Whitelist to Allowlist

There would always be a debate whenever there is a change. But, while familiarity is comfortable, it shall not cost discomfort to any section of the society and while these changes might look small in the bigger scheme of the events against discrimination, it is definitely long due!

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