re: Replacing master with main in Github VIEW POST

Sloan, the sloth mascot Comment marked as low quality/non-constructive by the community View code of conduct

This is a satirical blog post right?

In all seriousness it's plainly a rediculous assertion to state that master branches on github refer in ANY way to slavery.
No one could reasonly make that connection.

What the term master (obviously) refers to is the product delivery flow. Which distinguishes a stable master branche and an unstable dev branche.
By casting this as a term for slavery you might as wel argue that master diploma's refer to slavery too. Wheras the obvious context is mastery of a craft or discipline. (Need I even explain?)

Regarding black hat / white hat, blacklist / whitelist I am more emphatic to your argument.

Howoever, I have always understoond these terms to refer to a dimension of transparancy. In that context darkness or blackness (the absence of light) is hard to see in and obscure. As in useful for hiding illegal action. Whereas lit or white is out in the open and plain to see. And therefore not hiding illegal action.

Given my understanding of this term I think it's actually racist of you to relate this to the color of someone's skin. Because it obviously has no bearing on skin color. At least to me. And I'd expect 90% of the people who use these terms in the way they are intended. This certainly isn't in my mind when I see these terms used. So why should the language change?

It sounds to me as if this is is a miscommunication. Because you apparantly interpret these words differently than they are commonly used. Why can't you follow the convention and interpret these terms correctly? As in: Without alleging racist lingual-connections.


First, Master's Degree != master.

Second, I've followed "convention" for five years. And from the beginning I always viewed master/slave terminology in the tech industry disturbing and disheartening. There just wasn't enough momentum within the industry for me to speak out about it.

In relation to git, there isn't a companion "slave" term so using master is seemingly harmless. But, in my opinion, the term master should be reexamined in its totality with technical terminology instead of a patchwork renaming. Also git is by far the easiest usage of the term to change.

I've done some googling for you in regards to how language, despite innocuous intent, is used to perpetuate racism/stereotypes. I do hope you take this moment to learn pcc.edu/illumination/wp-content/up...


You're side stepping the discussion started in your blog post,

If a term can have multiple meanings in different contexts and to different people then it's important to ask yourself what the conventional meaning is in a particular context.

In the case of master's degree and master branch it obviously isn't about a master-slave relationship in people. I'm not seeing you seriously defending your assertion that it is. Other than saying that to you it means that.

This creates a paradox because essentially you're saying the convention has to change because you're not following the convention.

I'm aware of the subtle influence language can have on mental attitudes and concepts. You might not be aware of it but the former Soviet Union actively attempted to sculpt its language for ideological reasons. And to a certain degree such effects are everywhere.

But that isn't a reason to flout convention. I'd be far more sympathetic if this was about removing statues of slavers and war criminals. Or about AI's perpetuating racist stereotypes. Or about workplace harassment by purposely taking the word master out of context. But none of your proposals are solution to real issues.

Moreover, I think Microsoft and Github are using this as an opportunity to make nice and polish their reputations. Its regrettable that you're not calling them out on that, because they could have taken real action instead of a simple rename that won't affect anything.

As I am prevented from replying to mdiarra3 I have put the reply here instead,

Alexis asserted in her post that Git uses master/slave terminology.

I engaged her on that by asserting that her statement is incorrect. Which she conceded by saying there is no accompanying slave branch, for one.

I can understand that is confusing. That's because you appear to projecting another meaning onto the language than it is intended to express in the given context.

I have highlighted the meanings I believe the terms conventionally have. Alexis, and you apparantly, choose to ignore those meanings in favor of your own. And because of that Alexis is asking other people to change the convention. I challenged her on that by asking her why master's degree shouldn't change too, in that instance. She agreed that would be rediculous.

It is regrettable that you have chosen to censor my post above, containing my opinion. Instead of engaging seriously on the topic.

I am truly confused as to why you are objecting to changing the term master/slave terminology in Tech? there are some pretty good guides as to why people are changing the terminology across tech here is a resource to start. cdm.link/2020/06/lets-dump-master-....

If you are aware of subtle influence language can have on mental attitudes and concepts than you should be more supportive of this change. Alexis talked about how the terminology bothered her from the start of her career. Same as mine to be honest.

Finally your last point about Microsoft and Github makes no sense. We understand that there are other issues in tech that need to be addressed but like everything in life we can tackle it in many ways. If you are upset about the way Microsoft and Github are operating or supporting racist policies you are more than welcome to actually message and bring attention to that then attack a black person for suggesting a simple way to start to change culture and mindsets within their workspace.

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