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Ben Halpern
Ben Halpern

Posted on • Updated on

FactoryGirl was renamed FactoryBot

FactoryGirl was a popular Ruby library for generating object data, primarily for testing purposes. The library is now named FactoryBot. I think this is a good call. Its original name was confusing and potentially uncomfortable. Given the gender imbalance in the industry, anything named "girl" has the potential to cause alienation. Critical analysis of these cases is a good call.

The original name was basically an inside joke and did nothing to clarify its purpose. And while FactoryBot is not exactly explicit, it is more straightforward given what we might think of a "bot" doing, in this case, coming up with test data.

By the way I'm not part of the project, just reporting on the details. That might not have been clear Γ°ΕΈβ„’Ζ’

Top comments (12)

terceranexus6 profile image

Nice, FactoryGirl as you said is indeed unconfortable.

Still not liking Ruby tho XD

johand profile image
danieljsummers profile image
Daniel J. Summers

I don't know - I hear "factory girl," my first thought was the women who stepped up during WWII when their husbands were off fighting. I was unaware of film by that name, which doesn't look as... er, empowering; seeing its release date, this could be the inside joke. Then IMDB reveals that it was produced by ... drumroll ... The Weinstein Company. If that was the joke, this rename makes perfect sense.

FWIW, Rosie the Riveter is listed on the Wikipedia disambiguation page for "Factory Girl", so my first thought wasn't wrong.

jayroh profile image

Originally it was a reference to the Rolling Stones' song.

I have, until this day, never heard this song. I'm aware of it, yes, but I didn't grow up listening to the stones so it meant nothing to me.

Therein lies the root cause of the rename. The original name was wide open to multiple interpretations - the song, rosie the riveter, etc. The reference was ultimately lost on a lot of people, therefore leaving it open to misinterpretation, confusion, and ultimately discomfort.

The original intent was coming from a harmless place but if the reference doesn't land then it's troublesome.

They did the work to reach out to people, to ask folks what they thought, and the feedback they received urged them to make the change.

danieljsummers profile image
Daniel J. Summers

I looked through some of the issues after I submitted this comment; I get why they changed. And, I certainly don't begrudge anyone calling their libraries and projects whatever-the-[fill-in-the-last-word-as-you-see-fit] they want to; I've renamed three of my own sites over the past month.

My bigger issue is probably more cultural (and maybe even generational). I hear "factory girl" and I think of something positive, something empowering, where women stepped up and learned new skills in support of their nation during a time when others weren't around to do it. Others hear it and think of someone running around serving coffee (at best - at worst, it would be the "seduce the guy with the stable, good-paying job"). The latter is an obviously offensive image; but yet, rather than correct the perception of the image - turning it into a net positive of women excelling at things no one even thought they could do before they stepped up and did it - we'll just avoid the whole thing by renaming it.

Of course, that argument is predicated on the name being based on WWII happenings rather than a 60's rock song (which I still haven't heard, as I type this). There's an even deeper argument there about education and history, but that one's probably way more divisive (and off topic) than The Practical Developer is designed to host. I guess it just makes me a bit sad that an opportunity to recognize that strength and innovation is lost.

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lukaszmuzykaintive profile image
Lukasz Muzyka

Couldn't agree more.

eduardonunesp profile image
Eduardo Nunes Pereira

Well, I suggest you guys to properly rename the project from FactoryBot to something else, because I heard some bots complaining about that treatment especially those bots which live in great factories, fabricating cars every day, also Alexa didn't like it, I'm not sure if the bots will agree with that for a long time I fear the Skynet will some retaliation soon.

I'm ok with changing the gender and make it gender neutral, sure, people which fight for gender neutrality aren't aware of that great mistake the robots will not forgive us for excluding them from our daily politics and ethics.

toffee_coin profile image
Elijah Lucian

Lol... Having Girl in the name is uncomfortable?.....




d_ir profile image
Daniel Irvine πŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆ

Great news, thanks for highlighting the change.

bizzy237 profile image

I'd change the name to BrownSugar though if it's not already taken

tanjent profile image
tanjent • Edited

I choose to believe you originally named it after a local brew in my area.

lucky500 profile image
Luciano Oliveira

That shucks.... I loved the name FactoryGirl, even before knowing what it did, it invoked something good. We have become to overly sensitive.