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Discussion on: Rename your master branch in Azure Repos

ighallas profile image
ghallas • Edited

master (n.)
late Old English mægester "a man having control or authority over a place; a teacher or tutor of children," from Latin magister (n.) "chief, head, director, teacher"

Sorry, but imo this is starting to get somewhere between ridiculous and Orwellian. Even if the origin of the term in informatics does come from slave/master, we will abolish the word?? (let's do away with "abolish" to, it does relate strongly to slavery too, doesn't it?). So, every word that has been used in a deplorable (oops, here's another potential one) context will be thrown out the window? What about unix kill? Let's try "rip -9" instead. What about male/female VGA connectors? Surely potentially toxic. Let's use Yin and Yang instead.

I really wonder who is offended by this. I have the obvious suspicions, and very strong objections. To me, regarding any group as "people potentially offended by past offences" is in its very essence discriminatory. Potentially patronizing. Like seeing burdens of the past in people I should just see as who they are. Really, I don't know. I am Greek. We have a rather recent history of 4 centuries of oppression and widespread slavery. Do I this this offensive? No, I don't.
Honestly, I would like to hear from people that do find this offensive, and then poll in the greater group they represent, and hear what that group's majority has to say about this.

I strongly believe in equal rights, equal opportunities and respect of the dignity of everybody. I really feel that such initiatives (renaming master) offer precisely zero to solving the problems of people deprived of the above. Even worse, they underplay the significance of the very issues they are supposed to address, relegating the response to harmless, costless, symbolic gestures.

There is slavery in the world. Even today. Want to do something about this? Expose companies that are using employees in conditions of slavery in all but name. Stop buying their stuff. Hack porn sites. Do something real.

Sorry for the long read, and even more sorry if somebody feels I am offending her/his sensitivities. But, for some reason, the absurdity of this hit a nerve.

I am keeping my master branch.

stefanomontani profile image
stefanomontani • Edited

I really like your thinking. It is applicable even to other matters where the politically correctness, which in most cases is a form of hypocrisy, is doing damage. Though, we cannot undervalue the power of the "logos": the language is the think, talk is action. I'm italian. In Italy we would have never called "kill" the action to stop a process. And this difference has a solid meaning: a little difference which reflects the big differences between the italian culture and certain others: high level free medical assitance for everybody, no one can bring weapons if not for the strongest reasons, no mass exterminations in schools, ... (obviously, this does not means that there is no violence in our society). The point is that a man who can think the violence can act the violence, has lower barriers to act the violence already present in his thinking, in his imagination. Improving the language is improving the think.

ighallas profile image

Thanks for your thoughts Stefano!

I see your point, but I think that the case where reality alters the meaning is preferable to the one where the meaning tries to alter reality.

Think for example "sir". It used be reserved for feudal lords, as opposed to commoners on non-freemen. I am thinking that it was probably a that caused resentment among the lower classes. Most countries have done away with that social system as they moved to democracy and now "sir" is what any stranger that doesn't know your name could call you out of courtesy.

People could have made a move to banish the word once chivalric orders and feudal titles were abolished in each country, but that would thieve us of a word that found its new place in the world.