Mozilla gives 15k to remove "Slave" from build bot documentation

Silvanus

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crimson5pheonix said:
Well that's a silly waste of money. Mayhaps it could be spent better?
They could spend it on replacing instances of the word "perhaps" with "mayhaps", to give everything a cool posh Britishy-sounding vibe.
 

MysticSlayer

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Revnak said:
It would be odd to have terms like that being used to denote the status of an independent intelligence, or even the device it exists on. Then again, I'm kinda assuming that slave in a technical context is similar to how it is used in Shadowrun, so I may be super mistaken. Somehow, despite being a programmer and an IT consultant, this term has never come up for me outside of Shadowrun.
I'm not incredibly well-versed on it myself, but my understanding is that it basically describes two devices, databases, processes, or some other technology-related thing having control over other devices, databases, processes, etc. It basically is the rule that governs communication between the two: the master is given control over the slave without the slave being able to take control over the master.

I guess, personally, I would be far more disturbed if AI started exhibiting such communication among each other (i.e. one AI starts taking a master/slave communication approach to other AI) regardless of terminology.
 

Revnak_v1legacy

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MysticSlayer said:
Revnak said:
It would be odd to have terms like that being used to denote the status of an independent intelligence, or even the device it exists on. Then again, I'm kinda assuming that slave in a technical context is similar to how it is used in Shadowrun, so I may be super mistaken. Somehow, despite being a programmer and an IT consultant, this term has never come up for me outside of Shadowrun.
I'm not incredibly well-versed on it myself, but my understanding is that it basically describes two devices, databases, processes, or some other technology-related thing having control over other devices, databases, processes, etc. It basically is the rule that governs communication between the two: the master is given control over the slave without the slave being able to take control over the master.

I guess, personally, I would be far more disturbed if AI started exhibiting such communication among each other (i.e. one AI starts taking a master/slave communication approach to other AI) regardless of terminology.
I don't know enough about the process to say that it would be absolutely necessary to forbid partially or fully virtual intelligences from engaging in it, but the terminology would definitely need to go if it were to be used by them.
 

Callate

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Oy, first world problems...

I only care in as much as whatever comes of the new terminology is likely to cause confusion for an extended period following changeover. Whatever master/slave is replaced with, it had better be something that's easy for tech support to mentally translate. Otherwise, those responsible can enjoy their sense of self-satisfaction during their downtime. Or maybe to contemplate the industries they're supporting that use actual slaves.
 

TomWest

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Areloch said:
This is the very definition of the concept of 'Feels before Reals'.
Unless you're dealing with robots, 'feels' *are* 'reals'.

And, if one has ever dealt with a project that involves actual humans, you probably understand that the morale, enthusiasm, and teamwork of those working on a project are vastly more crucial to a project's success than the particular terminology that's used on a project.

Now, a terminology change *does* have some minor cost, and just because there's a real benefit to some members of the community, it doesn't necessarily mean the benefit is worth the cost.

However, judging a cost benefit analysis is completely different from 'Feels before Reals', which presupposes that their concerns don't even merit consideration. (It doesn't help that this attitude almost always translates to "their feelings are temper tantrums but *my* feelings are critical)".
 

Areloch

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TomWest said:
Areloch said:
This is the very definition of the concept of 'Feels before Reals'.
Unless you're dealing with robots, 'feels' *are* 'reals'.

And, if one has ever dealt with a project that involves actual humans, you probably understand that the morale, enthusiasm, and teamwork of those working on a project are vastly more crucial to a project's success than the particular terminology that's used on a project.

Now, a terminology change *does* have some minor cost, and just because there's a real benefit to some members of the community, it doesn't necessarily mean the benefit is worth the cost.

However, judging a cost benefit analysis is completely different from 'Feels before Reals', which presupposes that their concerns don't even merit consideration. (It doesn't help that this attitude almost always translates to "their feelings are temper tantrums but *my* feelings are critical)".
Well, no, feels are NOT reals, because feels are completely, and entirely subjective. That's the point of the saying.

Someone's subjective feelings is coming before objective reality. The words master and slave are technical and accurate descriptors that in no way suggest, endorse or perpetuate human slavery. This is the objective reality of their usage in this context.

Someone's subjective feelings, however, were that the words - regardless of their context - made them vaguely uncomfortable because slavery was a thing that happened at some point, and so they wanted the words scrubbed from usage.

Should we stop using 'male' and 'female' as descriptives of plug connectors because that's technically insensitive to transgender/sexual people that may present themselves as men and women and have the opposite sexual organs?

Should we stop using 'classes' in code because that suggests classism in society and usage of it could potentially perpetuate said societal problem?

Should we stop using 'kill' in programming as a description for stopping and deleting an object because killing people in real life is a bad thing?

We could play the 'This word is offensive' game for an eternity because someone MAY feel slightly uncomfortable upon hearing them. If they're legitimately offput by a technical descriptor that is entirely accurate and not actually offensive, then that falls on them, not everyone else that's been using the terminologies for decades.

Alternatively, if we're going to pull words - regardless of their context - because someone MIGHT feel slightly uncomfortable reading them, I could draft up a list of other words - ostensibly far more offensive but still in common usage - we should purge from programming, movies, books, games, spoken language, sign language and any other medium to convey concepts and ideas.
 

beastro

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Revnak said:
MysticSlayer said:
Revnak said:
After all, this is something that would need to be changed eventually anyway, assuming we ever create artificial intelligence or partially virtualized biological intelligence, so we may as well get it out of the way now.
Would you mind explaining the significance of AI to this, because I'm not seeing the connection.
It would be odd to have terms like that being used to denote the status of an independent intelligence, or even the device it exists on. Then again, I'm kinda assuming that slave in a technical context is similar to how it is used in Shadowrun, so I may be super mistaken. Somehow, despite being a programmer and an IT consultant, this term has never come up for me outside of Shadowrun.
They're bloody machines.
 

Silvanus

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Areloch said:
Someone's subjective feelings, however, were that the words - regardless of their context - made them vaguely uncomfortable because slavery was a thing that happened at some point, and so they wanted the words scrubbed from usage.
Aye, but it's also your subjective feeling that that isn't the case. Pro or con is a subjective call.
 

Revnak_v1legacy

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beastro said:
Revnak said:
MysticSlayer said:
Revnak said:
After all, this is something that would need to be changed eventually anyway, assuming we ever create artificial intelligence or partially virtualized biological intelligence, so we may as well get it out of the way now.
Would you mind explaining the significance of AI to this, because I'm not seeing the connection.
It would be odd to have terms like that being used to denote the status of an independent intelligence, or even the device it exists on. Then again, I'm kinda assuming that slave in a technical context is similar to how it is used in Shadowrun, so I may be super mistaken. Somehow, despite being a programmer and an IT consultant, this term has never come up for me outside of Shadowrun.
They're bloody machines.
You realize that by using a term like partially virtualized I'm referring to humans with cybernetically enhanced minds, which is something of an inevitability? And in all honesty, you're just a machine.
 

CaptainMarvelous

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Pluvia said:
munx13 said:
Yeah, they didn't make money to put it back into the project, they just spent it. On a problem that didn't exist.
So what you're saying is it's their money and they can spend it how they like?

Well took you long enough but you finally got there.
Unless it's to anti-gay organisations of course [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/10767104/Mozilla-appoints-new-CEO-after-gay-marriage-controversy.html]
 

TomWest

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Areloch said:
TomWest said:
Areloch said:
This is the very definition of the concept of 'Feels before Reals'.
Unless you're dealing with robots, 'feels' *are* 'reals'.
Well, no, feels are NOT reals, because feels are completely, and entirely subjective. That's the point of the saying.
Of course they're subjective - words only have the meaning we assign, and more importantly, they have meaning to the party that created them *and* to the party that receives them. That's the most basic premise of communication. The person who whines "that's not what I mean when I use the word" has failed to understand the basis of communication - *two* parties are involved.

Now, you may decide that's you don't care about communicating with that second party - that they are not worth your time and effort. But that's *your* choice (at least once you understand your communication's ramifications).

Those issues are still real, and your choice is saying that you don't value their discomfort more than the cost. And that's fine. You may be judged for the decision - but it is a *decision*, and "feels before reals" is an attempt to pretend that a decision is not being made. (I'll admit that's what I find offensive - not the decision, but the cowardice behind claiming 'I'm not making a decision - there's no decision to be made!')

All your suggestions are valid questions to ask. For me, the answers are usually pretty clear. For example, I *don't* value the discomfort of those who find the word 'kill' or 'class' offensive over the cost of changing it.

But that does *not* mean that the discomfort of those offended by the word are invalid or are not real. It simply means that in my opinion, their very real discomfort is not worth the effort to change.

And yes, as society changes and evolves, I may change my opinion on particular words. After all, language serves society, not the other way around.
 

blackrave

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TomWest said:
And yes, as society changes and evolves, I may change my opinion on particular words. After all, language serves society, not the other way around.
True, but that doesn't mean that language should change based on temporary ill-informed whims of minority.
While language should be adaptive, it should possess certain rigidity at the same time.
 

Areloch

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TomWest said:
Areloch said:
TomWest said:
Areloch said:
This is the very definition of the concept of 'Feels before Reals'.
Unless you're dealing with robots, 'feels' *are* 'reals'.
Well, no, feels are NOT reals, because feels are completely, and entirely subjective. That's the point of the saying.
But that does *not* mean that the discomfort of those offended by the word are invalid or are not real. It simply means that in my opinion, their very real discomfort is not worth the effort to change.
Hm, this part makes me think you interpreted my usage of 'Feels before reals' as to imply that their feelings are not real.

To clarify, I have NO doubt in my mind that there are people that are, indeed, made uncomfortable by the mere useage and existence of the words 'master' and 'slave', regardless of their context. Lord knows I've seen people take offense to sillier things on the internet.

However, as you mention with cost, I find it incredibly unlikely that the general societal cost of scrubbing certain words out of usage - ignoring their context(and this is the important part) - to EVER be worth it.

My stance on that holds true for even openly offensive words, such as ******, or ******, or gook, etc. Because if we toss words out the window with no regard to context, then that means we can't utilize those words in fiction where they're used, nor historical accounts where they very literally WERE used, and their usage is enlightening/educational. (It also means that people are likely incredibly hypocritical about this, as no doubt they use words like 'stupid' or 'dumb' or 'lame' or any number of old sayings that used to be deep insults or discriminatory/derogatory words, but are just lightweight insults/zingers now. So why are those OK, but master/slave is not?)

I think most people can agree that using slurs or other targeted, specifically derogatory or offensive language is something you shouldn't direct at other people.

However, someone reading a word, completely ignoring the context of it's usage, and deciding that "This word shouldn't ever be used, no matter the context or reason" does a LOT of damage to our communication mediums, and isn't something that should be endorsed, let alone paid for.

Silvanus said:
Areloch said:
Someone's subjective feelings, however, were that the words - regardless of their context - made them vaguely uncomfortable because slavery was a thing that happened at some point, and so they wanted the words scrubbed from usage.
Aye, but it's also your subjective feeling that that isn't the case. Pro or con is a subjective call.
Oh, to be sure, and I'm 100% cognizant of the 'Societal Compromise' game, where it's not "make everyone happy" but "make everyone the least angry".

The root of my problem with this, is it's removing a word or words from usage while completely ignoring the context in which they are used. As I mention above, this line of logic can be very readily applied to other words that MAY make someone uncomfortable and if we toss any and all context out the window, that means that fictional and historical usages of the word should also be game for removing words over the possibility that someone could be offended.

I find this to be untenable, which is, indeed my subjective opinion.

But as I said above, the objective reality of the word's usage in this case does not endorse, cause or propagate actual human slavery, and is merely an accurate, technical descriptor of the relationship between two objects in software/hardware, and whether someone feels offended by it or not does not change the objective reality of it's usage in this context.
 

Silvanus

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Areloch said:
Oh, to be sure, and I'm 100% cognizant of the 'Societal Compromise' game, where it's not "make everyone happy" but "make everyone the least angry".

The root of my problem with this, is it's removing a word or words from usage while completely ignoring the context in which they are used. As I mention above, this line of logic can be very readily applied to other words that MAY make someone uncomfortable and if we toss any and all context out the window, that means that fictional and historical usages of the word should also be game for removing words over the possibility that someone could be offended.

I find this to be untenable, which is, indeed my subjective opinion.

But as I said above, the objective reality of the word's usage in this case does not endorse, cause or propagate actual human slavery, and is merely an accurate, technical descriptor of the relationship between two objects in software/hardware, and whether someone feels offended by it or not does not change the objective reality of it's usage in this context.
It would be untenable if taken to the extreme, or applied in all cases. It's very unlikely that will be the case, though; people have been replacing words in various contexts since language began, and we've never tipped over into the extreme of replacing everything potentially problematic. I don't see any particular reason to think it has much chance of happening now.

Of course, this is quite aside from whether I think this instance was silly or not.
 

Zombie_Fish

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blackrave said:
TomWest said:
And yes, as society changes and evolves, I may change my opinion on particular words. After all, language serves society, not the other way around.
True, but that doesn't mean that language should change based on temporary ill-informed whims of minority.
While language should be adaptive, it should possess certain rigidity at the same time.
This debate has been running since 2003, and alternative terms such as primary/replica have already been seen in a number of products, publications and open-source projects: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master/slave_%28technology%29#Appropriateness_of_usage

Hardly seems temporary or ill-informed to me.
 

HybridChangeling

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Well considering the slave thing mostly originated in the IDE cables of the past when you linked two pieces of hardware to the motherboard with a master/slave cable, I hope Mozilla has a time machine to go back and change a name from what, the 80's?

All joking aside, I never really liked the nomenclature of the design, and felt it was never in taste. It doesn't even make technical sense. The slave cable was never a slave to the master cable, it was just the secondary device cord for a less critical device. (The hard drive had more importance then the floppy drive.)

I don't specifically know how or why software design uses the name of an old IDE hardware configuration, but if anything is the same, the name is pointless and there should be no reason not to change it. It can even be for multiple reasons, from sensitivity to the word to even wanting to distinguish software/hardware configuration from each other. But of course in this society, anything that MIGHT become a hot button issue WILL become a hot button issue. Respect is the name of the game people.
 

beastro

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Revnak said:
And in all honesty, you're just a machine.
And there's always that wonderful retort that both means nothing and devalues actual living beings.
 

TomWest

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Areloch said:
Hm, this part makes me think you interpreted my usage of 'Feels before reals' as to imply that their feelings are not real.
"Feels before reals" absolutely implies that "feels" or feelings are not real (you can't be before something if you're part of it), and thus not worthy of consideration amongst the literally hundreds of factors that go into any well-considered technical decision.

Since you agree with me, I'll consider my main point won - feels are real and thus the statement "feels before reals" is nonsensical.

To clarify, I have NO doubt in my mind that there are people that are, indeed, made uncomfortable by the mere useage and existence of the words 'master' and 'slave', regardless of their context. Lord knows I've seen people take offense to sillier things on the internet.

However, as you mention with cost, I find it incredibly unlikely that the general societal cost of scrubbing certain words out of usage - ignoring their context(and this is the important part) - to EVER be worth it.

My stance on that holds true for even openly offensive words, such as ******, or ******, or gook, etc. Because if we toss words out the window with no regard to context, then that means we can't utilize those words in fiction where they're used, nor historical accounts where they very literally WERE used, and their usage is enlightening/educational.
First, fiction is written for the current audience. What matters to the narrative is whether it feels real. Notice that dialogue of foreigners is written in English so you can read it? Notice that older terms whose meaning has completely changed or are unknown are left out because they'd confuse the reader?

Once again, I point out that communication is as much about the receiver as the sender.

As for expunging the words from history, now you're just being silly. Especially with master/slave, the complaint is that using the term 'slave' for something other than ownership of another human being diminishes the impact of the word. They would like it used exclusively for its historical meaning.

Honestly, if there are a few millions people who are deeply affected by certain terms, then common courtesy is clear that I should minimize their use where practical. I have long since abandoned terms like "gypped" and "niggardly" because even if I never knew or meant their racial implications, they had racial implications. When I learned better, I stopped using them. Is there a cost to me? Sure, a minor one. Is the cost worth reducing the discomfort of those affected. Depends on how many people are affected, and their level of discomfort.

But I'm pretty comfortable in saying if it's several million people who have been direly affected by racism, claiming that the cost of switching terminology is just way too high to be worth my effort makes me... insensitive. Especially when alternate terms are already in common use.

But I understand. The sanctity of our language, which otherwise never changes, is way more important than millions of people not actually feeling excluded.

I think most people can agree that using slurs or other targeted, specifically derogatory or offensive language is something you shouldn't direct at other people.
Okay, so you won't go out of your way to actively cause more discomfort to others. You just don't think it's worth it to spend effort to cause less discomfort. Fair enough. I am, however, going to guess that you, like me, are not members of a culture that have been (and still are to an extent) victims of racism and racially directed violence.

However, someone reading a word, completely ignoring the context of it's usage, and deciding that "This word shouldn't ever be used, no matter the context or reason" does a LOT of damage to our communication mediums, and isn't something that should be endorsed, let alone paid for.
Luckily, no-one is claiming that.
 

Revnak_v1legacy

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beastro said:
Revnak said:
And in all honesty, you're just a machine.
And there's always that wonderful retort that both means nothing and devalues actual living beings.
I don't think understanding what a machine is devalues the living, though I would argue that your misunderstanding of what constitutes life does. Life is a highly complex machine, occasionally with the capacity for reason, generally with the capacity for self development and adaptation. Is a machine that meets all those standards inherently any less valuable than another?