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

Verrik

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More political correctness garbage. Pfft, whatever, I think it's a waste of money, but it's their money so they can do whatever they want with it. Just glad I never donated to these guys.
 

MysticSlayer

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Metalix Knightmare said:
Wasn't there anything else they could've put that money towards? Y'know, something meaningful like Homeless shelters, food banks, the ASPCA, a charity deadicated to helping women in places like the middle east? No? Just "problematic" computer language? Okay then.

Nice to know we live in a world where the biggest "problem" facing people today are micro-aggressions.
To be fair, Mozilla is an activist group, possibly even more so than a browser provider at this point. Most of their activism centers around things like net neutrality, privacy, and generally having an open web.

Granted, I'm personally a little skeptical of a lot of it being anything more than their marketing tactic. Given that anti-corporation and anti-Google stuff comes up quite a bit, it appears that activism is their strategy to try to prevent themselves losing even more share to Chrome, Safari, and Edge than they already have (especially Chrome). So, honestly, putting a lot of money behind something that, in part, makes them look like they care about social justice may just be more marketing from them.
 

TomWest

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Areloch said:
I would certainly hope that while we agree that one's feelings are indeed real, we would ALSO agree that one's feelings are not inherently representative of reality, because that's completely impossible when you take all possible feelings on an issue into account.
Feeling are part of objective reality just like pain, which is also totally subjective, but still objectively real. Sure, it can't be precisely measured, but that doesn't make it objectively real. It does, of course, make it harder to judge tradeoffs, but any set oif guidelines to be used by humans should probably take into account the reality of humanity.

So we're changing the usage of a word because it's offensive to NOT use it in context of humans? That's bizzare.
Oddly enough, there are probably thousands of different nuances expected of those who use language. I'm pretty certain you can handle it, probably instinctively if you spend a few minutes putting yourself into the mindset of those who feel strongly about the matter. (My apologies if you have ASD, in which case, yeah, the intricacies of language usage suck.)

Firstly, if we're having a reasonable discussion, I would highly recommend avoiding the snark/sarcasm. That's a fast way to annoy everyone involved and kill an otherwise level-headed discussion.
Okay, my apologies.

I have to ask. You reference 'millions of people who have been directly affected by racism', and 'deeply affected my certain terms'.

Can you point me to someone who has been deeply affected by the word 'slave'? Not by the state or activity of slavery, but deeply affected by the WORD 'slave'.
Not being American, and more importantly, being white, male and middle-class, I'm *never* going feel excluded. Any term that might conceivably offend me was long drummed out of the language, and the perpetrators sanctioned. (Or if it was tried a century ago, quite possibly beaten to death. If you're part of the underclass, you learn to anticipate the majority's disapproval long in advance.)

However, I can read enough to know that there's a decent size group who feel impacted by slavery enough to find its use for less heinous purposes annoying. My touch point is how I feel when someone uses the term 'holocaust' for something relatively trivial. Basic respect for millions who died has me reserve the word for similarly cataclysmic events.

So, if the tech community chooses to not to make what's a fairly trivial change (there really are lots of good synonyms), then it makes clear that my concerns are not even minimally important. And that makes me feel excluded. And that is a bad thing.

Honestly, I don't care about the context. If everybody from a certain culture hated the word "DIN connector", I'd be happy to switch that as well. Trivial, easily done changes that make significant groups feel better are simply more important than terminology changes that are occurring all the time anyway. I don't demand cultures justify their desires to me. I only care about if it's easy to fulfill them. If it is, then once again, it's common courtesy.

It's kind of like crossing a deserted street at night when overtaking a single woman on the sidewalk in order to lessen her sense of unease. Sure, one can argue you have just as much right to the sidewalk, that you aren't a mugger, etc., etc. But in the end, it's just being a decent human being - justification is irrelevant.

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.
I mean, racism in day-to-day life isn't really common anymore
Ouch. I think you mean that overt, outspoken racism isn't common anymore, and even that's pretty questionable, depending on where you live. However, covert racism is still *massively* endemic. Just try submitting a resume with a 'black' name, and see how many replies you get. See racial profiling. And on and on...


And I'm 100% certain that merely using the word 'slave' in a technical sense is NOT propagating racial violence.
I agree. With 'slave', it's far more about making certain racial groups feel excluded than inciting racial violence. As I said, all the accommodations to ensure that you and I are comfortable were made decades or centuries ago and are still being made as our tastes and culture change. Offend us in any serious way, and society will crush you like a bug.

Your counter-points above seem to ignore that the word's usage in this context doesn't endorse, cause or propagate slavery, racism or racial violence, but it sounds like you feel that because slavery, racism or racial violence has happened, that's sufficient cause to remove the word's usage just in case someone that's been affected by it is offended, on the actually affected people's behalf in fact.
Yes, that's accurate. I care about making society as inclusive as practical. And this term seems a trivial cost for a small increase in that inclusiveness.

As for other terms, I'm happy to judge each on case-by-case basis as to whether it's worth the change.
 

Zombie_Fish

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Metalix Knightmare said:
Wasn't there anything else they could've put that money towards? Y'know, something meaningful like Homeless shelters, food banks, the ASPCA, a charity deadicated to helping women in places like the middle east? No? Just "problematic" computer language? Okay then.

Nice to know we live in a world where the biggest "problem" facing people today are micro-aggressions.
BuildBot is funded by the Mozilla Open Source Support program's Foundational Technology track, a track set up for supporting "projects that Mozilla uses or relies upon."[footnote]Directly quoted from the blog post in the OP.[/footnote] Putting that money towards the things you mentioned would defeat the point of the program.
 

Hagi

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Rather weird choice...

Especially since Mozilla's own code seems to use test slaves in just about every single project they have.

http://mxr.mozilla.org/mozilla-central/search?string=slave
 

Redlin5_v1legacy

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Aug 5, 2009
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I always thought the terms were a bit archaic, even in the technical back end where people deal with this kind of stuff. Get a universal consensus about what to replace them with and then change it though. If I know one thing that irritates engineers, its when universal language of their day to day work get messed with unnecessarily. Just imagining all the browsers rushing to adopt different alternatives to not look like the bad guys and suddenly its all a mess.
 

Areloch

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Dec 10, 2012
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TomWest said:
Areloch said:
I would certainly hope that while we agree that one's feelings are indeed real, we would ALSO agree that one's feelings are not inherently representative of reality, because that's completely impossible when you take all possible feelings on an issue into account.
Feeling are part of objective reality just like pain, which is also totally subjective, but still objectively real. Sure, it can't be precisely measured, but that doesn't make it objectively real. It does, of course, make it harder to judge tradeoffs, but any set oif guidelines to be used by humans should probably take into account the reality of humanity.
Sure, but my point is, someone having feelings on a subject does not influence the actual reality of that subject. For an example on the opposite side, I think we'd both handily ignore a neo-nazi's feelings on what to do about the Jews. They're his feelings, but what he feels and thinks on the subject has exactly no bearing on reality.

So we're changing the usage of a word because it's offensive to NOT use it in context of humans? That's bizzare.
Oddly enough, there are probably thousands of different nuances expected of those who use language. I'm pretty certain you can handle it, probably instinctively if you spend a few minutes putting yourself into the mindset of those who feel strongly about the matter. (My apologies if you have ASD, in which case, yeah, the intricacies of language usage suck.)
Nah, I don't have ASD, I'm just very free-speech - even if it bothers me personally - so long as no one is actually directly harmed or has actual harm incited upon them. When I say 'bizarre', I mean from a "this just seems weird" sort, not in a "This is incomprehensible" way. I can comprehend it, I just very much disagree. Like I mentioned to Silvanus, I'm completely aware the society(and thus the means we use to communicate in it) is a delicate balancing act of finding a workable middleground, not actually making everyone happy, but my personal approach is "as long as the words spoken don't harm or incite harm, then they're free to be spoken".

Some people may get offended, but it offers the widest space for people to do and communicate how they please and I'm willing to accept that other people - and myself - may be offended occasionally. But in a broad stroke, it's better for everyone.

I know all too well there are many out there that don't hold the same view on it.

Firstly, if we're having a reasonable discussion, I would highly recommend avoiding the snark/sarcasm. That's a fast way to annoy everyone involved and kill an otherwise level-headed discussion.
Okay, my apologies.
Yeah, it's cool. It can get heated sometimes :)

Not being American, *snip*
You know, I wonder if this is part of it. We still get a fair bit of racial tension here in the US sometimes(like the nasty business in Feurgeson) so when one side of a racial debate gets riled up, it's very common to see virtrol hurled at the other side. A good, if unfortunate example, is during the LA Race Riots, where you had some black people that were so worked up about the problem that they started pulling white people out of vehicles and beating them in the street, even though they had nothing to do with what was going on.

So it's not like white people don't ever have racially-motivated hatred or violence tossed at them either. It may not be as common, but it absolutely can, and has, occured.

However, I can read enough to know that there's a decent size group who feel impacted by slavery enough to find its use for less heinous purposes annoying. My touch point is how I feel when someone uses the term 'holocaust' for something relatively trivial. Basic respect for millions who died has me reserve the word for similarly cataclysmic events.
Sure, I get ya. This ties back to my very pro-free-speech stance though. If it's not actually inciting or causing direct harm, then it's just words, disrespectful or not. "Sticks and Stones" and all that.

May be a dickish thing to do, but I don't feel it's sufficient to try and restrict usage of words for it.

So, if the tech community chooses to not to make what's a fairly trivial change (there really are lots of good synonyms), then it makes clear that my concerns are not even minimally important. And that makes me feel excluded. And that is a bad thing.
See, this strikes me as an oddity of language. Like "ass" and "butt". They mean the same, they're used the same, but one of them is magically acceptable and the other isn't.

Wouldn't using a synonym of the word 'slave' still invoke the exact same implications of 'slave'? Meaning that the IDEA of "slave" is acceptable, it's just that singular, particular word that's not okay, and all alternative versions of it are OK. This is part of my problem with this whole thing. It's not really fixing anything, it's just doing a single sidestep to appease laser-focused hypersensitivity towards a singular word.

I mean, racism in day-to-day life isn't really common anymore
Ouch. I think you mean that overt, outspoken racism isn't common anymore, and even that's pretty questionable, depending on where you live. However, covert racism is still *massively* endemic. Just try submitting a resume with a 'black' name, and see how many replies you get. See racial profiling. And on and on...
To clarify, yes, I did mean overt racism. Obviously you'll still run into cases driven by personal biases.
 

MysticSlayer

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sheppie said:
MysticSlayer said:
Where are you getting this from? And don't give me any bullshit about it being "common knowledge".
Simply looking at the people who say such things, and the things they themselves name as their motivation. For example many of them are black Americans, meaning they've never in their lives encountered slavery, let alone experienced it for themselves. None of them are old enough. And as inhabitants of the US they enjoy huge privileges.
That doesn't actually answer the question of how you think it is "common knowledge" that these people are, in your words

black supremacists and anti-white racists...who hate you for your ethnicity and race
So are you going to actually answer the question or continue dancing around it?
 

Tilly

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What on earth has happened to the left wing? This kind of stuff is what makes people vote for Donald Trump. Why don't they see that? They're solving a non-problem and making themselves look intellectually and morally bankrupt in the process.
 

Lunar Templar

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and this is why you don't donate to company's with the gall to beg for money. They do shit like this with it instead of what they said they where gonna do with it.
 

DoPo

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Jan 30, 2012
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Lunar Templar said:
and this is why you don't donate to company's with the gall to beg for money. They do shit like this with it instead of what they said they where gonna do with it.
Yeah, and fuck Django and Mercurial, too, right? Who do they think they are?
 

Lunar Templar

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DoPo said:
Lunar Templar said:
and this is why you don't donate to company's with the gall to beg for money. They do shit like this with it instead of what they said they where gonna do with it.
Yeah, and fuck Django and Mercurial, too, right? Who do they think they are?
donno what that is, and don't really care.

Google was of no use since it only gave links on how to use it or how to update it, I think.

Not that it matters cause my post is not up for debate.
 

DoPo

"You're not cleared for that."
Jan 30, 2012
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Lunar Templar said:
DoPo said:
Lunar Templar said:
and this is why you don't donate to company's with the gall to beg for money. They do shit like this with it instead of what they said they where gonna do with it.
Yeah, and fuck Django and Mercurial, too, right? Who do they think they are?
donno what that is, and don't really care.
I'm saying - you must not like them, too.

Lunar Templar said:
Google was of no use since it only gave links on how to use it or how to update it, I think.
Literally the first result for each is the respective homepage.

Lunar Templar said:
Not that it matters cause my post is not up for debate.
In that case, I just want to clarify - you won't ever give Mozilla money because, according to you, they would do this instead of doing whatever they originally promised, right? And that's counting the fact that this is exactly what Mozilla originally promised to do with the money?

Sounds a tad...contradictory. Can you clarify?
 

TomWest

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Areloch said:
This ties back to my very pro-free-speech stance though. If it's not actually inciting or causing direct harm, then it's just words, disrespectful or not. "Sticks and Stones" and all that.

May be a dickish thing to do, but I don't feel it's sufficient to try and restrict usage of words for it.
I think we have the crux right here. I would absolutely agree with you that the government should not intervene. But that's not what's happening here. Surely you believe that people should be allowed to react to words as they would like, and surely you believe that we should be allowed to influence others into reacting words as we would like. Nobody is forcing anything. It's all about social pressure.

I'm also pretty certain that you don't believe there should be no consequences for the words you choose to use. But those consequences are entirely socially determined. All that's happened is that Mozilla has determined that the social cost for using 'slave' is worth more than $15K. If society had changed enough that using the word 'salad' was a symbol of being unpatriotic, we'd probably be expunging 'salad' from the source and 25 years from now, we'd probably be going "do you realize that people used to use 'salad' in everyday discourse? "

Now, one could argue that people shouldn't be trying to manipulate society, but people are *always* trying to manipulate society. It's just some people are doing it consciously. Anyway, Mozilla is simply reacting to the change that's already occurred, before they look even more out-of-touch. (And yes, maybe this particular linguistic fad will fade away. But it's really awkward if it doesn't and you're among the dinosaurs.)

So, if the tech community chooses to not to make what's a fairly trivial change (there really are lots of good synonyms), then it makes clear that my concerns are not even minimally important. And that makes me feel excluded. And that is a bad thing.
See, this strikes me as an oddity of language. Like "ass" and "butt". They mean the same, they're used the same, but one of them is magically acceptable and the other isn't.
Of course it's odd. But why can you get fired from some jobs for not wearing a useless piece of cloth around your neck (a tie)? Logic is only one aspect of acceptable behaviour in society. Conformance to illogical norms (which are constantly changing) is vitally important for success. This is how the ASD sufferers really alienate people - by not being able to understand just how vital the illogical is to human welfare.

Wouldn't using a synonym of the word 'slave' still invoke the exact same implications of 'slave'? Meaning that the IDEA of "slave" is acceptable, it's just that singular, particular word that's not okay, and all alternative versions of it are OK.
Indeed, logic has little to do with it. But I'll point out, that almost every major significant advance in history had very little to do with logic, and everything to do with manipulation of arbitrary social mores. Far more millions have fought and died (for both good an ill) for how words made them feel than what the words objectively meant.
 

DoPo

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Jan 30, 2012
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TomWest said:
I would absolutely agree with you that the government should not intervene. But that's not what's happening here.

[...]

All that's happened is that Mozilla has determined that the social cost for using 'slave' is worth more than $15K.

[...]

Anyway, Mozilla is simply reacting to the change that's already occurred, before they look even more out-of-touch.
It should be important to note that while what you're saying is mostly true, it is also not true exactly for me to have to make amendments: yes, there is no "censorship" of any sort going on. No, it's not Mozilla that's doing this. In fact, Mozilla is not doing almost anything about any words. I don't believe these $15K should or could be taken as any sort of stance or statement or whatever on Mozilla's side. What actually happened was that Mozilla offer funding for open source projects in the form of the Mozilla Open Source Support (MOSS) program. How it works is, that if you have a project that meets the criteria (it's OS and used by Mozilla), you can apply for a grant with them. You state how much money you want and what the grant is for and MOSS committee decides who gets funding. It's one way Mozilla wants to give back to the open source community.

The guys over at Buildbot asked for $15k and the stated reason is to remove the term "slave" on their side and to also make other improvements to their product. The latter bit is important - saying that Mozilla gave fifteen thousands dollars in order to remove the word "slave" is incorrect as that's only part of what that money is for[footnote]I would actually guess that the other changes are going to cost more than the terminology change[/footnote]. Moreover, saying it like that suggests that Mozilla have actually taken that decision and are more or less contracting Buildbot to do the changes - that's not what happens at all, as it's all Buildbot - the decision and the work - they simply asked Mozilla for funding and Mozilla granted it. This doesn't really make Mozilla inherently support the idea - they try to stay neutral to what the money is used for, as long as they are used for the stated purpose and the project owners reasonably believe that would improve the product.

It should also be noted that Buildbot is not the only project that gets money. Far from it, in fact, they actually get the least money out of anybody who currently got a grant out of MOSS - the program has 1 million dollars to distribute - so far, they've allocated only half of that. The $15k fall within that half, or more precisely, the $503 000 that are currently granted to a total of 7 projects[footnote]the others being (in ascending order of grant money) CodeMirror, Discourse, Read The Docs, Mercurial, Django, and Bro[/footnote]. That makes Buildbot's grant worth just about 3% of the money that Mozilla is giving away right now. If Mozilla were trying to make some sort of statement, surely it was going to be more...well, prominent, not a miniscule part of a larger and quite different statement they are making. Namely, that they want to support open source.

So what's happened is that Buildbot has determined that they want to change their terminology and alongside that, they want to add other improvements to their product. The total worth they think that would cost is $15 000.

Whether or not that's because of a change that's already occured relating to historical connotations or other reasons, is actually up for debate as well. Somehow the assumption is the former which, while a possibility, is not the only one - perhaps they feel that other terminology better suits their product.
 

FalloutJack

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That's hilarious and congrats on your bonus. I wish you well on your next PC build.
 

TomWest

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DoPo said:
It should be important to note that while what you're saying is mostly true, it is also not true exactly for me to have to make amendments: yes, there is no "censorship" of any sort going on. No, it's not Mozilla that's doing this. In fact, Mozilla is not doing almost anything about any words.
Thanks for the clarification. Although that's kind of letting reality rip the heart of an interesting conversation built up on a misunderstanding. Since I'm defending the "it's fine to spend money to explicitly change terminology", I'll let the misrepresentation stand :).

Still, worth noting that this is even less of a 'thing' than people made it out to be.