EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS


Why We Care About (Mis)Use of Language in Technology

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software at 4:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Appearances of people will not change just because we ban or remove words describing some appearance or condition (irrespective of context)

Star Trek tomorrow is yesterday: Captain, the crew is becoming disobedient; I can't take orders from one whose ears are so long

Summary: Software development communities are being divided over issues that would likely not tackle actual racism in any meaningful and profound way (just a symbolic way)

Over the past few weeks we’ve published about a dozen posts (some of which suggestive or humourous memes) about the subject of inclusive language in technology.

Readers should be aware: it’s a risky thing to do! Some people would get upset irrespective of the substance of the argument. To them, if you do not fully and entirely agree with them, that immediately and unquestionably makes you a zealot, a part of the problem so to speak. If you agree with them only partly, well… then wait for the next demand… and the one after that…

“Right off the bat, let’s be clear that people don’t have to be racist or misogynistic to oppose these changes.”This discourages many people who would otherwise speak out and express their position reasonably and politely. Our use of humour is intended to soften the message somewhat.

Right off the bat, let’s be clear that people don’t have to be racist or misogynistic to oppose these changes. For one thing — and this is something we’ve seen explained by the supposed victims already — it’s addressing the lesser or the wrong problem, possibly quite wrongly too. Racism is real and the concept of institutional racism is easily demonstrable. It’s a real, legitimate problem. But large corporations don’t want to damage their bottom line; it’s cheaper to resort to PR stunts and face-saving moves than to train people of colour or women; heck, they don’t even pay women who already work for them equally!

The Linux Foundation, for instance, wrote a blog post and some tweets about black people; but it doesn't hire any. It’s not really interested. It’s like people who speak about racism against blacks but would never date a black person. Pretense is cheap and one has to assume that blacks are dumb to expect them to not understand the real stupidity and exploitation by the Linux Foundation. The Linux Foundation impresses nobody but itself and perhaps those who look like its board and management team (nope, zero African-Americans there; how very inclusive).

“The Linux Foundation impresses nobody but itself and perhaps those who look like its board and management team (nope, zero African-Americans there).”So going back to the subject of language, let’s say we remove every word that activists demand we replace with something else (that would require lots of subsequent testing as breakage would be inevitable in very large and complex programs, not to mention add-ons and plug-ins that make assumptions about APIs and are developed separately/independently). Would that get more minorities into college? Would more of them be capable of obtaining a computer science (CS or similar) degree? Need we provide examples of extortionate tuition fees and student loans in the United States? And even if they graduate, that does not guarantee success in job interviews. The people who assess their CV aren’t going to be swayed by names of variables (or language in comments) that they may or may not have seen in computer code. It’s very, very difficult to get into technical jobs, especially when you grow up poor and ‘suit’ (or ‘fit’) some widespread stigma. Challenging the stigma by code and documentation is a nice idea in theory; how many people out there think of a black person when they see or read the word “blacklist” in some technical documentation or a GUI? Heck, if you think of a black person when someone says “blackhat hacker” (cracker), maybe you have a subconscious issue like racism. Like “black magic” or “black mirror” and many other things, that has nothing whatsoever to do with skin colour. And guess what? The darkness (or blackness) of the night scares white and black children equally.

The whole thing started not this year; not due to BLM.

“It has long been said that in class war the high class tries to distract the ‘masses’ by propping up (contributing to) race-related tensions and exaggerating race issues.”Remember when some people inside Python sought to replace the word “slave” with something else? I thought this was partly reasonable and worth considering. Not too long afterwards the founder of Python stepped down and shortly thereafter retired completely (left his daytime job). Proving a correlation may not be possible. But what we can certainly see is that GAFAM nowadays takes control of Python and outsources almost everything to Microsoft (GitHub). How’s that for injustice worth tackling? Almost nobody even talks about it…

It has long been said that in class war the high class tries to distract the ‘masses’ by propping up (contributing to) race-related tensions and exaggerating race issues. One example is sectarian violence (mastered by the British Empire). Never mind if that high class perpetuates exploitation like nobody else. In the past few weeks, for example, how many people spoke about corporate crimes compared to race issues that are accentuated by corporate media controlled (usually also owned) by the high class? That’s not to say that media should ignore the race issues; but the tone or nature of some of the coverage instigates and increases divisiveness (not over wealth but over identity, notably gender and race). Where’s the part in this latest activism wave which speaks of fair wages? Or healthcare? When did we encounter a CoC that says it’s wrong to bomb people (and let’s face it, those bombed are usually not “white”)? We’re doing ‘cosmetics’ in a war zone. Let’s focus on the war.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Slashdot

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New

  1. Mega Setup, Mini Budget

    For a sum total of under £800 (eight hundred British pounds are about USD/$1043) one can piece together a versatile working environment (my latest additions, as of 5 days ago, are the 4 plastic plants)

  2. Twitter Appears to Have Taken Vendor/Platform Lock-in up Another Notch, Having Become Almost as Malicious as Facebook

    Twitter jumped the shark

  3. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, August 11, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, August 11, 2020

  4. Infographic by Marcia Wilbur: Where's My Refund?!

    Tweet by Marcia Wilbur:

  5. Links 12/8/2020: New GNU Emacs, GXml-0.20, WordPress 5.5, and Mozilla is Laying off 250 Staff

    Links for the day

  6. You Just Know Somebody is in a State of Retreat When the Strategy Becomes to Discredit One's Critics (or Collectively Paint Them All as Wrong/Crazy)

    A goulash of bullcrap from Bill Gates doesn't add up; it seems like his media strategy has warped (or fallen back) onto discrediting his critics as though they don't exist, don't know anything, or are simply jealous

  7. United States v IBM Archives/Resources

    As the massive case against IBM monopoly (United States v IBM; 104,400 pages of trial transcripts and 17,000 exhibits) predates the World Wide Web it's difficult to find comprehensive literature about it any longer (Wikipedia and more modern sites are instruments of revisionism and reputation laundering)

  8. History Goes in Cycles

    Just like antiwar activism was 'quelled' or 'pacified' half a century ago nowadays we're led to think that software freedom is just fine and there's nothing left to argue about (except words and other petty nonsense)

  9. Looking Back at the Real Story of Microsoft

    Let's take a moment to examine what Microsoft was all along (since its formation in 1975)

  10. Europe Deserves Better Than Today's EPO

    Overly restrictive society with countless monopolies (even on seeds!) will neither serve people nor will it breed general acceptance

  11. European Patent Office Management Swims With Sharks and Liars

    It has become increasingly if not abundantly evident that European Patent Office President Campinos is no better than Battistelli as he’s still a ‘darling’ of patent litigation trolls and their front groups/lawyers

  12. Linked In to Pedophilia

    As the above articles show (one published a couple of days ago), the 'Web of Lies' and the incredible deceit/cover-up run deep and we still lack answers from those who enabled what Salon has just said involved "trafficking five or six girls a day."

  13. Whistleblower Aid Already Showed Cover-up of Bill Gates 'Contributions' to MIT

    The Goodwin Procter report which failed to actually investigate whether Gates and Epstein jointly directed payments to MIT (the latter was already dead) can be understood differently in light of the above leak, which was published earlier this year

  14. IRC Proceedings: Monday, August 10, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, August 10, 2020

  15. Proof (Archived Original Letter): Bill Gates Lied to the New Yorker, BBC and Others About Connection of MIT Money to Mr. Jeffrey Epstein and Their Close Relationship

    As the article (“The anatomy of Bill Gates’ Jeffrey Epstein-facilitated MIT donations”) put it at the time (just 2 days before Dr. Stallman received all the heat at MIT), “Secrecy in the funding of academic programs is highly problematic, as University of Virginia professor Siva Vaidhyanathan explains in a long Twitter thread. “Companies and the billionaires who run them are always bending research agendas (and sometimes even results) to their interests,” he writes. “Anonymity would prevent any examination or accountability.”” But there are more high-level Microsoft links to Mr. Epstein; “Hoffman invited both former MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito and Epstein to an August 2015 dinner in Palo Alto with Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and Peter Thiel. He tells Axios that he invited Epstein at Ito’s behest, and only because Ito vouched for the convicted criminal, saying that he had successfully cleared MIT’s vetting process.” In 2016 the article “Bill Gates talked to Reid Hoffman about being on Microsoft’s board of directors” was published. “Furthermore,” it notes, “Gates and Hoffman have a lot in common: They both hold board seats and advisory roles, and no other formal status or day-to-day obligations, at the tech companies they founded.”

  16. All This Happened While Bill Gates' Engineer Was on Trial for Amassing Child Pornography

    While MIT relies on the word of someone who repeatedly lied about his relationship with Mr. Epstein (refuted even by MIT itself), the record shows what happened just when Bill Gates’ own engineer faced conviction for pedophilia (the media diverted attention to Dr. Stallman just days after the above E-mails came to light)

  17. Links 10/8/2020: Popcorn Computers Pocket PC, Finnix 121, GhostBSD 20.08.04, EasyOS 2.3.8

    Links for the day

  18. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, August 09, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, August 09, 2020

  19. Release: Bill Gates' Engineer Busted for More Child Pornography Than Reported in the Media

    Based on our analysis, which was repeated carefully twice, the sum of recognised hashes turns out to be about 7,500 (7,430 objects), which is more than was reported in the media after the arrest of Rick Allen Jones at Bill Gates' mansion

  20. Links 10/8/2020: KPhotoAlbum 5.7.0 and MX Linux RC

    Links for the day

  21. UserLibre: What I Want You to Get From This Book

    "Corporate-backed lies run the world, and the FSF used to get in the way."

  22. Even the Mainstream/Corporate Media is Trying to Study Why (or If) Bill Gates and Epstein's Sex Abuse Ring Were Closely Connected

    People in the media are eager to understand why Mr. Gates was so close to Mr. Epstein and even flew his plane (despite having several of his own)

  23. The Incredible Demise of News Sites About Patents

    Sites for (and by) patent lawyers/attorneys seem to be perishing, which means it's hard to know what's going on

  24. Understanding Users and the Three Kinds of Computers: New, Slow and Broken

    "Understanding the user is the first step towards a practical response to misconceptions."

  25. The Good and Bad of a (GNU?) BSD (not GNU/LINUX) Future

    "The software industry now occupies Free software's own territory. No longer is it Free software vs. Windows and MacOS, it's Free software vs. GIAFAM-co-opted Free software."

  26. Links 9/8/2020: Popcorn Computers Pocket PC and New Interview With Richard Stallman

    Links for the day

  27. Education and Free Software

    "If students learn how to code, they'll be able to figure out the applications."

  28. Features Considered Harmful (Revised)

    "But the benefits of Free software, free candy and new features are all meaningless, if the user isn't in control."

  29. If We Weren't Silencing Founders, Critics and People We Just Don't Like

    In the long run, history is rarely very kind to tyrants, especially the ones who did little more than lie to people and demand things that served no real purpose."

  30. I Would Have Supported the Coup (Under Very Different Circumstances)

    Richard Stallman's (rms) ordeals are showing us how not to deal with a founder; this is how power transition could be done instead, according to figosdev

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts