Inclusive language in LLVM: can we rename `job` in source code?

Here we’ve began discussion about “master”
https://lists.llvm.org/pipermail/llvm-dev/2020-June/142448.html

Lets remove Job word completely

But as one can easily fact-check, in Russian (slavic?) language,
for example, the word "Worker" can be translated as "Работник", "Рабочий".
Similarly the word "Job" can be translated as "Работа".
As you may notice, they all contain "Раб", which, as you can easily
check, literally translates to "slave".
To Russian people it doesn't seem very inclusive use words with such dubious origin.

We have many uses of Job word

Hi Ivan,

Thank you for raising this issue. I haven’t heard much industry consensus that the word ‘job’ is a problem - are there other communities considering such a change?

I’m concerned that a policy around “any English word that can be translated to an unfortunate term in another language” could be too broad to be useful. The discussion around “master" isn’t related to translations.

-Chris

Yes, broad. But what guys say: “You LLVM developers are all racists, because you use ‘master’ word”
Or broader: “You all developers are all racists, because you use ‘master’ word”. We are not racists, but other guys think so.
So let’s begin consistent and take into account all nations and languages. Not only Americans.

Работа/Job contains a root Раб/Slave.
https://ru.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D1%80%D0%B0%D0%B1%D0%BE%D1%82%D0%B0

If we want completely eradicate a word Slave we should take into account all nations and languages!
You say that removing ‘master’ you won’t mention Slave, but in Russia leaving a Job could mean Slave

Hi Ivan,

What would you suggest we migrate Job to? Have you raised this with other inclusive language organizations? As the first I’ve heard of this I’d love to hear more.

Thanks!

-eric

Yes, broad. But what guys say: “You LLVM developers are all racists, because you use ‘master’ word”
Or broader: “You all developers are all racists, because you use ‘master’ word”. We are not racists, but other guys think so.

Since I started the thread on our “master” branch name, I’d like to clarify that I didn’t intend it the way you’re putting it: I don’t consider that developers who are using “master” for their branch, and will continue to do so, are just “racist” because of that.

However I can understand that using such metaphors or analogies in our language, however accurate they are, can make other people uncomfortable.
So, another way to see it is not about us stopping using this word because other people think it makes us racists, instead it is about not forcing other potential contributors and fellow developers to use such terms to be able to contribute to the project.
I posted this link originally where the author wrote:

using the term master to define the default source of truth in my repos has always caused me pain

They don’t accuse you or me of being racist, they don’t talk about anyone else other than themselves here.

So I choose to listen to them, to empathize, and recognize that at minima:

  1. there are actually better and more accurate terms for the concept described (“main”, “default”, …)
  2. it is “relatively cheap” to change.

On the other hand, I don’t see much reason to not do it (do you?).

So let’s begin consistent and take into account all nations and languages. Not only Americans.

As a European, I’m sensitive to the “american centric” view that is taken of many of these topics by the way. Also the use of English as the common language makes it maybe too easy to under-estimate the cultural differences.

Работа/Job contains a root Раб/Slave.
https://ru.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D1%80%D0%B0%D0%B1%D0%BE%D1%82%D0%B0

If we want completely eradicate a word Slave we should take into account all nations and languages!
You say that removing ‘master’ you won’t mention Slave, but in Russia leaving a Job could mean Slave

I’m not sure using the etymology of the translation of an English word to reflect on the English word is entirely straightforward to me.
More importantly, in general I would personally start by looking into the alternatives here: what is the word used for in the project and do we have a more neutral/descriptive term to describe a concept. I’d advise you to follow Eric’s advice on the topic.

Best,

Me too.

Ivan, I don’t agree with how you’re characterizing the discussion about the “master” branch. In any case, unless there is evidence of precedent here, I don’t find the ‘job’ discussion likely to go anywhere.

-Chris

Speaking English, not American, I'm *extremely* sensitive to those differences. And at this rate, we'll run out of words...

You know the story of the Vauxhall/Ope/Chevrolet Nova? Or the Rolls Royce Silver Mist? It's far too easy for an innocuous word in one language to mean something unfortunate in another.

And IMHO this is simply the Politically Correct And Morally Superior brigade running around trying to be seen to be doing something, that's not going to improve matters and may well make them worse.

When we've had this problem, what with ISIS and Islam and all that, it's been very noticeable that we have had White Christians saying "we nustn't do this that and the other in case we offend them", and we've had their leaders saying "for ... sake stop telling us what we do and don't want, you're making matters worse".

There's a massive thread on LWN, and there's a lot of kickback from people like me who think this is stupid. The blacks don't care about the word "master", the Slavs don't care about the word "slave" (note that those last two are etymologically the same word!!!), why the f... are White Americans making such a fuss, other than to seize the moral high ground?

This is an *American* issue, driven by an *American* problem, and I think all this is just headless chickens trying to "do something" and causing chaos in the process.

At the end of the day, NOBODY seems to be listening to the people who are actually allegedly "affected" by the issue.

Cheers,
Wol

Agreed.
While we are at it, we should also show our support of LGBTQP+ community. After all we wouldn't want to get cancelled like JKR after her transfobic tweet.
How exactly should such changes in LLVM look is up to discussion but there's a perfect example from a related issue: female/male (connectors). Apart from the fact that there's no such thing as gender (in a biological context) it's also confusing because even those who explicitly identify as women don't necessarily have to be "on the receiving end". Ergo, proper replacement terms would be active/passive.
- P.A.

---------- Původní e-mail ----------

Od: Ivan Kush via llvm-dev <llvm-dev@lists.llvm.org>

Komu: llvm-dev@lists.llvm.org <llvm-dev@lists.llvm.org>

Předmět: [llvm-dev] Inclusive language in LLVM: can we rename `job` in
  source code?

Here we've began discussion about "master"
https://lists.llvm.org/pipermail/llvm-dev/2020-June/142448.html

Lets remove Job word completely
But as one can easily fact-check, in Russian (slavic?) language,
for example, the word "Worker" can be translated as "Работник", "Рабочий".
Similarly the word "Job" can be translated as "Работа".
As you may notice, they all contain "Раб", which, as you can easily
check, literally translates to "slave".
To Russian people it doesn't seem very inclusive use words with such dubious origin.

We have many uses of Job word

These kinds of emails are not appropriate for this mailing list. Please review our Code of Conduct (LLVM Community Code of Conduct — LLVM 16.0.0git documentation) and keep the discussion on this mailing list LLVM development based.

Thank you,
Tanya

Yes, broad. But what guys say: “You LLVM developers are all racists, because you use ‘master’ word”
Or broader: “You all developers are all racists, because you use ‘master’ word”. We are not racists, but other guys think so.
So let’s begin consistent and take into account all nations and languages. Not only Americans.

Работа/Job contains a root Раб/Slave.
https://ru.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D1%80%D0%B0%D0%B1%D0%BE%D1%82%D0%B0

If we want completely eradicate a word Slave we should take into account all nations and languages!
You say that removing ‘master’ you won’t mention Slave, but in Russia leaving a Job could mean Slave

Being a native Russian and being kinda proud of my feeling of the language, I find this statement (Job could mean Slave) rather strange…

The word “Работа” in Russian does not have any despising semantical connotation derived from slavery.
It is easy to figure out just by reading the part of the page you quoted named “Семантические свойства” (semantical characteristics).
It is all about work, job, labor, creativity (and a science term). No single mention of slavery or forced labor.

“Root” is just the origin where the word started from, perhaps centuries ago. It is quite common that words do change their meaning
through these centuries.

If you take a look at all the words that have “-раб-” root in it you will find:
раз-раб-отчик == developer
раз-раб-отка == development
об-раб-отка == handling
etc

I would prefer to be allowed to do my job and be proud of it, and to call my fellow developers - developers.

thank you very much,
Fedor.

Thanks for the additional perspective Fedor, very appreciated.

-eric

Yes, broad. But what guys say: “You LLVM developers are all racists, because you use ‘master’ word”
Or broader: “You all developers are all racists, because you use ‘master’ word”. We are not racists, but other guys think so.
So let’s begin consistent and take into account all nations and languages. Not only Americans.

Работа/Job contains a root Раб/Slave.
https://ru.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D1%80%D0%B0%D0%B1%D0%BE%D1%82%D0%B0

If we want completely eradicate a word Slave we should take into account all nations and languages!
You say that removing ‘master’ you won’t mention Slave, but in Russia leaving a Job could mean Slave

Being a native Russian and being kinda proud of my feeling of the language, I find this statement (Job could mean Slave) rather strange…

The word “Работа” in Russian does not have any despising semantical connotation derived from slavery.
It is easy to figure out just by reading the part of the page you quoted named “Семантические свойства” (semantical characteristics).
It is all about work, job, labor, creativity (and a science term). No single mention of slavery or forced labor.

According to https://thequestion.ru/questions/317780 and http://www.slovorod.ru/etym-chernykh/_pdf/russ-hist-etym-chernykh-2.pdf “работа” (job/work) is indeed ~= “рабство” (slavery) in ancient russian (11th century).

“Root” is just the origin where the word started from, perhaps centuries ago. It is quite common that words do change their meaning
through these centuries.

However I discovered this fact 5 minutes ago, and no one associates these two words together in the 21st century.

Are you uninclusive racist or what?
I just don't see the difference between you not seeing negative context of "Работа" and native English
speakers not seeing negative context of "master".
[ BTW, I feel great pain when you send me to do my work. :stuck_out_tongue: ]

Of course, as a native Russian speaker you understand sarcastic context here, I believe.
Does "Master of Science" (Science is enslaved!) is offensive? "Remastered Edition" (poor edition?)?
Or "Black Hole" (disclaimer: this is astronomical term, not insult)?
If not, why "master branch" is?
Are we going to ban all words having any negative meanings?

  If you have a word like “good”, what need is there for a word like “bad”? “Ungood” will do just as well

1984

This argument would probably be better made in the context of removing the terms blacklist and whitelist from the codebase. That will be a different change and a different thread, though.

In the context of this proposal, even if you disagree with renaming the branch for political reasons it still makes sense purely on the grounds of consistency with what GitHub is doing. What doesnt make sense is using a different branch name than what 100% of all GH repos are going to be using going forward.

You could, of course, also make this particular argument directly to GitHub, and if they reverse course there’s a chance LLVM would as well. But given they’ve already publicly announced it, i think they are unlikely to change their minds.

Hi Denis,

Does "Master of Science" (Science is enslaved!) is offensive? "Remastered Edition" (poor edition?)?

"Master" of Science doesn't refer to slavery (as opposed to "master/slave"), so likely not.

Or "Black Hole" (disclaimer: this is astronomical term, not insult)?

It's not associating black/white with bad/good in that case, so likely not.

If not, why "master branch" is?

The context here is that "master" is being used to describe a subordination relationship ("master/slave"), thus referring directly to slavery.

Are we going to ban all words having any negative meanings?

If computer science had been inclusive from the beginning we wouldn't have to question wording, so I guess it's only the fairest thing we can do right now.

 If you have a word like “good”, what need is there for a word like “bad”? “Ungood” will do just as well

1984

The comparison between oppressed people claiming back space in high-stakes domains like computer science and an authoritarian regime that enforces a new language just to suppress revolutionary ideas is irrelevant. People are protesting around the world because they've been living under constant monitoring and oppression by representatives of states that are authoritarian towards them (e.g. systematically unpunished murders from police officers, unlawful arrests, severe judgements, etc.).This is what leads us to question vocabulary that directly refers to the roots of that discriminatory violence.

Regards,
Jules

The comparison between oppressed people claiming back space in high-stakes domains like computer science and an authoritarian regime that enforces a new language just to suppress revolutionary ideas is irrelevant.

To the best of my knowledge, NO oppressed people care about the language.

People are protesting around the world because they've been living under constant monitoring and oppression by representatives of states that are authoritarian towards them (e.g. systematically unpunished murders from police officers, unlawful arrests, severe judgements, etc.).

Then we should do something about that oppression. I think the real problem here is that America claims to be "The Land of the Free" - what's that on the Statue of Liberty about "Send us your oppressed" etc etc, but Blacks feel oppressed in their own land.

This is what leads us to question vocabulary that directly refers to the roots of that discriminatory violence.

And in the conteXt of this sentence, "us" means "The White Morally Superior Brigade". And my eXperience of this in Britain is that Blacks etc object strongly - "stop making things worse!".

Unfortunately, America is by far the worst offender in this regard of actual abuse. If we can fiX America, maybe we can fiX other countries, but in Britain I'd say it's not intentional, and it's down to ignorance.

We have something called "Stop and Search", which Black people hate. Let's say the Police stop 100 people, and find 8 black people with knives, and four whites. We had a Chief Police Officer make a similar (I can't remember it eXactly) argument on national TV. EXcept there's a *crucial* piece of information missing. That 100 includes 80 blacks. NOW do the maths ... That's just ignorant prejudice, not malicious.

Cheers,
Wol

You’ve been asked to please stop. I’m going to ask one more time.

Thank you.

-eric

These kinds of emails are not appropriate for this mailing list. Please review our Code of Conduct (https://llvm.org/docs/CodeOfConduct.html) and keep the discussion on this mailing list LLVM development based.

Thank you,
Tanya

I don't think this is universally accepted. Assuming so causes more
grief than is necessary.

Just to be clear, I personally don't think my own experiences speak
for anyone else, so I'm not saying we shouldn't change the branch
name. I really don't mind whatever is called, and if that helps some
people, my "effort" is zero for overall net benefit.

But the fact that "master" in git branch is directly related to
slavery is a stretch.

I have never associated other branches as "slave" to the master
branch. I know a lot of people that didn't either. Some people replied
to that effect on this list. I believe that this is why some people
are calling this process "american centric", because this word is
clearly more sensitive in the US than other places of the word. For
context, in Brazil, the "slave owner" was called something closer to
"landlord". I had trouble adapting to England, having to rent from a
"landlord". But I got used to it and don't think it is offensive as
the context is different.

On the list of words compiled by Google shared in one of these threads
has the word "master" simply as "Don't use. See slave". This is an
over-simplification of a word that has many meanings, like the ones
discussed in the various threads here. I believe the reductionism in
semantics here (and in Google's list) is because, particularly in the
US, the "slave" meaning of the word is so strong and brings so many
bad memories, that any other meaning ceased to exist or be relevant.

Master/Mister, Master of Science, Kung-fu Master are all positive
meanings of the word. In computer science specifically, "master/slave"
is used for databases or distributed services, and that may be where
this is coming from. But that is not to say that this is the only
meaning of the word in computer science as a whole.

So, let's call it for what it is, because I don't think we need
"stronger" reasons to change the branch name.

1. There are a lot of people nowadays, particularly in the US, who are
very sensitive to that word in particular, due to its history with
slavery in English speaking countries.
2. There are a lot of developers in those countries that want to /
participate in the LLVM community.
3. Git branches can be called whatever we want, including the main
development branch.
4. Github doesn't care either and has a setting to change the name to
whatever we want.
5. Changing the name is reasonably painless, after we all had the
chance to change our infrastructure.
6. The continuous long term cost of the change is literally zero.

In this particular case, to me at least, the cost/benefit is almost
100%. Let's get organised and do this together, waiting for the right
moment, which will be decided by consensus in the community, not push
back from those who want it to happen soon. I think the vast majority
of people here want to do it and will help do it. Let's assume the
best in people and give them time to solve their own internal issues
first.

But let's not assume that what is "widely accepted" in one part of the
world is actually "widely accepted" worldwide.

cheers,
--renato