Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Ask HN: Is using master/slave terminology anti-diversity?
4 points by soumyadeb 3 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 13 comments
We got a PR in our repo https://github.com/rudderlabs/rudder-server/pull/432 requesting us to change the master/slave terminology to main/subordinate.

I really appreciate the author for bringing this issue up but somehow the main/subordinate doesn't seem right too.

Wondering if people have thought about this. And if yes, what alternative terminology people have been following?

IMHO “Slave” is the problematic word here. I think it’s better to avoid the slavery analogy and instead use “worker” or “replica”.

master/replica sounds perfect to me. That should be fine I guess?

"master" even on its own os potentially problematic because of the relationship with the word "slave" even if you cage that to "replica".

I'd suggest changing both, so you won't possibly be asked to change again later. I went with "Primary/Replica" here, because it's genuinely more logically descriptive of the roles, as well as moving completely away from older "traditional" use of language that might cause offence or hurt.

My expedience is once the language police start driving the conversation everything loses momentum and starts to fall apart. Because when the top of your list of demands are inane superfluous things it makes everything else appear so as well.

No, since in IT it doesn't associate the concept to racists one.

Think about master/slave hard drive controllers (the old IDE interface) for instance. And what about the Git "master" branch: what has to do with racists concepts? And what about "master degree"?

I've thought about this since the days of IDE drives. As a black person in America I see it as a reminder of a painful legacy reduced to a catchy mnemonic. Those kinds of things waer in you, just like seeing 5 out of 7 people on US currency being slaveowners.

I am from Europe and I never thought that for things as IDE drives it has such connotation in the US. I feel sorry how things are. If American society wants to heal from this past, they will need do acknowledge the pain it brought.

Heck, in Germany quite a few two-letter abbreviations like "SS" are that taboo that you'll never find them even in numerical source code. ("SS" was the acronym for the Nazi storm troopers.) These letter combinations are utterly burnt and nobody uses them since the WWII was over.

This recent discussion lists a bunch of options: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23811866 - which is best depends on the context

Thanks for the pointer. Missed that thread

Both words need to go imo

`leader/follower` is one option you can consider.

Ah, that sounds much better


Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact