Inclusivity in our Open Source Communities
Technology terms are often mysterious - DNS, cache, cookies, frameworks, sandbox, barks, front end/back end, firewalls, to name just a few. It takes time to become familiar with these words and their meanings. Most of the time these terms are benign. At other times they are non-inclusive, offensive, and downright unnecessary. Racist and gendered language is found in many software and technology projects. The terms Master/Slave and blacklist/whitelist are prime examples of technology terms that refer to inequitable social structures, imply value, and flat out fail to accurately describe their function.
The Koha community, along with many other companies and open source projects, continue to move towards using inclusive language in their code bases. In the area of gender inclusivity, the Koha community has enhanced the code multiple times to remove gendered code comments and include more neutrality in relation to gender in the patron module. (See Bugzilla: 22716 5020 18432 14652 19988 17701 25364 25340). Just recently a new omnibus ticket was filed to change instances of blacklist and whitelist to deny list and allow list respectively. (Bugzilla 25708) The first patch has already been submitted to change a system preference title from NotesBlackList to NotesDenyList. This is exciting, much-needed work; but just the start. This work of inclusivity is ongoing.
ByWater Solutions is committed to the following:
We are committed to identifying and removing non-inclusive terms from our internal work with our partners through our support and development actions, which we fully control. Whitelist will be allow list, Blacklist will be deny list. Master/Slave system configuration will be Primary/Replica. We will continue to listen to our partners and communities to address other needed language changes in an ongoing manner.
We are committed to working with our open source communities (Koha, Aspen, FOLIO, and Libki) to encourage and participate in discussions on inclusive language, and actively submit changes to code, wiki, and documentation in those communities.
We are committed to working with our upstream providers and the language they use. When needed, we will submit feedback/tickets to those providers asking for changes in their documentation and code.
Creating an inclusive workspace and community is important to all of us at Bywater. And we understand we don't have all the answers or see all the perspectives. If you see an area that we, Koha, Aspen, Libki, FOLIO can improve upon please let us know! We encourage everyone to participate in the discussion. You can reach the ByWater staff through our ticketing system, our webchat, Slack Channel, or by phone. You can report issues directly to Libki, Aspen, and Koha using the below links.
Read more by Joy Nelson