Inclusive language

We want to encourage a culture of inclusivity, and part of doing that is making sure we use appropriate language where we can.

While some people may argue that these words aren't offensive to them, or that the words were never added with an offensive intention, they need to be aware that these words are potentially offensive to other groups of people, and we should endeavour to remove the usages.

This effort also helps fulfill our commitment to the Code of Conduct :

In the interest of fostering an open and welcoming community, we are committed to making participation in Wikimedia technical projects a respectful and harassment-free experience for everyone [...]

Terms to avoid and their alternatives


The following list is incomplete. See the #Resources section below for other recommendations. We use different alternative words in different contexts, for better grammatical or technical accuracy.

Words to be avoided Suggested alternative words Context
blacklist denylist, deny, exclude, prohibit, forbid, mute, (But not "block" or "ban" because of existing MediaWiki meanings) Avoid language that perpetuates discrimination
whitelist allowlist, allow, include, permit Avoid language that perpetuates discrimination
master primary, source, main, development branch Avoid language that perpetuates discrimination
slave replica, secondary Avoid language that perpetuates discrimination
guys people, folks Avoid unnecessarily gendered language
Words that assume someone's gender, including "sir"/"madam" Gender-neutral terms or the person's name; or check their userpage, Phab profile, etc., to see if they've shared how they identify Avoid misgendering
sanity check is valid, is correct, integrity check, final check, quick check, completeness check, confidence check, coherence check, double check Avoid ableist language
sane reasonable, typical, common Avoid ableist language
crazy, insane wild, confusing, confounding Avoid ableist language
blindly, dumb mindlessly, without validating Avoid ableist language
crippled slowed, broken Avoid ableist language
kill switch, kill it with fire off switch, emergency switch, feature flag, remove Avoid unnecessarily violent language
grandfathered legacy, exempt Avoid language that perpetuates discrimination
handicap hurt, negatively affect Avoid ableist language
(In some contexts) disable/disabled Guides vary, with some stating that it is acceptable to use it (perhaps just in technical documentation), and others recommending replacement with 'deactivate, inactive, unavailable, turn off, deselect'.[1][2][3] Avoid ableist language
abort cancel, force quit, end, halt, stop, hard stop Politically charged term outside of computing. Avoid unnecessarily violent language.
blackhat, whitehat unethical hacker, attacker, ethical hacker Avoid language that perpetuates discrimination
tribe team, squad, group Can be assocaited with colonialism / cultural approriation. Avoid language that perpetuates discrimination.

It is noted that there are some cases where we may not be able to change/remove some of our usages of these words, such as until the upstream developers has fixed them and it trickles down into our deployed software. This is okay as it is out of our control. It could be worth checking with the upstream if they plan to fix similar issues in their own codebases. However, we can and should address these words in our codebases when we are able to.

How to help


If you're looking to help with this effort, task T254646 is a good starting point for some discussion around the issue, and also to find specific tasks for areas of code that needs updating.

Some of these may be as simple as updating/improving comments and variable names.

Others may be more complex and need functions and hooks renaming, while following our stable interface policy .

Some usages may need to stay around for longer, but will generally stop being the canonical code, showing the intention for this to be removed in the near future.



Further reading