We would like to endorse and expand on the answer already given by curiousdannii:
…inasmuch as Stack Overflow and the other technology sites form a sort of documentation of technology, I don't think that there can be any blanket ban on such terminology. Many technology projects have used these terms and you cannot have useful or clear documentation or explanations of these projects if it is forbidden to use the terminology used by those projects.
As projects change one-by-one to avoid these terms, especially if there is a general consensus to do so (which I think will probably happen for a term like 'slave' but I think it's likely will not happen for 'blacklist'), then there will be a reduction in how many posts use these terms here. But as questions can be asked about older technology it will remain a fact of life that these terms will continue to be used here.
We are not going to institute any sort of network ban on the use of these terms, and will leave it in the hands of the moderators and the Community to decide on the appropriate usages of these terms on the different sites throughout the network, both for new content, and for legacy content. If there are changes that we can facilitate making once communities have decided how to act, we are available to assist with that.
As curiousdannii points out and expresses so well, without a generally accepted replacement for a given term, enforcing a general ban will end up in rendering large swatches of documentation and content useless. If and when the terminology changes for a given technology, then the Community will no doubt adopt the new terminology as the new standard for use on the network when talking about that technology. But without this consensus (and the definition of an obvious replacement that is accepted by the community that is the expert on that technology), we feel that an indiscriminate ban on these terms would be inappropriate.
With that said, we are definitely sensitive to the ways in which specific pieces of terminology — which at one time were common and standard in a given technological context — can themselves be offensive and hurtful to different minority groups. And we admit that there is always work to be done in this area. Though removing and adjusting such offensive terminology is itself not an ultimate solution, and should not be used as a replacement for more meaningful actions taken to show solidarity with marginalized groups, this does not mean that this is not a meaningful act unto itself.
For these reasons, we believe that continued use of master/slave and blacklist and whitelist terms should be discouraged wherever possible. In that vein, we would like to announce that we have made the following changes on all user-facing portions of the sites:
- We can confirm that no instances of master/slave are shown in the UI
- All instances of “blacklist” have been converted to “blocklist”
- All instances of “whitelist” have been converted to “allowlist”
These changes affect any text showing up in the user interface, in server logs, on mod pages, on dev routes and dev-pages, and we will work to ensure that these terms will no longer be used moving forward for any new feature work. Additionally, from this point forward, we will use the term “blocklists” instead of “blacklists” when handling requests to block tags, words in titles, and usernames from appearing on the site. We are planning to update the relevant tags on metas network-wide (and will update here when this has been done) and will continue to update our usage of this terminology internally as it becomes feasible to do so.
We thank you in your advance for your continued support and sensitivity towards these important issues.