Terminology, Power and Oppressive Language
draft-knodel-terminology-00

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Network Working Group                                          M. Knodel
Internet-Draft                                                ARTICLE 19
Intended status: Best Current Practice                      N. ten Oever
Expires: April 25, 2019                          University of Amsterdam
                                                        October 22, 2018

               Terminology, Power and Oppressive Language
                      draft-knodel-terminology-00

Abstract

   This document argues for and describes alternatives that shift
   specific language conventions used by RFC Authors and RFC Editors to
   avoid oppressive terminology in the technical documentation of the
   RFC series.  Specifically, this document details two sets of terms
   that are normalised on the technical level but oppressive on a
   societal level.  First, arguments are presented for why any
   oppressive terms should be avoided by the IETF/IRTF.  Second, problem
   statements for both sets of terms are presented and alternatives are
   proposed.  There is a third section on additional considerations and
   general action points to address the RFC series, past and future.
   Lastly, a summary of recommendations is presented.

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this
   document are to be interpreted as described in [RFC2119].

Status of This Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
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   This Internet-Draft will expire on April 25, 2019.

Knodel & ten Oever       Expires April 25, 2019                 [Page 1]
Internet-Draft                 Terminology                  October 2018

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2018 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
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   described in the Simplified BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Terminology and power at the IETF . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
     1.1.  Master-slave  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
       1.1.1.  Suggested alternatives  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     1.2.  Blacklist-whitelist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
       1.2.1.  Suggested alternatives  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     1.3.  Other considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   2.  Summary of recommendations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   3.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   4.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   5.  References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
     5.1.  Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
     5.2.  Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10

1.  Terminology and power at the IETF

   The primary function of the IETF is to publish documents that are
   "readable, clear, consistent, and reasonably uniform" and one
   function of the RFC Editor is to "[c]orrect larger content/clarity
   issues; flag any unclear passages for author review" [RFC7322].
   Given the importance of communication at the IETF, it is worth
   considering the effects of terminology that has been identified as
   oppressive, racist and sexist.  Furthermore, we argue that certain
   obviously oppressive terms be avoided and suggest alternatives.
   These sets of terms are "master-slave" and "white-blacklist" for
   their racist and race-based meanings.  Since the IETF is dedicated to
   a "culture of open participation and diverse collaboration"
   [RFC7704], terms that can create a hostile work environment should be
   avoided.

Knodel & ten Oever       Expires April 25, 2019                 [Page 2]
Internet-Draft                 Terminology                  October 2018
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