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ObsceneOrCulturallyInappropriateProgrammingTerms are words or phrases people may use in programming (or computers in general) that groups of people take offense to due to their language. Sometimes these terms are meant to “shock” or enrage, to drive a negative point home. Other times these phrases are more entrenched in techological culture.

*RapeAndPasteProgramming *MasterSlave

Personally, I find the whole MasterSlave schism to be a load of fetid dingo’s kidneys. The terminology is accurate and appropriate to its use. And perhaps more importantly, there is no ambiguity as to which sense of the terms is meant. The MasterSlave terminology clearly and explicitly describes the way two devices are linked together, and is in no way a reference to any instance of historical slavery. This differs from RapeAndPasteProgramming terminology in a number of ways, the most important being that RapeAndPasteProgramming is not the most accurate description available, nor is the exact sense of the term “rape” used in the phrase unambiguous. Oh, and a side note: it’s not culturally inappropriate if people in the culture use it. It may be politically incorrect, but that’s another issue. There are plenty of politically incorrect things that are still culturally acceptable. (Depending to some degree on whose culture we’re talking about) –OwenAnderson

What’s happening with the MasterSlave “schism” (I think that’s probably too dramatic of a word) is a collision of two uses of a word; the technical sense of the word may be accurate and appropriate, but when such words re-enter the vernacular there can be a problem when the traditional uses of the word carry unsavoury connotations. It bears remembering that jargon terms come by their meaning through continued usage, not necessarily through any sort of logic, like the Chinese Postman problem ( ), the four Russians algorithm, or even the “mouse”. I don’t think anyone would deny that in everyday usage, “MasterSlave” has some disagreeable connotations, like slavery, and for those of us who primarily use the jargon meaning, that does bear remembering.

Except that, unlike in the case of RapeAndPasteProgramming, it is perfectly clear what it is meant by the terminology, and it is equally clear that it is an accurate description. Nobody with an IQ above 13 would suppose it to be a reference to African-American slavery or indeed to anyone else’s slavery (after all, the African-Americans don’t have a monopoly on the word) rather than an accurate description of a technical function. Your jargon argument breaks down in that there is logic in this terminology, rather than just a traditional name like the Chinese Postman. –OwenAnderson

I’m not arguing that the technical sense of the term isn’t clear. What I don’t buy is that it can be both an accurate, logical description and have no connection to actual slavery. If it’s not “just a traditional name,” then where else could the logic of the term have originated except by direct reference to slavery? This is not an argument for abandoning the term, simply an observation. I think ignoring this and blaming the whole debate on the evils of political correctness is slightly short-sighted; one of the ways language evolves is by the adoption and rejection of particular usages: for instance “firefighter” vs. “fireman”, “gay (in 1950)” vs. “gay (in 1920)”, or, for that matter, “computer” as an algorithmic machine instead of a person doing sums.

I actually think RapeAndPasteProgramming is a little less ambiguous and therefore less likely to offend someone. As it says, its programming, and raping sexually is not the only way of raping. MasterSlave on the other hand has no reference to anything. Sure, if you are knowledgeable about computers, you will not become confused but that is not that great of a chunk of the population. Just look how many people ran the attachment for MyDoom and its variants. – MatPeterson

I would think that having several meanings makes something more ambiguous, particularly when you assert the less-common meaning.

But there is still programming in there, which people generally know is to do with computers and they also know computers have a whole world of different terms. Sure, it would incite plenty of people who read “Rape…” instead of the entire thing. – MatPeterson

Has anyone ever taken a class on semantics? You cannot dictate the sense of a word or phrase. Also, the original poster was deliberately using the strong negative sense of the word rape to emphasize his point. In this case, both intention and perception have the same reference.

So you have to make a choice. You can choose to be insensitive to those of find the topic RapeAndPasteProgramming offensive by continuing to debate the validity of its use, or you can choose to respect those who are offended by this topic and cease to use the phrase in practice and deliberation. I find it amusing that the only issues here are directed toward things offensive to minorities and women. This must mean only these groups find certain words or phrases distasteful.

This is about choice … ?

High and mighty … get over it.

The fact is, this is a very limited controversy, which stands only in those countries where the main language is English or the words “master” and “slave” have the same meaning as in English. AFAIK, it’s very common to borrow the exact words “master” and “slave” in non-English language to refer to the techincal meaning (i.e. in Italian I say “Questo disco � il master e quell’altro � lo slave” [That disk’s the master and the other one’s the slave], without using the words “padrone” e “schiavo” [vernacular-meaning “master” and “slave” respectively]), which solves the whole thing.

While I can see that the words “master” and “slave” evoke a time nobody likes to talk or think about today, we should not take them thoughlessly as insults. They are merely a fitting metaphor for the way the IDE bus (and any other bus using this terminology) works; they aren’t absolutely meant as an insult.

And “primary” and “secondary” are longer, aren’t a fitting metaphor as much as a description, and suck IMHO. – l0ne aka EmanueleVulcano

Not exactly a Programming Terms, but what do you think about the terms male plugs' and female sockets’ ?

Oooh, or ‘drivers’ in general - I mean it *might imply slave drivers or driving Miss Daisy … We shall now call them ‘hardware controller code’ … no, wait, ‘controller’ may offend people too … d’oh!*

They are hardware cooperational facilities, thank you very much.

Mmm, no, that may disenfranchise today’s teens. We prefer ‘equal-opportunity device directors’.

I think people who are easily offended by language have been “programmed” to be that way. We SHOULD feel sorry for them. I myself am highly offended by PL/1.

The PC (politically correct) bug has come back to bite us all, now that the blue-hairs are coming heavy on the censorship act. Free expression is under attack on both the right and left.

Why, some naive mathematical logician might even be offended by the expression “x = x - 1”

Speaking of ‘offended’, why does the postscript printer often say ‘OFFENDING COMMANDS’ and stop ?

Because the “commands” went “OFF” the “END” of the buffer? (rim shot) « if we switched to MediaWiki, could a sound file be attached there? that’d be worth it ;)