Terminology at XSEDE

Words matter! XSEDE's commitment to fostering and promoting an inclusive environment for all users, staff, and the wider community extends to all language and terminology in all of our materials. As a result of this commitment, XSEDE's Terminology Task Force (TTF) was formed to review, address, and define processes to eliminate offensive terms in our materials.

The TTF has compiled a living list of terms deemed inappropriate for use in our organizational areas. For each term we describe why it may be offensive, cite source materials in support, categorize the term by type of bias, and provide replacement suggestions.

It's important to understand why certain terms can be offensive in order to effectively find and replace offensive terms and clarify those that were used appropriately. Some terms should never be used, while others can be appropriate in the right context; in these cases, it helps to use precise language.

Terminology List

Click on each column's header to sort.

Term Replacement Bias Context Source
Abort (Context Dependent) cancel, end Gender Bias May evoke violent images, religious objections Harmful ableist language you unknowingly use
American US Citizen Implicit Bias When we talk about "Americans" in the United States, we're usually just referring to people from the United States. This erases other cultures and depicts the United States as the dominant American country. Inclusive Language Guide
Black Box opaque box Implicit Bias The phrases didn't originate in times of slavery, but the use of "black" to describe things is subconsciously racialized CNN: Everyday words and phrases that have racist connotations
Black Mark demerit Implicit Bias Assigns negative connotations to the color black.The phrase didn't originate in slavery, but the use of black to describe value is subconsiously racialized Huffington Post
Blackball deny Implicit Bias The term implies wrongdoing. If you bear a black mark, you've done something that people hold against you. CNN: Everyday words and phrases that have racist connotations
Blacklist(ed) disallowed, block list Implicit Bias The term implies wrongdoing. If you've been blackballed, you've been banned from joining an organization because of something you've done. CNN: Everyday words and phrases that have racist connotations
Blind Review anonymous review, redacted review Disability Bias May be offensive to those with visual disabilities. When we use metaphors like "blind study," we unintentionally perpetuate the abnormality and negativity of impairment, furthering an ableist culture. An End to "Blind Review"
Blind Study anonymous review, redacted review Disability Bias May be offensive to those with visual disabilities. When we use metaphors like "blind review," we unintentionally perpetuate the abnormality and negativity of impairment, furthering an ableist culture. An End to "Blind Review"
Brown Bag lunch and learn, tech talks Implicit Bias
In terms of the seemingly innocent brown bag that has been used to pack lunches for decades, the term actually traces back to the "brown paper bag test," which was traditionally used to judge skin color by certain African-American sororities and fraternities. Wikipedia explains that the color of the paper bag was the center marker of blackness – if your skin tone was darker than the paper bag you would not be let into the party. City leaders usually designate bring-your-own-lunch meetings as brown bag lunch meetings, but have decided that "lunch-and-learn" or "sack lunch" are more appropriate alternatives.
Don't Call It a ‘Brown Bag Lunch': Seattle Frowns on Popular Term
Chief Indigenous people/peoples, an individual's Nation or community, e.g. "Cree", "Musqueam", "Mohawk". Ethnic Slur Calling an Indigenous person "chief" is offensive. It's a nickname that reduces a person solely to race. 7 things you should never say to a Native American
Dumb nonsensical, person who cannot speak Disability Bias Once widely used to describe a person who could not speak and implied the person was incapable of expressing themselves Inclusive Language Guide
Dummy Value placeholder value, sample value Disability Bias Once widely used to describe a person who could not speak and implied the person was incapable of expressing themselves Twitter Stops Using Terms 'Master,' 'Slave' and 'Blacklist'
First Class Citizens core feature, top level Implicit Bias Socially charged term Google Developers
Flow Master (Kanban) flow manager
Institutional Racism
Use of master may convey a sense of superiority, and may have negative historical context Words Matter: Finally, Tech Looks at Removing Exclusionary Language
Freshman first-year Gender Bias Reinforces a language that already privileges men Inclusive Language Guide
Gender Biased Terminology one ..., a person ..., Gender Bias Pronouns are an important part of how we identify that deserves to be respected. Assuming someone's gender can be hurtful, especially to members of our community who are transgender, genderqueer, or non-binary. Business Insider: What you should know about gender pronouns, how to use them, and why they're important
Gender Biased Terminology, pronouns etc they/them/theirs Gender Bias Pronouns are an important part of how we identify that deserves to be respected. Assuming someone's gender can be hurtful, especially to members of our community who are transgender, genderqueer, or non-binary. Business Insider: What you should know about gender pronouns, how to use them, and why they're important
Grandfathered in exempt, legacy status
Institutional Racism
Refers to the "grandfather clause" adopted by seven Southern states during the Reconstruction Era. This allowed those states to deny voting rights to blacks NPR: The Racial History Of The 'Grandfather Clause'
Gray Beard individual's name Ageism Older, more experienced IT or cybersecurity personality. One sought after for wisdom born from study and experience over a lifetime. none
Gray Hat Hacker hacktivist Ageism Older, more experienced IT or cybersecurity personality. One sought after for wisdom born from study and experience over a lifetime. none
Guys folks, people, all, you all, y'all, everyone Gender Bias Reinforces a language that already privileges men Instead Of Saying 'Hey, Guys!' At Work, Try These Gender-Neutral Alternatives
Male or Female connectors and fasteners plug/socket connectors
Gender Bias References to Gender Bias The Register
Man Hours person hours, effort hours Gender Bias Reinforces a language that already privileges men Twitter Engineering
Master manager
Institutional Racism
References which have historical context regarding oppression of a group of people. Masters controlled those people and made them slaves, unable to exercise free will or be considered human Washington Post: Opinion: There's an industry that talks daily about ‘masters' and ‘slaves.' It needs to stop.
Master / Slave Use the replacement term that the vendor or provider uses in their documentation
Institutional Racism
References which have historical context regarding oppression of a group of people. Masters controlled those people and made them slaves, unable to exercise free will or be considered human Washington Post: Opinion: There's an industry that talks daily about ‘masters' and ‘slaves.' It needs to stop.
Master Branch main branch
Institutional Racism
References which have historical context regarding oppression of a group of people. Masters controlled those people and made them slaves, unable to exercise free will or be considered human Washington Post: Opinion: There's an industry that talks daily about ‘masters' and ‘slaves.' It needs to stop.
Minority Native American, African American, a general term "people of color" when referring to racial or ethnic communities.
Institutional Racism
The term "minority" has come to be seen as a generalized term for "the other." Also, the use of "minority" implies a "less than" attitude toward the community or communities being discussed. Instead, use either community-specific terms (e.g., "Native American," "African American," etc.) or the general term "people of color" when referring to racial or ethnic communities. Speaking and Writing About Diversity
Mob or Mob programming team, swarm, troop Ethnic Bias Mobs originated as hordes of people, most always White, who'd torture and kill Black people. Mob has also been linked to stereotypes regarding Italians. CNN: Everyday words and phrases that have racist connotations
Native Indigenous people/peoples, an individual's Nation or community, e.g. "Cree", "Musqueam", "Mohawk". Ethnic Slur The use of these words to refer to an Indigenous person today reflects colonial and racist practices, as it invokes images of savagery and barbarism. Social Justice Synonyms #12: Indigenous Identity and Terminology
Native Feature built in Ethnic Bias The use of these words to refer to an Indigenous person today reflects colonial and racist practices, as it invokes images of savagery and barbarism. https://developers.google.com/style/word-list - native
Native Speaker/Non-Native Speaker English as a primary language, English as a secondary language (ESL) Ethnic Bias The use of these words to refer to an Indigenous person today reflects colonial and racist practices, as it invokes images of savagery and barbarism. https://developers.google.com/style/word-list - native
Nitty-Gritty details, specifics Ethnic Bias Some scholars believe this was a euphemism for the N-word, originating from the lower decks of ships used to transport enslaved people across the Atlantic Ocean. 7 Racist Slurs Which You Should Drop From Your Vocabulary
Pow-Wow Huddle, Standup, Discussion Ethnic Bias Pow-wows are social gatherings for ceremonial and celebratory purposes and are conducted under strict protocol. Using this phrase to refer to a quick business meeting denigrates the long, cultural significance of the pow wow. Use these culturally offensive phrases, questions at your own risk
Red Team cyber offense Ethnic Bias The use of color to denote values may be offensive to some ethnic groups. The Colors Of Cybersecurity
Rule of Thumb standard or general rule Gender Bias The rule of thumb derived from English law which allowed a man to beat his wife with a stick so long as it was no thicker than his thumb. Inclusive Language Guide
Sanity Check Quick check, Confidence Check, Coherence Check Disability Bias May be offensive to those with mental health issues. Unconscious Bias in Computer Science
Savage Indigenous people/peoples, an individual's Nation or community, e.g. "Cree", "Musqueam", "Mohawk". Ethnic Slur The use of these words to refer to an Indigenous person today reflects colonial and racist practices, as it invokes images of savagery and barbarism. Social Justice Synonyms #12: Indigenous Identity and Terminology
Scrum Master agile lead, agile program manager, agile coach, agile team facilitator, scrum coach, scrum teacher, scrum leader, scrum facilitator, scrum custodian
Institutional Racism
References which have historical context regarding oppression of a group of people. Masters controlled those people and made them slaves, unable to exercise free will or be considered human. Words Matter: Finally, Tech Looks at Removing Exclusionary Language
Slave worker
Institutional Racism
Refers to a person being the legal property of another. This person has no legal rights other than those granted by the master. Washington Post
Submit (Context Dependent) process Implicit Bias The dictionary term means to give or offer something for a decision to be made by others. However, due to some discussions within religious communities, submit can be taken in the context of allowing others to have power over you. Additionally, submission is a topic of discussion within some communities, resulting in a word that may have multiple meanings according to culture. none
Tarball tar file, tar archive, tar bundle Ethnic Bias The use of the term tarball can have negative connotations to people of color who may be unaware of the acronym associated in computing context. Politicians should stop using Tar Baby
Tone Deaf unenlightened Disability Bias May be offensive to those with hearing difficulties. medium.com
Tribal Knowledge institutional knowledge Ethnic Bias Cultural appropriation and disrespect of signs which carry religious signifcance to Indigenous Americans.
User (context-dependent)
customer Implicit Bias The phrase is criticised for its negative connotations and outdated use, and many argue that is has no place in a modern UX terminology or in broader business language. UX terminology: Is it time we dropped the term ‘users'?
Webmaster, Web Master web product owner
Institutional Racism
Reference which has historical context regarding oppression of a group of people. Masters controlled those people and made them slaves, unable to exercise free will or be considered human. none
White Hat / Black Hat ethical actor / bad actor Implicit Bias Assigns value connotations based on color. The phrase didn't originate in slavery, but the use of color to describe value is subconsiously racialized. ‘Whitelist,' ‘Blacklist': The New Debate Over Security Terminology
White Paper position paper, publication, report Implicit Bias Assigns value connotations based on color. The phrase didn't originate in slavery, but the use of color to describe value is subconsiously racialized. ‘Whitelist,' ‘Blacklist': The New Debate Over Security Terminology
White Team cyber exercise cell Implicit Bias Assigns value connotations based on color. The phrase didn't originate in slavery, but the use of color to describe value is subconsiously racialized. ‘Whitelist,' ‘Blacklist': The New Debate Over Security Terminology
Whitelist(ed) allowed Implicit Bias Assigns value connotations based on color. The phrase didn't originate in slavery, but the use of color to describe value is subconsiously racialized. ‘Whitelist,' ‘Blacklist': The New Debate Over Security Terminology

Suggestion Form

The Terminology List is an evolving document. We encourage you to reach out to the XSEDE Terminology Task Force with any feedback, recognizing that some third-party materials may be beyond our editorial control.

XSEDE Terminology Suggestion Form

PEARC21 BoF Presentation

BoF: Towards Inclusive Terminology in Advanced Research Computing