[R] [SPAM] Re: The "--slave" option

Tobias Fellinger tobby @end|ng |rom htu@@t
Sun Sep 22 12:49:44 CEST 2019

Hello everyone,

I think Richard's proposal to update the documentation is a good idea. Not
only because it puts the phrasing into context but also because it makes
the documentation clearer.

About the initial mail: I think the awareness for language has increased a
lot in the recent years and I think this is overall a good thing. New code
should consider this from the beginning on and in old code should be
changed where it is possible, particularly the documentation. General
terminology like master/slave is hard to replace but there are alternative
wordings that are less offensive and as clear if not clearer. 

A few thoughts on whether this should be discussed, or if this is the right
place for this discussion. 

To get changes in the code or the documentation done, the help mailing list
is definitely not the best place. But discussing the topic does have some
merit, also if it's only very loosely related to the topic of the mailing-
list. Changing the name of one commandline option will not change society
but having a discussion about phrasing, naming or jokes in documentation
and comments in the code is valuable, even if just to establish a certain
awareness. Whether the original poster is a troll or not does not change
much about this, there are more participants in this conversation than the

I think this discussion could be had much less cynical. Assuming without
reason that anyone acts in bad faith in starting the discussion or arguing
for either side does not help. I also think discussing this separately for
each comment and each commandline option is not the best way to do this.
But the fact, that discussions like this resurface every few years in many
open-source communities shows, that there are concerns here. I think
dismissing completely or belittling these concerns unnecessarily alienates
a (maybe small, maybe larger than it appears) group in the community.

kind regards, Tobias

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