Arnt Gulbrandsen
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Intent ≠ effect, again

Github and others have renamed the main git branch to main from the old name master. I don't care one way or the other, it's just a symbol and I don't see that this symbol affects anything. The Americans have renamed their dark-skinned fellow citizens every decade or two since I was born, to little effect so far. I don't see any reason why renaming master to main will have more effect. On the other hand I don't mind that branch being called main either. On the third hand, someone has surveyed other people's response and got interesting responses.

I quote: Something I was not expecting when gathering the data for this survey is that every single African American who answered the survey responded No in support of the change. Not only that, when asked to explain their reasoning, all of them sounded fairly spiteful towards Github and its executives, since they felt that these decisions were made by white executives who didn't actually consider whether it offended them or not, …

Interesting point. Arguably, Github wishes to avoid offensive terminology, so it renames without consulting the people it wishes to not offend, which is an inconsiderate way to avoid offense, if that survey is even nearly representative.

The intention of Github's action is clear (and positive), the negative reactions wouldn't be difficult to find by asking a focus group, and what's the positive effect again? A software development company shouldn't let positive intentions win over foreseeable negative effects. Serving users demands humility, and specifically it means caring much, much more about what the users think than about one's own good intentions.