Removal of “Blacklist” in Software

Google will remove the usage of “blacklist” in Chrome and it spurred some discussions. I’m a bit surprised to see a lot of people laughed at it. I support this move. Here is my reasoning:

Assume you’re a developer, if you start writing a new project today and need this allow/block functionality, would you use the terms “whitelist/blacklist”?

If the answer is yes, I think you’re being too insensitive.

If the answer is no, then the difference comes down to the migration cost: whether the preference to terms other than “blacklist” overweight the cost of changing codes. We should respect a piece of working software. So I won’t judge companies that don’t replace “blacklist” as a term since I’m not in the position to evaluate the migration cost of a project I don’t know, which could be really big. For the same reason, you shouldn’t judge a project that replaces “blacklist” since you probably don’t know their migration cost as well.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.