Monday, June 27, 2022
Home“Whitelist”Why We Are Done with the Term "Whitelist" in The NFT Community

Why We Are Done with the Term “Whitelist” in The NFT Community

Some may argue that the terms “whitelist” and “blacklist” are incorrect technically. Some may argue that they aren’t race- and culture-sensitive. Today we will explore these terms and discuss why we are moving to the other side. Although it’s not an easy task, we will try.

whitelist blacklist
‘Allowlist’ and ‘Blocklist’ instead of ‘Whitelist’ and ‘Blacklist’. Picture credit: NFTska

So what’s the problem with whitelist and blacklist?

This morning, Twitter user and co-founder of HUG @debsoon expressed her frustration regarding a deleted tweet from DIVERSE. It simply stated: “Who’s ready to a WHITELIST POOST?” This is ironic considering that DIVERSE is an advocate of diversity, equality and inclusion. This is not a new issue. 10 years ago, Laurel asked this very question on Stack Exchange, receiving mixed reactions.

There seems to be little or no change in the NFT industry. The common answer to the thread was that this is something the entire community must take responsibility for and that not just one company can change. So, why the hoo-ha?

1. Technically, there are better terms

‘Whitelist’ and ‘blacklist’ are age old terms used in various industries, but not all. Cybersecurity consultant Rob Black shared that these terms are easy to remember. However, some clients who do not work in the cybersecurity industry don’t understand them. According to his LinkedIn article, the terms can be defined as:

Whitelist: A list of who or what that is allowed access to a given device or service.

Blacklist: A list of who or what that is blocked access to a given device or service.

Given that the definitions do not have a hint of white or black, would ‘allowlist’ and ‘blocklist’ be an easier means of communication? Any way to reduce miscommunication is a good thing. This does not justify the shitpost by @hugxyz.

Thank you SAP. Credit: TechTarget

2. Of diversity, equity and social justice

The Black Lives Matter protests in the U.S. have certainly given rise to conversations around diversity, equity and social justice. For decades, tech companies have used common terms like blacklist, whitelist, slave and master. You think it’s time to make a shift?

SAP announced they would be ending these terms but it will take time. All documentation, training materials, and websites will need to be updated by the in-house linguistics department. All of this will not affect the business operations worldwide. Similar adjustments are being made by other companies, such as Google, Oracle, and Linux. The U.K. National Cyber Security Centre has also taken a similar stand.

Depending on the utility, SAP may use allowlist/blocklist or exclude list/include lists and avoid list/prefer to list. They will also use source/replica as an alternative to master/slave.

To conclude, here’s a quote from StackRox’ Michelle McLean:

“Linguists have long made a compelling case that words directly shape our consciousness and our reality, so we need to take steps like removing such racist terms from our technical vocabulary as a small part of a much larger effort needed to create positive environments and opportunities for Black and other underrepresented people in tech”.

So NFT fam, shall we?

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All investment/financial opinions expressed by are not recommendations.

This article is educational material.

As always, make your own research prior to making any kind of investment.

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Henry Hicks
Henry Hicks
NFT and Crypto Enthusiast. Loves Travelling and Exploring the Metaverse!


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