There Is Blatant Racist and Sexist Language Hiding in Open Source Code

Illustration for article titled There Is Blatant Racist and Sexist Language Hiding in Open Source Code

GitHub is an exceptionally popular open-source community where any developer can find code for pretty much anything. But there's a problem—some of that code contains extremely offensive racist, sexist, and homophobic, language.

A word of caution before you proceed, because these search results are very NSFW.

You don't have to look hard for to find hundreds of results for controversial terms of every stripe. Simply inputting racial slurs, misogynistic words turns up code in several languages—Java, HTML, Python, Ruby, and so on—casually riddled with things like bitch, slut, whore, and worse.

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It's a black eye for the broad community of open source programmers, a group that—despite GitHub's slogan of "Social Coding (for all)"—already grapples with lack of diversity. It's a hugely alienating revelation about a community that can't afford to push women and minorities away any further.

Illustration for article titled There Is Blatant Racist and Sexist Language Hiding in Open Source Code
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Illustration for article titled There Is Blatant Racist and Sexist Language Hiding in Open Source Code
Illustration for article titled There Is Blatant Racist and Sexist Language Hiding in Open Source Code
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It's all the more disturbing because this blatant prejudice hides behind the alturism of code sharing. Showing how someone how to write a project? How nice. Dropping bigotry into those explanations? That's a huge problem.

Illustration for article titled There Is Blatant Racist and Sexist Language Hiding in Open Source Code
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Illustration for article titled There Is Blatant Racist and Sexist Language Hiding in Open Source Code

We reached out to GitHub to talk about what's going on here, and we'll update when we've heard back. Regardless of how they're handling this blight, GitHub is just 145 employees, and the site itself hosts more than 5 million repositories of code. Abusers should be banned. But the larger responsibility lies with the developer community itself, which should be self-policing. [Tom Morris via DailyDot]

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DISCUSSION

denver-is-too-damn-high
Denver is too damn high

slut and fag could be casual acronyms -it's easy enough to do if you're hammering code out. the others... no so much. banned? oh come on. I've written plenty of code that I might call buttfuck as well. Gotta admit it's catchy.

furthermore, there is blatant sexist language on your site.

You should totally do an in depth report on this: I hear there is porn on the internet