Last month Rich shared our commitment to improve diversity and inclusion in all the things we do here at SparkPost. One of the areas we are actively working on improving is the language we use in our technology and processes.

While many words that we use in our technology, terminology, or processes may not seem offensive to one individual, that doesn’t negate the hurt they inflict on others. As one SparkPost family, it’s critical that we listen and empathize with one another to make this a safe and supportive place to work. Additionally, we want to extend this support and empathy to our customer base who as part of our extended family interact with our vocabulary via emails, support docs and of course in our app.

We’ve begun the process of identifying words in our technology and processes that could be hurtful to those in our SparkPost family, and beyond. 

For example: 

  • Effective immediately the words blacklist and whitelist are being replaced by “blocklist” and “allowlist.” Not only are these replacement words more specific and aligned with what the lists are actually doing, they also remove the inference of color being a delineator of goodness. 
  • The naming of servers/repos/primary-replica relationships and other processes that include the word “master” or “master/slave” in it are being replaced with appropriate terms. Additionally, we are having discussions with integration partners to understand their plans or put pressure on them to make changes. Github announced they are changing “master” to “default” and we are waiting to hear back from other partners who have let us know that changes will be announced soon. 

We have already formed a cross-functional and diverse committee who has been tasked with creating guidelines on the decision making process; reviewing and approving changes; and creating a plan of action to implement changes. 

I have been really heartened to see the energy the SparkPost team has had around these discussions so far. I am beyond proud and thankful to be part of SparkPost.