Re: [Gendispatch] Diversity and Inclusiveness in the IETF

Vittorio Bertola <> Wed, 24 February 2021 17:47 UTC

Return-Path: <>
Received: from localhost (localhost []) by (Postfix) with ESMTP id 129F43A187D; Wed, 24 Feb 2021 09:47:25 -0800 (PST)
X-Virus-Scanned: amavisd-new at
X-Spam-Flag: NO
X-Spam-Score: -2.098
X-Spam-Status: No, score=-2.098 tagged_above=-999 required=5 tests=[BAYES_00=-1.9, DKIM_SIGNED=0.1, DKIM_VALID=-0.1, DKIM_VALID_AU=-0.1, DKIM_VALID_EF=-0.1, HTML_MESSAGE=0.001, SPF_HELO_NONE=0.001, SPF_PASS=-0.001, URIBL_BLOCKED=0.001] autolearn=ham autolearn_force=no
Authentication-Results: (amavisd-new); dkim=pass (2048-bit key)
Received: from ([]) by localhost ( []) (amavisd-new, port 10024) with ESMTP id ou5dtP_DV146; Wed, 24 Feb 2021 09:47:22 -0800 (PST)
Received: from ( []) (using TLSv1.2 with cipher ECDHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384 (256/256 bits)) (No client certificate requested) by (Postfix) with ESMTPS id 7A5A73A187B; Wed, 24 Feb 2021 09:47:21 -0800 (PST)
Received: from ( []) (using TLSv1.2 with cipher ECDHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384 (256/256 bits)) (Client did not present a certificate) by (Postfix) with ESMTPSA id DADC76A2CF; Wed, 24 Feb 2021 18:47:18 +0100 (CET)
DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; c=relaxed/simple;; s=201705; t=1614188838; bh=FxoRfQ2Qe3YynMxtbZQ73ectpmMJFESkPZw086i1CUM=; h=Date:From:To:Cc:In-Reply-To:References:Subject:From; b=LqqOLRBxTrZMpnidb9ifDkSgdIaotEu8BUCWlco7cQ5k6bAyXyn02BgzRov3gBdlq 683X5nM+y6fOaktYNyQMH9XubCwZ2d3CGRfjs5oNERmAogZ8jkKmKKWcdG22/a6lCf lpGW1wo/uXoAZe0oA7s78/XJXIh9WeA9kTK4qUblXrDzZGl8BuhMbDtSU0uYmOOJ+i TNkAqEswamuezg0b0X+kEDysn0ZWGCaOyF/iOmw5rhZ2nn1O3+WYcHY/+4qPfnhRyx R6WubnDShT+J7MgF9U+/vpnhMukpH2wdeGJ63e3IGl75090J09pyIF1TkWwwGxZuZ9 4+7iXvosH48JA==
Received: from ([]) by with ESMTPSA id DKRxNSaRNmDxLQAA3c6Kzw (envelope-from <>); Wed, 24 Feb 2021 18:47:18 +0100
Date: Wed, 24 Feb 2021 18:47:18 +0100 (CET)
From: Vittorio Bertola <>
To: Christian Huitema <>
Cc: GENDISPATCH List <>, "" <>
Message-ID: <>
In-Reply-To: <>
References: <> <> <> <> <> <> <>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary="----=_Part_75121_2014605270.1614188838799"
X-Priority: 3
Importance: Normal
X-Mailer: Open-Xchange Mailer v7.10.5-Rev5
X-Originating-Client: open-xchange-appsuite
Autocrypt:; prefer-encrypt=mutual; keydata= mQENBFhFR+UBCACfoywFKBRfzasiiR9/6dwY36eLePXcdScumDMR8qoXvRS55QYDjp5bs+yMq41qWV9 xp/cqryY9jnvHbeF3TsE5yEazpD1dleRbkpElUBpPwXqkrSP8uXO9KkS9KoX6gdml6M4L+F82WpqYC1 uTzOE6HPmhmQ4cGSgoia2jolxAhRpzoYN99/BwpvoZeTSLP5K6yPlMPYkMev/uZlAkMMhelli9IN6yA yxcC0AeHSnOAcNKUr13yXyMlTyi1cdMJ4sk88zIbefxwg3PAtYjkz3wgvP96cNVwAgSt4+j/ZuVaENP pgVuM512m051j9SlspWDHtzrci5pBKKFsibnTelrABEBAAG0NUJlcnRvbGEsIFZpdHRvcmlvIDx2aXR 0b3Jpby5iZXJ0b2xhQG9wZW4teGNoYW5nZS5jb20+iQFABBMBAgAqBAsJCAcGFQoJCAsCBRYCAwEAAp 4BAhsDBYkSzAMABQMAAAAABYJYRUflAAoJEIU2cHmzj8qNaG0H/ROY+suCP86hoN+9RIV66Ej8b3sb8 UgwFJOJMupZfeb9yTIJwE4VQT5lTt146CcJJ5jvxD6FZn1Htw9y4/45pPAF7xLE066jg3OqRvzeWRZ3 IDUfJJIiM5YGk1xWxDqppSwhnKcMOuI72iioWxX0nGQrWxpnWJsjt08IEEwuYucDkul1PHsrLJbTd58 fiMKLVwag+IE1SPHOwkPF6arZQZIfB5ThtOZV+36Jn8Hok9XfeXWBVyPkiWCQYVX39QsIbr0JNR9kQy 4g2ZFexOcTe8Jo12jPRL7V8OqStdDes3cje9lWFLnX05nrfLuE0l0JKWEg8akN+McFXc+oV68h7nu5A Q0EWEVH5QEIAIDKanNBe1uRfk8AjLirflZO291VNkOAeUu+dIhecGnZeQW6htlDinlYOnXhtsY1mK9W PUu+xshDq7lXn2G0LxldYwyJYZaJtDgIKqVqwxfA34Lj27oqPuXwcvGhdCgt0SW/YcalRdAi0/AzUCu 5GSaj2kaGUSnBYYUP4szGJXjaK2psP5toQSCtx2pfSXQ6MaqPK9Zzy+D5xc6VWQRp/iRImodAcPf8fg JJvRyJ8Jla3lKWyvBBzJDg6MOf6Fts78bJSt23X0uPp93g7GgbYkuRMnFI4RGoTVkxjD/HBEJ0CNg22 hoHJondhmKnZVrHEluFuSnW0wBEIYomcPSPB+cAEQEAAYkBMQQYAQIAGwUCWEVH5QIbDAQLCQgHBhUK CQgLAgUJEswDAAAKCRCFNnB5s4/KjdO8B/wNpvWtOpLdotR/Xh4fu08Fd63nnNfbIGIETWsVi0Sbr8i E5duuGaaWIcMmUvgKe/BM0Fpj9X01Zjm90uoPrlVVuQWrf+vFlbalUYVZr51gl5UyUFHk+iAZCAA0WB rsmACKvuV1P7GuiX3UV9b59T9taYJxN3dNFuftrEuvsqHimFtlekUjUwoCekTJdncFusBhwz2OrKhHr WWrEsXkfh0+pURWYAlKlTxvXuI7gAfHEQM+6OnrWvXYtlhd0M1sBPnCjbyG63Qws7Rek9bEWKtH6dA6 dmT2FQT+g1S9Mdf0WkPTQNX0x24dm8IoHuD3KYwX7Svx43Xa17aZnXqUjtj1
Archived-At: <>
Subject: Re: [Gendispatch] Diversity and Inclusiveness in the IETF
X-Mailman-Version: 2.1.29
Precedence: list
List-Id: General Area Dispatch <>
List-Unsubscribe: <>, <>
List-Archive: <>
List-Post: <>
List-Help: <>
List-Subscribe: <>, <>
X-List-Received-Date: Wed, 24 Feb 2021 17:47:25 -0000

>     Il 24/02/2021 17:37 Christian Huitema <> ha scritto:
>     Vittorio,
>     The word "coder" is a somewhat insulting way to refer to software developers. Please stop. This vocabulary implies a hierarchy in which the specifications are developed by superior specification writers, then handed down to subservient "coders" who merely translate it into computer code. This is a very reductive way of considering software development. For example, it completely discards the interaction between implementation, deployment, testing, and user feedback. In the IETF, the writing of good specifications has always benefited from such interactions, and we want that to continue.
Of course (originally being a software writer myself, and still doing it as a hobby) this was not my intention, and personally I never heard any software developer complaining that "coder" is an insulting term. But if it is, I apologize for using it, and we should just add it to the list of problematic words, so that everyone is aware that it should not be used at the IETF.

Then, I also suggest that the list is handed out to every new subscriber of any IETF mailing list, because this is not the first time that I use a perfectly normal term in my native language / environment and I find someone jumping up and taking the issue as an offense (the last time was with the term "militant", when chatting on this same issue).

As a result, I am feeling like I should just stop participating in these discussions for fear of using the wrong choice of language and getting publicly shamed (and in my own culture, like in the Far East, in Arab cultures and elsewhere, "saving your face" in public is paramount). So, ironically, language correctness leads to self-censorship and exclusion.

Now, while we are at it, I also note that sometimes there are extremely offensive terms in my culture that are being commonly used in this discussion. The main example is "race"; in Italy, in Germany(*) and in other European cultures, using the term "race" to refer to a subset of mankind, implying that more than one "human race" exists, or suggesting that there are "race issues" and "race diversities" to be considered, is considered outright racism. I was shocked the first time I saw the term used as a category, but then I realized that there was no intention to offend - just a different linguistic background - and I moved on.

But if the principle is that nobody's sensitivity has to be offended, I think that we should definitely stop using the term "race" in this conversation or anywhere at the IETF.

(*) e.g. see


Vittorio Bertola | Head of Policy & Innovation, Open-Xchange 
Office @ Via Treviso 12, 10144 Torino, Italy