Re: [Gendispatch] Diversity and Inclusiveness in the IETF

Fernando Gont <> Wed, 24 February 2021 18:07 UTC

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To: Vittorio Bertola <>, Christian Huitema <>
Cc: GENDISPATCH List <>, "" <>
References: <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>
From: Fernando Gont <>
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Date: Wed, 24 Feb 2021 15:05:48 -0300
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Subject: Re: [Gendispatch] Diversity and Inclusiveness in the IETF
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On 24/2/21 14:47, Vittorio Bertola wrote:
>> 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.

I'd ask that participants be aware that a number of us speak English as 
a second language. So, while at times we might be aware that for some 
there might be differences (at times subtle) in the meaning of such 
words, other times we're not simply aware about them, or may overlook 
them (since English is not our native language).

For instance, the word "coder" has no equivalent in Spanish (the 
equivalent would be "codificador", but you'd never use that for coder or 
programmer). So it shouldn't come as a surprise that a Spanish-speaking 
person uses "programmer" to refer to "coder", "software developer" or 
"programmer" (itself), or that somehow mixes up these words.

The same probably applies to other languages.

I guess following Postel's advice might be of use here.

Fernando Gont
SI6 Networks
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