Wednesday, July 27, 2011

An example of good, anti-disablist practice.

In contrast to the recent Disablist Language Alerts, I was alerted to a much more positive action, taken by Joey Sneddon at OMG Ubuntu!. He reviewed a twitter client, called Schizobird, and after hearing from readers about how the use of the term 'schizo' could be really offensive to a lot of people, they are now consulting their readers to find a new, more acceptable name for the client.

This is the kind of reaction I like! When somebody is challenged, instead of saying, "Don't overreact, I didn't mean it like that!", or similar, they have said, ok, we didn't mean to offend anybody, and we don't want to offend anybody, so let's think about it again.

So, a big cheer for OMG Ubuntu!, and a big hat tip to @thermalsatsuma for the link.


holizz said...

Well... the author of the application lied. The initial post on OMG Ubuntu was changed, as evidenced by this quote from the original showing that the name was indeed derived from "schizophrenia":

And then they're pretty resistant at first to the change:

But I am glad about the resolution.

There was a similar controversy in the Python community recently:

incurable hippie said...

Thanks for those additional details, they make very interesting reading!

Anonymous said...

Hi, author of the application here.

holizz, the original quote you refer to in the first link was written by the author of the review, not me. If you want, I can send you a copy of my original email to OMG, in which nothing about schizophrenia or MPD is said.

As for the second link, you can read there my motivations for resisting the change at first: I was not comfortable with changing the name on the grounds it's derogatory *before* being sure it was derogatory. It felt like surrendering to rude people a territory of the vocabulary before knowing if they really deserved it.

The offensiveness of "schizo" might be obvious to you, but in my native language the equivalent to "schizo" is virtually *never* used in a derogatory manner.

I won't deny: I was naive, offensive (even if unintentionally), and, for a couple of days, stubborn. But I was *not* a liar, and I want to make that clear.


PS: the name contest is closed, and the source code will be renamed in the next days

holizz said...


Ah, I'm sorry I called you a liar. I just assumed that what that person had quoted came from you, not OMG Ubuntu. That was my mistake.

I'm very sorry - I completely misunderstood the situation. And thank you very much for taking the time to rename your application.

Anonymous said...

Hi holizz, no problems. The important thing is that everything is clear now. :) For the record, my application is now called "Polly".