Page MenuHomePhabricator

Replace words "Blacklist" by "Denylist" and "Whitelist" by "Allowlist"
Closed, DuplicatePublic


...because that is what they actually do, so those terms are way more self-explanatory.
Plus I never understood why white should be "good" and black should be "bad".

And for completeness, Greylist could become something like Blurrylist. Or such.

Event Timeline

Because Darth Vader is huh-huh black wheeez and from the huh-huh Dark Side …

Before we go renaming things all over the place from terms that are standard within computing to these proposed neologisms, we should probably have a discussion on wikitech-l to establish a wider consensus.

Plus I never understood why white should be "good" and black should be "bad".

My guess is that it comes from similar associations with light and darkness or day and night, which in turn probably come from the fact that humans are diurnal and very visually-oriented. The color black is even what we visually experience when in darkness.

I'd be interested in seeing actual research on the topic, if anyone has handy links. Enwiki's article on black-and-white dualism doesn't have many details, just examples.

After a quick search, I see some other people proposing this change suggest "denylist" rather than "blocklist", which sounds a bit clearer to me if we're going to change terminology here.

Aklapper renamed this task from Replace words "Blacklist" by "Blocklist" and "Whitelist" by "Allowlist" to Replace words "Blacklist" by "Denylist" and "Whitelist" by "Allowlist".Aug 31 2018, 4:09 PM

And for completeness, Greylist could become something like Blurrylist. Or such.

Although that isn't at all self-explanatory.

"cautionlist"? "carefullist"? Maybe there's no good generic term and we'd have to pick something specific to each use case, e.g. in SMTP anti-spam measures it's usually a "delaylist" or "tempfaillist" on the theory that spammers won't retry after a "try again later" temporary-failure response.

'Blacklist' and 'whitelist' are the generic terms. Based on these, 'greylist' is probably about as generic as you can get as well.

That said, it may still be a good idea to have more specific terms for specific use cases, as such...

"Blacklist" and "whitelist" are the canonical technical terms for access control mechanisms like this. Changing the name would create unnecessary confusion.

If we're talking about the spam blacklist specifically, that's T190521, which I strongly agree with for the reasons given over there.

The last comment lacks references for personal opinions such as "are the canonical technical terms". Even if that was true, I don't mind if better terms exist which allow more people to understand their meaning and not only a tech-savvy audience. So much for "unnecessary confusion" with the current terms, indeed. :)

Disregarding comments as 'personal opinions' is not helpful - by all means ask for references and further information, but in the meantime, let's please keep things civil and assume good faith.

"Blacklist" has been in use at least since the 1600s and is widely used outside of computing. As far as can be determined from Wikipedia and Wiktionary, "whitelist" is a much more recent coining, specifically within computing, based on an inversion of "blacklist".

The question asked in this task (as well as the question which was not asked) has come up for other projects as well; see for example this English StackExchange question or this Graphite issue or this Quora question, etc.

Per, "block list" is a common enough synonym to make it worth mentioning in the summary and to have a redirect (

If there are any people who are either currently contributing or thinking about contributing to our projects for whom there is a negative connotation created by the terms "whitelist" and "blacklist" is it really an issue worth debating? The etymological history for such words really has no impact on the actual human feelings of people. No matter the intent of the speaker or past authors, some people may feel that these terms constitute microaggressions which make them feel less welcome in our technical spaces.