Change blacklist and whitelist terminology

Like the UK NCSC says the terminology of blacklists and whitelists suggests black is associated with 'forbidden' and other negativity.

I propose Pi-hole terminology Blacklist and Whitelist is changed to e.g. Denylist and Allowlist or Blocklist and Allowlist.

Thanks for bringing this up.

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Just to play devils advocate: I rather see blacklist as "turn light off (= dark) for this content" and whitelist as "turn the light on (= bright) for this content".

Well played, advocate!
So you rather propose to change it to Dark/Brightlist?

This is open for voting but I'll ask everyone to tread lightly in the comments. I will close this down to posts and just let it accumulate votes if need be.

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If it is going to be changed I prefer Allow/Deny List as this is based on the function. The lists could have be called the Allow List and the Deny List but but the buttons could just be the action, Allow/Deny.


I would like to play advocate too :

Let's show the world that they are obsessed with the wrong issues in the world and just leave it as it is right now! :slight_smile:

There was not 1 minute in my life that I have related Black/White List to fellow humans!
Maybe it's because I grew up with music like this :


Please rethink your answer.

I respect and understand the sentiment, but I'm really not sure about that. "Blacklist" and "Whitelist" are old technical terms named because of the nature of their function. It never had anything to do with skin color or communities of people. Saying that such terms tacitly promote a subtle form of racism might be a bit far-fetched, in my opinion. We may be confusing things a bit here.

If we follow the same train of thought, should the security community at large rename the concepts of "Black hats" and "White hats" ? What about "Black-box testing" and "White-box testing" in software development?

From my own experience, mixing and confusing concepts can often inadvertently dilute and hinder the intended message of a movement. And in this case it would be a real shame.

"... but I'm really not sure about that"
"... It never had anything to do with skin color or communities of people."
"a bit far-fetched, in my opinion"

Your words show uncertainty, then certainty, then retraction. The use of words can impact the way things are received. None of us knows that the terms white and black are being used here in terms of skin color, but if there is any chance, it's worth a change. This doesn't detract from any movement, and could help.

At the end of the day, it's really a tiny change to follow Wheaton's Law.

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Since it is such an insignificent change you might as well please the people who need this.
Where this whole argument fails is that it is brought into context with ethnecy while light and dark and by extension white and black have always had an emotional meaning before anything else. It is the big black darkness that freightens people and makes their hearts waver and the bright warm light that caresses their souls. The concepts of white (good) and black (bad) are found in many cultures and have nothing to do with racism. To make an argument that changing technical jargon where the connection to racism is very far fetched will magically make people change their point of view or other people less offended is really just a waste of ressources.
It's like saying you can't make buzzers red because of the oppression of native americans.

Okay, this is a bit of an essay, so TL;DR: Black* and White* are not universally mapped to Deny* and Allow* respectively. It's a cultural metaphor, and as such, it's ambiguous and a barrier to anyone not immersed in the culture. So, this should be done.

There are multiple reasons why this change should be implemented:

  1. Inherent clarity of meaning: As mentioned above by jrschat , Allow/Deny directly describes that action being performed and the purpose of the lists. This would align the description of the lists with their literal purposes.In contrast, "blacklist" and "whitelist" are metaphorical - they say nothing about the purpose of the list, unless you are aware of the cultural/metaphorical meaning of the terms.

  2. Cultural clarity: While the terms "Whitelist" and "Blacklist" are associated with allow/deny in Western IT culture, this assocation is not as strong (or non-existent) in a) people who are new to IT, b) people who come from cultures where the colors white and black do not map to "good" and "bad" in the same way (e.g, in some Asian cultures, white has a more negative connotation.)

  3. Disassociation with negative history: the term "blacklist" originated as a list of people considered "unacceptable" by a group. This practice has been used (and more importantly, abused) by "gentlemen's clubs" (to bar individuals of the wrong "class"), businesses (to prevent employees from finding work elsewhere in the field), and others.

  4. Disssociation with the perception of racism: Even if the connotation of "white" as good and "black" as bad is wholly unrelated to race in the minds of most people, it cannot be denied that there is a parallel pattern of using "white" and "black" to differentiate races of people. This can lead to creation of a relationship in the minds of those who are not already culturally aware of the distinction, and/or those who are sensitive to how "white" and "black" have been used against people in the past.

The last one changed thing in this PC time will the blackholes in space.

I wish you much much luck and strength with convincing them...and if you succeed in doing that, we will never notice that.

Don't use Chrome use Chrominum. Even better, switch to more privacy aware browser.

These are interesting ideas, thank you all. I still think, though, that this kind of technical term change is – at best – not needed, and – at worst – can be part of a series of unfortunate distractions leading people further away from the all too real and serious issues at hand. I think that if we're honest, our energy could be better spent on things that could REALLY help people's lives (like a fundraiser for relevant organizations, etc.)

Some questions:
Are some people really uncomfortable by these technical terms? Are we, as members of the larger technical community, basically just doing this to briefly feel good about ourselves? Are there real and measurable issues with these terms?

I want to respect the wish of the moderators by not derailing this Feature Request thread, so this will be my last post in it. I think I could sufficiently express my position, even if my writing could maybe have been clearer like @way0utwest expressed above. As a non-native English speaker, I assure you I did my best!

I support this change.

On top of the sociological reasons "allow" and "deny" are clearer to me as well. I know white/black from a history in software development, but I'm not sure this is/will continue to be true for newer, younger developers.


Please follow your roadmap to make pihole better than it already is.
Spending time to change wording is not invested smart and thus better spend to improve the product. (See IDE "master" "slave" discourse)
This is a political discourse and does not belong into the technical or scientific domain. Specially if it's decade old wording and established around the world.

Someone could fork, do the job, and create a pull or just keep the fork up2date and people could decide.

There is already one, but it might need some more support.

That's an incomplete qoute and pull. Missing the fork and do the rest of the job part. Than we can discuss if it's "worth" pulling back into the main project or just keep the fork abd people could decide. Not using workforce of the main devs.
Dl6ER,dshaper, promofox and so on, have another 138 issues to deal with, which are not cosmetic but breaking the product/pihole.
€ If it's a thing, there should be enough workforce/ppl providing help with the work. If not...
Well atleast that's my understanding of FOSS culture.

I think i made my point clear and won't litter the thread anymore.

I created the fork mentioned above. This came about after a brief and not as productive as it could have been debate on Twitter with a very opinionated SJW (and I don't mean that as a pejorative).

For clarity, I am not an SJW. I am still somewhat on the side of the fence where people say things like "it's established language, why change it?", "these terms have nothing to do with race" and "is anyone really offended by this?".

The why's and wherefores of this issue have been, are now and will continue to be hotly debated from many angles by many people.

I inexpertly created the PR not because I believe it's important for the language to change to avoid causing offence to anyone, but because someone else thought it was important and I had the wherewithal and just-about-there-but-perhaps-not level of skill to actually make the change. The cost to me was small, but the meaning of this to someone else was significant.

Let me walk that back a little before someone gets deep in the minutiae of my own use of language and reads anything between the lines. I don't write creatively enough to put invisible words between my lines. Where I said above that I don't think changing the language is important, I actually do think that if other people think it's important, the change should be made.

To curtail any "but it's only a vocal minority and we shouldn't just change things because a few people decide to read too much into technical terminology and take it the wrong way"... the fact that this is clearly a hot topic and you are likely experiencing some degree of heightened emotion whenever this comes up is itself argument for the change to go ahead.

If you want to ice this cake (OK, sometimes I get a little creative. This happens when you get older) and stick to comfortable, purely technical arguments: We live in a multinational society and software is global. Use of language for sake of clarity and ease of understanding should be considered. In my PR I used "allowlist" and "blocklist". Someone has already raised a technical reason to not use "blocklist" and I agree. "allowlist" and "denylist" seem perfect candidates.

Now... if anyone knows where I screwed up my PR, do let me know!

P.S. I didn't use any automated find & replace. I did go through the source and used 'find' to see all instances of 'white' and 'black' and I considered each change carefully. That's why 'black hole' is still in there as well as the original terms included in the database upgrade scripts.

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