Change blacklist and whitelist terminology

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.

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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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I recently built a pihole (it’s fantastic btw), and I just found this thread by chance. I had to create an account to comment about this.

A bit of context about myself: I’m a black woman working as a software developer in the Midwest. My perspective about this feature request is: if you really want this thing I guess you can do it, but it won’t make any difference to anything. Don’t believe you’re really helping anybody. Honestly it’s exactly the kind of things my friends keep making jokes about, it’s basically what white people always come up with so they can feel good about themselves by thinking they did something.

I know this thing is coming from a good place, but it would be much better if you could actually do something to help. Go take part in one of your local protests. Make sure you’re registered to vote. And even better yet: there are many places where you can donate. So many good organizations could use your help, pick one you like (there are so many) and organize something to raise money. This community has a platform, use it. That actually could make a real difference. Changing whitelist and blacklist to allowlist and denylist cannot.



Thanks for your ideas.

I don't think changing the terminology and "really doing something" are mutually exclusive. :slightly_smiling_face:

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For sure! But my point is that this terminology change is useless in helping people, and so far it seems to be the only real action from the pihole community. Basically, doing this change and doing nothing is pretty much the same.

There's nobody I know that ever felt oppressed by the "blacklist" word or concept. If the goal is really to help, there are way more useful things that can be done.


Hi Villanoise,

I really appreciate your input on this. I tend to agree with you in every point you've raised. I realise this proposed change may be barely any direct help.

I look at it this way: Even from my own limited exposure to the wider topic of discrimination, I've seen numerous people argue about the use of seemingly innocuous language. I've always dismissed it as coming from those who live purely to argue and to signal their virtue as loudly as possible for their own agenda.

Also, and this is again anecdotal, my experience mirrors yours in respect of the general ethnicity of those often seen to be calling for this change.

Making this change would achieve a couple of things:-

  1. Giving a quick 'win' to those who campaign for it, whether it's meaningful in a wider sense or not.
  2. Removing this issue as something people like to make noise about, enabling therefore a higher chance of them moving on to something that more people actually care a lot about.

Not everyone can donate money. Not everyone can protest. Changing a few words in a piece of software may be insignificant by itself, but look where we are today... we're talking about this now as part of a wider issue at a time of heightened perception (and reception, hopefully!).

Maybe someone will read your words and act upon them in the way you wish. Maybe someone else will only support this change to Pi Hole. Either way, progress will be made in some small way.

To me this topic is a good example of whitewashing.

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Thanks DigitalStefan. I appreciate your post.

A win? For who exactly? Their ego?

I’m sorry, but this cannot keep happening. People are literally dying in the streets, and this is what you all come up with? A debate about the words “blacklist” and “whitelist”, are you kidding? Did anybody here even talked to a black person to know if this was an issue? Because it sure seems to me that nobody here did.

You think that once this distraction is over these people will begin paying attention to the real stuff? No. They will find another imaginary problem to fix, continue to pat themselves on the back, and still stay as far away from the real issues as possible.

There’s an interesting post above trying to justify all of this by sending the message: “We should do it because Google did it!” Sure, let’s follow the example of a company that has a track record of serious issues about diversity.

To address your other point, of course not everyone can donate money or go protest. But there are so many other things that can be done to help and positively affect lives. Just taking the time to talk and genuinely listen to a member of the affected communities would be a much better and meaningful action than what this thread is about (and also less insulting, honestly).

Stop doing inconsequential stuff to hide your inaction. This cannot keep happening.

The more I think about it, the more it infuriates me. And I’m not the only one, believe me. I’ll show myself out now. Good luck to you all.


I like the discussion going on here.
I am almost inclined to say burn down the house and kick black/white listing.
I'd rather make those few happy than being stubborn.
But there is also the practical use of colors for lists.
It allows simple classifications that are harder to describe by words.
Red list for warnings, green lists for trusted etc. as an example.
I believe this not to be a simple decision.
But will support whatever outcome!

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The Android mobile operating system, the Go programming language, the PHPUnit library and the Curl file download utility have stated their intention to replace blacklist/whitelist with neutral alternatives.

Let's use more inclusive language because we can.


Please inform us when a new posting is planned and which activist entity is going to post?

Story time! Gather round!

“ In my kitchen I have black and white ceramic tiles on the wall. Some of my neighbors, whose households are mostly made of white men with a history of intolerance towards minorities, also have the same black and white tiles. They say these ceramic tiles are racially-charged, that they reflect racist culture and serve to perpetuate it. Especially since the white tiles are placed on top of the black ones! They have begun replacing them with what they are calling “neutral alternatives.”

They quickly contacted the kitchen design web publications – mostly directed by white men – to tell their story. Now there are numerous articles saying that these households are taking firm actions aligned with the Black Lives Matter protests across the US.

My neighbors seem so proud! I see them on their balconies sipping wine with their friends, and they talk loudly about their new neutral kitchen tiles. Maybe I should change my tiles too?

I guess I will… Because I can!!! Now everybody in the neighborhood will see how much of an ally to this Black Lives Matter thing I am (there won’t be much more black persons entering my household, though. And when I see one, I’ll definitely ask for their IDs.) Did I talked to some black persons to know if my kitchen tiles were offensive to them? Nah, I know in my guts changing the tiles is the right thing to do, whether they like it or not. I know what's good for them.

I’m so proud of myself! I too will be able to proclaim loudly how good a person I am. My neutral and inclusive kitchen tiles will help so much, it's such a step in the right direction. Black people will definitely stop being beaten to death in the streets! ”



This is exactly the tl;dr (btw: one was really needed by now!) of this entire discussion.

Thank you sir/mam/person.


Just came here to weigh in - I just setup PiHole and it's awesome! I was, however, taken aback by the white/blacklist terminology. That's terminology that has to be part of our past! A big vote from me.

Also thanks Villanoise for weighing in, kudos.

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