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Epic Games requires 'inclusive word choice' in coding; programmers cannot use words like 'blacklist' or 'master'
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Epic Games requires 'inclusive word choice' in coding; programmers cannot use words like 'blacklist' or 'master'

Programmers were also directed to refer to individuals as 'they, them, and their.'

Video game developer Epic Games released a "coding standard" that requires inclusivity in its programming, which includes referring to singular people with plural pronouns and not using words like "master" or "slave."

As part of the use of Unreal Engine 5, the company's groundbreaking computer graphics engine, Epic Games requires programmers to operate under progressive gender and racial ideologies.

"At Epic Games, we have a few simple coding standards and conventions. This document reflects the state of Epic Games' current coding standards. Following the coding standards is mandatory," the company wrote on its site. "The standard is expected to be followed no matter which language is used," it added.

After copyright notices and naming conventions, programmers are treated to some religious fanaticism that must be adhered to at the company.

'Refer to anything that is not a person as it and its.'

The first subsection of note is "racial, ethnic, and religious inclusiveness." This told programmers not to use metaphors or similes that "reinforce stereotypes."

"Examples include contrast black and white or blacklist and whitelist," with words that "refer to historical trauma or lived experience of discrimination" also being prohibited, such as "slave, master, and nuke."

Who could forget the next subheading, "gender inclusiveness," which makes it mandatory for employees to use "they, them, and their, even in the singular" for hypothetical people.

"Refer to anything that is not a person as it and its. For example, a module, plugin, function, client, server, or any other software or hardware component," the company said.

Assuming a gender is also a violation under Epic Games' language policing, as the company said not to use collective nouns like "guys." Phrases like "a poor man's X" is also against the rules.

Epic Games also said that slang should be avoided due to its work being seen by global audiences that "might not understand the same cultural references."

Another term the general public may not be familiar with is "overloaded words." The gaming company said that words such as "abort, executive, or native" need to be used in "precise" manners while being examined for the context in which they appear.

The developers behind the game "Fortnite" provided a list of new words that are safer for programmers to use. Instead of "blacklist," the company suggested terms like "deny list" or "avoid list."

In place of "whitelist," programmers can use "trust list" or "approved list." As with "master," words like "primary" are preferred. While for "slave," examples included "worker" or "replica."

After providing this re-education, Epic Games stated that its leaders are "actively working to bring our code in line with the principles laid out above."

Epic Games was founded as Potomac Computer Systems in 1991 and is headquartered in Cary, North Carolina, with about 4,000 employees.

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Andrew Chapados

Andrew Chapados

Andrew Chapados is a writer focusing on sports, culture, entertainment, gaming, and U.S. politics. The podcaster and former radio-broadcaster also served in the Canadian Armed Forces, which he confirms actually does exist.
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