Write unbiased documentation
Splunk documentation serves a global audience, so it's essential that the documentation reflects the full scope of the Splunk community. Know that words have meanings beyond their dictionary definitions, and strive to write unbiased documentation that considers the experiences of everyone.
When writing about Splunk products, keep inclusivity in mind and follow these guidelines:
|Write in plain language. Metaphors and idioms aren't always understood internationally and can be offensive to some cultures.||Use plain language|
|Use gender-fair wording and neutral pronouns in your writing.||Gender-neutral pronouns|
|Choose diverse names and genders when you create scenarios and examples.||Names|
|Make sure your writing meets accessibility standards and requirements.||Write accessible documentation|
|Avoid biased words, terminology, and language in your writing.||Alternatives to biased language|
Determining whether a term shows bias
When writing Splunk docs, be aware of your own biases in your writing. A term that isn't offensive to you might be problematic for someone else. To determine whether a term shows unconscious bias or harms a marginalized or underrepresented group, consider the following points:
- Don't use words that diminish the historical or current situations of others. For example, use "peer" instead of "slave".
- Don't use words that place a positive or negative connotation on color, race, or people. For example, write "deny list" instead of "blacklist".
- Don't use words that imply otherness or that exclude a group. For example, use "everyone" instead of "mankind".
- Don't use words that harm, degrade, or insult anyone or any group, whether it be mental, physical, sexual, functional, or criminal. For example, use "placeholder data" instead of "dummy data".
- Don't use words that imply elitism or a position of power. For example, write "primary" instead of "master".
There's a lot of nuance and complexity in the evolving English language, so if a word doesn't fit one of these examples and it makes you uncomfortable, don't use it. If someone tells you that a word makes them uncomfortable, take their opinion as an opportunity to learn. Research the term and discuss its usage with an editor. Everyone deserves documentation that speaks to them rather than against them.
Alternatives to biased language
The following table provides examples of biased language along with suggested alternatives. The examples in the table aren't exhaustive, but instead are meant to act as a starting point to help you consider how to use inclusive language in your writing. You can also look for other terminology replacements in the Usage dictionary.
|Biased word or phrase||Use this language instead||Type of bias|
|Abnormal||Atypical, not typical||Ableist, disparaging|
|Blacklist||Deny, deny list, reject, exclude||Color bias, racist|
|Disable, disabled, disables||Deactivate, deactivated, deactivates, deselect, deselected, deselects, hide, hidden, hides, inactive, turn off, turned off, turns off, unavailable, makes unavailable||Divisive, disparaging|
|First-class entity||Top-level entity||Divisive|
|Flesh-colored, skin-toned||Dark brown, cream, beige||Color bias|
|Grandfathered||Exempt||Gendered language, racist|
|He, him, his, she, her, hers||You, your, they, their, them, a user, the users||Gendered language, sexist|
|Illegal characters||Invalid characters||Disparaging|
|Mankind||All, everyone, humanity, humankind||Gendered language, sexist|
|Master||Manager, primary||Divisive, racist|
|Master branch||Main branch||Divisive, racist|
|Sanity check||Review, verification||Disparaging|
|Slave||Peer, replica||Divisive, racist|
|Whitelist||Allow list, allow, accept, include||Color bias, racist|
What about other words?
You might have questions about other types of words, such as violent language, potentially distressing terminology, or phrases that mention a color. Those terms are not inherently biased and aren't listed in the preceding section, but you are always welcome to write with more thoughtful language.
Documenting biased language in the product
Teams at Splunk are working to remove biased language in Splunk products. As a writer, you might see biased terms in the Splunk product code or in third-party products that you can't change or ignore. In these cases, use unbiased language wherever you can to stop perpetuating the use of a biased term.
Splunk documentation matches the product. If your situation aligns with any of the following examples, match the exact name from the product for clarity:
- A field in Splunk software
- A setting in a .conf file
- A UI element
- Any other part of a Splunk product
- An outside source or system
In all other cases, such as when describing a functionality or a general concept rather than a specific part of the product, use unbiased language instead. See Alternatives to biased language for examples.
Include alt text in images
Use device-agnostic language
This documentation applies to the following versions of Splunk® Style Guide: current