In alignment with the university's commitment to building a diverse and safe learning and work environment, it is essential for both ITS and the wider university community to use inclusive language when referencing information technology. Our goal is to update language that is inherently discriminatory and exclusionary. 

This guide helps individuals consider the power of their language and champion equity, diversity and inclusion in the spaces we learn, teach and work. By practicing inclusive language, we can break down these barriers and cultivate a welcoming and inclusive culture. 

This is a continuous learning process. If you have suggestions for terms that should be added to this list, please let us know

Examples of terms to avoid, along with suggested alternatives and their definitions.

Term to Avoid

Suggested Alternative



Closed box, mystery box

Unknowns or lack of visibility within a process, physical machine, machine learning algorithms or testing.


Criminal, malicious

A hacker with malicious intent like stealing data and disrupting systems.


Blocklist, deny-list

A list of blocked websites, IP addresses, usernames, etc.

Blackout date(s)

Blocked date(s)

Days when something is inaccessible. Typically used in the practice of Change Management to identify dates where changes should not occur.

Dummy value

Test value, sample value, placeholder value

A value used as a placeholder in testing.

Grandfathered in

Legacy, exempt

When an old rule is applied to some situations while a new rule will apply to all future situations.



A hacker that deliberately brings attention to a weakness in a system’s cyber defense with the intentions of improving security. This type of hacker does not have permission to hack into the system as an ethical hacker does.

Male and female connectors

Connector and receptacle, plug and socket, pin and receptacle

A connector with a solid pin for a center conductor that connects to a socket.


Person-in-the-middle, machine-in-the-middle

A cyberattack in which an attacker is intercepting and/or altering data being communicated between two parties.


Primary, main, original

Serves as the authority and relatively permanent among a set of copies; The source record or file of data.

Native (feature)


An inherent feature of a software or system.

Scrum Master

Scrum custodian/guardian

A person that guides their team through the scrum framework.


Secondary, replica

A backup record or file of data.


Enter, Make, Send

An indicator that something is ready to move on to a new stage. Often the final step of a process.


Web product owner, web manager, product manager

A person responsible for managing all aspects of a website.


Open box, open system

A clear/open view of a process, physical machine, machine learning algorithms or testing.


Benevolent, benign, ethical hacker

A hacker allowed to test cyber defenses as part of a cybersecurity plan.


Allow-list, safe-list

A list of allowed/acceptable websites, IP addresses, usernames, etc.