Ableist language in Magazine article

Someone pointed out on Twitter that we have some non-inclusive language in yesterday’s article. Can we find a way to improve that wording, please?

I modified the offending word to “harm”. If there is a better substitute let us know and we’ll modified it again.


This censorship is problematic.

Honestly, redacting that word is offensive. It’s cultural erasure of those who have been crippled at one point in their life and overcome their handicaps to enjoy a fulfilling life equal to those who are so privileged not to have gone through that experience first hand.

It’s just a word, used correctly in the software sense.

Nobody’s saying we should sterilize crippled people. The article wasn’t even taking about people.

We are fortunate to have such lovely diversity of words to choose from in this language. We should respect diversity, and not reduce everything to the most boring, ambiguous word choices.


I completely agree with @b3y. There’s literally nothing wrong with this word used that way. The tweet’s OP took it out of context and suddenly calls it off as ableism?

They just wrote “*sigh*”, which I think that in itself is extremely rude, because they didn’t even bother explaining. I was unaware that “crippled” could be used offensively and when I took a look at this article, I never thought about this word ever being used offensively, even out of context. I understand if the reader finds it offensive and I would’ve redacted it if they did the effort to explain.


Agreed, it’s not like people who write sentences like this are thinking in their head about how to insult someone. We have been writing sentences like this for ages, some words that are criticized are literally taught in school, most people understand that they are being used in a different context. Rewriting perfectly good sentences, because they contain words that CAN be used in bad context would quickly spiral out of control, as people would come in with more and more complaints about word usage that they dislike, even though there is nothing wrong with the intent or the context.

Edit: With the use of word “harm”, what stops people from complaining that it references people who harm themselves, I have seen it done actually, once or twice. People will always look for something to point out, I think it’s important to weigh the importance, how likely is something to cause a big outcry, will 2 people complain or 2000, because someone always will.


It certainly isn’t censorship, let’s be factual in the first place. It is editing, and frankly fully in the realm of responsibility of the editors.
As for the word in question, I get the impression you haven’t spent much time around people with physical disabilities, let alone have one yourself. In the software sense it is slang for something which renders your system non-functioning or non-functional. That may be understood. But it reflects an attitude of indifference at least. As an individual myself who has friends with disabilities, and relatives, I can tell you I am very sensitive about my choice of words in conversation with them, and this carries through to the rest of my life. It may take a bit longer to find the correct words for the easily used slang, but in the end your point/message is better understood because everyone will want to read it. Besides, there are far greater and more immediate needs for us to ponder and debate than stewing over having to change a word or two here or there in order to make our community more inclusive for everyone.
I would offer this response to @theevilskeleton and @kellegram as well.


I don’t have physical disabilities, no, but I have multiple mental disabilities that are kind of ruining my life. And I don’t lack friends with mental/physical disabilities, they don’t sweat about stuff like that, because it’s ingrained in people’s heads from the beginning and they understand that concept.

Besides, there are far greater and more immediate needs for us to ponder and debate than stewing over having to change a word or two here or there in order to make our community more inclusive for everyone.

I agree that this is kind of wasteful, but that goes both ways, discussing the change of the word is IMO no less pointless in this context, but nonetheless the conversation was started so why mention that? Giving feedback for such changes feels just as valuable to me as discussing them, I don’t see what’s the problem here.

In the end it’s not my decision, but I think there is a bigger picture to look at here than just one word in one post. The more changes like this are accepted the more people will pick and choose words they don’t like and you will either choose to change them or you won’t and people will call you hypocrites, pointing out the times where you did make changes. But that’s up to you, I just wanted to chime in with my opinion, this is a discussion forum after all.

Edit: Just remembered something I forgot to address, I agree that this is not censorship. Calling it censorship like he did is too much.


I don’t have a problem with anything that has been said and I’m not going to redact/censor any of it. But as a moderator for this section of the forum I do feel that this sort of philosophical debate is a little off topic. Honestly, I’m a little worried about what the next person might say. It is not that I think there are a lot of people in the world intentionally seeking to harm others. I just know that not all people are equally eloquent or thoughtful with their words. We’re just not all the same you know – it is a fact of life.

I know I’m being hypocritical and authoritarian by closing this thread. My apologies for that, but I think sometimes the best response is none at all. If someone really wants to, they can start another thread, but I respectfully ask that you do not.

Thanks for your understanding,
Greg Bartholomew
Fedora Magazine Forum Moderator