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Use respectful, inclusive, and professional language in Coding, or else...

kat · 1 · 1754

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Offline kat

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Code of Conducts in Coding

There are so many questions that probably should have been asked in the round-table meeting Epic had on this before they instituted this 'language policy' to govern use of Unreal Engine & respective tech.

When you work in the Unreal Engine codebase, we encourage you to strive to use respectful, inclusive, and professional language.

According to archive.org the "Coding Standard (inclusivity policy)" guidelines have been live since March this year (2024), so they're a pretty new addition. At the very top of the page it states;

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.

Code conventions are important to programmers for several reasons:

80% of the lifetime cost of a piece of software goes to maintenance.

Hardly any software is maintained for its whole life by the original author.

Code conventions improve the readability of software, allowing engineers to understand new code quickly and thoroughly.

If we decide to expose source code to mod community developers, we want it to be easily understood.

Many of these conventions are required for cross-compiler compatibility.

The coding standards below are C++-centric; however, the standard is expected to be followed no matter which language is used. A section may provide equivalent rules or exceptions for specific languages where it's applicable.

[Bold emphasis added]

There is no explicit waiver to the Coding Standards mandatory declaration where the 'inclusivity policies' are outlined, so developers are meant to consider them as being of equally weighty importance.

But has been discussed before ("Be Nice (while you dismember your enemies) Code of Conduct" and "Code of Conflict or the complicated Ethics of VR/AR/MR"), Code Of Conduct documents in this context seems utterly oxymoronic, they are such a juxtaposition to the content they assert to govern as to seem to be nothing more than deliberately disruptive non-sequiturs, put in place for the sole purpose of who knows what (beside the aforementioned).

In a nutshell, who is making the judgement calls on language here? If Epic decides particular words are okay that are later determined to be 'bad', who is liable for the consequences of that decision?

Similarly, are developers who make the most blood lusty 18+ rated games, gibs galore, going to get dinged for inappropriate words found in their code, that no one will actually see, or UI no one pays much attention to, but not the bloody nature of their games?

There's a certain irony to the ESRB not being able to touch self-published, digital games over their content on First Amendment grounds, at least in the USA, but Epic asserts with the implementation of this Code of Conduct for coding it can simply because their platform is being used.

Here's a video discussing the issue by @BadgerArcade "Epic Games is FORCING BEHAVIORS! Coders Must Change their Language to Avoid Triggering Weirdos | HBA".