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Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Me

Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Me

Recently, I changed my name. In the words of Douglas Adams, “this has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.” This talk is a look at how sometimes when we are designing systems, we don’t think about every possible way in which they are going to be used—and how not thinking about that can have unintended but very negative consequences on the people we intend to use them.

Skylar MacDonald

July 15, 2017
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  1. @helloiamskylar
    F A L S E H O O D S
    PROGRAMMERS
    BELIEVE ABOUT ME
    SKYLAR MACDONALD

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  2. @helloiamskylar
    2010

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  3. @helloiamskylar
    ANYTHING SOMEONE TELLS YOU
    IS THEIR NAME IS — BY
    DEFINITION — AN APPROPRIATE
    IDENTIFIER FOR THEM.
    Patrick McKenzie
    Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names

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  4. @helloiamskylar
    SKYLAR
    MACDONALD

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  5. @helloiamskylar
    SKYLAR
    MACDHÒMHNAILL

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  6. @helloiamskylar
    THE NAME I’VE
    GIVEN YOU IS
    WHAT’S ON MY ID
    #1

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  7. @helloiamskylar
    Ali Shaker / VOA

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  8. @helloiamskylar

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  9. @helloiamskylar
    Flickr / Brandon Dimcheff

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  10. @helloiamskylar
    ASK.

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  11. @helloiamskylar
    DO NOT EXPECT
    IDENTITIES TO BE
    CONSISTENT

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  12. @helloiamskylar
    MacDonald

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  13. @helloiamskylar
    Tesco

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  14. @helloiamskylar
    MY NAME IS ONE
    UPPERCASE LETTER,
    FOLLOWED BY
    LOWERCASE LETTERS
    #2

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  15. @helloiamskylar
    McElroy

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  16. @helloiamskylar
    O’Neill

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  17. @helloiamskylar
    van Dyke

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  18. @helloiamskylar
    van den Broek

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  19. @helloiamskylar
    MacDonald

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  20. @helloiamskylar
    MacDhòmhnaill

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  21. @helloiamskylar
    skylar@macdhòmhnaill.com

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  22. @helloiamskylar
    Google

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  23. @helloiamskylar
    Google

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  24. @helloiamskylar
    Google

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  25. @helloiamskylar
    MY NAME CAN BE
    RENDERED IN
    ASCII
    #3
    (OR ANY GIVEN
    CHARACTER SET)

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  26. @helloiamskylar
    DVLA

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  27. @helloiamskylar
    I HAVE THE SAME
    LAST NAME AS MY
    FAMILY
    #4

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  28. @helloiamskylar
    THE AMOUNT OF TIME I HAVE
    BEEN ALIVE
    ==
    THE AMOUNT OF TIME I HAVE
    HAD THIS NAME
    #5

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  29. @helloiamskylar
    PEOPLE’S NAMES
    DO NOT CHANGE
    #6

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  30. @helloiamskylar
    PEOPLE HAVE
    EXACTLY ONE
    CANONICAL NAME
    #7

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  31. @helloiamskylar
    PEOPLE HAVE
    EXACTLY n NAMES

    (FOR ANY VALUE OF n)
    #8

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  32. @helloiamskylar
    THE FACT THAT I’VE
    CHANGED MY NAME
    MEANS I’VE GOT
    MARRIED
    #9

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  33. @helloiamskylar
    THE FACT THAT I’VE
    CHANGED MY NAME
    MEANS I’VE GOT
    DIVORCED
    #10

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  34. @helloiamskylar
    THE FACT THAT I’VE
    CHANGED MY NAME
    MEANS I’M NOW IN A
    CIVIL PARTNERSHIP
    #11

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  35. @helloiamskylar
    YOU KNOW HOW TO
    SPELL MACDHÒMHNAILL
    BETTER THAN I DO
    #12

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  36. @helloiamskylar
    YOU THINK YOU KNOW
    HOW TO PRONOUNCE
    “MACDHÒMHNAILL”, SO
    YOU’RE GOING TO TRY IT
    #13

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  37. @helloiamskylar
    YOU THINK YOU KNOW HOW TO PRONOUNCE
    “MACDHÒMHNAILL”, SO YOU’RE GOING TO
    TRY IT — EVEN THOUGH I’VE TOLD YOU IT’S
    PRONOUNCED ROUGHLY LIKE
    “MACDONALD” AND IT’S GOING TO BE
    EASIER FOR EVERYONE IF YOU JUST SAY
    “MACDONALD”
    #13

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  38. @helloiamskylar
    Ò IS THE SAME AS
    Ó, RIGHT?
    #14

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  39. @helloiamskylar
    SCOTTISH GAELIC
    IS THE SAME AS
    IRISH GAELIC
    #15

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  40. @helloiamskylar
    MY NAME IS IN
    GAELIC, SO I MUST
    SPEAK GAELIC
    #16

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  41. @helloiamskylar
    YOUR SYSTEM UNDERSTANDS
    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
    “LEGAL NAME” AND
    “PREFERRED NAME”, SO
    EVERYONE’S MUST, SURELY?
    #17

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  42. @helloiamskylar
    YOUR SYSTEM UNDERSTANDS
    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
    “LEGAL NAME” AND
    “PREFERRED NAME”, SO
    EVERYONE’S MUST, SURELY?
    #17

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  43. @helloiamskylar
    IF YOU GET THIS
    WRONG, IT’LL BE
    BASICALLY FINE.
    #18

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  44. @helloiamskylar
    NAMES ARE CENTRAL TO
    OUR IDENTITIES,
    VIRTUALLY BY DEFINITION.
    Patrick McKenzie
    Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names

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  45. @helloiamskylar
    I CHANGED MY
    NAME TO SKYLAR
    MACDONALD.
    Well, yes, MacDhòmhnaill, but whatever.

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  46. @helloiamskylar
    DO NOT CALL ME
    BY THE NAME I
    USED PREVIOUSLY.

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  47. @helloiamskylar
    THAT’S NOT
    MY NAME.

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  48. @helloiamskylar
    YouTube / VEVO

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  49. @helloiamskylar
    DEADNAMING

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  50. @helloiamskylar
    DEADNAMING PUTS
    PEOPLE AT RISK

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  51. @helloiamskylar
    Snapchat / GitHub (Keybase) / HubSpot

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  52. @helloiamskylar
    Snapchat / GitHub (Keybase) / HubSpot

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  53. @helloiamskylar
    Facebook

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  54. @helloiamskylar
    Wikipedia

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  55. @helloiamskylar
    Medium / @zip

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  56. @helloiamskylar
    Facebook

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  57. @helloiamskylar
    Facebook / DVLA
    Facebook

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  58. @helloiamskylar

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  59. @helloiamskylar

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  60. @helloiamskylar

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  61. @helloiamskylar

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  62. @helloiamskylar

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  63. @helloiamskylar

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  64. @helloiamskylar
    YOU NEED TO
    KNOW MY GENDER
    #19

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  65. @helloiamskylar
    YOUR UNDERSTANDING
    OF GENDER IS THE
    SAME AS MINE
    #20

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  66. @helloiamskylar
    I IDENTIFY WITH A
    GENDER THAT IS PART
    OF YOUR FINITE LIST
    #21

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  67. @helloiamskylar
    IF YOU GET THIS
    WRONG, IT’LL BE
    BASICALLY FINE.
    #22

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  68. @helloiamskylar
    Twitter / @coyohti

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  69. @helloiamskylar
    Kylie Jack

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  70. @helloiamskylar
    Kylie Jack

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  71. @helloiamskylar
    DON’T
    ASK.

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  72. @helloiamskylar
    DO NOT EXPECT
    IDENTITIES TO BE
    CONSISTENT

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  73. @helloiamskylar
    DO NOT EXPECT
    IDENTITIES TO BE
    CONSISTENT
    Kylie Jack

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  74. @helloiamskylar
    FORMS HAVE
    CONSEQUENCES

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  75. @helloiamskylar
    ! "
    Apple

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  76. @helloiamskylar

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  77. @helloiamskylar
    #
    Apple

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  78. @helloiamskylar
    PEOPLE’S IDENTITIES
    ARE NOT EDGE CASES

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  79. @helloiamskylar
    IF YOU OUT ONE
    TRANS PERSON
    YOU HAVE FAILED

    AS A DEVELOPER

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  80. @helloiamskylar
    YOU HAVE FAILED

    AS A DEVELOPER
    IF YOU EXCLUDE ONE
    NON-BINARY PERSON

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  81. @helloiamskylar
    YOU HAVE FAILED

    AS A DEVELOPER
    IF YOU CAN’T CHANGE
    ONE PERSON’S NAME

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  82. @helloiamskylar
    ASK THE QUESTION
    YOU ACTUALLY WANT
    THE ANSWER TO

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  83. @helloiamskylar
    DON’T COLLECT
    INFORMATION YOU
    DON’T ACTUALLY
    NEED

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  84. @helloiamskylar
    2017

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  85. @helloiamskylar
    @helloiamskylar
    skylarmacdonald.com
    FALSEHOODS PROGRAMMERS
    BELIEVE ABOUT ME
    Format Development With thanks to

    Patrick McKenzie Sam Kitajima-Kimbrel Jessica Rose Alex Dytrych Daniel Irvine Dan Pelensky Franzi Sauerwein

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