Words to Avoid

This list is meant to help inform Hudlies about words and phrases that could be offensive, and to guide us toward more inclusive language in our day-to-day inter­ac­tions with customers and external partners. What it doesn’t include: hate speech or well-known racist and ableist terms. We expect Hudlies to follow our employee handbook’s zero-tolerance policy on verbal dis­crim­i­na­tion and harassment.

This page can, and should, be updated con­tin­u­ous­ly. Please help us by sending us your change requests.

Let’s all work together to create a welcoming, open and inclusive brand through our choice of words.

Depending on which stat you read, either one in five or one in four Americans live with a mental illness. Using the words crazy” or insane” mar­gin­al­izes those individuals and makes light of their experiences. 

Better options: unthinkable, ridiculous, baffling, frantic

There are some baffling outliers in the data.

Aside from the extremely offensive way this word could be used as a plural noun, it’s also still used as a verb to describe the hindering of a process or project. This usage is still ableist and shouldn’t happen in Hudl’s communications.

Better options: slow down, damage, hurt, knock out

Slow internet speeds will hurt your upload times.

This phrase has his­tor­i­cal­ly been used to describe whether or not a candidate in the hiring process looks, talks and acts like the existing group or team. At Hudl, we want to hire or reject candidates based on the job description they’ve applied for, not on how similar they are to existing Hudlies. Hiring talented people who think, act, speak and look different from the team they’re joining is the perfect opportunity to increase diversity at Hudl, build stronger teams and add valuable new perspectives.

Better options: culture add, culture addition, values-aligned

I think you'd be a great culture add to our team.

People with dis­abil­i­ties aren’t defined by those dis­abil­i­ties. But calling someone​“disabled” could imply just that. The verb form of this word, similar to​“cripples,” also shouldn’t be used.

Another note: in software development, it’s common to refer to products as disabled” — we currently do this in Admin. We’re exploring the possibility of changing this on our end. For now, please use disabled” only when necessary and only when referring to the product itself, not the people who may or may not still be using it (e.g., the athlete’s account is disabled” NOT the athlete is disabled”).

Better options: A person with dis­abil­i­ties* (n.); slows down, knocks out, renders inoperable (v.); removed, inactive (Hudl Admin)

*Though less common, there are some advocate groups who wouldn’t prefer this option. The safest bet is always to ask the person or people you’re referring to which term they’d prefer.

That blackout rendered Hudl Focus inoperable.

This term is sometimes used in businesses to describe something that isn’t permanent and is just an example. It’s also occa­sion­al­ly used in sports to describe a field mannequin or a trick play. There are better words to use. 

Better options: placeholder, sample, example, mannequin, feint

This designed PDF just has placeholder text right now.

To many English speakers, female” and male” sound like scientific des­ig­na­tions you’d use for animals or plants. Gender iden­ti­fi­ca­tions like woman” and man” are more inclusive. Better yet, leave out gender identifiers when they’re not absolutely necessary.

Better options: women, woman, men, man

The BreakThrough Summit featured strong women leaders in sport.

This refers to the practice of exempting some people from a change because of conditions that existed before the change (e.g., We grand­fa­thered users who already had an unlimited data plan.”). Historically, the term grandfather clause” was used in the American South in the 1890s as a way to defy the 15th Amendment and prevent black Americans from voting.

Better options: legacy, exception

We've added a legacy policy for teams that qualify.

The universal male” (i.e., using guys” to mean people”) assumes that the normal, default human being is male. Although he” and man” are said to be neutral, numerous studies show that these words cause people specif­i­cal­ly to think of males.

Better options: team, everyone, everybody, all, y’all, friends, folks

Thanks for joining us everyone.

This is an example of how gender non-conforming people deal with mis­gen­der­ing on a daily basis. Opt for a more gender inclusive phrase.

Better options: dis­tin­guished guests

Distinguished guests, thank you for joining us today.

Historically, this term was applied to people with limited mobility. But more recently, it’s become a slang synonym for uncool” or unappealing.” Either way, it’s ableist. Activists have been calling to phase it out and our external com­mu­ni­ca­tions should respect that.

Better options: not cool, bad news, no good

Our customers will think this is bad news.

A great example of biased language and mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion. These words subtly, or not so subtly, suggest men or man are the only gender that counts. Many of these words have to do with employment, giving the impression women aren’t a part of the group. Thankfully, a few of these terms have already fallen out of favor within the past few decades, and even the still popular ones have easily trans­fer­able synonyms.

Better options:

Manpower: workforce, staff, crew, workers

Man-hours: work-hours, staff-hours, person-hours

Mankind: humankind, humanity, humans, people

Man-made: human-made

Cameraman/​cameramen: cam­er­ap­er­son, camera crew, film team

This project will require a lot of staff-hours, but the results will be worth the investment.

These words are obviously inap­pro­pri­ate, but are sometimes used to refer to one machine that has the original copy of data and others that auto­mat­i­cal­ly update themselves to match the original. 

Better options: primary/​secondary, primary/​replica, original/​copy, parent/​child, root/​branch

Make sure to copy the primary template, not one of the replicas.

When used to correctly describe data or a group of people who aren’t the majority, this term is fine. But not all mar­gin­al­ized groups are minorities, and a broader term is generally inclusive of more than race and gender.

Better options: under­rep­re­sent­ed group

At Hudl, we’re striving to hire more people from underrepresented groups.

This subjective word can be used to imply any deviance from a standard is unlikeable or undesirable. Hudlies might use this in a technical sense, such as normal playback speed,” but there’s still usually a more exact word. Of course sometimes the standard is universally accepted, like free speech is a fundamental norm of the U.S.” But most standards” are set by smaller groups, and in those cases, abnormal could be considered positive. 

Better options: typical, common

It’s common for athletes to play multiple sports.

When talking about the real mental illness that many people struggle with, this is the correct and accepted acronym for obsessive-compulsive disorder. But if you’re telling coaches about how to keep their video libraries cleaned up, there’s no reason to trivialize what people with this illness go through. 

Better options: clean, organized

Even organized coaches will benefit from this tutorial on managing video in their library.

Often used to describe the action of testing software to ensure there aren’t any issues and it’s working properly. This term mar­gin­al­izes people who have mental illnesses and there are excellent alter­na­tives to use instead.

Better options: smoke test, confidence check, gut check, review

Before we launched, we ran a smoke test on this program.

These terms re-enforce white is good” and black is bad.” We don’t want to perpetuate this paradigm. 

Better options: (verbs) trust, allow, deny; (nouns) allowed list, unblocked list, denied list, blocked list

To give a team access to their school's Hudl Focus camera, they need to be added to the allowed list.

Last Updated: 17 Aug 2021 at 11:08am CDT