Posted by Craige McWhirter on
Last edited

Consensus: Decisions are reached in a dialogue between equals

There was some kerfuffle in 2020 over the use of the term master in git, the origins of the term were resolutely settled so I set about renaming my primary branches to other words.

The one that most people seemed to be using was main, so I started using it too. While main was conveniently brief, it still felt inadequate. Something was wrong and it kept bubbling away in the background.

The word that kept percolating through was consensus.

I kept dismissing it for all the obvious reasons, such as it was too long, too unwieldy, too obscure or just simply not used commonly enough to be familiar or well understood.

The word was persistent though and consensus kept coming back.

One morning recently, I was staring at a git tree when the realisation slapped me in the face that in a git workflow the primary / master / main branches reflected a consensus point in that workflow.

Consensus: Decisions are reached in a dialogue between equals

That realisation settled it pretty hard for me, consensus not only accurately reflected the point in the workflow but was also the most correct English word for what that branch represented.

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