Greetings WebKittens,

Late on Friday seems like a good time for a terminological debate (😂), so I’d 
like to propose we revisit one of the strangest items of WebKit-specific 
terminology: the phrase ‘roll out’.

In our industry, the typical meaning of the phrase ‘roll out’ is, of course, 
‘deploy’ or ‘launch’; this corresponds with the colloquial usage of ‘roll out’ 
to mean ‘depart (for a destination)’. In WebKit, we use ‘roll out’ to mean the 
exact opposite, ‘revert’ or ‘roll back’.

In terms of metaphors: The typical meaning of ‘roll out’ is synonymous with 
‘roll forward’, hence the opposite being ‘roll back’. The way that I came to 
explain to myself and others what WebKit means by ‘roll out’ is that it’s 
movement along the other axis. There is a tree (SVN trunk) which is built up 
from disc-shaped slices (revisions), and these slices are rolled sideways in 
and out of the tree. Needless to say, this is not obvious to a newcomer, and 
it’s not even accurate to how SVN works—rollouts don’t remove an old revision, 
they add a new revision to perform the revert!

This term is confusing enough for native English speakers outside our 
community, let alone non-natives (since phrasal verbs are notoriously tricky as 
it is). Having heard complaints about this from people in both of these groups 
within the last few weeks, I hereby propose that we start using ‘roll back’ 
instead. Given the string similarity between the two, I hope that this will be 
a relatively easy change to enact, if folks are onboard with it.

Thanks for your consideration!

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