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Check for usage of non-inclusive language in your code and provide alternatives


woke is a linter that will check your source code for usage of non-inclusive language and provide suggestions for alternatives. Rules can be customized to suit your needs.

Provide a list file globs for files you'd like to check.

woke [globs ...] [flags]


  -c, --config string           Config file (default is .woke.yaml in current directory, or $HOME)
      --debug                   Enable debug logging
      --disable-default-rules   Disable the default ruleset
      --exit-1-on-failure       Exit with exit code 1 on failures
  -h, --help                    help for woke
      --no-ignore               Ignored files in .gitignore, .ignore, .wokeignore, .git/info/exclude, and inline ignores are processed
  -o, --output string           Output type [text,simple,github-actions,json,sonarqube,checkstyle] (default "text")
      --stdin                   Read from stdin
Auto generated by spf13/cobra on 18-Mar-2022

Config file

Configure your custom rules config in .woke.yaml or .woke.yml. woke uses the following precedence order. Each item takes precedence over the item below it:

  • current working directory
  • $HOME

This file will be picked up automatically up your customizations without needing to supply it with the -c flag.

See example.yaml for an example of adding custom rules. You can also supply your own rules with -c path/to/rules.yaml if you want to handle different rulesets.

Remote config file

You can also use a remote config file by providing a publicly-accessible URL.

$ woke -c
No findings found.


File globs

By default, woke will run against all text files in your current directory. To change this, supply a space-separated list of globs as the first argument.

This can be something like **/*.go, or a space-separated list of filenames.

$ woke test.txt
test.txt:2:2-11: `Blacklist` may be insensitive, use `denylist`, `blocklist` instead (warning)
* Blacklist
test.txt:3:2-12: `White-list` may be insensitive, use `allowlist` instead (warning)
* White-list
test.txt:4:2-11: `whitelist` may be insensitive, use `allowlist` instead (warning)
* whitelist
test.txt:5:2-11: `blacklist` may be insensitive, use `denylist`, `blocklist` instead (warning)
* blacklist


You can also provide text to woke via STDIN (Standard Input)

$ echo "This has whitelist from stdin" | woke --stdin
/dev/stdin:1:9-18: `whitelist` may be insensitive, use `allowlist` instead (warning)
This has whitelist from stdin

This option may not be used at the same time as File Globs


Options for output include text (default), simple, json, github-actions, sonarqube, or checkstyle format. The following fields are supported, depending on format:

Field Description
filepath Relative path to file including filename
rulename Name of the rule from the config file
termname Specific term that was found in the text
alternative List of alternative terms to use instead
note Note about reasoning for inclusion
severity From config, one of "error", "warning", or "info"
optionbool Option value, true or false
linecontents Contents of the line with finding
lineno Line number, 1 based
startcol Starting column number, 0 based
endcol Ending column number, 0 based
description Description of finding

Output is sent to STDOUT (Standard Output), which may be redirected to a file to save the results of a scan.


woke -o text

text is the default output format for woke. Displays each result on two lines. Includes color formatting if the terminal supports it.


<filepath>:<lineno>:<startcol>-<endcol>: <description> (<severity>)


woke -o simple

simple is a format similar to text, but without color support and with each result on a single line.


<filepath>:<lineno>:<startcol>: <description>

GitHub Actions

woke -o github-actions

The github-actions output type is intended for integration with GitHub Actions. See woke-action for more information on integration.


::<severity> file=<filepath>,line=<lineno>,col=<startcol>::<description>


woke -o json

Outputs the results as a series of json formatted structures, one per line. In order to parse as a JSON document, each line must be processed separately. This output type includes every field available in woke.



Actual output from woke will be consolidated JSON. Pretty-JSON here is just for readability.

  "Filename": "<filepath>",
  "Results": [
      "Rule": {
        "Name": "<rulename>",
        "Terms": [
        "Alternatives": [
        "Note": "<note>",
        "Severity": "<severity>",
        "Options": {
          "WordBoundary": <optionbool>,
          "WordBoundaryStart": <optionbool>,
          "WordBoundaryEnd": <optionbool>,
          "IncludeNote": <optionbool>
      "Finding": "<termname>",
      "Line": "<linecontents>",
      "StartPosition": {
        "Filename": "<filepath>",
        "Offset": 0,
        "Line": <lineno>,
        "Column": <startcol>
      "EndPosition": {
        "Filename": "<filepath>",
        "Offset": 0,
        "Line": <lineno>,
        "Column": <endcol>
      "Reason": "<description>"


woke -o sonarqube

Format used to populate results into the popular SonarQube code quality tool. Note: woke is not executed as part of SonarQube itself, so must be run and the results file output prior to execution. Typically woke would be executed with an automation server such as Jenkins, Travis CI or Github Actions prior to creating the SonarQube report. For details on the file format, see Generic Issue Input Format. The Analysis Parameter sonar.externalIssuesReportPaths is used to point to the path to the report file generated by woke.



Actual output from woke will be consolidated JSON. Pretty-JSON here is just for readability.

  "issues": [
      "engineId": "woke",
      "ruleId": "<rulename>",
      "primaryLocation": {
        "message": "<description>",
        "filePath": "<filepath>",
        "textRange": {
          "startLine": <lineno>,
          "startColumn": <startcol>,
          "endColumn": <endcol>
      "type": "CODE_SMELL",
      "severity": "<sonarqubeseverity>"


<sonarqubeseverity> is mapped from severity, such that an error in woke is translated to a MAJOR, warning to a MINOR, and info to INFO


woke -o checkstyle

Format used to populate results into the Checkstyle XML format.


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<checkstyle version="5.0">
  <file name="filepath">
    <error column="startcol" line="lineno" message="description" severity="severity" source="woke"></error>

Exit Code

By default, woke will exit with a successful exit code when there are any rule failures. The idea is, if you run woke on PRs, you may not want to block a merge, but you do want to inform the author that they can make better word choices.

If you're using woke on PRs, you can choose to enforce these rules with a non-zero exit code by running woke --exit-1-on-failure.


Advanced Configuration

It's unlikely that you will need to adjust parallelism. But in case you do, if you are running woke with limited resources, and/or against a very large directory, you may want to restrict the number of threads that woke uses.

By default, woke will parse files in parallel and will consume as many resources as it can, unbounded. This means woke will be fast, but might run out of memory, depending on how large the files/lines are.

We can limit these allocations by bounding the number of files read in parallel. To accomplish this, set the environment variable WORKER_POOL_COUNT to an integer value of the fixed number of goroutines you would like to spawn for reading files.

Read more about go's concurrency patterns here.

Last update: 2022-08-14