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This IBM advertisement uses the phrase "toxic combinations" of duties to sell a security product. As someone who has 20 years of experience in social services and IT Security, this usage is off-putting and I can't articulate why.

Can someone help me parse why this this usage doesn't seem appropriate, or... explain how I can justify its usage here

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  • Did you mean "Toxic combinations" in your title? I don't see "Toxic appropriation" in the image. Also, you should probably add more context—at a minimum, include the text of the advertisement for those who can't see the image, and preferably also say more about your discomfort. Is this based on technical IT security usage, or something more general? – 1006a Sep 19 '17 at 17:04
  • @1006a - fixed title. Can add more detail. – Christopher Sep 19 '17 at 17:05
  • I suppose my initial concern was the relative toxicity... For example, systematic oppression of a vulnerable group is more toxic than not washing the pesticides off blueberries. – Christopher Sep 19 '17 at 17:07
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"Toxic combinations" are common in real life, and they are using this as a metaphor for otherwise benign software behaviors, bugs, and user roles that, when combined, are dangerous.

An obvious one is using bleach products and ammonia products when cleaning e.g. your bathroom. Neither alone is particularly problematic when used normally, but mix them in a bucket or use both while cleaning a toilet and you can kill yourself: it creates chlorine gas which is very dangerous especially in an enclosed space.

Still, I think it is a bad headline, "Look For: Toxic Combinations" would be better, and then let the body text do the work to explain the imagery.

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