I was wondering if there's an alternative for the word descend (maybe something better than simply go), in the context of computer file systems, that doesn't imply going down.
When we talk about file systems, which usually have a hierarchical tree structure, it's common to say "descend into subdirectories/subfolders" when going from a parent into child directories. However, we also use the term root to refer to the node with no parent, so in the analogy of a tree branching out, I don't really like using the word "descend" for going from parent to child nodes (on the other hand, it actually works very well for the parent-child analogy).
In general, the tree data structure (not an actual tree) doesn't have a "physical" direction, and in practice, people visualise them in different ways (top-down, bottom-up or even left-to-right), so I would rather use a word that doesn't imply any physical sense of direction.
diff command will not descend into subdirectories by default, so the
--recursive option is needed."
UPDATE: There were several good suggestions, but I'm accepting the answer from @jeff-zeitlin because I think it sufficiently rationalises the use of "descend" with the ancestor analogy, which removes my original objection. Beyond that, I think the commonly-used term should be the obvious choice.