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September 21, 2021



I love the idea of having pronouns normalized in work email so that when there are email chains with people we've never met and whose gender we're unsure of (hi, Pat), we can use pronouns occasionally instead of trying to find increasingly creative ways to use their name without sounding overly-formal/snarky.

I hate the idea of listing pronouns being normalized online in general because the bulk of the internet is just so much less unpleasant if you can stay gender-ambiguous instead of female. (not here; this is one of the things I like about nice blogs; and honestly, I am spending more and more time in places with fewer misogynistic trolls; but still)

The idea of trying to update someone's pronouns to new pronouns daunts me; when a friend changes their name due to marriage or wanting a different nickname, it takes me *years* to get it right pretty consistently. (not quite a decade, but... close, usually)

I also think "he or she" is frequently awkward.

And I do not want extended pronouns to represent the precise faceting of my gender identity, a la menopause-specific terms. Techy tomboy who also enjoys baking but loathes scrapbooking and is definitely female but doesn't wear makeup except for "fancy" occasions, at which time briefly digging into the art aspect of makeup is highly enjoyable? This just doesn't abridge well... and I wouldn't totally want it to anyway, because while my gender is relevant to my identity, it is secondary in my identity and I just don't especially want it to be the Main Focus?

But generally: work: hooray for pronouns so we can safely use pronouns in email chains! Online: please let us be as anonymous as we want to be, thanks...


KC - just had a Jamie situation at work. It was hard to get “he or she” out of my head, but work decided that “they” was the best option even before gender neutrality became a thing. I’ve been marriage neutral since I was married. I don’t go many places online where there’s hostility, with the exception of Oracle PL/SQL advice forums. That hostility isn’t gender-specific: it’s a universal knowledge-specific spite. How insecure does one have to be when someone else’s lack of knowledge makes you angry?


It seems like tech forums have both "I hate you because you do not meet my minimum knowledge criteria" and "I hate you because you know too much" and sometimes the same person exhibits both and YES that suggests problems. (I mean, the whole culture of some of these groups suggests problems; if a favorite form of group unity and self-satisfaction is basically Two Minute Hate, then... hm.)

(most areas of StackExchange seem... a lot better... than the majority of the forums I was accustomed to consulting a decade ago, both in terms of general collaboration instead of feuding for "points" and in terms of it not getting personal - by which, I mean that people seem to attack/dismiss/demean people for personal characteristics.)(often there is some response text which suggests deep sighs are occurring when it looks like someone is just posting their homework problem, or when someone hasn't posed their question in an answerable manner [like "xslt is throwing errors with my data" with neither 1. the xslt they're using, 2. the xml that is causing errors, nor 3. the specific errors that occur]. But they're still *amazingly* polite about it.)


KC - it seems to me that StackOverflow has so many people harping “we cannot help you if you do not submit your code in the established fashion” that it turns me off.


I have only run across that in cases where really honestly no the person needed to submit *enough code* - but it probably varies by topic/code-type. And yes, that would be Annoying in cases where what has been submitted is plenty!


KC - well, it looks like you might be right. I just tried to find a brutal comment but I can’t. What I did find was this excellent article form someone who works with SO: https://stackoverflow.blog/2019/07/18/building-community-inclusivity-stack-overflow/

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