Here is the official FAQ on the topic that has been so hot as of late, just in case you don't stay up on the Meta site.

Official FAQ on gender pronouns and Code of Conduct changes

And here is a link to my additional question if you are interested: Mister P's additional question (screenshot for users with <10k on MSE) The comments on this spell out that my approach is safe to use on the stack and are worth a read.

As Snow mentioned, if you have any questions please ask. If we don't know the answer, we can refer you to the CM's.

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    I've always been amused at being called 'sir' and 'he', rather than offended. But I guess I'm coming from a position of privilege since I appear to be cis. I'll go update my profile to say that I don't care what anyone calls me. – thursdaysgeek Oct 10 '19 at 21:12
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    In your profile @thursdaysgeek its says "Wednesday's little sister". I don't assume anything anymore. Assumption generally speaking are bad. – Neo Oct 10 '19 at 21:13
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    Mr. Positive: I am a girl geek, but I'm a lot more geek than girl, and am still fine with the concept of using 'he' as a universal pronoun, at least when directed at myself. Also, I can't be offended. – thursdaysgeek Oct 10 '19 at 21:22
  • @thursdaygeek. Maybe it's my writing style, but where i have had handles that didn't indicate gender. People would assume that i was a woman. – Old_Lamplighter Oct 10 '19 at 21:48
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    @thursdaysgeek In general I am the same way but not quite. I can be offended, its just really hard to do so. – Neo Oct 10 '19 at 22:12
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    I can also be offended, but I take responsibility for the offence, because I assume first and foremost that I have been unclear and that the other person doesn't mean to offend. – tu-Reinstate Monica-dor duh Oct 24 '19 at 0:16
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    I get 404 on the link – Bernhard Döbler Oct 25 '19 at 12:51

And how should users here on The Workplace deal with this new CoC and how does those affect them?

Quite simply, it doesn’t. There’s an awful lot of text and direction there, but it really just boils down to respect and common sense. Both qualities that people here are already very good at.

Simply carry on as normal, showing others respect and courtesy.

If, in the rare case this happens, someone indicates clearly how they wish to be addressed, then please respect that.

That’s all we expect of people here.

In short, there’s a heck of a lot of discussion and drama going on, but it doesn’t affect how we work here (except in those special rare cases).

Any questions, please ask.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Neo Oct 10 '19 at 20:43

The powers that be actually said that feelings trump grammar.

I don't see this ending well.

I don't envy you having to enforce this.

Of course, I will not allow myself to be forced to submit to compelled language, and I expect an eventual ban, but I will not hold grudges. I sincerely hope they reverse course on this.

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    I agree completely, this won't end well. Just carry on with the common sense and respect. All this verbiage was a surprise to me and just way too much of it in my opinion. You're probably already addressing people with respect, I don't recall anyone accusing you of misgendering. Other things maybe :D but not misgendering. – user44108 Oct 10 '19 at 19:32
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    For our community, I don't see this as a big deal. Be nice, if you need to use a pronoun, use a gender neutral one and move about the day. Really nothing much to see here as we are generally respectful of our members. Also you are allowed to disengage if needed. ( I have never ever seen a situation where this is applicable at TWP ) – Neo Oct 10 '19 at 19:33
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    And this is a softening of what was originally shared with mods. At least now they're saying that you can write as you naturally do, so long as you aren't selective in who gets pronouns and who doesn't. That is exactly the point I raised with their original formation of it. (Well, that and that we were being asked to judge people's intentions. That part's still there.) So, nothing about how I write, and what I agreed to be extra-careful about in the TL discussion, conflicts with this. – Monica Cellio Oct 10 '19 at 21:48
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    @MonicaCellio Thank you for adding this. I sincerely hope you get your diamonds back!! – Neo Oct 11 '19 at 0:36
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    @MonicaCellio I know we've bumped heads in the past, but what was done to you was a travesty. You didn't deserve this, you didn't deserve the public accusations made of you, and you didn't deserve to have your good name dragged through the mud. It's just wrong, and you won't be the last one, sadly – Old_Lamplighter Oct 11 '19 at 0:51
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    Thanks Richard. Yes we've bumped heads, but I think our conversations have always been respectful and professional, even when at least one of us is frustrated. – Monica Cellio Oct 11 '19 at 0:55
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    Accidents will happen. A lot. If someone has a name or avatar that is commonly associated with a particular gender (either by language or culture), they're practically asking to be "pronouned" by that gender. It's also possible for people to exclude pronouns and be genderless. @HLGEM, for example, was a genderless avatar with no preferred pronouns, I once referred to "her" as "him" and was corrected. That's OK by me, I don't think that would violate any rules even with the new CoC? – teego1967 Oct 14 '19 at 19:14
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    @RichardU, you're mischaracterizing what "Orwellian newspeak" actually is. – teego1967 Oct 14 '19 at 19:17
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    @RichardU, Newspeak is a deliberate simplification of language and an imposition of the will of Big Brother upon individuals. The CoC here seeks to make language more expressive for the needs of individuals. That's very different and antithetical to what newspeak is. – teego1967 Oct 14 '19 at 19:48
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    @teego1967 like Monica's needs? – Old_Lamplighter Oct 14 '19 at 20:06
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    @RichardU, I'm not going to justify SE's specific ham-fisted treatment of Monica, but the time has come for large communities to take account of the needs of folks who haven't had the benefit of recognition of their most intrinsic identities. – teego1967 Oct 14 '19 at 21:25
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    @EJoshuaS that's correct. The original policy presented to the mods was "you must use preferred pronouns no matter what". I asked about my natural, gender-free writing style and while employees never answered, other mods claimed that wasn't good enough. I later asked that question in email -- no answer, just fired. Then finally they published a slightly softer version (yay!), which seems to be exactly what I asked about, but they refuse to reverse the firing. Instead I can apply for reinstatement later, which feels pretty guilty-until-proven-innocent but seems the only path. Bonkers! – Monica Cellio Oct 16 '19 at 20:20
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    @MonicaCellio I'd say. I'd really like to know what policy you're actually supposed to have violated now that the CoC says that you're allowed to do exactly what you were asking to be allowed to do in the first place; right now, all they have is a hypothetical violation of a policy that never even existed. Their intransigence is absolutely sickening. – EJoshuaS - Reinstate Monica Oct 16 '19 at 20:34
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    @JulianaKarasawaSouza Use it... or what? Hmmmm, sounds fairly Orwellian to me, or at least doubleplussungood. – Old_Lamplighter Oct 17 '19 at 15:55
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    @JulianaKarasawaSouza I've had neo-nazis try to push me around, I assure you that you will have the same success as they did. Neither you, nor anyone else will bully me into silence. – Old_Lamplighter Oct 17 '19 at 16:52

Can we all stop acting as if this update is so unbelievably burdensome? There is a group of people who face an unbelievable amount of hate and violence in the world such that they often hide their identities from everyone. The fact that some of us feel safe enough to be who we are online means a lot to us and all we want is to be treated with respect.

Rather than giving us that respect, we are often met with derision and laughter and open combativeness that is then paraded as honest discourse.

And while we are talking about it can we please stop pretending that it doesn't happen here or here while simultaneously sweeping examples of hostility towards myself and others like me under the rug?

Furthermore, how are we to feel like it means a lick of anything if the #5 highest contributor to this site is in open defiance and seemingly supported by the community judging by the upvotes.

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Neo Oct 11 '19 at 13:11
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    I heartily second this. There's been a lot of focus on the alleged hardship of following the policy and not enough focus on why it was necessary in the first place. – cat40 Oct 22 '19 at 2:42

I think there's going to be a lot of confusion and mistakes.

The kind and reasonable thing to do is to comply with whatever pronouns a person wants to use. Unfortunately, there's not enough nuance in an online context for that to work without explicitly specifying the pronouns for the people for whom this is important.

If stackexchange wants to takes their own CoC's seriously, they really need to provide an option for users to display their pronoun pref everytime their avatar/name appears. Otherwise, it's just ripe for mistakes (including insincere mistakes). This makes the pronoun preference clear and obvious for anyone that responds to or references that user.

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    "they really need to provide an option for users to display their pronoun pref everytime their avatar/name appears" - an excellent technical solution! – Joe Strazzere Oct 14 '19 at 20:59
  • @JoeStrazzere Yes, but that technical solution may also lead people to focus on that person's personal choice and distract them from their need as an OP. IMHO, the biggest issue here is that this CoC change has hijacked and significantly harmed the overall aims of the site as far as it being about Q&A (and not personal choices). – tu-Reinstate Monica-dor duh Oct 24 '19 at 1:50
  • What a technical solution like this would do is make a person's personal choice (if they exercised the option) always "on topic" on every site because it would be right there, always, right next to their name, on every question and every answer. – tu-Reinstate Monica-dor duh Oct 24 '19 at 2:02
  • @tudor, no, it would just provide an easy way for considerate people to use the right pronoun and move on. If someone chooses not to include preferred pronoun, then it would be “ok” to use convention or guess without consequence. – teego1967 Oct 24 '19 at 22:17
  • Considering the infrequency with which pronoun-requiring situations occur (in my experience), I beg to differ. I would find it highly distracting visual noise irrelevant to the question or answer. Even the existing name/cred box is too much, IMHO, as it leads people to judge a persion's question/answer by their reputation. This is a Q&A site, not a social media site. – tu-Reinstate Monica-dor duh Oct 24 '19 at 23:56
  • @tudor, well, only people for whom these pronouns are important would put them in there. I agree there's a fair amount of cruft already and I personally don't care about the tallies for 3 different badges. People value different things. – teego1967 Oct 25 '19 at 2:34

My reply to the FAQ on the Meta site

Official FAQ on gender pronouns and Code of Conduct changes

I tried to keep it to the point

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    I don't understand why this is getting down-voted without comment here, or on meta – Old_Lamplighter Oct 11 '19 at 16:06
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    Have you deleted the reply? – dfhwze Oct 14 '19 at 17:58
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    @dfhwze no, Shog did. It appears I raised too many questions. – Old_Lamplighter Oct 22 '19 at 18:40

The purpose of the changes to CoC is to make the SE more welcoming to everyone. That's how SE is explaining the change. Great intent! However, the spirit and the wording of the new CoC and FAQ raise a concern:

A situation where a pronoun misuse may get one in trouble (and being suspected/reported/questioned/tried for whether such misuse was good-faith or malevolent is probably enough trouble in itself) is a clear incentive for those non proficient in such pronoun practice to stay clear from potentially problematic questions.

So, with the new rules in effect, a question which demands some specific pronoun have good chances at soliciting fewer responses than a question which makes no such demand. Well, isn't that effectively the inverse of the claimed goal of being more welcome?

My suggestion is to work on CoC and FAQ some more and come up with a wording that would focus on encouraging everyone to be positive to everyone else and stop at that. Specifically avoiding even the slightest hint of obligation and possible repression. Because in my experience encouraging, heartening and inspiring people works better than coercion.


Q17: What should I do if I think someone requests me to use a certain pronoun in bad faith? From @Cesar M(Staff)

If people are requesting things in bad faith, you are welcome to escalate to mods and mods can contact us CMs when in doubt too.

It is advised to use a custom (Something Else) flag for this. Please explain, as detailed as possible, what the issue is.

The community recommended response in the workplace to suspected trolling has always been "assume content is delivered in good faith and let the down votes speak for themselves". I suppose this is a shift in the mod's role now.

With respect to the downvotes, in the past all arguments have been assumed to be good faith. Now should a pronoun request come in we are asking the community to consider if it is being made in good faith or not and notify moderation based on that conclusion. I'm not implying that it's good or bad, just pointing out that it's a difference from how we've operated in the past

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    It isn't a shift as such. There are lots of people jumping on to the trolling bandwagon by asking to be called different made-up pronouns. Doing this is openly mocking trans and non-gendered people. The intent might be to mock SE and the policy, but the real outcome is mocking the people who we're trying to include. We're asking for people to be respected, not ridiculed. – user44108 Oct 16 '19 at 6:30
  • @Snow The point being that in the past all arguments have been assumed to be good faith. Now should a pronoun request come in we are asking the community to consider if it is being made in good faith or not and notify moderation based on that conclusion. I'm not implying that it's good or bad, just pointing out that it's a difference from how we've operated in the past. – Myles Oct 16 '19 at 18:03
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    It’s a matter of context. We need to have a good level of respect for others. We can’t allow people of do things that mock or offend others and excuse it away with “assume good intent”. We’re currently running under a spate of users making up pronouns for fun and they’re causing offence to people who we’re trying to include. – user44108 Oct 16 '19 at 18:33

I'm a bit conflicted about this.

Q10: What if I believe it is grammatically incorrect to use some pronouns (e.g. they/them to refer to a single person)?

If they are the pronouns stated by the individual, you must respect that and use them. Grammar concerns do not override a person’s right to self identify.

We also have freedom of expression, one of the fundamental human rights, which gives you right to express yourself freely. Exceptions are when there is conflict with law or other basic rights.

But the way I see it, is that even if I misgender/"mispronoun" you accidentally (or even on purpose), it does not conflict with any law or your right to self identify. Your identity is not determined how others speak, you have the authority to determine it and my misplaced words won't identify you.

In my opinion, forcing me to speak in certain way violates my right of expression.

Also, as a sidenote: comments are only meant to suggest improvements or ask clarifications to questions/answers. If people start discussing about pronouns in comments, that would violate the site rules.

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    I've deleted the conversational comment stream here. Questions about this policy should be directed to the Offlicial FAQ because The Workplace works to the same policy as the rest of the SE network. Statistically speaking, the chances of you being asked to use a pronoun by a trans/non-gendered person is low. The policy is only asking that you respect that request when it occurs and not go out of your way to avoid using it. It's as simple as that. – user44108 Oct 16 '19 at 6:53

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