back to article Stack Overflow makes peace with ousted moderator, wants to start New Year with 2020 vision on codes of conduct

In a display of Yuletide good spirits, or possibly a desire to bury bad news, Stack Overflow has settled its beef with a former moderator and said she can apply to regain her moderator status. On December 23, 2019, the biz, which operates a collection of more than 140 community-driven Q&A websites that form the Stack Exchange …

  1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. 9Rune5

    Epic number of downvotes

    I found this timeline: https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/333965/firing-mods-and-forced-relicensing-is-stack-exchange-still-interested-in-cooper

    Which led me to Sarah Chipps yuletide post:https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/340906/update-an-agreement-with-monica-cellio It has enmassed an amazing 1446 downvotes at this point.

    This is truly fascinating. Monica's account of what happened seems believable. If she had been on record as doing something potentially violating the unpublished policy, one would imagine that would have surfaced by now. This is just truly bizarre.

    I guess they are trying to create a narrative where Monica obviously must have done 'something' wrong, but they cannot tell us because they are protecting her. Bastards.

    1. JcRabbit

      Re: Epic number of downvotes

      And if I understood correctly, all this happened over what can be qualified as 'compelled speech' in relation to gender pronouns. Exactly the kind of thing Jordan B.Peterson was warning us about.

      I find this completely insane. It's the 'Emperor's New Clothes' all over again - everyone knows the king is naked, but nobody dares to say so lest they lose their head. I really hoped we human beings had learned our lesson by now so as to not let things like this happen (i.e.; being ruled by fear), but it seems obvious now that we haven't.

      1. woppo

        Re: Epic number of downvotes

        I agree with your point but there's no king in that story ;-)

    2. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Epic number of downvotes

      Having followed this story on the site, there is clearly a LOT of ill-feeling from the SE community (including moderators) towards the corporate/business people. This is one example about how the people using the site feel like they are ill-treated and not listened to. Which is a shame since the creators of the site come from this background themselves.

      I hope it gets sorted out because the story according to the most active users, who make the site actually useful, describes quite serious cracks starting to form in the whole thing.

  3. Notas Badoff

    Clumsy there, clumsy here - when thought and understanding are required we all fall down

    Please note the reputation on the Dec 23 posting from StackExchange -1446 ! They seem to have failed to "make it all better".

    "We believe she did not understand ... and was confused ..." You'd think that a site that specialises in professional answers to how-to questions could get some help with the foot gun.

    .

    And, sorry, but I'm still amazed that several several commentators *here* had trouble connecting the dots when

    * a well-known moderator for Orthodox Jewish topics

    * is off'ed minutes before a multi-day religious observance

    * with the cavalier "but we sent her an email" minutes before said off'ing

    * and then company protests "but she herself hasn't said anything" for days after scandal unfolds (still during the religious observance)

    * and the company is based in New York City (you only need live there a short while before knowing e.g. what an 'eruv' is)

    * and the company employs people of various kinds of Judaism (heard of Joel Spolsky ?)

    * so they *knew* she would be incommunicado and couldn't defend herself

    * and so everything would blow over (they really hoped)

    and people here are, like, who cares if she is Jewish? What's that got to do with anything?

    So someone getting fired during their surgery? While attending their parent's funeral in another country? Would you miss the import there? Got something to hide? Release the news before a major holiday / blackout period. Like, say, Dec 23 ?

    Be part of the world! Be aware of other people's needs! Be less dismissive of other people's situations. Ignorance and crassness still amazes even here.

    1. cornetman Silver badge

      Re: Clumsy there, clumsy here - when thought and understanding are required we all fall down

      Your point is well made.

      However, I might suggest that very few commentators here likely have the remotest notion of any Jewish festival or of many other religious festivals for that matter.

      Atheism is on the rise especially among the technical classes. Even coming from a predominantly Christian society, I would be hard pressed to properly identify many Christian festivals, even if I have heard them by name.

  4. jake Silver badge

    One question remains unanswered.

    Now that Stack Overflow admits to being built on argumentum ad passiones[0], and is thus to all intents and purposes useless, who do we send the wannabe programmers to in order to plagiarize b0rken versions of standard code snippets?

    [0] Clearly, the most easily offended is in charge.

    1. Vincent Ballard

      Re: One question remains unanswered.

      A group of disaffected former Stack Overflow users are building a replacement at codidact.org. Still a way to go, but it's one to watch.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: One question remains unanswered.

        That's nice to know. I gave up on SO last year for reasons that are unrelated to this mess, but their weird, passive-aggressive not-really-an-apology statement about this reinforces that I made the right decision.

        Perhaps this new effort will be better.

  5. rbaba

    They need all the mods they can get...

    They must be the most over editted and over regulated site around. Apart from their myriad of rules, most of which could be summed up by saying "use common sense", they spend endless hours editing things, especially those that might affect their revenue stream.

    Take for instance this post https://law.stackexchange.com/questions/47693 and compare that to the original question and then figure out the resources they need :

    Asked today

    Viewed 11 times

    I suffered damages as a result of defamation. The perpetrators harmed my changes of finding employment. They would share information illegally to third parties without my consent even though this was strictly forbidden in that country.

    The statute of limitation has expired and they are now gloating about the damage that they caused me. I have only recently come to possess actionable evidence of what they were actually doing to my reputation. For instance, I was let go by them because, strangely enough, I complained about their sending emails around the company bragging how they had gotten rid of someone, and telling everyone something to the effect that so and so was useless. When I applied for some work a few months later on, I was asked by a prospective employer my reasons for leaving, I mentioned that there were a lot of redundancies at that time. He them mentioned specific details to me that were only available to them.

    I spoke to a lawyer at that time and was told my changes of success were small, and that they would block discovery. I don't really understand what that means but I think that it means that they would lie and ask me to prove that they actually communicated to a third party.

    Six and have years have now passed since this event, and I would like to know if it is still possible to claim damages. Their gloating to others has resulted in information being given me about those events which I believe my chances of success would improve markedly.

    Christmas time is especially poignant as the time I made the complaint to them about this exact kind of behaviour was made them.

    1. rbaba
      WTF?

      Re: They need all the mods they can get...

      Oh, and the comment was deleted too. No idea why. Here it is in all its gory:

      I have tried to warn others about what they and have asked them to respond here trustpilot.com/users/5d6f4b4be97c312a5dc07e63 – Roger Ng 1 hour ago

  6. razorfishsl

    sorry........

    Why should i be forced to pander to a potentially mentally ill individual and reinforce their delusion?

    This compelled speech garbage has to be stopped....

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    3. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      It's their site

      If I had issues with modern use of pronouns, then I would not work for a website that required me to use them. If I didn't want to participate in a forum where I was expected to adopt the modern usage against my preference, I wouldn't participate.

      Nice and simple.

      1. overunder Silver badge

        Re: It's their site

        Right! If I signed up for the first time and the site was like that, it would be just yet another site I've registered with and have never returned to. The strange thing is not that she lawyered up, but that it seems she wanted back in!

        I think everyone knows StackOverflow is clique and ran by people who bath in delusions of self grandeur, it's an embarrassment to us all honestly. But why on Earth would you freely give free time to that or worse, want back into that? That's a bit sad. The part of her taking legal action is the part I admire, hopefully it ends there.

      2. JcRabbit

        Re: It's their site

        Which totally misses the point. No company should be allowed to force ANYONE to use compelled speech - that should actually be illegal.

        Compelled speech is literally forcing people to lie, e.g.; saying the king's new clothes are nice - lest your head gets chopped off - when everyone knows full well he's completely naked.

        You can't force someone to BECOME nice - you'll just make an hypocrite out of them, which is far, far, worse.

        Are we so blind these days that we do not see the HUGE problem and implications of compelled speech?! If this goes on it will eventually become FORCING people to LIE with the full strength of the LAW behind it (Canada's Bill C-16). Do you not understand what this would do to people's minds/perception of reality over time and how it can be used to control them (which I believe is the ultimate goal)?!

        Have we all turned into sheep ready for slaughter?!

    4. jtaylor

      razorfishsl said "Why should i be forced to pander to a potentially mentally ill individual and reinforce their delusion?"

      1) I don't know why you think you're being forced to pander to anyone.

      2) "Potentially mentally ill" is a very curious phrase. Many people experience mental illness, just like many of us experience physical illness. Sometimes it's acute (death of a loved one), sometimes chronic (depression, PTSD, long-term unemployed). I have learned to not assume about the health of others.

      You worry about whether someone else is potentially ill? Do you find yourself avoiding situations that might expose you to someone who's ill, to the point where it affects your well-being or removes you from activities that you usually enjoy?

    5. JDX Gold badge

      This has nothing to do with the actual story. The mod in question supported the policy.

      Let's try to keep our views on the policy, and on the story, separate... I don't agree with the policy either but that is their decision to make. Of course the intersection of the two is that I don't think the policy itself was actually put to the community, but dropped on them from On High which is counter to the ethos of the site.

      It's an example of the problems when you run a community and want to also make money from it. Your business interests may not align with what the users want.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      sure thing, "razorfish"

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is no peace at all

    They only reached an agreement with a confidentiality clause to bury all the fuss and gag Monica, nothing else.

    If you read properly, the only two publicly known facts are that SO allows her to reapply for moderator status, instead of just restituting her, and that Monica did not reapply. So we're worse than before with Monica still effectively demoted and unable to talk anymore.

    This is not even a peace truce. I even wonder if they signed it at Panmunjom.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: This is no peace at all

      How dare you use the pronoun "her" you facist reactionary tool of the patriarchal oppressors

      1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

        Re: This is no peace at all

        Oh, cool it.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    SO remains read only

    I won't be providing them any more free content based on the story so far.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    From what we could read here I do have an idea why stack overflow wanted to get rid of her. There is a whole encyclopedia of companies which have had bad experiences with the code of conduct people (creators or "enforcers" of the CoC, that is). Theoretically a code of conduct is a very useful thing, but more often than not people abuse the CoC to make internal politics. Ironically it's mostly companies that try to embrace equality and inclusiveness who have those problems, like it or not.

    So while in "real life" I am a big supporter of LGBTX ideals, when it comes to software one should become very nervous when you hear people talking about their pronouns because they are usually trouble makers of the worst kind. People that are totally sensible and real great if you talk to them one-on-one can become real nasty when it comes to "armchair witch hunting" of alleged CoC breakers.

    And this is really really sad because they are already marginalized and I support equal rights with all my heart. But two wrongs don't make a right and when people are trouble makers you don't want them in your community (or company), no matter how noble their ideals might be.

    Personally I think we should _convince_ people to be open-minded and not enforcing it. Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      In this case it is the opposite way around.

      The company wanted to be all LGBTQ2 and inclusive and she said basically "I have spent years studying English, I'm not going to start using (s)he and singular "they" if I know the person I am writing to is called "Loretta".

      The company then came down on the non-specific-gender-unit Monica like a ton of rectangular building materials (some find the term bricks offensive)

      1. Donn Bly

        Close

        Close, but in this case what she did was state that she preferred to write in a gender-neutral (ie, singular they if appropriate) instead of using sex-based pronouns, because having to research and read someone's profile to try to discern their preferred pronouns before replying was a waste of time and she didn't want to cause offense by using the wrong one - thus she wanted to know if writing in gender-neutral was a violation of the code of conduct that stated that they MUST use the preferred pronouns.

        The funniest (and saddest) thing is that Stack Exchange still hasn't publicly answered the question that they fired her for asking.

        1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

          Re: Close

          That's because the question is an example of double-plus un-good speech.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Close

          You are completely wrong.

          Her position was that she would not use singular "they", even if requested by the subject, because she deemed it ungrammatical, and would continue to write without pronouns at all.

          And they did answer the question, in the (second version of) the FAQ.

          1. Havin_it

            Re: Close

            And you in turn are half-right.

            It was indeed singular they/them she objected to (she was happy to use neopronouns if it came up). However this, according to a trans-community member who I believe was party to the original "discussion" and had a subsequent clear-the-air talk with Monica which she discussed in a post of her own, was for "personal" reasons that Monica did not wish to disclose.

        3. 9Rune5

          Re: Close

          thus she wanted to know if writing in gender-neutral was a violation of the code of conduct that stated that they MUST use the preferred pronouns.

          My understanding is that the CoC has yet to be published. It is still not out in the public domain. She asked a question posted on a moderators' chat where some of her co-mods posed this question.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A quick look at crunchbase and all will be answered..

    https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/stack-overflow/funding_rounds/funding_rounds_list

    Raised $68M for a public content Q&A bulletin board website. So whats the business model? Apart from selling out to a bigger fool Unicorn before the Unicorn implodes WeWorks style?

    So just another sleazy dotcom scam company. Why should anyone be surprised that its management acts like every other sleazy dotcom.

    1. baud Bronze badge

      Re: A quick look at crunchbase and all will be answered..

      They have a business model: ads around quality user-generated content, recruitment network and offers for private and self-hosted version of the Q&A.

      But I don't think the last 40 M$ funding was a good idea, since it put pressure on SO to make much more money, which might explain a few of their recent mistakes.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A quick look at crunchbase and all will be answered..

        Given that the typical total VC investment pre dot com era in new software products developed from scratch was in the region of a few million $ max for development plus roll out (maybe double that for hardware) a website like stackoverflow would have been easily doable for a 6 figure seed amount. Its nothing more than a glorified bbs board FFS. That fact that any more money that than was raised tell you all you need to know. It is a dot com scam. Just like all the rest.

        In case you are wondering where this VC money is coming from for the dot scams. The money that is not the stuff being printed by the central banks (about $12 trillion+, most BoJ and ECB), which you pay for in long term loss of economic growth, is mostly coming from yield desperate pension and retirement funds. Which you will pay for sooner than you think.

  11. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    They

    Anyone else think "They" isnt really cutting it as a pronoun to indicate a single person ?

    Its supposed to be used for groups of people surely?

    Its like there's a word missing and "they" seems to have been lumbered with its responsibilities.

    1. Andrew Moore

      Re: They

      Yes, they didn't use her pronoun and therefore were in violation of their own CoC...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They

        Perhaps everyone should design a new symbol and declare that to be his/her/their pronoun and demand that that should be used with a provision that must be pronounced as "the person formerly pronouned as he/she/they"

        1. jelabarre59 Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: They

          I was thinking of using this icon as my new identifier pronoun ------->

          1. tony2heads
            Alien

            Re: They

            I suggest '?he$' to cover he or she.

            Or one could use other identifiers.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They

      If it didn't feel so weird to me for a single person to be referred to as "they" for Gender Fluidity reasons, I would be one of those people.

      Even using "they/their" to indicate a single person of unkown gender feels weird, although I do my best to squelch the weirdness.

    3. Ordinary Donkey

      Re: They

      "They" is the indefinite pronoun. It's used when you don't have or know a correct pronoun to use.

      English used to have plural pronouns but they went the way that "whom" is going today.

      1. Fred Goldstein

        Re: They

        You is describing the neologistic use which leads to the singular use of "they". It not be regular English grammar, however, to say that there am no plural any more. They dost be a plural form, and using it to refer to a specific person is still grammatically plural, and uses plural verb forms. English hast plural pronouns, whether though preferrest it or not. It be singular ones you have a problem with.

        <back to normal English>

        "You" is a plural pronoun long relegated to singular use in English. It accompanies plural verb forms even when used to refer to one person. So while John goes to the store, you (individual) go to the store and all ten of you (y'all, in southern, or youse in Rhode Islandish) go to the store too. If someone doesn't want to be a "he" or "she", then he may want to be a "they", and thus always plural

        1. Ordinary Donkey

          Re: They

          Yeah, no. Chaucer isn't a neologism. Sorry, but "They" has been the indefinite pronoun for at least seven centuries.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: They

            "Chaucer isn't a neologism."

            Chaucer himself wasn't ... but the Middle English he wrote in certainly was full of them! Ask any Anglo-Norman French speaker of the period ...

    4. P.B. Lecavalier

      Re: They

      "we revoked privileges for one Stack Exchange moderator when they refused to abide..."

      English is not my first language, yet it is very painful for me to read this!

    5. Carpet Deal 'em Bronze badge

      Re: They

      Singular "they" is centuries old. It would be nice to have a dedicated singular pronoun("yeht", perhaps?), but English isn't so forthcoming.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They

        well , maybe thats something the activists could work on instead of inventing new genders every week.

        "IT" would fit the bill better than "they" IMO , but it is a little dehumanising I admit.

        We need "shehee" or something ...

        Although I guess even then your never going to know if the person your aiming that at has chosen to identify , and would prefer "he" or "she"

        1. Glen 1 Silver badge

          Re: They

          "your never going to know "

          Which was ultimately the point Monica was making. There's a lot of assumptions based on perceived gender of names.

          If a preferred pronoun isn't specified, is guessing based on the perceived gender of the name a breach of the CoC? (Eg Micheal Burnham)

          That was what initially got her(?) banned.

          IRL, when in doubt, ask.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: They

          How can I continue to be an opressed minority if I give you clear rules to follow. I'm going to move the goalposts constantly to make sure I continue to have someone to rage at...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: They

            Nice shoehorn into bigotry. No "opressed minority" is responsible for this shitstorm.

            As is often the case, it's the "do-gooders" and SJW's who exagerate a situation, and feel the need to get offended (without invitation) on someone elses behalf.

            No goalposts have been uprooted in this process.

    6. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: They

      There is a word missing (and it wasn't always so -- but language changes over time). "They" is now the closest thing we have. I don't have any issue with it -- but then, I've been using "they" as a gender-neutral singular pronoun for decades.

      If it makes you feel any better, think of it as the "royal 'they'".

      1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

        Re: They

        As we have previously explained, our preferred term of address is "Your Majesty". The use of the plural to refer to us is an ancient and honored practice, against which we find no complaint.

    7. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: They

      Anyone else think "They" isnt really cutting it as a pronoun to indicate a single person ?

      Its supposed to be used for groups of people surely?

      Its like there's a word missing and "they" seems to have been lumbered with its responsibilities.

      Funny, we were just having the same discussion of the fanfiction.net writers forum.

    8. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: They

      I propose "phe" as a new word, as the gender neutral form of 'he/she"

      (Do we also need gender-specific forms of the plural "they"? :-) )

    9. Havin_it

      Re: They

      It's not exactly new. They/them has long been a recognised pronoun for a person whose gender is unknown/unspecified in the speaker's frame of reference. (Ditto when number is not known, so the subject may be either singular or plural.) I assume that is what this form of usage derives from, and it's hardly a quantum leap. If a person wished to identify as nonbinary/gender-fluid, it makes a lot of sense to me, although I'm not prescribing it as such as I'm sure everyone who chooses it has their* own rationale.

      *See? Perfectly grammatical and normative, and typed it without even thinking about it!

  12. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    use people's designated pronouns when known.

    emailed statement attributed to community director Sara Chipps that explained, "we revoked privileges for one Stack Exchange moderator when they refused to abide by our Code of Conduct (CoC) after being asked to change their behavior multiple times."

    Sounds like Sara Chipps needs her privileges revoking then!

  13. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "she can apply to regain her moderator status"

    I wouldn't do that if I were her. She was not being paid, she was volunteering her time and effort and they shat on her.

    They can go fudge themselves.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: "she can apply to regain her moderator status"

      Actually, they ganged up on her and kicked her out of their clique because of a CoC that hadn't even officially been put into place yet. In some communities, this would be considered bullying. What does their precious CoC have to say about bullies?

      1. Carpet Deal 'em Bronze badge

        Re: "she can apply to regain her moderator status"

        Complex codes of conduct are the bully's greatest friend. Add enough clauses and it's essentially guaranteed somebody's tripped over enough that you can ban as you please.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: "she can apply to regain her moderator status"

          Persecute the heretic, kill the unbeliever....

  14. Robert Grant

    The article is...not great

    I can't believe there's no mention in it of the incredibly bad attitude displayed in "allowing" the moderator to reapply. Reapply for what reason? Why isn't she just reinstated?

    1. James Anderson Silver badge

      Re: The article is...not great

      SO is running scared when because Monica got lawered up.

      Not only did she raise the funding to bring the case to court she had a pretty strong case to bring, at no point did she actually break the CoC even though the CoC was not in effect at the point they ditched her.

      She merely questioned if it was still acceptable to use gender neutral pronouns if she was unsure of which pronoun the poster would prefer.

      She did not even bring up obvious points, such as would she be required to use "Your Majesty", or "Oh Greatness" if a poster identified as such. And what is the correct pronoun to use when the poster identifies as a "free spirit penguin" (answer "you smug idiot Piers").

      1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: The article is...not great

        She did not even bring up obvious points, such as would she be required to use "Your Majesty", or "Oh Greatness" if a poster identified as such. And what is the correct pronoun to use when the poster identifies as a "free spirit penguin" (answer "you smug idiot Piers").

        I want to be addressed as "HRH Emperor Norton the Second".

        1. Huw D Silver badge

          Re: The article is...not great

          The best Norton is a triple.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: The article is...not great

            The best Norton is a Commander. The bike and the file manager.

        2. Criggie

          Re: The article is...not great

          Peter Norton for Emperor!

      2. OrangeDog

        Re: The article is...not great

        > She merely questioned if it was still acceptable to use gender neutral pronouns if she was unsure of which pronoun the poster would prefer.

        No, she asked if it was acceptable to not use any pronouns even if the subject has explicitly stated their preference.

    2. Psmo Bronze badge

      Re: The article is...not great

      Sometimes extra words aren't necessary.

      The statement from SO is its own punchline.

  15. stefanreich2

    StackOverflow is hell.

  16. Brandon 2

    pro-what?

    At work, I don't are about anyone's sexual orientation. It's none of my business. My religious beliefs, are none of anyone else's business. What any of us do in our bedrooms, is none of anyone else's business. Why am I forced to change my language because someone declares their sexual-anything? Why aren't they forced to change their appearance because it offends me? It's equally logical, in that it's all completely illogical. I'll just do what I've always done and just treat people the way I'd like to be treated, with a bit of kindness and empathy, and go on about my day, blissfully ignorant to all the new gender pronouns. If you get stark raving apeshit crazy mad because I say he instead of she, you have a problem, not me. I care that you're angry, not that you're sexual identity is... whatever the hell you want it to be.

    1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Re: pro-what?

      There are semi-professional shit-disturbers in every community. I have a couple of trans friends who get that living in the real world means some issues and having to be patient and kind and not be thin-skinned. And I know of one other who waits like a cat by a mouse-hole for a remark to take offence at, and pounces on every single one with glee.

      Target the behaviour, not the person.

    2. Glen 1 Silver badge

      Re: pro-what?

      "Treat people the way I'd like to be treated"

      Directly contradicts

      "Why am I forced to change my language"

      Oh, and in answer, The same reason the N-word is not one I'm going to type.

      If people kept calling you by the wrong pronouns, how long before you have shit to say about it? Not more than once, I bet.

      Even if you let the first few slide, eventually you'd get pissed off enough to correct them.

      Then to be told *you're* the one being overly sensitive? Get to fuck

      Sidenote: religion *exists* because people *don't* keep their beliefs to themselves.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: pro-what?

        Or, maybe, have some awareness of how you appear to others, and that some assumptions are natural. For example, I'm in my late-mid-50s with three-year-old children. I do not expect everyone to check what relationship I am to the children (though it is nice but somewhat awkward when people do), and expect to be referred to as "grandad" when out and about with people I don't know. Reality states that the assumption of a balding, grey-haired, arthritic bloke is *significantly* more likely to be a grandparent to pre-schoolers than a parent. Similarly, someone dressed as a man, with the bone structure of a man, is *significantly* more likely to go by "he" than "they". If a person with a beard is wearing a dress, I'd still tend to call that person "he" unless specifically asked not to (I fall into the category of people who think that assumptions about sex can be made based on secondary sexual characteristics, and gender requires action on the part of the person who would like to be referred to as something else).

        No doubt I'll be down voted, but that's how it is.

      2. Havin_it

        Re: pro-what?

        >If people kept calling you by the wrong pronouns

        Here's the thing: You and Brandon 2 might have different ideas about what the "right" pronouns are for him/her/xim/etc.

        What unsettles me about this issue is that people are staking a claim on a language feature whose historic function has been to convey information about their inherent characteristics, and wishing to make it instead convey information about their personal preferences.

        I say preferences because, as I understand it, the pronouns that one wishes to use are entirely free-choice: the fact a person wants to go by "xe" does not map to anyone else's reasons for picking it.

        As such, that person is obliging others to show deference to them in an entirely arbitrary manner; to convey recognition of characteristics that are not even defined except by them. To fail to do so, by dodging the issue with indeterminate pronouns or simply avoiding pronouns, is deemed abusive.

        I recognise that we're in this mess due to gendered pronouns ever having been a thing in the first place, which in hindsight was a rubbish idea: how much simpler things would be if we did not expect pronouns to tell us anything about the subject, and I'd wholeheartedly endorse a campaign to eradicate them now if we could, but we are where we are.

        I honestly feel that, apart from being senselessly coercive in respect of the above, this movement is self-harming in that it seeks to curtail others' ability to signal that they do not care about the subject's sex, gender or other identifications. Surely, in the world we strive for, 99% of the time such things will simply not be relevant?

  17. holmegm Bronze badge

    "She has proposed donating fundraising proceeds in excess of her legal costs to The Trevor Project, which provides services for LGBTQ youth."

    Well, isn't that special. I wouldn't want the movement that just arbitrarily crushed me under its wheels to go without funding ...

  18. codejunky Silver badge

    Why?

    This pronoun thing has surely gone too far now. I am sure this started as a bad joke that some kids latched onto or something.

  19. jason_derp

    What a cavalcade of nonsense

    In a world where genuine problems of hate speech and purposely malicious comments crop up all over the internet, the fact that a group of people decided to use their time and positions actively to pursue the outcomes in this story is freaking mind-boggling.

  20. Nunyabiznes Silver badge
    Joke

    Obviously Monica isn't The Dude because she doesn't abide.

  21. holmegm Bronze badge

    "I will be donating any excess defense funds to the Pronoun Police Benevolent Association. Please don't beat me anymore."

  22. Elledan

    Following the sh*tstorm on the CoC and Monica over at the StackExchange Meta site has been very interesting the past months. There literally was no sign that the CoC wasn't complete overkill, unnecessary, confusing, directly contradicting and overall a gigantic waste of time. Every official SE post got downvoted into oblivion, while the commentary was blistering at the best of times.

    The treatment of Monica by SE was raised on countless occasions by commenters, but SE officials always insisted that SE had done nothing untoward, that it was Monica who somehow had been at fault for reasons they didn't want to enlighten us on just yet.

    One might almost think that SE is run by a bunch of incompetents whose presence is not desired by the SE/SO site users and that with this CoC thing they have signed the death warrant for the Facebook of code plagiarism websites.

    Personally, I haven't produced any new comments on StackOverflow for a while now, and with this kerfuffle going down it seems like treating SO as a read-only resource for the foreseeable future seems like the sensible thing to do. Everything I have seen from Monica shows her to be an integer and honest person who'd be an asset to any self-respecting business. Her dismissal and subsequent refusal for reinstatement has tainted SE/SO forever.

    1. Imhotep

      I Am Not A Number!

      "shows her to be an integer"

      Well, that's a little harsh.

      1. Glen 1 Silver badge

        Re: I Am Not A Number!

        Shit just got ℝeal.

  23. gkroog

    Seems like its not safe to ask questions on Stack Overflow...

    ...not even for moderators in the new woke climate. Sad how the climate changed..

  24. TimMaher Bronze badge
    Headmaster

    American Dialect Society

    Their word of the decade is the singular pronoun “they”.

    Does that fix it?

  25. ForthIsNotDead
    Stop

    Have you seen the SO reinstatement process?

    Is straight out of the Communist Duma. Seriously.

    It has its own flowchart!

    https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/336175/what-is-the-process-for-reinstating-a-moderator/336176#336176

    No wonder she/they/it declined to re-apply.

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