Stack Overflow is going through the weirdest purge right now.

They were planning a Code of Conduct change to require using a person's pronouns. A mod asked if it was OK to use "singular they" when someone's pronouns are unknown or aren't specified, and then got fired with no explanation. And now I guess more people are getting fired, or quitting?

(Disclosure: This person is in my social circles although I'm not sure we've met.)

Stack Overflow continues to fuck up.

They issued another apology, this one *actually* an apology and not just PR flack, and said that 1) they'll be reaching out to Monica to "apologize and discuss next steps" (a day later and they still haven't) and 2) they're ramming through the Code of Conduct without any meaningful feedback period.

As the replies point out: If the original problem was based in unwarranted haste, why more haste now?

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@leip4Ier As near I can tell, Monica actually *doesn't* like using singular they, because she thinks it's ungrammatical. (I misunderstood the situation earlier.) But she doesn't misgender people, as far as I can tell, she just tries to avoid pronoun constructions when pronouns aren't known. 🤷

/cc @suetanvil more context


I’ve only given this fracas a brief skim but I’m getting serious crucial-details-withheld-for-legal-reasons vibes from it.

@suetanvil That's normally how I'd be tempted to interpret it, but this person is a friend-of-a-friend 6 different ways, and I'm really getting a "what the fuck I'm so confused" vibe off their writing.

Also, other mods are leaving in protest, which is a pretty good sign of ongoing internal issues.

If there are actually crucial details being withheld, they need to at least say as much. But their official response stinks to high heaven of bullshit. (I flagged it as "incorrect". :-P)

@varx Your summary is lacking details that are very important. From the blog post, the person was deliberately writing in such a way as to avoid using a person's pronouns. When taken as a larger pattern, including refusing to recognize the singular they, this is misgendering.

If a trans woman uses she/her pronouns, and you verbally dance around using those pronouns, you're deliberately denying her gender.

If a non-binary person uses they/them pronouns, and you verbally dance around using their pronouns, you're deliberately denying their gender.

Both are transphobic.

@sphakos I don't think that's what's going on here, though. She seems to be talking about *generic* writing, where there is a person of unknown gender or even an unspecified person. (She also was upset at bigotry against trans and nonbinary folks.)

If I'm wrong and she's actually wanting to avoid using they/them pronouns when indicated... honestly, I still don't care, because this is entirely moot: She was asking questions about a future policy, and people don't generally *use* pronouns on Stack Overflow.

@sphakos (Personally, I think that singular-they is Right and Good not just for the generic and the agender-personal, but even for "fuck, I can't remember their gender right now, let along their name". But that latter one might get me in trouble on fedi, ironically.)

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