Pursuant to discussion on the new Code of Conduct FAQ on pronouns, several have asked how far they'll need to search to determine if a user has expressed their preferred pronouns. This requested feature could create an easy solution for that concern.

On sites where I've reached the "established user" privilege level, users can hover over my picture to see a snippet of my profile:

expanded user card

This is where I've included my preferred pronouns, and where I see many others including them as well.

By making this feature universal, users could quickly and easily check for preferred pronouns without needing to navigate to another page.

  • 2
    When you say "universal" do you mean "once a user earns the privilege on one site, apply it to every other" or "give all users this privilege, regardless of their reputation anywhere" (or perhaps set to something lower, e.g., 20 rep)?
    – VLAZ
    Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 20:07
  • 1
    Into it. Thanks for the suggestion!
    – Meg Risdal
    Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 22:47
  • 3
    @VLAZ It's my understanding that it's the latter.
    – TylerH
    Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 13:52
  • What am I doing wrong? I can't find any pronoun information in your profile, whether by clicking or hovering. Maybe I don't have enough rep? Currently: 1746. Commented Oct 12, 2019 at 22:37
  • @aparente001 This is the point - LShaver's profile does include his personal pronouns, but with only 525 rep on here you have click through to his profile to see it. If all users had the expanded profile card you'd be able to see it by hovering over his profile as per the picture. Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 9:40
  • 1
    If you really want to include some extra info about yourself, add it to your name. Note that many users use touch devices, such as mobiles/tablets, that do not have hover event Commented Dec 26, 2019 at 6:58

4 Answers 4


I am happy to announce that hover cards are now working for all users. We have removed the rep requirement for this (previously 1000 rep), so it will show for any user. Based on your feedback, we have also moved down the content requirement for showing the hover card from 28 characters to 6 characters. This is now live on all sites on the network, and relevant wiki pages have been updated.

  • 2
    Wasn't the original reason for restricting access to this functionality to a much smaller set of users (here meaning those whose rep=1,000) due at least in part to the performance hit on the web servers responding to these requests when everybody and their dog and even their dog’s robot spider could do it? Was that somehow addressed by these updates?
    – tchrist
    Commented Jan 20, 2020 at 14:32
  • 9
    I little worried about the privilege to the spam accounts
    – Arulkumar
    Commented Jan 20, 2020 at 14:35
  • 3
    I am not sure about the history of this. But performance right now shouldn't be an issue (we precalculate if the hover card should be shown for an individual user). As far as spam accounts, we are not worried about the impact here. Commented Jan 20, 2020 at 14:38
  • 10
    Nice work, Yaakov!
    – Shog9
    Commented Jan 20, 2020 at 15:29
  • 1
    Is this also confirmation that we will be required to search the profile card of each user we interact with to determine the preferred pronouns?
    – Skooba
    Commented Jan 20, 2020 at 16:50
  • 8
    @skooba no, this is not confirmation of anything other than that this feature has changed. This is not saying anything regarding pronoun usage. I do not believe that anyone is required to search profiles before interacting with other users. Commented Jan 20, 2020 at 17:12
  • 2
    @Skooba no; see #11 in this FAQ answer.
    – LShaver
    Commented Jan 20, 2020 at 17:19
  • Did the character limit get reduced before today? I only had a nine character summary ("Hi There!") on SO since January 9, 2020 (when I got 1k rep). The hover was working fine even though it should have been too short using the old restriction. I only realized now that this should not have been possible.
    – Thomas F
    Commented Jan 20, 2020 at 17:19
  • 1
    @ThomasF as a matter of fact, it did get reduced for users with over 1000 rep before this post. We precalculate if you will show the hover, setting this whenever AboutMe is saved. So had to do a backfill across the entire network for users with this not set, or with it set to false but Len(AboutMe) > 6. That backfill was done over the past few days. After this backfill, users with over 1000 rep and Len(AboutMe) between 6 and 28 would get hover. I removed the rep restriction today. Commented Jan 21, 2020 at 12:07

Slight improvement suggestion: get rid of the "enough info in profile" criterion. As the privilege currently works,

An expanded usercard is only available if there are at least 28 characters in the "About Me" section of your profile. When your profile is long enough to show an expanded usercard a drop shadow effect will be shown on your avatar.

If someone wants to state their pronouns, but not much else into their "about me" field, and if the goal of making the privilege universal is to grant quick access/better visibility to people's pronouns, one shouldn't have to write "he/his/him [random stuff to reach 28 chars]".

  • Agreed, it seems somewhat silly to have a minimum character limit for showing an expanded user card on hover.
    – V2Blast
    Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 20:12
  • There are some users who do not want expanded user cards; the page provides a bypass for them: supply a "summary" that is too short. Commented Jan 20, 2020 at 19:41

Additionally/alternatively, perhaps include a specific part of the user profile to specify pronouns that show on the user card even without having to expand the "expanded usercard privilege" to everyone. E.g.:

updated usercard

And that comes from the values here on my profile page:

profile page with new pronoun preference circled in red freehand

This way you save a database call for Stack Exchange (just to see someone's preferred pronouns), you save a mouse movement and time spent hovering for the user, and you get to keep the neat little privilege of having an expandable user card for those who like it.

  • 4
    I'd be OK with having a field in the profile, but putting it in the box itself would make the sites seem too much like social media rather than a Q&A site. If a separate profile field, it could still be coupled with the original idea of expanding the flyout to all users regardless of reputation. Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 19:15
  • 1
    @ThomasOwens the company has moved well past keeping this a site that's only about questions and answers with this CoC and recent events. However I agree it could be visible as part of a flyout to all users in a way that's separate from the rest of the usercard expansion. Don't have an idea/implementation of what that might look like, though.
    – TylerH
    Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 19:17
  • 8
    This is honestly a pretty good solution. Systematic support for this would also send a clear signal. It's also more work than just giving everyone access to an expandable user-card, though, so I'd get if they didn't do this on those grounds.
    – user206222
    Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 6:40
  • 1
    @Aza It'd be a pretty weak excuse though, because probably only a few people put their preferred pronouns in their bio. Even after this CoC change and it being recommended by staff in response to questions via comments under the announcements, I'm sure most still won't do it. So they'll have made kind of a pointless change in that case.
    – TylerH
    Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 13:45
  • 4
    @rjzii Hah. Advertisers already know. Commented Oct 12, 2019 at 21:39
  • 4
    @rjzii You must have better tin foil than me :) Anyway, surely advertisers can scrape preferred pronouns: he/him from your about me anyway? So if you don't want the people to know, you can simply not put it in your profile. Commented Oct 12, 2019 at 21:48
  • 1
    This is pretty scrapable regardless of it being in it's own field. I don't think SO/SE sell this sort of info about you anyway? Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 9:17
  • 1
    I'm disappointed this answer has such a low score. It is (IMHO) the perfect solution. It allows people who care about their personal pronouns to opt-in, it eliminates the need for people to actively go out of their way to see if preferred personal pronouns are specified, and it gives SE an opportunity to demonstrate their willingness to "put their money where their mouth is" by building this feature.
    – Beofett
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 12:32
  • 1
    This may end up never happening because of legal implications Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 15:37
  • @Zoethetransgirl I think it's best to avoid adding to the speculation fire. As my comment to Shog there shows, we currently have no actual indication that there even are any legal issues with such a system, only a comment from Shog saying 'we're looking into it', presumably because someone raised a concern.
    – TylerH
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 15:47
  • 1
    Very nice idea, if there are any legal concerns maybe some kind of consensus would work out.
    – Evil
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 15:56
  • 3
    Glorfindel's Pronoun Assistant script was just updated to do exactly this. Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 17:31
  • Wikia/Fandom also allows one to show their gender. Commented Jan 20, 2020 at 17:42

This wouldn't work for neo-pronouns. The binary pronouns are:

           |            | genitive   | genitive |
nominative | accusative | determiner | pronoun  | reflexive
he         | him        | his        | his      | himself
she        | her        | her        | hers     | herself

nominative: Earlier, he/she went to the shops.

accusative: I gave the book to him/her.

genitive determiner: That is his/her car.

genitive pronoun: That meal is his/hers.

reflexive: Apparently, he/she did it himself/herself!

If my neo-pronouns are foo, bar, baz, qux, & fooself, how is another user supposed to know which is which? How many users' knowledge of grammar is good enough to correctly use neo-pronouns while trying to answer the OP's question?

  • 2
    Do you mean that neo-pronouns are incompatible with English grammar? Commented Dec 26, 2019 at 7:19
  • 1
    @MiFreidgeimSO-stopbeingevil There are over 40 sets of neopronouns documented so far, compared with the standard four sets of singular third-person pronouns: masculine (he/him), feminine (she/her), impersonal (it), epicene (they/them). None of the neopronouns are mainstream (yet). If any of the current or yet-to-be-coined pronoun sets become mainstream they will be easy to use. We're not at that stage yet, so they're not easy to understand or use.
    – Cool Fool
    Commented Dec 26, 2019 at 7:34

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