I'm not a native English speaker. And I'm on the autistic spectrum.
In the last few weeks, I did watch the events around the termination of Monica Cellio unfold. I said nothing.
I did read about the resignations of several moderators. And I said nothing.
I did read the apology to the community, and still said nothing.
I did read the new Official FAQ on gender pronouns and Code of Conduct changes.
And decided it is time to speak now.
As a non-native English speaker it is hard for me to write well written English. But I can manage, using tools like spellcheckers and translators if I need a word.
Using the correct pronouns was hard. Most of the time it means for me that I had to guess the right pronoun; using unreliable information like name, profile picture or just my gut.
I did hope the new CoC would change that, and make it easier.
Well, it did the first part. No more guesswork. And I welcome this.
But at the same time, it makes it harder, at least for me.
Now the information what the right pronoun is is not in plain sight.
Easy to find on the profile. Or hidden in an old comment. Or in a message on Stack Overflow's chat. I'm not sure that I can and I am willing to go through an users entire history on Stack Exchange to find that one comment that just answers the benign question "What pronoun should I use?".
In the past I did mistakes. Used the wrong grammar, the wrong words.
Stack Overflow was a wonderful in how it taught me English.
If I made such a mistake, people edited my question or answer to improve my English.
And I would look at the changes they made, and try to figure out what the mistake was there.
There is no judging involved in editing an others person post.
For me it was a neutral way to point out my mistakes.
And I didn't feel bad about it. Because I am still learning English.
But the new CoC did change that.
Others are expected to point out my mistakes.
I am required to apologize for my mistake.
There is judging going on.
As a non-native speaker I don't care about your language.
For me, English is a tool. A valuable one I might add, but just a tool.
Tools may change over time, and that is fine.
I won't fight such change, because English is not my language.
As long as I am able to use this tool for what I love it, I don't care what you do to it.
I am fine with using any pronoun.
I don't care what word I use there.
Those neopronouns don't have a meaning for me.
I'm fine with one of them, any one.
But now, I fear that if I make a mistake,
if I didn't stalk a member of this community enough,
my silly brain forgot something that was not important for me,
that I will be banned. Not on the first mistake, but sometime.
So I have beg you:
Don't take my mistakes personally.
Don't judge me by my mistakes.
Please keep silently correcting my silly mistakes.
I believe that we can have a welcoming culture this way.
By not judging the others by their mistakes, but by correcting them without a word.
Showing them the right way, without judging and speaking.
But for me, well, I will have to deal with the new Code of Conduct now.
So my questions are:
- How do I find the right pronoun?
- How much work do you expect me to do to find the answer?
- What pronoun should I use when I don't find the answer?
And for the long term:
- Can't we please not point out the mistakes of others? Be it the use of a wrong pronoun or the use of doubt instead of question?
- Can we have an easy place where we can find the answer on which pronoun we should use? Maybe in their usercard. Or in some other place.