I've been reading posts and comments all over the network for many years and never felt like I need to register. I've also been watching what's going on here since the pronoun-crisis broke out and I notice how it's getting worse every day and I can no longer just sit there and do nothing. I identify myself as transgender and I am disgusted about the war on pronouns that is like an earthquake splitting communities into opposing groups.

There are many users who recognize the problems with the new CoC -- see this nice compilation -- and there are their enemies. They seem to be organized in flag brigades and use moderators as a tool for their own sake by rising rude flag. They call for help in the Tavern on the Meta.

What worries me most is that these actions are even supported by the Staff:

I'm issuing suspensions too, but not gonna talk about that

Feel free to flag anyone still "drumming up transphobia" or ping me to take a look

Flag what needs to be flagged, and folks will get what they need

I'm reading nearly any comment and I rarely think that any one deserves this kind of punishment.

What is wrong with you people? She/he/her/him users supported by Mods & Staff vs the rest of the community.

I explicitly distance myself from this turmoil. It's nice when people use the pronoun you suggest them to use but if they don't and they chose to use the neutral one they then it's still OK! Nobody should be banned by using a neutral word.

I can only hope that both sides will come to their senses soon. One of them by making the CoC less strict and community members by stopping to offend each other and provoking hateful speech.

How many more are going to be suspended before coming to an agreement?

  • 14
    Meta Stack Exchange Chat is over there if you wanna chat @ModusTollens. There are already too many discussions for me to watch carefully; expect comment threads to be short-lived for the near future. Answers, as always, are a good choice if you want something to last.
    – Shog9
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 16:57
  • 13
    My question is, why are chatroom users allowed to conspire and "brigade" a certain answer that they do not like? And why is a former moderator in on it? This seems like a very serious issue.
    – user612952
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 16:58
  • 10
    @HugoZink See the answers, nobody was "brigading". Shog just helped clean up some mean stuff that slipped attention for 12 hours.
    – user204841
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 17:01
  • 3
    For what it is worth: It is extremely hard to do The Right Thing™ these days. Over the last few days I kicked more users and moved more message as RO in the tavern then I did all time in SOCVR. Everybody is free to dislike chatrooms and the side-effects they might cause. I still see them as an more effective way to reach-out to people and have a (fruitful) discussion. At least this one is the open and can be scrutinized. Feel free to either join the room if you see something that you feel is not right or raise a mod flag. I'm sure the RO team will get feedback if we missed stuff.
    – rene
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 19:27
  • 8
    @JacquelineCailot: You didn't link the most important comment in that chat room: Point is: if we want stuff to be better, we gotta make a conscious effort. It isn't going to just magically improve with MOAR SUSPENSIONS or MOAR RULES.
    – user102937
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 19:37
  • 3
    Related: this question. Because the bots and flag brigades are a very good solution for helping to quickly remove that kind of offensive material, and the more we self-police, the less inclined SE might be to muddle in the communities' inner workings.
    – user102937
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 19:46
  • 3
    Thanks for speaking your mind in this thoughtful manner. I also wonder how we all could end up so extremely divided in the name of inclusivity and welcomeness. I have no answer to that. Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 6:18
  • As Robert said, there is nothing wrong with asking other users for flags. In fact the Charcoal room relies on this. Particularly when the site is short on moderators.
    – user310756
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 14:13
  • @Nobody there is nothing wrong with asking other users for flags Here's a statement from a CM about that: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/336843/…
    – dfhwze
    Commented Oct 27, 2019 at 15:30

9 Answers 9


This isn't that hard to figure out.

Stack Exchange's goals have changed. I've seen it happen many times before. You start out as a small company with a pure idea. It works. But then you grow. You decide to make new things. New people coming into the company have different ideas about how things should work, and they all have different motives.

Shareholders. Their motive is profitability. You obtain a round of financing from them, and now your company is no longer completely yours. Your shareholders have a say. They rightly ask, "how is it profitable to ask the communities for permission every time we make a decision? It's slow and painful, and doesn't add anything to the bottom line."

Then you get new people in the company who are placed in key positions. They exert an enormous amount of influence. They don't always know or educate themselves about the history of the company, where it came from, or why it became successful. Consequently, they don't know how to preserve the "secret sauce," the good stuff. It's the reason that Steve Jobs had to join Apple again, and why the founder of Starbucks had to grab hold of the reins and bring it back into its original focus.

People in enormous positions of influence who have blinders on and fail to see the big picture are the reason the show "Undercover Boss" was created. You can practically set your watch by them; it has become such a common occurrence that it is almost a cliché.

It's fascinating to see how this plays out, how one person can have such an debilitating effect on an organization, and how the people around them seem powerless to stop it. I've seen it happen, not once, but several times in my own personal career. The most recent occurrence was an individual who had control over the databases of our software development group. Every little change to the database was torture and took ages, because he would give us the third degree about what it was, how we were doing it, why we were doing it, and so on. It crippled our team until this person retired and the group housing the databases simply gave us administrative control over them.

As I say to my wife sometimes (her workplace is its own special case of funny-farm): "You should be amused, but no longer surprised."

  • 3
    I don't know what's going on internally at SE, but from what I've seen regarding their recent actions, or lack thereof, what you wrote makes the most sense among basically anything else I've read here. Unfortunately, if it's true, then there's no particularly easy solution. However, I've found that to solve a problem, first you need to acknowledge there's a problem, then determine what exactly the problem is. I believe your scenario is, at least to some extent, what the basic problem may be at SE. Understanding the problem better can hopefully lead to some reasonable solution in the future. Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 18:10
  • 3
    I would be careful about lumping the entire company into that statement. This is only guessing & extrapolation on my part from a very limited set of information, plus some previous experience working at larger companies as a contractor, but I believe some of the people at SE don't think they have a problem, while others do. Unfortunately, the ones who don't think they have a problem are mostly the ones who are the basic cause of the problems. This is mainly why I wrote there's no easy solution because, short of reassigning or firing them, not much else can reasonably be done. Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 18:27
  • 11
    @JohnOmielan: Fair enough. I did suggest (rightly, I believe) that there are individuals in the organization who exert disproportionate influence, and that agreement among the staff is not universal.
    – user102937
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 18:28
  • I fully agree with your comment above, based on my interpretation of what I've read here and the actions I've seen various company staff take recently. Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 18:30
  • 2
    As I've mentioned elsewhere, unfortunately a lot of the recent company related actions, and sometimes inactions, remind me a lot of the Dilbert cartoons. Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 18:37
  • @JohnOmielan: Hmm, was Scott Adams trying on a new look in September? Or maybe he was on vacation and someone else was filling in. In other news, daaaammn. Scott has gotten more cynical than I am, and I didn't think that was possible.
    – user102937
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 19:19
  • 5
    Admittedly, considering the disasters that we observed recently (in terms of PR and particularly regarding the established user base), and how predictable they have been, and how ignorant SE has been, I start to doubt that "profitability" has anything to do with all this. It's rather something that, if spoken out loud (and not phrased extremely carefully) would sound like a conspiracy theory, so I recommend everybody to keep an eye open and think about who could be interested in achieving what in this game.
    – Marco13
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 21:01
  • @Marco13 - I wish I were smarter, and able to figure out what you're hinting at. Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 6:53
  • @aparente001 I'll dance around it a bit myself: Suppose my house is on fire and I stand in front of it watching it burn. You're saying to yourself (or to me) "Call the fire department! Turn on a hose! Do something!" Then you see me throw some gas on it. "Stop! You're making it worse!" At some point you must at least consider the possibility that I started the fire and that I want the house to burn. Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 13:30
  • @ScottHannen - Okay, thanks, I'm starting to follow, but then who could be interested in achieving the destruction? Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 13:42
  • 1
    @aparente001 I couldn't begin to guess. Hanlon's razor - which I had never heard of before all of this, but now I've heard of lots of times - suggests that it's not deliberate at all. It might be deliberate, given, as mentioned, how predictable all of this was. But at that point it's lots of guessing. Who is pulling which strings? What is their endgame? Did someone act deliberately, but then the effects got away from them? It's all on the table. The truth is out there. I'm just sayin'. Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 13:47
  • Welcome back R.H. Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 18:20

Actually, there's almost no active moderators left.

Let's talk about the really hard truth here. We have a lot more trolls and trolling than we had. We have folks who believe that the only way to change the status quo for the better is through conflict - something I disagree with, and well, lots of conflict.

On the other hand, we have threads with several hundred posts. We have trolls obvious and less so.

I realise that SE corporate doesn't have much trust at the moment.

Heck I'm not actually sure how much trust I have with folks right now but a good chunk of in the community folks know me.

The current crop of moderators put in a chunk of time to try to make this a better, less toxic place. Its looking like a superfund site. Tied in with low morale and burn out and... our means with dealing with this are limited.

There will be as many causalities as we let there be. We're going to get as torn apart as we let ourselves to be. Some of the conflicts are going to be a little harder to resolve than others.

Rather than cherry pick - as someone used to the SE way of moderation, let me lay out a few things.

  • Things are crazy right now. The sheer moderation workload is probably insane and most of these are not 'easy' things to handle. Assuming they've gotten CMs on board, and with a fairly depleted corps of mods I doubt anyone can keep track of things. Asking folks to flag specific issues is essential in being able to manage this.

  • It is worth considering the big picture here. In a chaotic situation we need to assure folks that things are looked at and under control. Letting people know that flags are appreciated, looked at and acted on helps, hopefully maintain confidence in the system.

  • While the goal of the new COC was to make SE safer, on the short term, partially due to the sequence of events, things are confused. We have 4 different issues at least none of which have anything to do with the COC all jumbled together. I am for the spirit of what we're trying to achieve, but feel that the way it was handled has basically made it difficult for everyone involved.

  • There's no effective way short of working together to deal with these things for now. Even a full compliment of motivated moderators would have difficulty with support of CMs.

I'd love to say there's a quick fix - or even a clear path ahead. There isn't. There's no good way for getting rid of the more... unfortunate choices of words people use, or the pile on of comments. We need folks actively de-escalating not re-escalating things and helping deal with less pleasant stuff. That needs a active, motivated community core. We are not going to end this by pointing fingers at people. We end this with kindness and empathy to the folks who are around us.

  • 4
    "I realise that SE corporate doesn't have much trust at the moment." - SE did a lot of things that are strange and suspicious at best, alienating their own user base. Otherwise a lot of moderators (seems to include even you) would not be resigning nor going on strike en mass. If SE don't work ASAP to improve their communication and transparency with their own community, there will be no happy ending to all of this. Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 17:48
  • 8
    And that's messy. But one can disagree with the actions of the company and folks who work in it but still want a healthy community. Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 18:26
  • 3
    "There's almost no active moderators left." That may be the case for some sites, but so far as I can see, most sites that I am interacting with are continuing to operate with a solid moderator team and, more importantly, continued reasonable high-rep user moderation.
    – jakebeal
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 20:01
  • 7
    I'm talking specifically of meta, and trust me when I say I'm totally familiar with the situation Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 20:02
  • 17
    Seriously, I don't get what this is about. This whole post just seems to be a complaint that people are actually trying to delete overtly harmful content, which takes organization, because there are no other moderators. Trying to organize to clean up the worst of the worst is... not okay?
    – user206222
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 20:22
  • 1
    I guess so! But the traditions of chat and such are clearly less than obvious Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 20:37
  • 13
    @Aza What I think that some people are complaining is to promote a witch-hunt. No one is complaining about cleaning troll crap, but for at least one of the links posted, I failed to see anything bad at all. It was not that it was something I would agree, but I saw no line being crossed. If people starts to put things that are mere disagreements in the same bin as troll crap, we would have a serious problem. Further, no one explained why it was bad after all, and in fact, what I saw was just people refusing to explain. Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 0:32
  • 7
    @VictorStafusa that's because the comment was deleted and you were taken to the post that the comment was attached to. Part of the issue is the links get taken out of context when the comments get removed. (Trust me, these are really ugly comments)
    – user384163
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 11:05
  • 2
    @AGirlHasNoName, I'm not buying that this place can determine what's ugly or not, not when seeing some of the BS that's been thrown at my points. And the inability of the crusaders here to understand that the problem is sourced in the actual crusading itself is what will perpetuate this nonsense. As in forever. This "We can clean up bad thought" mantra is a concept fraught with peril because it 1. first requires you to not admit that being intolerant of intolerance is a logical knot, and 2. Trust the populace who in my opinion would cry foul at anything they even slightly disagree with. Commented Oct 15, 2019 at 3:44
  • The solution is in simmering the frig down. Not in further identifying supposed boogeymen. And neither SE, nor the now SE-detractors are able to see this. Commented Oct 15, 2019 at 3:46
  • 3
    That would be nice. That needs someone to actually calm down and start de-escalating. Commented Oct 15, 2019 at 3:55

You quoted me, so I want to clarify something: we're not warning or suspending people for discussing this stuff, or for disagreeing with our implementation, or for asking questions. All of that is important, even if it isn't always pleasant.

But when that discussion verges into personal attacks and harassment, we have to draw a line. There's nothing to be gained here if, in the name of becoming more welcoming, we end up driving away folks who are trying to learn and build. To achieve that end, participation must be constructive.

The Code of Conduct applies to everyone:

  • If you’re here to get help, make it as easy as possible for others to help you.
  • Be clear and constructive when giving feedback, and be open when receiving it.
  • If you’re here to help others, be patient and welcoming.
  • Be inclusive and respectful.
  • No subtle put-downs or unfriendly language.
  • No name-calling or personal attacks.
  • No bigotry.
  • No harassment.

I, along with my colleagues, have issued warnings and suspensions to a very diverse group of individuals expressing a wide range of opinions over the past few days... Because they couldn't or wouldn't follow one or more of those rules, opting instead to go out of their way to hurt others. That's unfortunate; but the alternative is worse.

So here's a reminder: this is not a time or place to wage war or to seek retribution; if anyone here is not interested in helping others to learn and build, then they should go do something else, somewhere else. Nothing can be gained here by adding to the damage that has already been done.

  • 106
    Given the way Monica was treaten, it seems to me like exclusion is SE, Inc.'s way of implementing more inclusion. "Exclusion is Inclusion" is such an orwellian phrase.
    – MechMK1
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 16:38
  • 44
    Yes, we made our jobs 1000x harder than they had to be. That sucks. Can't go back & change it though. Still got fires to put out.
    – Shog9
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 16:39
  • 17
    I understand that being a CM at SE, Inc. is not the best job to have right now. I just hope that the community feedback for the new Code of Conduct is being treaten seriously, and not like "This is just a vocal minority full of hateful trolls who hate LGBT+ people".
    – MechMK1
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 16:43
  • 21
    Interesting view. Another view is that going back and revising that decision; thereby showing that the CoC is not a sword against the unaware; would be like dumping a whole vat of water from a jumbo plane across this burning field. Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 16:43
  • 21
    Reinstating Monica will probably change the view about the CoC - I don't believe that people insist not to be nice for no reason
    – Alon Eitan
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 16:46
  • 73
    Most of people, including me, have fear of being suspended or banned for crossing invisible lines due to some random unknown unfair accusation without realistic chance of getting defense. And SE is not doing a good job in reducing other people fear. In fact, the level of fear, anger, frustration and mistrust is just raising. If there is someone who could help to dispel that bad feelings, that person is you. So I ask you, if possible, to do something that makes people feel safe again. Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 16:49
  • 34
    That's why I'm here on a weekend yet again, @Victor. I wish I could wave a wand and make this all better, but I can't; the best I can do - the best most of us can do - is just be here, visible, watching and guiding. That feels like not very much in the face of all this, but... I hope it is better than nothing.
    – Shog9
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 16:55
  • 17
    @RobMoir: I'd be cautious about lambasting Shog's opinions. You don't actually know what they are. All I've ever seen him say about this whole thing is that it's not a hill worth dying on. Sage advice.
    – user102937
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 16:56
  • 25
    @Shog9: "they should go do something else, somewhere else": +1 for the hint. I think I will do that. You've said it before, and I called you out on it in a comment that has since disappeared, saying it's not a very clever thing to incite your content creators and moderators to vote with their feet, but I see now that you were right, there really doesn't seem anything else left to do. I'm sorry to say so, because up to about a week ago I really liked this place. It's too bad corporate SE thinks it needs to sacrifice well-meaning contributors for the sake of... well, I don't know what. Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 17:02
  • 24
    I'm not sure which comment you're referring to, @pascal... But I've said essentially the same thing for a decade: if this isn't fun, if being here makes you miserable, makes you want to lash out... Then go do something more enjoyable. None of this is worth hurting yourself or others.
    – Shog9
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 17:06
  • 64
    That's why I'm here on a weekend yet again ... Yeah. As usual, SE makes decisions, and then is content with leaving it to you and the other CM's to clean up after the resulting mess.
    – user102937
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 17:07
  • 60
    "Can't go back & change it though." As far as I know, whether Monica is a moderator or not is just a flag in the database. There is no reason SE could not "go back & change it". They just don't want to. That's a huge difference.
    – nvoigt
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 17:27
  • 15
    Yes, we made our jobs 1000x harder than they had to be. That sucks. Can't go back & change it though. Still got fires to put out. Why, can't go back? We are all humans, we all do errors. Assuming an error can be hard, and some people just can't, but people understand that error happen. Everyone hoped for a true mea culpa there. I dont know why a deaf tone is used.
    – yagmoth555
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 2:21
  • 17
    @Shog9 “Can’t go back & change it though.” Yes, you (SE) can. Most users here aren’t holding grudges. If you reinstate Monica and go back to the previous CoC, all will be forgiven by most users. No one was asking for these changes; they were unnecessary.
    – Ben Miller
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 4:31
  • 20
    @Shog sure you can go back and change it. You can revert the bad decision. You can take comparable action against people who actually violated the code of conduct with personal attacks and insults in TL, about which I filed tickets. You can get back to a consistent, known-good state and move forward from there, instead of throwing one victim under the bus while taking no action on much bigger problems. Where is SE's humanity? Where are the values it claims to uphold? Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 21:29

I find it a bit difficult to understand the bottom line of your question, because I feel there are multiple issues being conflated here. I will concentrate on this:

There are many users who recognize the problems with the new CoC [...] and there are their enemies. They seem to be organized in flag brigades and use moderators as a tool for their own sake by rising rude flag.

A quick clarification before I go on: the messages you linked to contain comment links. If a comment gets deleted, clicking the link will take you to the question or answer where the comment was posted. So if you find such a link and it leads to an answer that should not be deleted: well yeah, the original comment is now gone!

Whether or not the new (only slightly altered) CoC is helpful or not for the LGBTQ+ community is a debate on its own. Cis and trans people even disagree amongs themselves and I don't intend to discuss that here.

What seems to be a larger issue is the interpretation and planned enforcement of the updated CoC, which is in great part shadowed by the fact that it was heralded by the very unfair treatment of a user of a community in high standing (again, there's a lot to be said about this, and most of it has been said elsewhere).

However, the greatest issue is that the debate around the updated CoC and its official FAQ has sprouted an immense community response; and a lot of it not Nice. There's a wide gray area where we can argue that certain views fit into a person's personal beliefs, but there are a lot of examples of flat-out abuse (mostly transphobic, but also homophobic remarks). The worst of these don't live long on the site, because they are deleted fast, as they should be.

So how do abusive posts and comments get deleted? By flagging. Flagging is a key component in community-driven moderation. But the way flags are implemented suggests that it's very hard to do harm. You need several flags to destroy posts, and the full flag history is transparently visible to moderators and staff, complete with the name and date of the flaggers. One can easily imagine a band of trolls getting together to delete things with flags, but if anything gets deleted without merit, a single custom moderator flag can initiate an investigation on the matter, and I assure you that mods and staff will not take such flag abuse lightly.

So about the "flag brigades". Since you said you've only registered you might not be aware of moderation in chat. Some language- and moderation-related chatrooms support tags (mild abuse of the tag markdown syntax in chat) to raise awareness of things to close. The tag itself reads as "CV please" for "close vote please", but everyone understands those to mean that this is only a request for other users to make educated, conscious assessments of the post being linked. It usually takes 5 pairs of eyes to have something closed in this manner.

Although we're talking about flag "requests" now, the dynamics is the same. You might see in the transcript that certain users are angrily asking for flags regarding the pronoun debate, and perhaps it's understandable to be angry considering the amount of filth being thrown around. My point, however, is that such a request for a flag doesn't imply that "a brigade" will jump on the post and flag it. Unless you think that everyone in chat is a mindless droid (I hope not!) you should see that these messages only raise awareness to content that the poster found unacceptable. What happens after is up to the discretion of every other user. They attach their names to their flags, and if something gets deleted when it shouldn't have, there will be repercussions.

If you see something get deleted when it didn't deserve it: raise a custom moderator flag and let moderators or staff investigate. Otherwise read between the lines, and notice that plenty of the flag requests are subsequently debated, and people will disagree whether something that was linked really deserves deletion. People's backgrounds and assessment of subjective issues varies, which is why several people have to agree for rude flags to do anything without moderator intervention.

But from the sheer volume of blatant hate that I've seen posted since the CoC FAQ came out (and summarily deleted), I urge you not to think that the lukewarm responses left alive on the site are representative of the posts that are asked to be flagged.


They seem to be organized in flag brigades and use moderators as a tool for their own sake by rising rude flag. They call for help in the Tavern on the Meta. A couple of examples:

Moderation requests in various forms () have been allowed within reason in the tavern for a long time now. Participants are invited to always use their own best judgement when deciding to flag a post or not.

These requests serve as a way to get more eyes on a topic, and discussing broader moderation and examples has been historically allowed in the tavern, so we're not going to forbid it for now.

This is in essence no different then users coming across posts naturally and actioning them. We have different automated moderation queues that do similar things all over the network in dozens of different forms.


To see how big a deal, in numerical terms, the pronoun issue actually is, I searched Stack Overflow for all of the standard English pronouns (and pronominal adjectives) that I could think of. My results were:

  1. I: 26,921,573 (23.13%)
  2. it: 24,983,163 (21.47%)
  3. you: 21,709,865 (18.65%)
  4. your: 11,353,972 (9.76%)
  5. my: 11,243,650 (9.66%)
  6. me: 4,947,492 (4.25%)
  7. them: 3,295,834 (2.83%)
  8. its: 2,849,110 (2.45%)
  9. they: 2,772,588 (2.38%)
  10. we: 2,559,753 (2.20%)
  11. their: 1,344,058 (1.15%)
  12. our: 733,703 (0.63%)
  13. us: 681,041 (0.59%)
  14. he: 334,225 (0.29%)
  15. his: 268,400 (0.23%)
  16. mine: 130,177 (0.11%)
  17. yours: 74,473 (0.06%)
  18. him: 72,965 (0.06%)
  19. her: 43,755 (0.04%)
  20. she: 40,502 (0.03%)
  21. theirs: 8,175 (0.01%)
  22. ours: 6,356 (0.01%)
  23. hers: 1,292 (0.00%)

Five of the top six pronouns are either first- or second-person. Which is unsurprising because of Stack Exchange's Q&A format. You post your question, and I respond with my answer. Or vice-versa. Conveniently, all of those words are gender-neutral in English, and so I was able to write that without revealing my sex or gender (I'm male, in case you were wondering) or reacting to yours. If this site were in another "more-gendered" language, then we might not be so grammatically lucky.

Occasionally, it's necessary to refer to a person in the third person: Another poster ("My solution is based on User12345's, but I optimized it by..."), a user, a co-worker, or a blogger. But that's an exception to the dominant "I"/"you" conversation paradigm.

The six pronouns that carry gender information in English got a combined 761,139 search results. A large number in absolute terms, but only 0.65% of the total pronoun count. And if 99% of those are in reference to "cis" people with no controversy over the correct pronouns to use, that puts at most 1 pronoun in 15,000 in violation of the Code of Conduct.

  • 3
    I wonder how that works out across the network. Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 2:41
  • 1
    @JourneymanGeek: Yes, it would be interesting to see how various SE sites compare. Those that are more focused on people (as opposed to code and computers) would likely have a higher proportion of "he" and "she".
    – dan04
    Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 3:27

This is not about pronouns.

The weaponization of the CoC started 2 years ago with the first major changes that removed the clear simple language and started the language lawyering that you see today.

We are just seeing the egregious abuse of it now, that many of us have been subject to for 2 years.


Over the last two weeks, I personally have cast four abuse flags on MSE posts and comments that were overtly homophobic or transphobic, and I know of plenty of other instances of that from discussions here. Though they are a minority of the reactions to the changes, such abusive posts have been coming up in a noticeable amount lately. Asking for help in getting rid of those in a timely way is legitimate (see also Magisch's answer), specially given how MSE moderation has been stretched thin. Denouncing for brigading users trying to get rid of hateful content is not appropriate.

  • 37
    I'd agree wholeheartedly if it were not for the fact that some folks have been branded homophobic for simply having a point of view that differs from the world view that SE is currently offering.
    – user102937
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 17:03
  • 28
    I also want to add that hateful comments were coming from both sides, in case somebody assumes it's just one. And flags for both sides were handled. "Be nice" still applies to all of us.
    – user204841
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 17:04
  • @ModusTollens FWIW, I did see, and flag, one of the incidents I believe you are referring to. (It is not included in my flag count above as it wasn't a matter of overt transphobia/homphobia.)
    – duplode
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 17:21

Suggested Edit: Please keep in mind that this response of mine is contingent upon the currently existing mindset as stated at the bottom.

I so strongly wish that this can be resolved, but I suspect that it's not possible. And the reason that it's not possible isn't because of any particular fault on either Monica's side or SE.

(....Though there may exist significant fault on the side of SE.) Please note, I insist that this only sounds like a contradiction.

The problem has its roots in the underlying architecture of "trying to not be offensive" efforts. Note: Such efforts are absolutely laudable, and in all ways to be commended.

Specifically: You must be intolerant of subtleties in such an effort (and resulting rule set) because each and every subtlety lends itself to unavoidable misinterpretation on both sides.

And those subtleties and resulting misinterpretations land us right were we are now.

Bottom line, I don't have an answer to this, but instead the following meta-answer: An answer to this does not exist in the the context of the currently existing mindset.

  • +1, however I'd argue that it can be solved, except that it just is going to rub both sides the wrong way. Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 20:59
  • @frisbee-horde, You said:The solution is to choose not to take offense when none is intended. With each new pronoun and rule we're inventing a new way to be offended. See, I think that's exactly what alife was saying. Keep in mine that alife pointed out it can't be solved in the currently existing mindset. You just pointed out the currently existing mindset, so aren't you two agreeing? Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 23:44
  • @frisbee-horde, that's not allowed until an edit? What's the motivation for that rule? Seems odd to me. Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 23:53
  • 1
    @alife, I think you should add to the front of your answer, wording similar to EDIT: This entire opinion is within the context of the current mindset or something. I think people might be reading into this too quickly and missing that critical phrasing at the end. ....and then of course you get the everpresent SE/SO pile-on effects which exist to accelerate things to -∞. Commented Oct 15, 2019 at 1:55

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