1

My question is not about your right to use a title or gender identification (or lack thereof) — it's a right you already have. My question is purely about the necessity to do so within the scope of the SE sites, especially the technical ones like StackOverflow. So no offence meant.

Why should users be forced to consider titles or gender — or even use them — when discussing a topic that has nothing to do with either? I have never seen a technical question (programming, math, etc.) where the title/gender/gender identification of the person asking, or that of the person answering, the question played any role whatsoever. Is it not enough to require users to show each other the basic respect that every human being deserves and block/suspend/remove those who refuse to do so?

Yes, I understand that it's important for some (not even all) of the questions on sites like The Workplace but does it really matter on StackOverflow? Any introductions that state the name of the person asking the question already gets edited out so why does my title/gender/gender identification matter more than my name? Do I not also have the right to be called by my name then? Is your editing out "Hello, my name is Isak" from my question disrespectful? Should you be allowed to remove part of my identity from my question? Or does it even play a role when the goal of the site is to ask and answer questions that have nothing to do with your name/title/gender/gender identification?

I believe that every human being is deserving of the same amount of respect and that respect can not be forced by silly 'call them by their title' rules. A respectful environment is build when users refusing to be respectful are blocked/suspended/removed and the rest are left to show respect in their own way. Forcing naming conventions creates a more politically correct environment but that has nothing to do with respect.

In my opinion the FAQ on gender pronouns should be more like:

We understand that people identify by different gender pronouns and respect your right to do so. However, unless it is relevant to your question we ask you to word your question in a gender neutral form.

We also ask users to not address other users by a gender pronoun that they have not identified with on a SE site. Even if they have identified with a specific gender pronoun we understand that you still have to right to refer to them in a neutral way (not use their specified pronoun), as long as it does not force a gender pronoun on them that they have not identified with and is done in a respectful way.

In my opinion the less rules you have and try to enforce the more authentic the community is. Then when someone does use your preferred gender pronoun to refer to you, you know that it's out of respect and not because they are afraid of breaking the rules.

What I love about the SE network is that you can ask questions and get honest feedback. To me it has never had anything to do with gender and I believe that for sites like StackOverflow gender doesn't matter at all. I want a place where I can ask a question about programming and get an answer about programming, nothing more. I want it to be as simple as possible because StackOverflow (and the SE network) is a tool that I use to get help and help others and when that tool becomes too cumbersome and cluttered by rules I will find another one.

2
  • 12
    The need for pronouns frequently arises in the parts of the site where more conversational language is used, like in comments and chat, even on the most technical of Stack Exchange sites. Avoiding them entirely would require some really painful contortions – Pekka Oct 14 '19 at 10:10
  • 4
    You may be right, you may be wrong. But why yet a new question about this? Why not just an answer to the proposals already made? And I'm pretty sure this has been suggested somewhere else already, so why not just vote on an existing post and try to keep that mess as manageable as possible? – dim Oct 14 '19 at 10:16