What's this all about? - Implementation
This section focuses on guiding you on how to use these pronouns correctly.
1. Does this mean that I will be in trouble if I ever get someone's pronouns wrong?
No. It's fine to make an honest mistake - but once you are directly informed of what someone wants, please act accordingly.
2. May I use they/them by default?
Yes, but be prepared to make adjustments if so requested. If someone requests that you use other pronouns and you immediately continue to use they/them for that person, we may point it out to you.
3. Is it a CoC violation if I use "he" or any other pronoun as a neutral one?
We recommend using singular “they”. “He” and “she” are not gender-neutral. Many of us grew up being taught that using “he” was the default gender-neutral third-person singular form, but this is becoming less accepted as time passes. That said, it’s still very common so it is not a CoC violation to use gendered pronouns as long as you use stated pronouns once they’re made known.
4. Can I use he or she based on a user name/avatar and correct if they tell me I was wrong?
We do not recommend assuming people's gender, but you can do so. If someone corrects you with their stated pronouns, please start using the stated ones instead.
5. If someone is non-binary, does it really matter whether I call them "ey" or "they" or "xe" or some other gender-neutral pronoun? Do I have to handle dozens of different pronouns?
Many non-binary people will be OK with whatever non-binary pronoun you use for them - however, if they have stated one, use the one they have stated.
6. What if someone wants some nonstandard pronouns that I don't even know how to use?
Then just do your best. Again, honest mistakes are fine. If you are directly corrected, adjust moving forward. If you're not sure how to form that pronoun, you may be able to find guidance here. If you're struggling, that's common. It can take a little effort but it's appreciated.
7. Am I obligated to find opportunities to use pronouns?
Not at all! If you don’t need to use pronouns to say something, that’s fine. We ask that you use pronouns as you would naturally. If you’d use them in a sentence, use them; if not, don’t. Problems arise when a person or group feels singled out by having pronouns used for other people but not for them. If you're writing normally and naturally and it comes out pronoun-less, then that's fine.
8. What if someone wants to be referred to as "the Great and Mighty One" or by an obscenity or something?
If something is obviously unreasonable and seems to be requested unkindly, please feel free to flag for moderator attention. Pronouns are a fairly well defined thing in language and styles/nouns/titles (“Your Majesty”) are generally poor substitutes for them. Note that “it sounds silly to me” is not sufficient grounds to think something is obviously unreasonable. If you and they can't agree, ask a moderator (or, if a moderator is one of the parties to the dispute, the Community Team) as you would in other cases of dispute. The Community Team is also available to help guide moderators upon request. Offensive/trolling “pronouns” (e.g.“attack helicopter”) should be flagged.
9. Do I have to say what my pronouns are?
No. This is completely optional.
10. I want to let people know what my pronouns are. What should I do?
How (and whether) you identify your pronouns is up to you. In many cases it's unnecessary. Please don’t put pronouns in your posts unless it’s somehow relevant.
11. Do I need to go looking for people's pronouns before interacting on Q&A?
No, that is not required. If you want to go the extra mile before interacting, that is certainly nice, but we're not demanding it. If a user’s pronouns are made known during an interaction with them (for example, in a comment exchange) use them going forward.
12. There are still edge cases that aren't clear to me.
There always will be. Use your common sense, be nice, presume good faith but be prepared to revise that assumption in the face of the evidence, and you are unlikely to go too far wrong.