Since SE saw it fit to do what (for a regular user) would be considered "vandalizing" and deleted the original FAQ, I'm unable to ascertain the differences between the old and the new one.

Can someone with access to the old one please point out the (at least major) differences?


3 Answers 3


Note: This answer is intensely opinion based and highlights what, to me, is the most important difference.


You can often avoid using pronouns altogether. It's actually pretty rare to need third-person pronouns at all on most Stack Exchange sites. But conspicuously avoiding using pronouns for one group of people while using them normally for others is a way of refusing to recognize their identity, and that is discriminatory. Please don’t do that.


If they are the pronouns stated by the individual, you must respect that and use them.

(bold emphasis mine)

The old version compelled us to use certain speech. The new one only requires us to treat everyone equally.

Compelled speech is evil.

A requirement to treat everyone the same is perfectly fine.

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    Basically, the old one read like avoiding pronouns was considered a problem, while the newer one actually acknowledges we don't need them most of the time. It's all in the details.
    – Mast
    Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 8:14
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    Details are incredibly important. It might be that I'm a programmer where a space can make a difference between a working program and a SyntaxError, but I believe details are this important everywhere.
    – Gloweye
    Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 8:18
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    @Gloweye It's also stated (for the edge cases aren't already mentioned) to: "use common sense, be nice and presume good intent" as a default stance, which is also an example of the massive tone shift. Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 9:01
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    You're leaving out the part where it says "as you naturally write" in the first CoC, which is an indirect way of saying exactly what the new CoC says - if you use third person pronouns, you have to respect the pronouns of the person you're referring to. The meaning hasn't changed at all, yet, the new one is received better because of wording.
    – Zoe
    Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 14:00
  • @Zoethetransgirl Wasn't the CoC the same, and only the faq different? IIRC, the old faq never allowed for total pronoun-less writing, which is my own solution to the issues.
    – Gloweye
    Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 14:17
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    @Gloweye It explicitly stated "use pronouns as you naturally write" in several places. Q11: We are asking everyone to use all stated pronouns as you would naturally write., Q2: First, if you do know someone’s pronouns (e.g. because they told you), then use them as you normally would use any pronoun. . If you don't use pronouns, both those allow you to continue not writing pronouns. Unclear? yes, definitely. Virtually identical to the current one? Also yes.
    – Zoe
    Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 14:21
  • My quote is from Q10, which aside from the line, only referenced grammar. If it was just worded badly, then even better that it got changed. Compelled speech was, as far as I could make out, a meaning easily taken from the old faq. The fact that that's not in the new one makes it, to me, the most important change.
    – Gloweye
    Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 14:30
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    @Mast I read the new FAQ as compelling moderators, although, not users -- item M2 of this section begins "Yes".
    – ChrisW
    Commented Oct 25, 2019 at 2:59
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    @ChrisW Oh, moderators are still screwed, yes.
    – Mast
    Commented Oct 25, 2019 at 6:06

The main (very positive) difference is that now it states clearly that putting preferred pronouns in a post is noise and can be removed. In discussion in old FAQ it was stated otherwise.

Explicitly confirmed here:

We're not recommending [stating pronouns] in posts either, in fact, under the new FAQ you're welcome to delete those as noise (Something the community requested). – Cesar M♦

enter image description here

  • 4
    Yeah, in the old FAQ it seemed like the senior people behind the CoC hadn't actually thought about questions and answers on the public Q&A and were surprised to be asked about them. There was a comment thread where a CM had clearly escalated the question, got no clear answer, and had to improvise. In the new version, the CMs clearly have given it some good thought and decided to keep the existing rule that questions should just be questions and answers should just be answers. Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 8:45

With the help of the Wayback Machine you can do it yourself. This is the old FAQ shortly before it was deleted; here is an alternative link on Archive Today. I'm sure you don't need a link to the new one.

  • 31
    While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes. Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 17:57
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    It's worth mentioning the Wayback Machine also archived the original FAQ before revisions were made.
    – Stevoisiak
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 19:02
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    @RobertColumbia The difference is a bit to big for a simple diff. The new one is three times as long, for instance. If you list all the differences, your answer would get longer than either.
    – Gloweye
    Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 8:27
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    @JJJ, if the owner of a domain puts up a robots.txt which bans bots from accessing a URL, archive.org treats it retrospectively and deletes that URL from its public index. Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 14:29

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