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I have two styles for my user accounts:

  1. Accounts under the Peilonrayz pseudonym.

    Same username and picture, similar about me.

  2. Accounts that have been anonymized.

    Random name and picture, and no about me or other settings.

Due to getting a couple of yearling badges I looked at an anonymized account and found that Stack Exchange has copied one of my 'about me' sections to every account I own.

This is causing some of my profiles to expose PII.


This seems to have affected me only after We’re Rewarding the Question Askers affected my account. Or it's just an unhappy coincidence.

  • 1
    Don't worry. Down votes don't have much of an impact. You're sitting at +94 net rep for this question. – De Novo supports GoFundMonica Nov 14 at 2:37
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    @DeNovosupportsGoFundMonica I don't really care about the rep. If I wanted to farm rep I could easily do so on my site and have fun doing so. It's only the meaning behind the downvote that annoys me. It's like saying "your profiles don't matter". – Peilonrayz Nov 14 at 12:23
  • FYI, I wrote a post about this situation. I welcome your input :) – De Novo supports GoFundMonica Nov 15 at 21:37
38

A Stack Exchange staff member edited your user profile's "about me" section on November 13, 2019 at 20:58:09 UTC. (As a moderator on the network, I can see this information in a history log.)

As goldPseudo pointed out, when editing a user profile, one can choose whether to save the changes only to the current site/community, or whether to copy the changes to all sites/communities to which that account is linked. The editor must have chosen the latter option. (Note that only you and moderators, including staff, have the ability to edit your profile.)

I cannot see any details of why staff would have changed your profile (such actions are typically reserved for extreme cases), but you should have gotten a message via the site and/or via your associated email address containing an explanation. These messages have to be sent manually, however, and that extra step isn't always taken. (Although I feel strongly that it should be.)

I can, however, guess at what might have caused them to edit your profile. Your network profile (which is not synced with the per-site profiles) presumably still has your original "about me" contents, which includes some commentary on pronouns:

Pronoun: Peilonrayz
None of: They, he, she, and definitely not it

Reflexive: Peilonrayzelf
Possessive: Peilonrayz'
Other:     Peilonrayz

As you well know, this is a hot-button issue on Stack Exchange sites lately, and presumably an employee felt that your specification of pronouns violated the new policy. Given that the pronouns were all derived from your chosen nom de plume, it was most likely interpreted as an attempt of performative protest against the policy, akin to requesting that other users refer to you as "Your Highness".

As a moderator, I personally wouldn't have touched your profile's contents, but I can understand how a staff member could have gotten the impression that it was trolling behavior and removed it out of respect for other users' identities.

If you want to argue against the interpretation of the policy and/or plead for your profile's reinstatement, you can contact the team. However, I would suggest just not adding sort of thing back to your profile going forward. It serves no real purpose. If it was indeed an attempt to protest, consider doing so in a more appropriate forum, like a relevant discussion here on Meta Stack Exchange.

27

Setting aside the controversial issue of not recognizing one's preferred pronouns, I find it very disrespectful for a Stack Exchange staff member to disclose a user's personal information on a site that the user has chosen not to disclose.

OP, your profile seems to suggest that you are in the UK. You may want to investigate whether this behaviour constitutes a violation of the GDPR. (Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice.)

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    If you've disclosed information on one site, you've disclosed it on every site regardless of how much profile editing or use of Hidden Communities. We even explicitly note on the Hide Communities page that it does not make anything private. There are plenty of ways a user can easily get your profile on every site. E.g. the API does not hide any profiles connected to your account regardless of settings, and literally anyone can plug your ID into that path and get an unfiltered list of your profiles and information on each individual site. Nothing was disclosed that wasn't already available. – animuson Nov 15 at 16:11
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    @animuson Personally I feel that there is a huge difference between "being able to find out stuff if you dig deep enough" and "seeing everything just by clicking on the profile page of a user". – user12205 Nov 15 at 16:25
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    But if you go to a network profile, it's super easy to find a bunch of questions by that user on a lot of sites...it doesn't hide it in any very meaningful way. – Stormblessed Nov 16 at 15:49
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    @Stormblessed You can not go to the network profile from the anon profiles. – Peilonrayz Nov 18 at 23:58
15

Some people "prefer to use only their name and not use pronouns at all". If that is all that is requested, it should not be counted as "obviously unreasonable" and "requested unkindly". (See point 8 of the implementation FAQ).

Pronoun: Peilonrayz
None of: They, he, she, and definitely not it

Reflexive: Peilonrayzelf
Possessive: Peilonrayz'
Other:     Peilonrayz

Cody tells us the above was removed from your profile by a Stack Exchange staff member. So in this case, you might consider using the "Contact" link at the bottom of the page, to submit a request to the staff.

I think the FAQ tries to focus on behaviour. In some cases, perhaps a staff member would look at a user's behaviour and judge a request in their profile as being "obviously unreasonable" or "trolling". I have no insight into whether that was the case for you.

I'm kinda anxious. If I was you, I would probably try to make sure I was being as convincing as possible. Considering the current unpleasant events. So I have some further thoughts.

In future, it might be useful to include a link to the Wikipedia section, or a similar introductory resource. And the quotation from it, or something similar.

Particularly because this specific possibility has not been mentioned in the FAQ. Perhaps an oversight in the FAQ. Although I would hope a moderator would be able to realize that this could be a possibility. Note that in some surveys, this possibility is no less popular than the most popular neo-pronoun (about 10% of non-binary survey takers).

It might also be useful to drop the "Peilonrayzelf" line. It's a fun line, but I don't think it is necessary. If it's the equivalent of "myself", then you're the only person who needs to use it. (Deleted, see comments).

Trolling

"considered to be trolling behavior" ... a "protest against site policy".

I have seen a number of Meta posts, about how users should engage if they suspect trolling. Here are links to two that might be relevant.

Neopronouns or trolling? (answer by Shog9)

How should we respond to posts that might be written by trolls? (answer by Kate Gregory)

"Please don't call someone's pronouns made up"

If a moderator needs to publicly explain a decision, they should try to exercise all reasonable care.

I note the FAQ does not use the phrase "made up". For a new word to enter the language, the first thing that has to happen is for someone to make it up.

There have been multiple examples of people complaining in a hostile tone, that all neopronouns are "made up". Part of the hostile tone comes from the connotations of that phrase, that they're not "legitimate".

Considering all of the above, I would hope moderators would be careful with this phrase.

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    I like to cover corner cases to reduce confusion for others. I personally wouldn't use Peilonrayzelf. But I provide it so if anyone wants to use my pronouns with the sentence "they did it themself" they can. – Peilonrayz Nov 15 at 0:39
  • @sourcejedi: reflexives aren't just for first person: myself, yourself, himself, herself, themselves, etc. – LindaJeanne Nov 20 at 22:01
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    @LindaJeanne Understood. (I mistakenly thought this entire page was locked, I see now I could still edit my post). I think my answer could be refined a lot, and I lost part of my intended tone either while editing it or during the initial drafting. But I'm still tired. I think my effort here is now redundant with the followup, written by someone who knows a bit better than me. – sourcejedi Nov 20 at 22:18
  • Yup. Their new CoC, as its currently being enforced, is hurting the very people its supposed to help, and they aren't so much as even publicly acknowledging that they're aware of the problem. I'll admit, I initially took the profile that spurred this thread for trolling, and realized I was wrong. Just another reason they need to handle this with more care, rather than just throwing cannonballs at everyone, (and why it should be handled by people with a better understanding of the issues than either myself or the people currently handling it.) – LindaJeanne Nov 21 at 15:43
8

It seems highly unlikely that this is a bug. Comparing your current profile with your network profile, someone (either yourself or a moderator) apparently just edited your profile on one site and applied the change with the "Save and copy changes to all public communities" button. If this was yourself, well, it's an honest mistake that can happen to anyone. If this was a moderator, there's a good chance they'll follow it up with a private moderator message explaining their actions if they haven't done so already.

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    Given that Code Gray has said a SE staff member changed my profile, could you edit your answer. Your answer is correct and doesn't deserve my downvote. – Peilonrayz Nov 14 at 19:31

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