I'll make it short because I think the more I say the more likely it is that it'll offend someone.

As a reaction to the latest events on MSE concerning the CoC and especially the Official FAQ on gender pronouns and Code of Conduct changes posted yesterday, from now on I will cease posting any questions, answers, comments, voting or using moderation tools. I will reduce my activity to just reading and observing until the Dark Ages of SE are over.

The SE network is not the same place I used to like anymore and I no longer feel safe to express my opinion. It's become too easy to flag posts and comments and insinuate intolerance, bigotry, non-inclusiveness or anything else that is currently fashionable. I also have no time to think and check my posts for whether I'm using the correct pronoun or whether what I write is inclusive enough.

As far as this post is concerned you can upvote, downvote, leftvote or rightvote it. Post an answer or don't post anything. Some of you will celebrate I'm gone and some of you might even be sad. Do whatever makes you #include. Use any pronoun you wish. Or just flag it for some other modern reason... wouldn't surprise me. Do whatever makes you happy.

That's all I'm going to say because it's too risky to say more and I've already made some bad experiences on MSE where my account has been suspended for a year for repeatedly refusing to accept there is a gender-problem that needs to be addressed and fixed.

  • 8
    \$\begingroup\$ You got my left-, right- and up-vote. See you around. \$\endgroup\$
    – dfhwze
    Oct 11, 2019 at 5:51
  • 11
    \$\begingroup\$ Unfortunate to see you go, but I expect you won't be the last to leave for this reason. We didn't always agree on things, but you did provide us with valuable contributions at times. Best of luck. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mast Mod
    Oct 11, 2019 at 8:26

2 Answers 2


I think you're making this more complicated than it really is.

The new CoC isn't hard, it boils down to be nice as it always has. The pronouns thing isn't supposed to make anyone walk on eggshells.

If someone tells you they'd (see? it even comes naturally!) prefer you address them as "they" and you deny them that on purpose, then you're being a jerk. Do that repeatedly and yes, there will be consequences.

Because being a jerk isn't being nice.

"But it's not grammatically correct" is 1) wrong, and 2) getting old and tiring. Acknowledging someone's pronouns (and by extension their right exist as they identify) isn't difficult at all, and makes a huge positive difference in that person's life: if one side of the balance is "correct" grammar, and someone's dignity is on the other side of that balance, I'll take the human side, and die on that hill.

This isn't hard. I'm a straight white male with English as my 2nd language, and I can do this eyes closed.

I think a lot of people are just outright over-reacting and, at the end of the day, opposing common sense for all kinds of reasons without realizing what this opposition means for the humans on the receiving end of it.

The vast, overwhelming majority of Q&A interactions are 2nd-person: 3rd-person contexts would be more common (and even then... pretty rare also) in chat and meta, and the subset of the community that participates in chat and meta is the more engaged subset - the people you get to know and interact with on a very regular basis: how terrible is it really, that the CoC explicitly asks that you not purposely misgender people you interact with on a regular, if not daily basis?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Agreed and upvoted. On the other hand, this thing might just be the last straw for something that has been boiling up. If that is the case, taking a voluntary break might be good. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 11, 2019 at 14:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ It should be noted that otherkin may be further marginalized or even attacked by this CoC change. Given that bad faith pronouns are determined by mods and CMs and asking if this CoC change affects otherkin has been censored by that very CM it seems to me that they aren't recognized under the CoC, and SE may support going after them as if they are bad faith pronouns. \$\endgroup\$
    – Peilonrayz Mod
    Oct 11, 2019 at 14:17
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Peilonrayz That question was not asked in good faith. \$\endgroup\$
    – Summer
    Oct 11, 2019 at 14:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AGirlHasNoName How do you know, or how can you tell? If that part of the question was not asked in good faith, is that true for the whole question? It seems not, otherwise the CM would have removed it entirely. Asking in earnest, because we are supposed to flag rude or abusive content, to which acting in bad faith seems to belong. \$\endgroup\$
    – Graipher
    Oct 13, 2019 at 10:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Graipher Good question. The now-removed bit asking about their position on transracial people was the biggest indicator. That is typically a parallel made by people who want to paint transgender people in a very bad light. That user also did some things immediately prior to that post that I am not going to repeat (because on SE we don't bring up past offenses). \$\endgroup\$
    – Summer
    Oct 13, 2019 at 12:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AGirlHasNoName Thanks for the answer, that explains it a bit better than what I understood sifting through the comments underneath that post and the revision history. I have to admit I did not even know what "otherkin" meant before this... \$\endgroup\$
    – Graipher
    Oct 13, 2019 at 12:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ "The pronouns thing isn't supposed to make anyone walk on eggshells." -> No, it's not supposed to, but when you start compelling speech there's really no other possible outcomes. \$\endgroup\$
    – Gloweye
    Oct 16, 2019 at 6:48
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Gloweye I'll grant that Q9 and Q11 in the FAQ can effectively be construed as such. Now you'll have to grant that these particular situations are effectively one in a thousand interactions, if not less than that. In 8 years on the network and throughout well over 12K comments posted, I never encountered it. And there's a reason for that: Q&A is (should be) impersonal in the first place, thus gender-neutral by design. If you slip and call someone a "he" and they say "I'm a 'she' thank you", is it really compelled speech to demand that you respect that person and not call them a "he" again? \$\endgroup\$ Oct 16, 2019 at 14:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ "Now you'll have to grant that these particular situations are effectively one in a thousand interactions, if not less than that." Indeed, they are. I've been an active member on the largest site in the network for quite some time, even wearing a diamond hat for a year or so, and I don't think I've ever come across this problem. Which makes you wonder why we have to make such a big deal of it and dedicate multiple paragraphs to it in the CoC. What happened to just having it say "be nice", where the moderators could enforce it at their discretion? Welcome back, BTW, Mat! \$\endgroup\$ Oct 16, 2019 at 23:35
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm sure you've seen them, but there's already community-provided models on MSE for how the company could apologize and walk back the CoC a bit while still preserving the intent. To be clear, I fully support the intent. I also support gasoline. I just don't see why it needs to be thrown on this fire. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 17, 2019 at 5:23

Putting your hyperboles aside, I completely understand and respect your decision.

SE has succeeded in alienating itself from its user base over the last weeks. The new CoC, while crafted with the best of intentions, has massively backfired. Most can be backtracked in MSE - FAQ Gender Pronouns and CoC Feedback and on Twitter.

  • Minorities are being targeted by both trolls and people that don't know how to react on the issue and focus their concerns on the wrong people.
  • People that have genuine concerns about the CoC (free speech, seeking neutral political views, religious beliefs, personal beliefs .. to name a few) are no longer distinguished from trolls by senior SE staff.

I'm not sure how this situation will be resolved.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ The updated FAQ really feels like a very good step in the right direction, doesn't it? Note that the old FAQ is now deleted. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 23, 2019 at 4:28
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @MathieuGuindon Time will tell. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mast Mod
    Oct 25, 2019 at 7:04

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