To hopefully alleviate concerns regarding the new Code of Conduct, I want to explain how I intend to moderate regarding pronoun use.

  1. When speaking generically, posts should use gender neutral language (which per the Code of Conduct means, for example, "they" not "he or she"). If a post doesn't, I will not be removing it on sight. If flagged, I will comment asking the user to make an edit. If they refuse, I will point them to the Code of Conduct and inform them of behavior expected on this site. If they cannot agree to abide by the Code of Conduct, I will remove their post. If a user is not active, I may elect to edit the post for them while waiting for their reply. I will not be seeking out posts to see if they comply. As usual, I will rely on flagging or whatever I happen to come across in my normal perusal of the site.
  2. Number 1 does not apply to quotes. I will not require anyone to make editorial mark-ups of quotes to ensure they comply.
  3. When referring to other users on the site, posts should use gender neutral language until asked otherwise. If you want to check someone's bio to see if they've specified, you're welcome to, but I won't expect you to. Once asked to use a certain set of pronouns, per the Code of Conduct, you should use that set. If you don't and the post is flagged, I will edit the post or remove the comment and leave a comment explaining why. I am letting you know this now so that if you are not comfortable with me putting words in your mouth you will be aware. The reason I will be doing this instead of waiting for users to edit on their own is that leaving unaffirming pronouns around while waiting for edits would make the site unfriendly, per the Code of Conduct. If there is push back or an edit war, I will then handle according to how I would normally handle someone who refuses to follow the rules. I don't really see this coming up, but if a quote of some external source happens to refer to a known user of this site and uses the wrong pronouns, then you should use appropriate editorial conventions (brackets to replace incorrect words and a footnote to explain the edit) to rectify the problem. If you slip up and accidentally use the wrong pronouns, it's fine, we'll edit it and move on. There's no reason for moderator action over a mistake.
  4. When referring to specific people not on this site, posts should use whatever pronouns Wikipedia does. You don't have to check in advance if you think you know their pronouns, but if someone edits in or requests a correction and points to the Wikipedia article, you should comply. If there is reason to believe the Wikipedia article is wrong, please leave a comment pointing to the source for the person's pronouns. When a person doesn't have a Wikipedia page, use whatever information you have (e.g. if a news article uses a pronoun, use that). Again, if you think you know their pronouns, you don't have to check in advance, but if someone requests a correction and points to a source (or if by chance the actual person joins the site and requests a correction) then you should oblige.
  5. Obviously, I will use moderator discretion when handling these issues.
  6. Per this meta discussion we had previously, please do not go around editing other people's posts just to update their language. If you feel it needs to be updated, comment and/or flag. However, if you are editing for another reason and you also see an opportunity to make something gender neutral that should be, you may edit it, but please leave a comment explaining why.

I know this is a lot to process, but really I don't see this coming up very often. As described above, I don't see this really changing the way most of you write 90% of the time. It's not like there's a lot of astronauts with publicly requested pronouns! If something I said is unclear or if you have further questions, let me know. If you disagree with the new Code of Conduct, please take that commentary to the official Meta post. For this discussion, assume we are following the Code of Conduct as directed.

  • $\begingroup$ With regards to point #1, does that only apply to flagged posts, or are you applying it proactively to any new post? $\endgroup$
    – Machavity
    Commented Oct 12, 2019 at 0:23
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @Machavity It should be considered the general guideline, but practically speaking I'm usually just going to be responding to flags. $\endgroup$
    – called2voyage Mod
    Commented Oct 12, 2019 at 5:13


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