A pony of many genders August 1, 2015 10:30 AM   Subscribe

Would it be possible to put a place for preferred pronouns in the profile?

Alitterations aside, I generally want to call folks by their preferred pronouns, but in order to do so I have to know what they are (the pronouns, not the people) and I suspect I'm not the only one. The 'free text' gender field is great but does not always answer this question. So I would like to suggest the addition of a new field for preferred pronouns. Would this pony trot? What do others think?
posted by Too-Ticky to Feature Requests at 10:30 AM (70 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

The dedicated-field part of the profile page is something we don't want to clutter up too much, so we've kept that to a pretty limited set of fields and I feel like this might be getting into feature-creep sort of territory on that front; folks who specifically want to note a pronominal preference could do so at the top of their free-form general profile text area, or could just add it as a parenthetical in the gender field.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:34 AM on August 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's also a bit much to expect people will click into a profile to check such a thing.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:18 AM on August 1, 2015 [8 favorites]


I would personally definitely click in order to find out. But no, I would certainly not expect everyone to do so.

I just think that it would be nice and useful (mostly useful) if people could do it and have a chance to find that information. And I also think that some of us would appreciate an easy way to show their own preference.

Adding it to the existing gender-field is not a bad idea either. Maybe those of us who have a clear preference can speak up on whether they feel that this is a good way to express it.
posted by Too-Ticky at 11:26 AM on August 1, 2015 [7 favorites]


I think this fits into the gender field, if you squint a bit.
posted by boo_radley at 11:39 AM on August 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


I vote to just default to she.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:46 AM on August 1, 2015 [18 favorites]


Whatever, Ann Leckie.

Maybe add language in the profile-filling-out page on that line to the effect of "and feel free to note your preferred pronouns here too"?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:59 AM on August 1, 2015 [10 favorites]


noooo mah secret identity. cover blown.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:01 PM on August 1, 2015 [5 favorites]


I like this idea. I've attended meetings where they ask people to share this during the introductions. Maybe I spend too much time in Berkeley or something, but I feel like this is where things are headed.
posted by salvia at 12:27 PM on August 1, 2015 [7 favorites]


I think this is a great idea. And I agree with salvia, this is one of those directions where a lot of people who are doing Good Stuff are starting to head, and it would look good on MeFi to get in on the ground floor.
posted by threeants at 12:42 PM on August 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


I just use "they" all the time to avoid any issues with this.
posted by COD at 1:18 PM on August 1, 2015 [13 favorites]


I always check profiles for gender. When a masculine identity is indicated I use "he," when a feminine identity is indicated I use "she," and when no gender is indicated I dance carefully around pronouns and avoid them altogether.
posted by Faint of Butt at 2:05 PM on August 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


I sometimes spend quite a bit of effort trying to determine the proper pronoun to use, even to the extent of digging through post and comment history, but I'm not sure it's worth it. Even if we had such a field, whatever's in it could be out of date.

A social solution seems better than a tech solution: why don't we just communally-officially grant dispensation to use "them" and "they" as gender-neutral pronouns, or maybe there are better words. (Or maybe just say pick one yourself, but as a community we endorse gender neutral referencing of each other.)
posted by XMLicious at 2:24 PM on August 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


We should also specify preferred abbreviated versions of our usernames in our profiles. I prefer "foop" (or "the foop" if you're being over-formal), but everyone with a username over 4 characters should do this (COD is the only commenter in this thread to not need this, otherwise, is T-T, cor, cjor, boo, GTM, HZSF, sal, 3a, FoB and XML okay with you folks?). Especially those with names like "internet fraud detective squad, station number 9" (ifd9?), " Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory" (AFPF or AFPN or APNF?) and "East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94" (EMKC or EM94?).

I' m totally okay with being addressed as "it" myself, but I have low self-esteem and grew up wishing I could grow my hair out like this guy.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:42 PM on August 1, 2015 [5 favorites]


I would also like to see this. I don't really think of it as feature creep so much as adjusting to changing awareness..
posted by ApathyGirl at 2:44 PM on August 1, 2015 [5 favorites]


annnnnd changed. feel free to use as example. (even if it's a bad example)
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:58 PM on August 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


or how about we use "foop" as the gender-neutral pronoun?

only the foop is the foop. it deserves that distinction for inventing the term. the rest of you foops are indefinite foops.
posted by andrewcooke at 3:03 PM on August 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


Preferences can be noted in the gender field or in the profile itself.

I feel like there's a difference from giving someone the space to volunteer the information they think is important and asking them to divulge it. The social pressure to put age/race/gender/orientation/pronouns in a profile is one of the things I dislike about tumblr. Sometimes I just want to relax and not think about the complications my [age/race/orientation] add to my life. (not tumblr-bashing, I have it open in the other tab and am looking at many things)

I think it might be helpful if people switched to using 'they' for people who don't list their preferred pronouns.
posted by betweenthebars at 3:09 PM on August 1, 2015 [10 favorites]


Rephrasing to avoid the pronouns is awkward, but that's English. When I first studied French in high school I found it incredibly bizarre that every noun in the language had a gender so you had to learn that, for example, chairs are female. And of course the gender of a group is male if any one member of that group is male.

Trying to fix this at the blog level is probably a waste of time. It has never occurred to me to look in the profile to figure out someone's gender because I don't fill out that kind of stuff myself. (Although my nick is true to my RL gender.) I figure if someone wants to be ambiguous about it then they want it to be ambiguous.

A few authors have introduced neutral personal pronouns for this story or that, perhaps we could encourage the use of one of those.
posted by Bringer Tom at 3:19 PM on August 1, 2015


I like this idea, but I think it's already covered in the gender field or the about field and doesn't really need a field of its own. As a matter of fact, I think my pronouns are already mentioned in one of those boxes on my profile.

Anecdata: I use specific pronouns for people who I remember expressing a preference, or stating their gender, and I usually check profiles if I'm unsure (but I like reading profile pages anyway). I default to they and it seems to me that this is becoming the norm.
posted by daisyk at 3:48 PM on August 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


brb adding "indefinite foop" to my profile
posted by daisyk at 3:52 PM on August 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


Given that the current gender, occupation, and status fields are currently used as "freeform comedy space!", I'd probably look a few times, and after seeing enough "Preferred pronoun: 'royal majesty and overlord'" and "Preferred pronoun: 'ourselves'" that it would stop occurring to me to look there.
posted by Bugbread at 4:09 PM on August 1, 2015 [6 favorites]


only the foop is the foop. it deserves that distinction for inventing the term. the rest of you foops are indefinite foops.

be careful, overuse of indefinite foops may cause an infinite loop.
Current Status: Infinite foop
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:19 PM on August 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


Many of us consciously do not have the gender field filled in our profiles and would consciously also not fill in a pronoun field for the same reason.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:24 PM on August 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


But seriously, if you don't want to be mis-gendered... or gendered at all... I'd recommend writing "preferred pronoun: they/them" (or something else) in the gender field. May not prevent all the problems, but definitely some.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:31 PM on August 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm with hydropsyche, although I guess my gender, orientation, age etc could be sussed out from my comment history. What's more, for me, is that if a response to another user in thread required knowing their preferred pronoun, it'd be a pretty good sign that that response needed to be seriously reconsidered.
posted by klarck at 4:39 PM on August 1, 2015


I don't really care if I'm misgendered on this site, and I suspect many other people don't either (I mean, unless it was some sort of calculated abuse or harassment). I totally and completely understand why other people would not want to be misgendered, but the combination of people not caring enough to fill out the profile field and people not wanting to fill out the profile field (plus, as Bugbread points out, people filling out the field with jokes) would mean a lot of blank profile fields, which would mean that clicking through to a user's profile would only sometimes give you the pronoun information you wanted, which means that many people won't bother to click through the profile page.

I'm not opposed to adding it as a field, but I'm not sure how useful it will be, I guess it what I'm saying.
posted by jaguar at 4:45 PM on August 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


What's more, for me, is that if a response to another user in thread required knowing their preferred pronoun, it'd be a pretty good sign that that response needed to be seriously reconsidered.

I strongly disagree with this. There are a lot of conversations I've had on the blue where knowing the gender or the race or the sexual orientation of the person talking are actually very important to the conversation. A person discussing, say, queer issues comes across very differently if they identify as some variant of queer than they do if they are cis and straight. I'm thinking here of the JunebyLGBT MeTa, where the reactions that different participants to the original post differed pretty dramatically depending on (among other things) how they perceived the status of the OP and whether the initiative came across as "lgbtq talking to lgbtq" or "cis/het talking to lgbtq." In discussions on gender, I need to know whether the person I am talking to identifies as male or female or nonbinary because that influences how I react to their contributions--are they speaking from lived experience or are they speaking from theory?

Personally, I handle that by trying to clarify in-post when I think some aspect of my identity is actually relevant and dropping it otherwise. But I think that in contentious discussions or discussions about the experiences of marginalized groups, people could often stand to make their identities a little more clear instead of assuming that it's obvious from context. (Frequently it is not.)

Mind, I'm not sure germane that is to the question of whether or not we should include a preferred pronouns field per se. One thing I often see is cis people who say "oh, use anything" or who make jokes when asked for a pronoun, even when that isn't necessarily true--if you follow up by misgendering the cis person to make a point, they generally bristle. And worse, it usually devalues the request of trans people that people actually use the preferred pronoun by making the whole question into a joke rather than a matter of basic politeness. I'm concerned that a field like that might encourage people to put in silly stuff or say "oh it doesn't matter to me," which can make environments pretty uncomfortable for trans and nonbinary folk.
posted by sciatrix at 4:52 PM on August 1, 2015 [10 favorites]


How about we just change the Gender field to Gender/Pronoun. It's already a free entry field so it's no big whoop?
posted by DarlingBri at 5:14 PM on August 1, 2015 [14 favorites]


Yeah, I don't know that we need a field for this apart from gender, which plenty of people don't use anyway. I use "he" or "she" based on a combination of what's public in the profile and any context given based on their OP (if it's an Ask) or comments, and I'll happily and cheerfully take correction on that front. Otherwise, I refer to commenters by handle or as "the OP" or some other pronoun-avoiding epithet, including third-person-singular "they". Anything else outside of those three and I'm just flat out not going to humor people, because anything else is beyond the scope of even vernacular English and therefore not reasonable burden to place on other people.

Some of this "my pronouns are Qu/Quon/QuashiZot" stuff is ridiculous, and if that's what we're talking about I'm definitely on the side of "this is not a necessary feature". I think that stuff is frankly pretty rude if it's ever done in the context of actual face-to-face or formal text interactions, not that I believe it actually happens.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 5:39 PM on August 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


> I default to they and it seems to me that this is becoming the norm.

I'm glad to see so many people saying something like this; I've been beating the drum for they/them for years and am delighted it seems to be becoming accepted. English already has the resources—no need to invent pronouns!
posted by languagehat at 5:45 PM on August 1, 2015 [28 favorites]


I adhere to the go nuts! philosphy and will stay with acronyms.
posted by clavdivs at 7:41 PM on August 1, 2015


Some of this "my pronouns are Qu/Quon/QuashiZot" stuff is ridiculous, and if that's what we're talking about I'm definitely on the side of "this is not a necessary feature". I think that stuff is frankly pretty rude if it's ever done in the context of actual face-to-face or formal text interactions, not that I believe it actually happens.

I had been inclined toward the "using the free-form gender field to indicate preferred pronouns is good enough" position, but this just changed my mind. I wholeheartedly endorse the OP's pony request.
posted by Shmuel510 at 9:24 PM on August 1, 2015 [10 favorites]


The more I think about this, the more I like it. A pronoun field strikes me as rather less personal than a gender field in a way, because it really exists just to facilitate social interactions. People who would rather not be identified or classified by gender could continue to do that and just opt for "they." I get tripped up by how to identify genderwise sometimes but I wouldn't blame anyone for needing to pick a pronoun to talk to me. I hope more people weigh in about this, and I'm also curious if there is a good case to be made for options outside he/she/they.
posted by thetortoise at 11:01 PM on August 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


I like this pony, and have edited my profile to include pronouns. I'm down with they/them becoming the norm.
posted by aniola at 11:13 PM on August 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


It took me several years to get to terms with singular they, probably because as a non-native speaker of English, I've had the more commonly used pronouns drilled into me at a late enough age that I can still remember it clearly. It's not easy to let go of stuff like that and it takes a while.

Now the only thing that irks me about it is that it's not actually singular. Or at least it's not used that way. If it were, it would be 'they is' and not 'they are', no?

Wait, here's another thing: it irks me that we don't have a usable nongendered pronoun in my language.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:28 AM on August 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is a nice little pony who I would happily feed carrots to. I check people's profiles a lot (don't be scared) and particularly if I want to know what pronouns to use. (If in doubt I use they/them and I've never really understood the problems people have with that). Not everyone will specify pronouns and not everyone will check, but I really appreciate the thought behind the request and think it would be a good field to add.
posted by billiebee at 2:38 AM on August 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Too-Ticky: does it help you to consider that we also say 'you are' and yet it's perfectly acceptable to use you to address a single person? English pronouns have shaken out a bit oddly in the language's journey away from its Germanic roots, and modern-day people bending these old tools to the uses we have for them is going to give strange-looking results, but I firmly believe that singular they will become mainstream very soon.

I don't know which your first language is, but I wish there was a gender-neutral personal pronoun in German too. (From a second-language-speaker's perspective, it seems like xier is the most widely-used choice. It has a lot of thought behind it but it's -- to me -- so ugly! Oh well.)
posted by daisyk at 3:55 AM on August 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


daisyk: does it help you to consider that we also say 'you are' and yet it's perfectly acceptable to use you to address a single person?

Somewhat, yes! Thanks! I had not thought of that. Apparently English doesn't always care about the number of people it's describing. I often find it strange that 'you' can mean one person as well as a group.

My native language is Dutch. I think the easiest way to construct a gender-neutral personal pronoun in Dutch might be to go with the slightly archaic, but well-known form 'men' ('one', or in German 'man') and give it the posessive form 'mens' and a rather small shift in usage.
posted by Too-Ticky at 4:21 AM on August 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm definitely on Team Avoid Using The 3rd Person. If you're referring to someone mentioned upthread then surely you want to address them directly, first by name, then with "you" (and thank goodness English only has one pronoun for that). If you need to refer to what someone else said while addressing someone else, then you want to avoid putting words in the third person's mouth, so probably avoid referring to them more than a couple of times anyway.
posted by ambrosen at 4:58 AM on August 2, 2015


I would be against this change. If you really want to list your preferred gender pronoun, there's nothing stopping you from listing it in the blurb field or the gender field.

I want to push back on anything that makes it a norm to disclose details about oneself on the site, even something as general as gender. Pseudoanonymity should be the default and the expectation (but if people want to do otherwise, that's their business).
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 5:04 AM on August 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


(Not that I am advocating for this change -- I would be quite against it for the above-stated reason -- but if MF really wanted to ensure proper gender pronouns were used the way to do it would be to list them next to someone's username in their comments, e.g.

posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles (they) at 5:09 AM on August 2)
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 5:13 AM on August 2, 2015


Or maybe show it on-hover, like a tool tip?
posted by Too-Ticky at 5:17 AM on August 2, 2015


Totally unnecessary, imho, as the current default language of the site handles this pretty well and finding out the information involves clicking on a profile. Tool tips aren't a good solution, as a lot of people browse the site on phones or tablets.

It seems like just another point to eventually argue over, when people don't use the correct pronoun.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:26 AM on August 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Now the only thing that irks me about it is that it's not actually singular. Or at least it's not used that way. If it were, it would be 'they is' and not 'they are', no?

Sort of more generally approaching the same thing daisky did with the specific case of "you" (cf. the Southern US "y'all"), the key with embracing singular they/them for me is just accepting that morphology and syntax aren't destiny. We mean what we mean, and sometimes what we mean doesn't comport well with the most general rules of syntax, and that's okay; we make exceptions, and usage adapts, because semantics rules the kingdom. Attested popular usage, pedantry and style-guide proscriptions bedamned, adapted to singular-they a very long time ago specifically because it's useful for expressing a variety of ideas in a concise and sufficiently clear way.

See also the common use of the contraction "there's" for situations that would under general rules of singular/plural binding require the expanded form "there are" rather than "there is". There's a lot of places where English ignores the notional rules in favor of just getting the job of actual communication done.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:09 AM on August 2, 2015 [10 favorites]


Wait, here's another thing: it irks me that we don't have a usable nongendered pronoun in my language.

Ik doe een Ann Leckie en gebruik enkelvoudig "ze" als neutraal geslacht. Zullie voor meervoud.
posted by MartinWisse at 7:27 AM on August 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


> It seems like just another point to eventually argue over, when people don't use the correct pronoun.

Well, it seems to me that cis men may have some level of privilege going on here.
posted by Too-Ticky at 7:32 AM on August 2, 2015 [15 favorites]


I mean: cis folk in general, and cis men even more so.
posted by Too-Ticky at 7:32 AM on August 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


The phrase "preferred pronouns" grates on me, as if my (trans)gender status is a choice like preferring pepperoni on my pizza and you're doing me a favor by using them. I have correct pronouns.
posted by desjardins at 7:50 AM on August 2, 2015 [21 favorites]


I'm sorry, I hadn't thought of that. I'm mostly female, and mostly cis, and for me, it's a matter of preference. But that doesn't mean it works the same for everyone else.
posted by Too-Ticky at 8:40 AM on August 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I love our free-form fields that can be ignored or elaborated on at will. I'd support a "pronouns" field if it were possible, but I'm OK with just putting it in my gender field.

I think my gender field has evolved for the better over the years, thanks to the educational combination of Metafilter, Twitter, and Tumblr (YEAH I SAID IT! FIGHT ME!).

Gender V. 1.0: XX - then I realized that a) actually, I have zero proof that I'm XX. It's possible, if statistically unlikely, that my chromosomes are doing something else. b) People who are XX can be men (or agender or genderqueer), and people who are not XX can be women (or agender or genderqueer). So that's not super-useful IMO. I changed it to:

Gender V. 2.0: F - maybe not a really well-rounded representation of my gender identity, but good enough, and if you want to imagine that it means Fantastic or Floop or Fruit salad, that's OK, too.

Gender V. 3.0 (just now!): F (Pronouns: 'she/her'. 'They' is always OK too.) - more functional, if not more descriptive.

Who knows what'll be next, but I look forward to it! Thanks for the prompt, Too-Ticky.



(And I do check profiles to see if someone has specified, if I need to say something in the third person.)
posted by wintersweet at 8:42 AM on August 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


I like to just drop the adjectives entirely. "Which pronouns should I use to address you?"
posted by aniola at 8:44 AM on August 2, 2015


I hate to be all "my pony is the best pony" but I submit the following in support of changing the Gender box to Gender/Pronouns:

1. It is already there and already freeform. Very few member's existing answers will be rendered nonsensical (unless they are already intentionally nonsensical, which is cool.)

2. It does not use the term "preferred" and thus addresses desjardins' point.

3. It is not required and already left blank by many people, thus addressing Noisy Pink Bubbles case for default pseudoanonymity.

4. It is a tiny change, and thus should cause minimal trauma and pushback by people who don't care or are uninvested or are uninterested or think this... whatever.

I am totally cognizant of the fact I may be missing something here, though.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:05 AM on August 2, 2015 [18 favorites]


1. It is already there and already freeform. Very few member's existing answers will be rendered nonsensical (unless they are already intentionally nonsensical, which is cool

Mild complaint, it would be changing a field that is known to have one function/meaning, to one that does/means something else. Yes, it might be considered a small change, but it's not what people intended when they originally put information in that field and might not be aware of its change.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:42 AM on August 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


I like "they" well enough, and am just a person instead of a man/woman. I don't really expect anyone to click through to figure that out if I'm talking about an experience that seems gendered (buying clothes to fit breasts, pregnancy, etc.), though it would make me happy if someone did, and the rest of the time people seem to be pretty good about not making assumptions. And overall, I think my "gender: queer" probably already gets that general point across to those who'd be deliberately looking for pronouns in the first place. However, sometimes I'm honestly not sure what to make of others' stated gender(s) and I'd understand if that's how they feel about mine too, so maybe an explicit request for help facilitating communication would be useful.
posted by teremala at 11:00 AM on August 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


desjardins, "preferred pronouns" can include a preference for alternative gender-neutral pronouns like zir, sie, etc., of which there are a plethora of alternatives and surely an equal number of underlying reasons for someone to prefer something other than she or he. It's more than a matter of binary gender identities and obvious correct pronouns to go along with that.
posted by drlith at 12:15 PM on August 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


The easiest answer is to completely avoid talking about other people and only talk about yourself. This approach works everywhere, but it's particularly popular in AskMe questions about relationships.
posted by aubilenon at 12:18 PM on August 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


I get that for a lot of people (both cis and trans), "preferred" is frustrating because they have "correct" pronouns.

For gender fluid people, preferred/correct pronouns can change.

For me (genderqueer), I prefer They, but other pronouns aren't wrong and won't upset me. I just think people are extra awesome if they use my preferred ones. So preferred is the accurate term for me and folks in similar situations.

I've added my pronouns to the gender field in my profile, but I agree with the people who say they serve different purposes. Leaving gender blank and putting pronouns seems like a good option for a lot of situations.
posted by HermitDog at 2:14 PM on August 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Add your pronoun in the existing space if you want. Some of us think our gender is none of anyone's business and some of us want to fly a flag proclaiming it, and that's fine. As a mostly non profile checker, I try to avoid using them at all, or use neutral 'they' and 'them.'
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 2:39 PM on August 2, 2015


Wait a minute - some of you actually check people's profile pages? That is just the most disgusting invasion of privacy I've ever heard of. What's next - reading the links in other people's posts, without even an "excuse me" or a "by your leave"? And then I guess you'll just throw all civilised standards of behaviour out the window and start casually reading people's comments, whenever you feel like it. I mean, it just sickens me to my core. The thought of your disgusting, unwashed eyeballs, actually rubbing up and down my comments and leaving them drenched in a residue of eyeball-juice, after which you carry away the precious information contained therein inside your very heads while laughing at the violation of my privacy rights … well, it just makes me retch uncontrollably and without possibility of cease. Luckily I'm well-known as a tedious and pointless fuckwit whose comments aren't worth reading at all - that has protected my privacy for 10 years now on MeFi, and I just hope and pray that this wholly-justified reputation will survive. Thank you for not reading this!
posted by the quidnunc kid at 3:06 PM on August 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


touché
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 3:12 PM on August 2, 2015


I hate to be all "my pony is the best pony" but I submit the following in support of changing the Gender box to Gender/Pronouns:

I think this is a reasonable pony. If people don't read the profile or don't care to do the right thing, it's no worse than the current situation, and it seems an easy enough thing to do to make members to find it useful happy.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:04 PM on August 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


I support adding a "pronoun" field.
posted by schmod at 5:53 AM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm fine either with adding a new field, or changing the label on the Gender field to include the word Pronoun.
posted by odinsdream at 7:30 AM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've also added (and then revised, and then revised again) my Gender field to add pronouns.
It's currently still down as preferred pronoun, because I have the luxury of not being that concerned about it (and thus, it being correct to say preferred in this case, but I may change that).

If I'm replying to someone directly I will usually check their profile page (or sometimes even past comments or asks) for clues as to how I ought address them.

I think I would probably support the changing of the box title to be Gender/Pronoun, because this being a primarily English, primarily text defined space we are constrained by grammar and the most common purpose of that box (to me anyway) is to provide clues as to how I should address someone.
That said, it works ok as is and having people add pronouns if they'd like might well just take off if people notice and see the utility, without having to change the labelling on a field which has already been used.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 7:34 AM on August 3, 2015


Foop: ...everyone with a username over 4 characters should do this...

Sort of a subcabal of Monosyllabic Usernames, if you will.
posted by zarq at 9:05 AM on August 3, 2015


I was just thinking about this in the context of seeing a couple twitter profiles list preferred pronouns, and remembering that one of the things that some of my trans former coworkers told me was that it can be helpful to have cis folks do this stuff so that wanting to talk about preferred pronouns isn't simply seen as a marker of being trans.

"What's more, for me, is that if a response to another user in thread required knowing their preferred pronoun, it'd be a pretty good sign that that response needed to be seriously reconsidered."

Meh, if that's true for you, that's fine, but it's not true for a lot of folks.

"Some of this "my pronouns are Qu/Quon/QuashiZot" stuff is ridiculous, and if that's what we're talking about I'm definitely on the side of "this is not a necessary feature". I think that stuff is frankly pretty rude if it's ever done in the context of actual face-to-face or formal text interactions, not that I believe it actually happens."

We did a circle-up every morning that started by asking people for their name, where they were from, preferred gender pronouns and the answer to whatever the question of the day was (favorite breakfast cereal, etc.). Plenty of trans/gender varient/gender queer folks have a sense of humor about this too, especially if they can say something else the next day with no consequences (the same way we could change our profiles every day if we wanted to). I've seen people be dickish about it, but that's usually only cis folks proclaiming that their PGPs are intentionally ridiculous things that they don't actually go by in order to ridicule gender variant folks by proxy — and I've seen that backfire by people treating them as if they've made a legitimate, uncontroversial choice and calling them by what they've asked for (which usually annoys people trying to make a point).

Asking for Spivak pronouns does mark you as a huge goddamn nerd though.
posted by klangklangston at 11:57 AM on August 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


Wait a minute - some of you actually check people's profile pages?

from the quidnunc kid's profile page:
Constitution of the MetaFilter Society of Righteous and Orthodox Mixtapologists

Well, you lost my vote #1 quidnunc kid... I will NEVER Mixtapologize.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:54 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wait a minute - some of you actually check people's profile pages?

uh yeah how else are we supposed to cyberstalk the mefites we have crushes on?
posted by Jacqueline at 1:58 PM on August 3, 2015 [4 favorites]



Adding Jacqueline as a crush ... our respective stated-in-profile genders/orientations/pronouns be damned.

posted by wonton endangerment at 11:35 PM on August 4, 2015


Funny, I've never felt like I've needed to know the gender of another user. Sometimes its apparent (although such assumptions could be incorrect), and I don't recall addressing users by a gendered pronoun - I generally address them by their names.

That being said, there is a gender field already, people can use this as they wish... I won't 'disrespect' these wishes, as I'll continue referring to users by their usernames.

I don't think I even pay attention to people's genders when looking at their profiles. When I look at a profile it's often to see their geographical location (are they living in the US, in Europe, in Canada, etc?) which is sometimes helpful to understand the context of their comments. Sometimes I'll look at their posting history (were they serious when they wrote that seemingly offensive comment, do they normally post offensive shit on all topics, or just this topic?).

But gender? Meh. (just checked my profile to see if had I put anything there - nope; although ya'll can undoubtedly infer).

Staying ignorant of gender (and religion, and ethnicity) helps reduce my own subconscious biases. I prefer to judge people on what kind of pizza they think is the best, if cookies are a good food, and NY vs Montreal bagels.
posted by el io at 10:13 AM on August 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


« Older Help my find a gender psychology book post?   |   aniola joined the conversation. Yesterday, 8:11 PM... Newer »

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