Stack Overflow Inc., sinat chinam, and the goat for Azazel – Mi Yodeya Meta

Now that this has been made public elsewhere, I feel safe in saying more. The policy is an update to the Code of Conduct that requires us to use people’s preferred pronouns (when known). What was posted in the TL wasn’t polished language; I assume they’re working on that. I completely agree that it is rude to call people what they don’t want to be called; knowingly misgendering someone is not ok. But the policy was about positive, not negative, use of pronouns. I pointed out that as a professional writer I, by training, write in a gender-neutral way specifically to avoid gender landmines, and sought clarification that this would continue to be ok. To my surprise, other moderators in the room said that not using (third-person singular) pronouns at all is misgendering. The employee never clarified, and this is one of the questions I asked in email. In my email I said clearly that I’m on board with “use preferred pronouns when using pronouns“, but from the fact that they fired me without warning (or answering the question), I conclude that that’s not the policy. I haven’t seen an actual policy, though I am being accused of violating it.

Source: Stack Overflow Inc., sinat chinam, and the goat for Azazel – Mi Yodeya Meta

When Jordan Peterson burst onto the national scene in America, he was debating the language of a proposed Canadian law, which would require the use of someone’s preferred pronouns, even if you did not know them. That law was passed, and it is now considered legally-actionable discrimination in Canada if you do not use someone’s preferred pronouns, ignorance notwithstanding.

Now, Stack Exchange has codified this idea into their moderation CoC, but they went a step further. In the Canadian law, there was some ambiguity as to whether you could always safely use the second-person pronoun, “they,” or simply refer to someone in the first or third person by their name. This is part of what Peterson was complaining about. Laws shouldn’t be ambiguous. Stack Exchange has gone so far as to say that “copping out,” and using “they” also represents intentional discrimination. Moderators are required to inquire, and use the appropriate pronoun. So I guess, in this implementation, you could say that they’ve at least resolved the ambiguity.