Hi John,

Thanks for highlighting this point. The gender neutral policies we are
putting in place simply ensure that our policy, guidelines and help
pages use gender neutral language where reasonable to do so. These
policies do not apply to what our users write on discussion pages when
referring to themselves. So, nobody is intending to start messing with
how users address other users... within the limits of our civility
policies of course! :-)

A point raised earlier is that it would be great for us to start
thinking about whether the MediaWiki software should be improved to
allow users to define their preferred pronoun, so when our systems
leave automated messages, they are written to the user's preference,
including non-binary terms (like 'hen' in Swedish) rather than
"unspecified". This has been discussed, see
https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T29744 as an example, but would
probably need a larger community consensus, in fact a local consensus
in each language, to move forward.

Thanks,
Fae
Wikimedia LGBT+ https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_LGBT

On 7 April 2017 at 10:27, John Erling Blad <jeb...@gmail.com> wrote:
> The focus should not be what some users want to call other users, but on
> what users want to call themselves.
>
> " I cannot accept the status quo where some minorities
> feel excluded by our systems and policies, but I don't have to, as we
> are not standing still."
>
> Then I think you should reconsider. Users will leave if you start messing
> with how they address other users.
>
> On Fri, Apr 7, 2017 at 9:17 AM, Fæ <fae...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> On 7 April 2017 at 06:39, Anders Wennersten <m...@anderswennersten.se>
>> wrote:
>> ...
>> > So when it comes to how we use them in documents related to WIkipedia,
>> is to
>> > not use any of them. It is a little bit more complicated but it is quite
>> > possible. "The person who takes a photo should" etc
>> >
>> > And our standpoint is that we as Wikipedians should not be first in
>> > introducing new use of language but wait until it has become mainstream
>> (if
>> > it ever will be)
>> >
>> > Anders
>>
>> Thanks for the 'hen' example. The new policy on Wikimedia Commons[1]
>> for gender neutral language has precisely the Swedish Wikipedia
>> working solution as the best solution, i.e. to avoid unnecessary
>> gendered pronouns where /reasonable/. For policies in English at
>> least, that actually turns out to be almost all the time.
>>
>> It sounds like capturing what you currently do, can easily become your
>> local gender neutral policy. It may not be perfect, but it would be a
>> focus for discussion and by having these visible steps to attempt to
>> address the issue, those most affected will feel acknowledged rather
>> than dismissed.
>>
>> Many of us have been contributing to the Wikimedia Foundation's
>> strategy consultation, thinking of what our projects might become in
>> 15 years. When you look that far ahead, it seems possible to plan for
>> these changes happening, including seeing a few "leftist/feminist"
>> possibilities like the Swedish 'hen' becoming mainstream.
>>
>> When I was a teenager, the word "gay" for a homosexual went from a gay
>> community word to mainstream on the television, something I remember
>> my Mother being critical about, "it used to be such a nice happy word
>> before this", not a good environment to come out as gay! A decade
>> later the more acceptable and correct word "transgender" gradually
>> replaced our usage of "transexual" and right now "genderqueer" is
>> becoming a popular word to apply, it's even on Wikidata :-). However,
>> in a more connected world, neologisms appear and become accepted
>> faster, and 15 years feels like a long view for these changes.
>>
>> Seeing /some/ of our mainstream projects taking action to adopt gender
>> neutral terms, even if only at policy level, will encourage other
>> websites to do the same. Rather than a political act, I see continuing
>> to talk about it, and not giving up on trying to adapt and improve our
>> approach where reasonable to do so, simply a way of striving to our
>> goal of feeling like a welcome environment for everyone to read and
>> everyone to edit. I cannot accept the status quo where some minorities
>> feel excluded by our systems and policies, but I don't have to, as we
>> are not standing still. :-)
>>
>> Links:
>> 1. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Use_of_gender_
>> neutral_language
>>
>> Thanks
>> Fae
-- 
fae...@gmail.com https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Fae

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