I'm against the usage of "they" because it's ambiguous and it's not clear if I'm referring to one person or many. I've been confused by other people using "they" before (not because I don't know about the singular case, but because it could mean one thing or the other.)
THE main reason I put that in my location is because, months down the line, I forget about the entire thing, and I feel much better, and relaxed, when posting. But whenever it comes up that, since I forgot, I called someone a he, or a she, and that's their "wrong" pronoun, then the tension comes back, and I become very conscious about what pronouns I'm using every time, and no longer enjoy posting at all, and have to fight my urges to leave the forum altogether
(which only happens here. Apparently, the xkcd forums are very, very touchy about gender pronouns, as can be shown by having two entire threads devoted to it), I fight that is harder every time, and I think, that eventually I'll end leaving if people keep hitting on the subject. Using gender neutral pronouns keeps me tense all the time. Mainly, every time I finish a message, I have to go back to double check if I used a "he" or a "she", and fix it, and I don't like that.
What I fight for, is the point that what gender pronouns are used should be the right of the person talking, and that gender is really irrelevant on the internet, anyway, so I don't get why people want to make sure that other people know their gender or preferred pronoun. Deva doesn't use pronouns at all, why can't I call everyone a she if I want to?
Otherwise, I've talked with gmalivuk about this (he thinks I'm an asshole about all this.) I've told him that if a Gender Pronoun box was implemented in the forum, and that if everyone that really cared so much about it (which, believe me, it's a minority - that's why not many people say their gender in their sig) used it, I'd always look for it and use the right gender that the people said they want used, and we could do without those Gender Stickies. The tension would be gone, because this would be based on two-way courtesy (people having the courtesy to use such a box to tell us their choice, and people having the courtesy of using what people put there), not demand ("THERE'S GENDER THREADS AND PEOPLE PUT THE PRONOUNS THEY WANT USED FOR THEM! EVERY NEW PERSON THAT YOU MEET ON THE FORUM MIGHT HAVE POSTED THERE SO YOU HAVE TO CHECK THEM AND MAKE SURE THAT YOU USE THE RIGHT GENDER PRONOUN FOR THEM! IF YOU DON'T YOU'RE AN ASSHOLE" - paraphrasing gmalivuk.)
The sig system doesn't work: I don't tend to check and read every person's signature. Some people put their preferred pronouns on there, but I might miss them. So I use the wrong gender pronoun for them. At least, since I changed my location, two such cases didn't have any major implications (what I call "bouncing" - people were to complain to me that I used the wrong gender pronoun - they see that I use those pronouns as neutral, nothing major happens and I don't need to apologize
, which I needed to do in previous cases.)
This is a reason I've been trying hard to find a different community similar to the xkcd one, since they don't have such issues, or they have a box like the one I requested, or they outright let people choose their gender when registering, and have some icon appear below their avatar, optionally
- so any new person that you meet on the forum shows their gender and we can get on with our lives without any confusion and without resorting to new sticky threads for it.
But it's been hard. Most communities are full of... huh, how to call them, dumb people? Well, not dumb, but the ones that dedicate their time to play "Would the above avatar make a good POTUS?", "Guess the above avatar's fetish", or "You just walked in on the last two avatars kissing" (I'm not kidding.) Eh, I mean, this one is full of INT* personality types and I enjoy hanging out with them, other communities are full of other kind of people that provide very different feedback. I have created lots of games on the Forum Games section, and the kind of people that play, and the kind of people that mod are very engaging, they suggest rule changes, or improvements for future versions of the game. They not just play, they make everything better.
In other communities, people get bored and quit the thread, without explaining why. They don't provide feedback about how to improve the game even when you explicitly ask for it. They expect games to be finished, and polished, while in xkcd Forums the fun is in the designing of games and everyone is helpful.
Sure, I've found other such communities full of friendly and engaging people, but they're too big... One gets lost in the crowd. Your thread gets lost and appears on page 5 of the forum the next day and if you're the last poster and it doesn't have enough interest it might be lost forever. And there's too much competition, with games that have already been greatly polished flying around, experienced mods that already know what they're doing and don't need any help to deliver, and most people being dedicated to... playing games, not designing them. So, when there's more than a hundred quality games being hosted, who's going to spend time helping you design your little game?
But if people would rather see me leaving that allowing me to write my posts as I want, without being tense about what I say, I can always pretend this community doesn't exist and ban myself from accessing it. I've been really close. The other way I started making my farewell post, but my computer just shut down for no reason, so I took that as signal, but...
Forum Gaming is WHAT I do on the Internet. Sure, I watch Youtube Videos, and other stuff, but I don't engage with people on Twitter, or Facebook, and don't even check my email, so if it wasn't for Forum Games I'd not connect at all.
I find it really disappointing that you, Madge, are from this group of people that want me to change my ways arbitrarily. What is going to happen? There's some male guy and I use neutral "she" pronouns to refer to him and then you think he's female and call him a she, and then he tells you he's a she? And you apologize about it? Oh! The atrocity!
No, if he cares enough that you don't call him a she he can use his sig to tell you so. Then, if you care enough to use the right gender pronoun for people, you can take a close look at the signature of every new person you meet, just in case they have it there, and check all the gender pronouns threads around to see if he posted there. Because, oh yeah, I have used "they", as gender neutral pronoun, and been told by that person that they didn't like gender neutral they and that I should call them the right pronoun, so this is a fight that can't be won.
I've been told, over and over, that this is a kind of etiquette. That I'm expected to act in some way in this society to avoid making people upset about it. That if I don't do that, it means I don't care about people and that I'm a douche bag and a jerk.
I claim this isn't the case, because I'm the same exact guy in all the forums I'm in. The xkcd forums is the only one with these unreachable high standards in which, no matter what I do about gender pronouns, there's always someone that will complain, even though it's not MY FAULT, and it's not THEIRS, it's the forum system that, while having this community with a vocal minority that cares so much about it I'd not be surprised if a new Gender pronouns thread was created on the Puzzles subforum, doesn't do anything to facilitate a spot in the profiles that would allow other people to know your preference.
I'm supposed to start a new Forum Game soon but this post has drained all my energy, I just hope the next time this subject comes up it's not the last one - at some point I won't fight my urges to quit, so don't be surprised if someone tells me I'm doing it wrong and I don't even reply because I'm gone