Before "apologizing", you need to come clean: did you lie?
Earlier, you (Stack Exchange) wrote:
>We removed a moderator for repeatedly violating our existing Code of Conduct and being unwilling to accept our CM’s repeated requests to change that behavior.
However, Monica disputed that she had received repeated requests to change her behavior.
Clearly one party here is lying, and much of the community believes that party is Stack Exchange.
So—did you lie, or not? Your "apology" is meaningless until you clean this up.
Whether or not they lied, I wish they'd say something about it. Staying silent about it really gives a bad impression.
0) See https://cellio.dreamwidth.org/2019/10/05/stack-overflow-fias... at the second September 18 paragraph.
Note that the essence of the debate is: “you must always use the person’s nominated pronouns” versus “you can write in such a way that pronouns aren’t used at all.”
To me there is a huge difference between, “you can write inclusively without talking about a person in the third or second person” and “I refuse to accept this attempt at inclusive regulation.”
But we will see what SO dredges up in order to justify their position that debates in a moderator lounge are the equivalent to formal requests.
I just don't think fixating on very small factual ambiguities helps anything except political ratholeing.
> This apology has come not a moment too soon.... for the past days, almost a week, now, moderators from across most sites have collaborated on communicating our concerns to the SE staff. We have been working "in plain sight" of the SE staff (using the TL to collaborate). ... The timing of this apology appears to have been in a race to beat our statements about the issues.
The comment was updated to include a link to https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/334575/dear-stack-e... , which in turn links to: https://dearstackexchange.com .
This conspicuous absence makes me question the authenticity of the apology.
Now, it's not entirely one-way as they need to be providing value to the community in order for it to continue but business decisions need to be made at some level and the community level isn't the place for it.
If SE perceived a loss in profits from community members' actions then they need to take steps to mitigate that loss and I suspect that's what they did(rightly or wrongly).
Not trying to defend SE's actions, or those of the community (I have no opinion on the matter and, not to make light of the issue, I don't really care either) but a mistake that I sometimes make is thinking businesses make decisions for reasons other than profit.
In saying that, if SE thought that putting it to a community vote (or whatever best decision making tool the community could use) would make them more money then they likely would have... makes good business sense.
Just my £0.02
This thread is a new post from stack, not another link to 21153224 which has the similar title "update to our community and an apology"
The new post is @ 199 upvotes versus -1278, so the reception so far seems to be very different
Wanting to know someone's gender can be reasonable. But... on StackExchange? I can count on a single set of digits the number of times I've personally witnessed someone knowing someone else's gender leading to anything better than a neutral outcome. Doctors factor highly in that list. Then dates. Online people... well, only when it was extremely on-topic. Like a time I saw someone getting advice on 6-point racing harnesses vs. 5-point (re: strap geometry to protect the lower body).
As an example, let's take scicomp.stackexchange.com (computational science). Neither a participant's sex nor their gender is an appropriate topic there, with few exceptions. Is a reasonable policy there to avoid all gendered pronouns when referring to other users, unless there's an on-topic reason? Is using "they" or the user's handle worse than bringing gender into the conversation, when this is clearly off-topic? Monica seems to be negotiating for the option to use gender-neutral language. What are the pitfalls if we mandate it? The language can be a little awkward at first but that's a small molehill to die on.
Personally, I've always found it strange that we collectively broadcast our gender so far and wide. We don't continually mention each other's race, hair color, handedness, or preferred sleeping position on every tenth word, yet we often know someone's gender even before we know their name. Why is it so?
Thoughts? Very curious to hear from others. To be clear I have no problem with someone expressing their sexuality, gender, or other aspects of their individuality. I'm a fairly odd cat myself (particulars are irrelevant) and I relish being able to express myself authentically when it's helpful to some goal. I guess I'm mostly challenging the central role gender plays in our language, and asking whether or not we should change this to allow people more flexibility in what they disclose.
I believe most of these issues have risen after SE has opened doors to topics beyond tech. As soon as you stop talking about things but about people, you will encounter people problems.
> We don't continually mention each other's race, hair color, handedness, or preferred sleeping position on every tenth word,
In many written languages, and English in particular, you have gendered pronouns which you more or less have to use. Sentences that avoid referring to people with pronouns are awkward and forced.
> yet we often know someone's gender even before we know their name. Why is it so?
In real world relations you often see a person first and "assume their gender" based on how they look, before knowing their name. In some cultures the greeting is different depending on the gender of the other person.
In my native Hebrew, I'd greet a man like "מה שלומך" "Ma Shlomcha" ("How Are You" literally, "How is your peace?") and a woman gets the female noun form/pronounciation "Ma Shlomech").
Nouns and Verbs have gender in Hebrew
Indeed, there are languages (Baltic ones) here even 'Hello' has multiple versions depending on the target person.
Your post avoided pronouns. Was it awkward and forced?
Rewrite the post without them; it will be awkward.
A lot of young men work hard for symbols of masculinity as a form of validation. A job that doesn't pay can still be rewarding in part if it increases the validity or reputation of your sex drive. Gender can change how you reward people.
Compsci may be discussing video games where women prefer completion and fantasy while men prefer destruction and competition. Knowing the gender of the writer and the context of the post can cut down the time and awkward social questions needed to deliver the relevant information.
Gender can change your attitude for risk taking. Suggesting a low risk low reward solution to a young guy looking to prove himself will likely get ignored.
Estimations of the trustworthiness and gut level assessment of competence of a answerer offering an answer that has an unknown quality to the questioner can be assessed on non-rational levels like their competence in other areas of life, including perceived gender role success or attractiveness.
You can't cut out the gender of the speaker and maintain a human conversation that uses most tools of conversation available. Some people work towards a better sex life via money and competence. Cutting out the ability to discern what is important to the questioner makes for spammy answers before you figure out what he/she wants.
It is fundamentally anti-human to cut out the motive force that propagates the species or recreation from a discussion about what people want to achieve in life. It may work as an experiment or produce hyper rational results and be heralded a success. I don't think people will favour the move over all.
The removal of pronouns is fine for the symbol of masculinity at the moment, as a part of a much bigger story. But the symbol of femininity is taking a hit for it, whether you want to continue that trend or reverse it is up to you.
Taking a historical perspective with gender equality, there is two opposing camps pushing in opposite directions but with the same goal. One side want to eliminate gender, seeing that the shared humanity, traits and behavior is vastly larger than any differences. The other side want to highlight the diversity of gender while maintaining equal value for both.
So looking at both camps, gender is extremely important to people and essential part of humanity, while at the same time the least important part of an complex individual. It is important for gender equality and at the same time an unnecessary detail among a sea of commonalities.
As I identify myself as belonging to one specific camp, I would strongly disagree with the claim that "you can't cut out the gender of the speaker and maintain a human conversation". I try to do that every day and in particular when I see a gender stereotypical (or non-stereotypical) situation. If I meet a male kindergarder teacher I treat them as a individual interesting in working with children, and if I meet a female mechanic I treat them as an individual interested in working with cars. Cutting out the gender of the person makes it easier to maintain that human conversation.
Your virtuous behaviour towards female mechanics and male teachers already has a name. It's politeness.
I understand the US wants to shrug off the last remnants of the UK's culture as it no longer works in our new authoritarian world. You can throw away the gendered line from one of the greatest accomplishments science produced "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind". You can take down the pictures of all the gloomy old men that advanced 'mankind' and call it whatever you want.
But there doesn't seem to be a reason to believe that reality is any different from the past. The advance of gendered science gives us greater understanding of the world, and new ways to be polite. There isn't a requirement to change english to suit. You can simply be polite to everybody involved on an individual basis.
The idea of gender equality is fundamentally impossible to begin with, we have unassailable differences and preferences. The feminine role should be celebrated for what it is and not jammed into the masculine role for the sake of future politics.
It's my understanding that the issue is conflicting self expression. If in some circumstance the author feels something is awkward, are they allowed to make a judgement call?
And, as moderators, are they given the agency to also make judgement calls in how they moderate?
I guess you could call that a molehill, but I don't know why we need to put people out who feel otherwise. Seems like extending the same courtesy as using preferred pronouns, in a way.
Hm, yes! That's indeed a tricky part. My specific proposal oversimplifies the situation. The term "chosen mode of respect" is cropping up recently, perhaps an amicable solution lies the direction of mutually expecting and accepting each other's respect, and not assuming malice quite as easily.
All this being said if disagreements often escalate all the way to a CoC incident, that's a sign of a disrespectful community that needs more than just a document.
In any case it is encouraging that conversations such as this can still be productive in some forums, like this one.
Edit: Looks like people have been editing others' posts to use gender-neutral wording for a while, to various degrees of acceptance:
There are more. I didn't realize people could edit other people's posts. This adds a whole new complicated dimension.
You mean 'English'. (Although most[all?] Indo-European languages do have a gender concept)
There are languages that have no gender specific pronouns (or cases) and the best/funny part is that native speakers of a similar languages tend to call everything 'he' in English.
Personally I don't care what people would call me at all, if the rest of the argument/discussion is on point.
My first language is Italian. Even though almost everything is gendered in that language, gender tends to fade into a purely grammatical role. Unless it relates to humans.
> tend to call everything 'he' in English
yes I've noticed this too. Like referring to a machine... "he" will encode the frame into mp4 and pass it to the database...
Your last comment reminds me of an interesting anecdote I observed. Mom and son, the son having new long hair. Mom asked regarding the hair, "aren't you worried people will mistake you for a girl?"
She was genuinely surprised and confused when the son replied that they didn't give a toss if someone does. The landscape is changing fast.
But even ignoring that, there are several other avenues of communication on SO/SE beyond QA. Comments, different chat rooms, flags, mod messages... And a few of those can be intrinsically personal, so avoiding pronouns may be difficult there too.
Okay, got it. Acting in haste can lead you to make critical errors of judgment. Smart to slow down so you don't make the same mistake again.
> On Monday, October 7, we’ll be sharing a second draft of an update to our Code of Conduct with all moderators for feedback.
Good call. Get feedback on the revised plan from the moderators to whom it will apply. Smart move.
> On Thursday, October 10, the update to the Code of Conduct will be announced publicly.
You just said that you need to slow things down because you acted too quickly the last time and ended up screwing things up and causing a lot of pain, which is the reason you're apologizing in the first place.
And now the timeline between "solicit feedback" and "release document publicly" is three days?
How in the world are you going to be able to thoughtfully incorporate any feedback other than typo corrections and still meet this deadline?
There is no reason to solicit feedback unless you actually plan to listen to it and to be prepared for that feedback to say that the draft still needs work. But this timeline does not allow enough time for that to happen.
> We’ll be reaching out to her directly to apologize for the lack of process, privacy, and to discuss next steps. We’ll keep those discussions completely private unless we both agree to share any of it with the community.
So they're going to demand she stays hush about what they say to her unless they approve? Seems extremely dishonest and scummy to try and control someone you've already wronged.
In the context of an apology about being heavy-handed, I highly doubt it means they intent to suppress speech from a third party that they have no power over, implied or otherwise.
Reads to me as StackOverflow will not share anything if they feel revealing the conversation would hurt their PR.
Can anyone give a short summary of what happened?
...and in particular the link in the top comment, copied here for convenience: https://cellio.dreamwidth.org/2064709.html
It's also interesting to ponder if the StackOverflow community format is subjecting them to more calls of transparency than other sites might get.
Direct from the apology:
> We’ll be reaching out to her directly to apologize for the lack of process, privacy, and to discuss next steps. We’ll keep those discussions completely private unless we both agree to share any of it with the community.
> ...and they still won't reinstate her.
Again, a direct quote from the apology:
> We’ll be sharing with our moderators this week our proposed processes for handling situations like this in the future. This includes a process for handling moderator removals, and a process for reinstating moderators who wish to be reinstated.
I don't want to provide too much additional input in this reply, because I believe David's words adequately speak for themselves. However, I do believe that taking those two points private and discussing them outside of the public view is the correct choice. Emotions are already running high on both sides of the argument, and it's not a bad idea to give everyone a moment to breathe, and come at the situation rationally. We should give them a chance to work it out.
But not for what they did to her.
Does this mean they're looking to prevent the mod from speaking out unless SE agrees to public release? Or is the first "we" (in "We'll") different from the second we ("unless we both")? Hopefully this is just sloppy/rushed drafting, not forced secrecy.
So wait - what are they apologizing for?
If I understand this situation correctly there are basically two sides:
- The people who put in place the new code of conduct, who think that they "hurt members of our LGBTQ+ community when they felt they couldn't participate authentically..." by not putting this code of conduct in place fast enough.
- The moderator who fired/the people who resigned who think they "hurt members of our LGBTQ+ community when they couldn't participate authentically..." when they put in place the new poorly thought out policy
Is this intended to double (triple? quadruple?) down on the original position? Or apologize for it and move to the second?
So yes, this is intended to strictly double down on the original position.
Another way they do this is by saying, as in the apology "keep those discussions completely private unless we both agree to share any of it with the community" but they will phrase it as a binding agreement.
I wonder how is that possible, the QA are as anonymous as each user wants to be and regarding QA, is there any question in which people cannot ask anything and should not be replied with a proper rationalized argumentation?
How does it help a bullied child to be the protected kid of the teacher? In the other hand the day we stop having open debates, QA and knowledge, we will be going backwards in scientific evolution, no matter what the topic is.
A queer mod that resigned shortly before all of this went off actually elaborated on this in their resignation:
> They [the community managers] draw vocal bigots from the woodwork with prompts to discussion, and then vanish, forcing us to decide between tacit approval through silence or defense of our own against an unchanging torrent of bigotry. I think they hope that the more we share, the better the situation will become. That has never been true.
Note that just because the core QA does not leave much space for harassment doesn't mean the other aspects of the site (comments, chat, mod chat, flags, mod messages etc.) are home free. In particular, there was no shortage of "prompts to discussion" in the context of the recent events.
However, the update accumulated to the 'fix' being SO will release an updated CoC on Oct 7/10/11 with inputs from all mods, and an updated mod firing process. These are absolutely essential, no doubt, but incomplete.
What is missing, in my opinion, is the update still did not address how the original conflict came to the firing of a respected member. The most sincere way to apologize would be to use this failure of process as an example, to showcase how SO erred and how SO intends to change. Finally, a separate, public apology to the fired mod, with specific example of how SO mishandled each step, is crucial in regaining the trust.
EDIT: After giving some thoughts, I realize that SO is apologizing, not for wrongful termination, but for not privately firing the mod with due process. In SO's management eyes, the firing is still justified. Fine. Explain to us, with examples, how the firing is justified, and how pronoun usage would re-conciliate with moderators with religion restrictions.
It's clear they have no desire to explain and would very much prefer nothing further is made public:
>We’ll keep those discussions completely private unless we both agree to share any of it with the community.
It seems clear that, in their updated CoC, the requirement to be respectful trumps religious restrictions. And that's pretty much the standard here, isn't it? I can't imagine rudeness being OK here, even if it's required religiously.
Rudeness never was OK.
Problem is she wasn't rude. She was communicating exemplary and no examples have been given of anything else. What is happening is she's been tried for thought crime in a secret court and it seems her professional writing style can be construed using the necessary mental gymnastics as her not wanting to please the wishes of certain people.
: again, not only professional but also exemplary based on all we've heard.
I'm postulating the existence of a religious person who would (for example) refuse to use "he" for a biologically female person who identifies as male. But would instead use singular "they", or passive voice, to evade the issue. I'm not saying that they would insist on using "she". Just that they wouldn't use "he".
That might be her position, based on two meta threads.[0,1] But she doesn't actually say that. Others sort of say that, and she doesn't correct them. And certainly I may have missed her clear statement. But as I've said, I'm not claiming that to be her position.
So anyway, if someone actually did refuse to use declared gender, that would arguably be rude. Or at least, it would be perceived as rudeness, which is arguably what matters in communities.
Is there a thread I can follow so I can "woke" myself on pronouns? I definitely fear LGBT+ now in a practical way. I'm naturally anti authority and I don't like this authoritarianism -- but I don't want tar and feather.
As much as I intellectually and emotionally support people's right to self-determination, it is a little frightening how fast things are changing. It's even more frightening how polarized things are getting. My best bet is listening carefully, being polite, and avoiding offense. Not that I'm always successful.
> In my email I said clearly that I'm on board with "use preferred pronouns when using pronouns"
I think this rules out using singular "they" if the person would rather be referred to by "he" or "she" for example. At least I hope so.
However, she doesn't flatly say "use preferred pronouns". And she also talks about not using pronouns at all.
So, as an alternative hypothetical, even avoiding pronouns completely when someone says "I declare as female" could be perceived as rude.
Would it be rude if I simply ignored the comment and disengaged from the conversation? Hypothetically, I am doing it with the motivation of avoiding pronouns completely.
But if you were the moderator of a forum, or her supervisor, that probably wouldn't work. Maybe if you were very clever at it, I suppose.
Postulating the existence of a person with the traits you want to attack is a nice trick and is often referred to as a strawman.
It is not hard either, I could also want to postulate about the existence of certain people with unfavorable traits (no no, not pointing at anyone, just postulating), and then go on to paint large targets on them etc but I think we are better off without going further down that street.
Edit: Also, for context, an eight year old post from Caleb.
> I'm postulating the existence of a religious person who would (for example) refuse to use "he" for a biologically female person who identifies as male.
Here's what the first of those you accuse has to say (in between a lot other):
> For the record, I personally don't usually have a problem using peoples' preferred pronouns online. I don't go around trying to figure out if the way individuals are representing themselves online is consistent with my beliefs about the nature of the universe.
Something else entirely, isn't it?
> If person A comes along and demands that I refer to them by their "preferred pronoun" (even if it is a mismatch for their genetic sex or the grammar of the language being spoken) and I refuse, that's considered an insult. Now, SE staff's enforced interpretation is that if I deliberately avoid pronouns altogether, whether by carefully avoiding sentences that even need pronouns at all or by sticking to proper names or by disengaging from the individual — those are all being considered insults too if the other party says they are insulted.
And yes, he does say that gender issues about pronouns aren't an issue for him. But then he goes on to say:
> Unfortunately the new CoC (as interpreted by staff) specifically enshrines the rare and awkward scenario where those issues in particular are brought up and the other party demands affirmation of their specific world-view, and the staff interpretation makes no accommodation for agreeing to disagree or politely disengaging.
So no, I don't agree that it's another issue entirely. But a broader issue, yes.
Edit: Cut misquote.
> Ironically in the specific the issue at hand called out (using people's preferred pronouns) [Monica] is on record as being much more accommodating than I would be.
"biologically female" is a much more loose concept than one might think. Hermaphroditism, sex chromosome aneuploidy, androgen insensitivity etc etc etc... when it matters, doctors ask and run tests. Don't just assume you can guess what someone "biologically" is any more than you can guess what they identify as.
But this isn't about me. It's about my hypothetical religious person. Who might say, "she looks female to me". I'm not arguing that it would be a valid assessment.
I assume youd also say someone believing a man cannot be a woman is someone who should be wiped from the public discourse of the internet as well. Can you be offended by it? Absolutely, but there is nothing inherently "rude" about such a statement.
I prefer to be addressed "Sir Knight of the Round Table". Failure to do so will constitute breaking HN and SE CoC. It doesn't take far down the rabbit hole for the shoe to land on the other side.
Seriously, though, that just simplifies to male.
I'm just an old anonymous coward who doesn't get out much. But I did ask a younger friend about this, and got that people who care advertise their declared status in their sig and/or username. As does, for example, "Zoe the transgirl".
Seriously, I'm tired of this. In what company that HNers want to work in does being a male give you any advantage?
Or in what school? (I'm aware of certain nurse and chemistry studies prioritizing men, but that's it.)
If you cannot come up with any I kindly suggest stop insulting men. You don't need to do that to support others.
- Someone who has gone out of his way to help women and immigrants
I was just pointing out that "sir" implies male gender. And given that we're talking about gender pronouns, not titles, the rest of it is irrelevant.
> My cynical self noticed that there are a lot of "apologize" and "sorry" in this update, yet I believe this is a first good step.
in particular with the "yet". Would it be a better first step without apologies?
Then again, I might just be a bit jaded like GP.
Of course, it's possible that that reaction has prompted genuine reflection and contrition and the apology is sincere as well as a panic measure.
But sure, there might be better ways to do it.
Well, yes by definition, but groveling is not, in and of itself, an apology. Generally in an apology you undo what damage you did to the maximum extent allowable or offer some sort of compensation.
All of that is evident here. Actions to make right a prior wrong (of which there are some here too) are not normally a requirement, although they can apology.
Not to say that one shouldn't do both, but often it isn't possible to fix something you're apologizing for. That doesn't make sincere apology impossible.
Perhaps that is what is happening behind the scenes, but I think everybody would feel better about this apology if they said that right up front.
Ultimately this was an apology for procedural failings, not their ultimate impacts. Reinstating the removed mod would be correcting something they aren't apologizing for.
The former is redress and the latter is compensation. One of the great problems with the legal process is often all it can give is compensation and no apology, and often people really do want an apology.
The fear of being held legally liable for giving a simple apology is why various legislatures have recently passed laws that make it so apologies or assistance do not amount to legal liability for negligence. UK example: the Compensation Act 2006 s2.
Knowing the difference between an apology, a form of redress and compensation is important because a process may give a person one thing when they really want another.
It's clearly very grovelling - "the apology is clearly very grovelling".
I'll assume my comment confused you in some way due to me not typing every implied word or punctuation mark out (no snark intended - was on a phone), I can see that I suppose. Fair enough.
> We’ll keep those discussions completely private unless we both agree to share any of it with the community.
So unless they agree to it, she can't publish what they talk about in private, no matter the words spoken or the outcome. That's such a weird commitment to privacy in this context, it's not like this has anything to do with private stuff as far as the moderator is concerned, unless I'm completely mistaken. So it's basically offering a conversation with the option on their part to pretend there never was a conversation, should it fail to achieve the goal they no doubt already outlined in meetings.
Granted, the sentence in question is awkwardly written I agree.
I don't know... it's really awkward if so.
There are three "we"s here. First we = SO. Second we = ambiguous, following on from the first we it could be read as meaning SO like you say. But then, clearly, the third we = SO + Monica (and incidentally she is not named).
The part about her being free to share whatever she wants is not stated.
It's a small point to be sure. But consider: these statements are almost always run through multiple layers of approval before they go out. PR, legal, and relevant C-level execs, typically. And if it is an issue that has blown up, everyone is doubly and triply cautious about phrasing.
At best, the phrasing is innocently awkward. At worst, it's... revealing, I guess?
I'm not convinced that removing Monica as a moderator was a mistake.
She made it clear in a comment quoted by The Register that she refused to use the singular they in any circumstance, even when it was known that it was someone's preferred pronoun.
And in the leaked transcripts (if you trust them) it seems she was repeatedly asked to rethink her stance on this by other moderators, and repeatedly refused.
Obviously SO could have done a better job in terms of the process, timing, and communication (which is what they apologised for), but ultimately it seems that she's just not not a good fit for SO. There's no suggestion that SO is not going to enforce a rule requiring moderators to use people's preferred pronouns, when known and when appropriate, and Monica was very clear that in at least some cases she would not do so. So...one way or another, she was clearly going to be removed, right?
Arguably she could be re-instated today and then re-removed later in the week when the CoC changes come into force, but to what end? That doesn't help her, SO, or the community. (And that assumes she didn't violate the existing CoC, which is still disputed.)
In fact, I would find a policy that would require me to know someone’s pronoun at all to be deeply problematic. Imagine for a moment a purely binary world in which everyone was simply male or female. I would still prefer to think of kernel contributors I’ve never met as people, not as men or women. Adding LGBTQ+ into the mix changes nothing. If someone sends me a patch to review, my response should not depend on whether the sender is male, female, “they”, “xe”, or anything else.
So I tend to agree with Monica’s publicly stated point: if I’m going to use a potentially gendered pronoun to refer to someone, I should respect their preferences. But I don’t think I should be required to do so in the first place.
For what it’s worth, there are contexts where personalized pronouns are a nonstarter. If someone is anonymously reviewing an academic paper or a blinded resume, the reviewer must not know the pronoun in question.
I can get that a person identifying as "she" shouldn't be referred to as "he" and vice-versa, but if somebody's having issues with the only all-inclusive alternative, it's not something anyone should be expected to accommodate for.
I seriously hope this is a straw man. Same thing as the few individuals who make a ruckus whenever they're not referred to as "Dr". If I'm forced to keep track of people's gender identities to be able to contribute, I'm out.
I'm not sure what you're referring to: Monica didn't talk to anyone at The Register..? Only Stack Overflow knew that article was coming.
If there was a formal policy in place, Monica would not violate it. If the differences were unresolvable, she would have resigned, but only after looking for a compromise.
Under no circumstances would she have broken with policy and needed to be forcibly removed. We have eight years of character evidence from her, including several posts from Stack Exchange employees over the years commending her reasonableness and contributions. Sara Chipps' actions ignore all of that and assumed the worst.
As for the rest of your comment, that seems to contradict claims made by others, including other moderators, but alright. Even granting it to be 100% true, that suggests as most that she should have resigned (or been removed) this week instead of a week and a half ago, right?
So just fire her pre-emptively without warning because she might violate a policy that's not yet in place?
> she was repeatedly asked to rethink her stance on this by other moderators, and repeatedly refused
I don't know what transcript that refers to, but her account reads very different:
> I raised some issues with the formation of the policy and asked some questions, the vast majority of which were never answered.
> On Monday I received email from a different CM explaining why they were making the change and mis-stating some issues I had raised. Concerned that I had not made myself clear in my haste to respond quickly on Friday, I replied with some questions. This was an amicable exchange; I thought we were having a productive conversation. I was promised a reply by this past Friday.
> Instead, I saw my diamond disappear before my eyes and briefly saw an announcement from a CM in TL that contained false allegations against me. When I tried to respond I was booted from the room. Around this time I received email firing me. This email did not cite anything I have done wrong; this was a pre-emptive move that runs counter to how SE tells moderators to treat users when considering suspensions. (Moderators suspend in response to behavior, not speculatively.)
I agree that it wasn't a mistake though: a mistake is pressing the wrong button. This is just a shoddy way to treat people, and a shoddy way to not-apologize for it.
> SO could have done a better job in terms of the process, timing, and communication
Namely a.) not fire for precrime, b.) not ever c.) respond to questions as promised, rather than answering with a ban for no valid reason.
And, I guess, that's the crux of the problem really. Does SO want people like her around? Ostensibly they do, if they're trying to have sites for Judaism, Islam, etc. But it seems incompatible with the new CoC. Monica offered the half measure of only using names, but it seems a hard needle to thread if you're trying to support incompatible ideologies. I think SO is going to have to give up something, and I'm betting it's going to be the goal of being a central place to discuss religion.
> She made it clear in a comment quoted by The Register that she refused to use the singular they in any circumstance, even when it was known that it was someone's preferred pronoun.
But this is more subtle than that. Monica didn't say that she would use "he" or "she" even when someone prefers "they". She said that she would write in a gender-neutral manner while avoiding gendered pronouns altogether.
Here is the full context of Monica's stance:
> 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.
What else were you looking to see? I would have liked to see more of an explanation of why these mistakes were made, but this is a far better apology than the last one.
Of course, an apology is just words and should be taken with a grain of salt until actions are taken to back up those words. It seems to me that they could easily have reached out to Monica BEFORE posting a public apology.
We will see how they handle feedback on the new CoC and what other actions they will take to restore trust.
the moment to remove that sticker was c.a 2013
I go to SO to solve problems. I couldn't care less about pronouns one way or the other. I'd use the "anonymous" version of the site, no problem. In fact I'd prefer it that way.
And Twitter? Really? Who cares? It's not like people would stop using SO just because a few activists shit on it on Twitter.
It doesn't have to be actual discrimination; half the time the mob is screaming "discrimination" there isn't any. There are issues you aren't supposed to touch unless you're willing to defend yourself from people who care about winning, and not at all about truth or accurate accusations.
> I go to SO to solve problems. I couldn't care less about pronouns one way or the other. I'd use the "anonymous" version of the site, no problem. In fact I'd prefer it that way.
You may not care, I may not care, but enough people at important enough places care enough for this to explode into a shitstorm, as you can see in front of you right now.
> And Twitter? Really? Who cares? It's not like people would stop using SO just because a few activists shit on it on Twitter.
If you're the site owner, you may care, because behind few activists on Twitter there comes a mob, and behind a Twitter mob come the journalists. This story has been repeating itself over and over for almost a decade now.
> thank you for acknowledging that. I will be able to sleep in peace tonight knowing that I have still a place here
If users were genuinely unable to sleep because one random faceless person asked if they could continue their practice of only using gender neutral pronouns, then this seems to be a situation in which you shouldn't apologise to them, because they'll never be satisfied. It must be a nightmare being assigned to a CoC project now.
For example, if a brand new tax regulation is vague, the first person accused of violating that regulation has a drastically reduced penalty, or just a warning. Along with that, the judge writes a clarification so there can be no mistakes the next time. The clarification sends a clear message to the community that the next person accused will not get a break.
Perhaps, based on third or fourth party accounts, Monica was repeatedly asked to use specific pronouns in a moderators-only chat. If that is true, she may have driven one or more moderators away from participating there, and violated the existing CoC.
However, even if all those accusations against Monica are true, since there is no established procedure for removing a moderator, it would seem that the "judge(s)" in the new process to remove or re-instate Monica could walk a very fine line. The judge(s) could declare Monica guilty of those offenses, but give her a lenient sentence. Perhaps re-instated, but under probation or double-secret-probation.
I hope David Fullerton and his coworkers have the wisdom to consider this course of action.
It's not clear if speaking in passive voice will be acceptable on SE come October 10th.
I think you're asking if submissions to SE will (or will not) be permitted to dodge the identity issue by writing in a way that avoids pronouns.
This just seems so over the top to me that it's hard to believe, which is why I also included another option. I wouldn't call it 'refusing' as much as 'not bothering to do the legwork for every party you refer to in your content'. Which is, of course, also onerous but possibly a bit less so.
And no, I'd rather not call it even, not after you slip in with a, "you're wrong but I don't want to talk about it, bye!"
Thanks for clarifications and filling in the gaps for me.
This is not the way to treat people, but, if you think cynically, is an excellent way to make sure you have time before the person fired can make a proper response depending on how they practice.
I'm pretty sure no one outside of SO does (except perhaps the terminated mod, if they have already reached out to her a they just said they would), since the whole reason for controversy was termination of a mod without explanation (there was circumstantial reason to suspect it was connected with the new CoC, which seems confirmed implicitly, but even then he exact relationship was an remains unclear.)
People are offended because the CoC changes concern a culture war issue, so people on both sides are keyed up for a chance to be offended, which ambiguity always provides.
Ah, kinda like getting a 5PM meeting on a friday and getting fired ... classy.
Is it that ‘they’ does not count as a neutral addressing anymore? If yes, what’s the solution?
From what I've gathered from the various references, a mod questioned if the use of gender neutral pronouns such as "they" would be acceptable in response to new rules being announced to moderators that the persons specified pronouns should be used. Despite the fact these rules were not even implemented officially, the mod was terminated immediately.
Now what we see here is them backtracking, but I don't believe they have reinstated the mod. So I don't believe they think are truly remorseful and have realized they overstepped the mark.
SE has not said whether this in particular was the cause for the firing, but it seems evident. Regardless, there is no indication that SE intends to undo the firing.
What I still don't quite get is: did the mod reject singular they a) when preference was unknown (ie: prefer to rewrite), b) reject singular they, when preferred (someone not identifying as male/female), c) Choose the conventional "he" over singular they when preference was unknown?k8s
From what I've read it's a) - and it's pretty hard for me to imagine a scenario in which that seems like a good reason to drop a moderator.
Also, is this a volunteer being kicked, or is it some kind of paid position?
Ed: from tfa: "Second, we hurt a longstanding member of the community and an important volunteer moderator." So I guess that answers my last question.
Growth? Well that’s optimistic.
If you want to solve any problems you need to move past getting baited or triggered by each provocative statement and engage the underlying issues.
One set for "us", one set for "them."
It's okay for one of "us" to be rude, aggressive, or argue outside of good faith. Because it's in service of justice.
But heaven forbid "they" do the same thing. In which case they're terrible people, how dare they, etc.
This happens in both liberal-dominated and conservative-dominated forums.
And the solution is for each and every one of us, at all times, to call a duck a duck. If someone is an asshole, they're an asshole. Full stop.
They should be held to the same standards as anyone else, encouraged to modify their behavior and more closely adhere to general common decency towards other people, or kicked out of their role within the organization.
Because, ultimately, they're a cancer. It's just a question of how long before it metastasizes. And idealogical purity is no balm for failing to be a good person.
PS: Which isn't to say that one can't pursue just causes. Just make sure your own house is in order before throwing rocks.
I mean, it's kind of ironic: Calling someone an asshole is undoubtedly rude and aggressive (even when done in good faith). And you said that it's not only ok but necessary when you perceive someone as an asshole. But above you complained exactly about "being rude/aggressive in service of justice". So... which is it?
So how can we truly judge the tone of a comment without inferring details? People today /seem/ to be so ready to disagree, so ready to argue, so on the edge when it comes to opinions, that even objective discussions and comments are taken as personal slights and overlaid with reader inferred malintent.
It's the reason why /I believe/ that people who argue on the internet would otherwise get on with each other in person.
Tone is not only about body language, a lot of it is about the choice of words.
Tone can literally be inferred by machine learning, check Grammarly, for example, they do that now.
Sarcasm in particular is difficult, and is so universally recognized as such that we've constructed a mechanism to signify it.
Not think, tone can't be inferred from writing so I'm just going to write whatever I want if someone does not like it it's their problem.
It's our problem too to care about the tone of what we write and think about how it's going to come across to other people, and not have this illusion that there is no tone in writing.
Some people are Shakespeare with words. Others, especially those for whom English is a second+ language, may not have such a nuanced box of crayons to work with.
So one person's intended offense may simply be another's obliviousness to the particulars of their chosen phrase.
It'd be better if everyone wrote with care, sure; but I'm not ready to hold everyone accountable for premeditated tone violations.
Sure, you might not have intended to run over someone with a car, but that person is still dead. Not everything is about intentions, consequences count too.
Not caring about the tone of what we write is almost as bad as saying something bad on purpose.
For example, at the receiving end the end result is objectively the same, making someone else feel like crap.
* the moderator dismissal was too hasty
* they will create a process for reinstating moderators
* new Code of Conduct announced Oct 11
i mean, that wasn't like her job, was it? again i might be reading all this wrong or maybe we aren't being shown everything.
From what I've gathered, there seems to be additional angle here in which SE talked to the press, apparently using her real name and telling falsehoods about her, and now her name is attached to a slanderous story. This means for her it's no longer about a volunteer position at a tech company, but about her entire life.
EDIT: here's the article in question: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/10/01/stack_exchange_cont....
1) 'RTFM' isn't as rude as expecting to be hand-fed. That's the grace in the statement, it's meant to be used as a retort to the expectation that the person being asked the question even has the time to entertain the notion of training someone, given that the manual is available and ready for consumption.
It's (supposed) to speak to the laziness of the person asking the question.
Personally, I think a lot of 'RTFM's that got thrown around have historically lead to the person asking the original question to become a lot more knowledgable on the subject than had a simple answer. I know that I learned that way.
2) I don't have a lot of faith that the politeness that many CoCs enforce got rid of 'RTFM', it just shifted it to "Hi User! Have you tried scouring our extensive question-base for that frequently asked question?" , and that kind of unnecessary glad-handed wordiness irks me as an individual.
* The manual was accessible via a set of arcane commands, if it was at all accessible. Poor usability and lack of good search was common. Remembering the incantations required for accessing the manual was a task in itself, which left very little brain space for the actual task.
* The manual was usually a mere list of API calls, with little in the way of big picture explanations, usage examples or tutorials. There was no widespread internet content and search to supplant the paucity of the manual.
* The person asking the question had a task accomplished by combining several parts in the manual. RTFM translated to: read the equivalent of 200 print pages, filter out the 197 pages irrelevant to your task, but keep enough of them to grok the big picture, then aggregate the remaining 3 into a working incantation. And better get it right, or else a stream of cryptic and undocumented errors will come your way.
My suspicion is that RTFM wielding persons often times didn't know on top of their heads how to solve the task either, and were too caught up in protecting their expert status image to admit so. RTFM, you lazy intellectually challenged person vs. I dunno, try RTM.
Don't assume that just because someone accidentally misgendered you that they were being malicious. They probably weren't. I mean, if you continually find that you see aggressions and 'isms everywhere then maybe you are just tilting at windmills.
(At least, that was some time ago. Today, CoCs are frequent enough that people just add them by default.)
What is that supposed to mean?
So in this context, "pick your battles" means that not every dispute is worth escalating and mediating in the context of a CoC. More often than not, when you have been wronged it is better to just walk away rather than intensifying the dispute.
As for "life isn't fair", It is misleading to think that a CoC is going to eliminate unfairness, sometimes things won't go your way and you should accept that and move on rather than reach towards contractual or legal frameworks for some sort of resolution.
Like posting on reddit that someone is a bigot because they disagree with a change in the CoC? Because that happened here. There's a whole class of people online that it's literally impossible to have civil discourse with if you disagree with them on any level. It's better to not even engage.
I can’t even conjure up an example of anything that is failing harder at it’s intended purpose, then.
All jokes aside, there's surely a middle ground between being rude to everyone and "hi guys wowzors dinosaurs and ninjas! this project is made with <3" and the overwhelming passive-aggressiveness of this inane dumpster fire drama over CoCs.
This one is really killing me lately.
In almost all cases it points to something only tangentially related and is of no help.
SO used to be a place that smart people could go to get other smart people to help them with a problem.
Now it mostly seems to be a place where people help students with their high-school CS homework and then bitch about not being there to help with homework!
Quora is even worse!
I am eagerly waiting for whoever comes up with the next reasonable knowledge-sharing site to leave these two POS sites where they belong!
I don't know about Stack Overflow, which is the largest SE site, and may have some cultural differences.
But I'm pretty sure that accepting an answer within a day is strongly discouraged on all Stack Exchange sites in general. You should wait, at least one day before accepting it - some users may still want to answer it. I only accept answers when nobody posts new answers. Also, a user doesn't have to accept an answer, if none of the answer is helpful for solving the question - it has been discussed on Meta before.
Personally, if I asked a question and none of the answer solves the question, I'll accept the most helpful one. If none is helpful, I don't accept any answer, and usually I will be able to answer my own question and accept myself in the future.
I can say that I am usually on there looking for help on "advanced" programming or hardware issues. So think long-tail type questions, not the type that you stumble onto early in your career.
At one point I was beginning to think that the mods just did not technically understand the questions and that was why they had an itchy "dupe" trigger finger.
Are Jeff Atwood and Joel Spolsky still involved? It seems hard to believe they could mismanage SO as thoroughly as this without having a complete change in personality.
Edit: I didn't mean to imply that the answers are actually Gods opinion! Just found it fascinating that a site specifically designed for technical questions have grown to encompass questions about what Jesus meant with a certain phrase.
"What are the differences between Shi'a and Sunni belief?" is a totally valid question even if you are an atheist or a Hindu. The answer to "What does the Catholic Church teach about abortion?" is totally independent of your own personal views on the topic.
One doesn't have to be a believer in a religion to be able to answer factual questions about it. Sometimes, an atheist, or a follower of a competing religion, may actually know more about a religion's teachings and history than many of the people who actually believe in it do, and so may actually be able to give more accurate answers about it than some of its own members can.
You're misrepresenting the idea behind those sites. The questions there don't ask about god's option. They (usually) ask about customs, about text interpretations, about rules of given church / denomination, about texts relating to a given situation, and many other things. (Of course there are some exceptions) You don't have to believe in them to respect people's choice to engage with religion and look for a way to live their life.
For example recent questions in christianity right now: "Does the Bible explain why God chose Israel?", "What kind of food is Jesus referring to at Luke 22:16?", "What does modern scholarship conclude about the shape of the cross and the method of crucifixion?". Those aren't even questions about beliefs.
I also like this question: "Do angels possess 1) a body, soul and spirit, 2) a soul and spirit or 3) just a spirit?" - it even have multiple answers. (Sadly none of them accepted.)
That may seem to be “accepted answer about what God’s opinion is” but I’d imagine the intent is to aggregate what is online for interpretations. To be fair, their format is probably well suited to it. Multiple opinions given with rank based on similarity to what others interpret it to be, but multiple interpretations, should they exist, should be listed there.
I am responsible for that, and I am deeply sorry. We absolutely support the LGBTQ+ community.
GPT-2 could have written a better and more genuine apology.
First of all, you don't just use the new PR formula of naming the wrong, saying you take responsibility and then saying you're sorry. You need to dig deep and identify why you committed the wrong in the first place (homophobia, sexism, mean heartedness?) and commit to therapy and reforming.