Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Removed gendered pronouns; replace with neutral, singular "they" (github.com)
10 points by pearjuice on Jan 11, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 34 comments

What's interesting to me is the argument that feminists have "too much time on their hands" if they are concerning themselves with submitting real gender neutral patches that make sense (ie. not this). Compare that to the creation of "languages", fake patches, and troll accounts in order to attempt to discredit actual points made by feminists.

I find the second immensely more of a "waste of time".

I have to say, I support this type of thing. It is social commentary in a way. Every patch that gets merged (as this one did) that is absolutely ridiculous shines a bright light on the fact that it isn't the content of the patches that matter.

If you can't tell the difference between an obvious troll with an email address "feministsoftwarefoundation@loves.dicksinmyan.us" and a ridiculous patch from a real one, I think the community needs to take a beat and think about why. Why could it be taken seriously? Why wasn't it challenged? Are we so terrified of being called a sexist that we will do insane things?

I would argue that changing language to be gender neutral hardly counts as insane.

They wanted song lyrics changed, they wanted libraries that are provided upstream changed (which the author has no control over).

Both of those requests are insane.

They are trolls. They are disappointed that project maintainers are empathetic and merging the pull requests. What do they do? They ask for an impossible request and demand it again and again in the hopes they'll piss someone off.

The aim of it all?

To make all feminists look like crazy women who you just can't get along with!

How does this help anti-feminists?

It will inspire you to just tell your woman[1] to get in the kitchen whilst you pick the chili dog out of your neckbeard, dust curmbs off of your formidable beer gut, and submit your newest groundbreaking post to /r/theredpill.

Forgive the rant, but I've seen way more sexism today than I care to see. The apologists are just as bad if not worse.

1. Because owning people is definitely ok and part of being a man

>To make all feminists look like crazy women who you just can't get along with!

Because any disagreement with fringe feminists, or "SJWs", is misogyny?

Does disagreeing with the popular male opinion make me a "Social Justice Warrior"?

I'm curious... how do you, whatever your background may be, define what is a fringe feminist? I'm interested in how you figure out what is important to a feminist and what makes her a fringe feminist? Are you, or have you ever been totally or partially female?

Furthermore, what would you consider an "acceptable feminist"? How can feminists fight for their rights in a way you approve of?

>the popular male opinion

I'm sorry, but opinions don't have genders.

That's a pretty commonly used phrase, "The popular X opinion". However, I guess it would be more accurate to say "The opinion most commonly held by X". I still think you are being pedantic though.

This isn't fake. They has been used for indeterminate gender since the 1800s

Additionally, we already do not use a singular (thou/thee) for 2nd person anymore, only "you"

https://github.com/Feminist-Software-Foundation "feministsoftwarefoundation@loves.dicksinmyan.us"

It doesn't matter, they are being so ironic they are helping the cause of feminism ;)

If you think they are helping the cause, feel free to support them. When the line between legitimate complaints and open insulting mocking is so fuzzy that a developer can't tell the difference and applies that patch out of fear, I think that is an awful thing for feminism.

The beautiful thing is the developer need not worry about whether or not it's a legitimate complaint or "open insulting mocking"!

All the developer has to worry about is:

Will this positive or negatively effect X cause[1]? Will it reduce the quality of my code?

1. I think it's pretty clear that part of making github libraries more welcoming to women is having gender neutral documentation. How would you guys like reading "if her" instead of "if his"? Well, we have the privilege of that not bothering us as much since we don't have to deal with those micro-aggressions, but hopefully you get the point!

It also says a lot about the current state of "feminism" (whatever no-true-scotsman definition of the word might take) is with regards to the coding community.

I mean, people can no longer discern if it's a troll or a sincere "feminist" any more without resorting to picking up obvious troll e-mail addresses. (And evern then, the dev of Light Table just accepted the troll pull request.)

Don't discuss this.

I beg of you all.

I generally approve of gender-neutral language, but there are two big problems with this pull request:

1: "They's" is wrong. Don't do this with a blind global replace, but read what you're modifying.

2: Some of the changes are a quote from a song. No idea what that quote is doing in the code, but misquoting is not an improvement.

It doesn't help that the person proposing the change is behaving like a troll. But if someone wants to do this change correctly, I'm all for it.

Handled with class by Chris. No drama, no fanfare. Good job.

It is a troll: feministsoftwarefoundation@loves.dicksinmyan.us (https://github.com/Feminist-Software-Foundation) ...

What is amazingly sad is that an obvious troll was taken seriously. Has the discussion gotten so skewed that obvious trolls can't be seperated from real complaints?

Swift action was taken out of fear -- fear of being called a sexist, fear of being judged... it just makes me sad all around.

I wasn't sure if it was a troll or a mentally unstable person (although trolls arguably are too,) but either way this was still an excellent way to deal with this.

Ideally Chris would've made the troll improve the correctness of his edits, in which case they might actually end up having a net positive effect, but it was still handled pretty well.

Really? Gotta be honest, I found it sad. Not on behalf of the troll -- it is a clever sort of social commentary (if it was intentional social commentary). Pointing out with a bright light that we will apply insane patches rather than even be lightly brushed with the label sexist.

Fear? Or perhaps empathy? If someone claims to feel excluded by my language and it doesn't pain me to fix that, why shouldn't it be fixed?

It did pain him to fix it. As he said, it was other peoples code that is included (and will be replaced on next pull)... and other parts where even song lyrics (from Monty Python Lumberjack). Changing others people code or song lyrics makes no sense.

with class or out of fear because of the insane bullying that went on in https://github.com/joyent/libuv/pull/1015 ?

Probably both.

I foresee both sincere and satirical efforts of such extremist "gender neutral" feminist edits to increase in the coming months after the libuv incident.

"They" is plurals. It doesn't make sense to replace all he's and she's with they.

Meanwhile, many great writers — Byron, Austen, Thackeray, Eliot, Dickens, Trollope and more — continued to use they and company as singulars, never mind the grammarians. In fact, so many people now use they in the old singular way that dictionaries and usage guides are taking a critical look at the prohibition against it. R. W. Burchfield, editor of The New Fowler’s Modern English Usage, has written that it’s only a matter of time before this practice becomes standard English: “The process now seems irreversible.” Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.) already finds the singular they acceptable “even in literary and formal contexts,” but the Usage Panel of The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th ed.) isn’t there yet.

—nytimes.com, 2009

It does, but you need to do it correctly. "They's" is stupid and wrong. Had it been changed to "they're", it'd be fine.

I thought this too, but apparently "They's" is correct? I'm not all too sure, but all in all none of it seems like a big deal to me.

We use "you" instead of "thee and thou" now

no. you don't use me. I shall not get used, sir!

Do people join the "Feminist Software Foundation" when they've given up on actual software development and instead prefer to incite needless gender warfare?

Why don't you ask them directly? The email address listed in their github profile is: feministsoftwarefoundation@loves.dicksinmyan.us

Gender warfare? Tell me you are practicing your hyperbole cbeach!

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact