docs: fix some remanining cases of gender pronoun for "the user" by bfredl · Pull Request #14582 · neovim/neovim
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based on #12680 but some reductions: some cases were already changed by vim/vim (just according to keikaku) focus on direct mention of the user which was the major concern.
@AgreeableLandscape
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It’s actually surprising how many people here aren’t okay with this, especially since I always assumed Lemmy to be a mostly leftist/progressive platform. IMO, the new “they” wording sounds way better than “s/he” (and far better than just “he”), and is also inclusive of nonbinary people.

@Echedenyan
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In HexBear, preferred pronouns were added, but not in Lemmy.

@k_o_t
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can someone pls explain why so much importance is put into pronouns? imo it puts additional emphasis on gender when all of us could benefit a lot from deemphasizing it tbh

@Echedenyan
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Mmmm, I was wrong: https://github.com/LemmyNet/lemmy/issues/1017

But, why I don’t see it?

EDIT:

Okay, I misread here.

@AgreeableLandscape
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You can add preferred pronouns in your display name. Most people do something like “Preferred Username (pronouns)”. You can also put it in your user bio, like I did.

@Echedenyan
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The first idea is how it is done in AP part of the fediverse, however, could not work very well with quite long names.

The second idea has the issue of visibility.

In addition, there is a set of rules mostly set when organizing data in DBs. These are called “Normalization”. A field for usernames is no place for it but its own one in the user table and the reasons are the same why “Normalization” exists.

@AgreeableLandscape
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I feel like a dedicated post or an issue on GitHub would get this issue the proper discussion it needs.

@Echedenyan
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Yes, sorry for the delay. I was checking if someone asked it in the issues before but I stopped.

@ajz
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@seedmarx
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Such reactionaries in the comments. “It should be a second thought” “This is terrible to read for me.” It’s really not that big of a change, and it makes people feel more represented.

@AgreeableLandscape
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The new wording honestly sounds way less awkward to me.

@yetwot
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This is great! Not only does it reduce stereotypes, but it also increases the readability. IMO “they” and “them” feels much more natural and easy to read than “s/he” or “himself or herself”.

@seahorse
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My mom was a technical writer for a software company and always loathed the use of “s/he” or “him or her”. It’s less readable.

@Ghast
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They’re not using ‘they/ them’ - they’re using ‘the user’.

SeerLite
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No, they’re using “they” instead of “s/he”. Usage of “the user” is the same

@oscar
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This is awesome! Such a fairly straight forward change but makes all the difference.

@fruechtchen
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example sentence:

the user will be asked if they wish to save the buffer first (yes, no, or cancel)

i think this is very good. the “generic masculinum” is very sexist

@hburb3ri
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Why did they ever write s/he in the first place? The grammar doesn’t even make sense.

@someone
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Oh ok. That’s… interesting?

@fruechtchen
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yeeees it is.

I am always very annoyed when i read a sentence using male pronouns when obviously the gender doesn’t matter, because it promotes gender stereotypes. for instance, in this case it subtly promotes the idea that women can’t be technical/computer scientists.

If it would be very obvious that computer scientists can be female, obviously people wouldn’t use male pronouns because it would feel very obvious to exclude people.

I assume you probably haven’t thought about that first, but would you use male pronouns for a nurse whose gender you don’t know? At least in my country it would be very common to use female pronouns because many nurses are female. But since some nurses are also male, this example illustrates that the usage of pronouns is based on gender stereotypes on not “use always male pronouns if gender is unkown” which might some people think

@quiteStraightEdge
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tldr: probably somewhat useful change, but I don’t agree with your rhetoric

Well… or the text was written by a male programmer and he was addressing himself as most people do when they write something, and in some languages this is much simpler. Thinking about about gender while writting technical documentation should be a second thought (as it is here too). Docs should contain good and precise information, that’s their first purpose.

Nothing in the world is obvious, especially in tech (unless some people did a really good job).

If someone thinks that they can’t do something, unless it isn’t clearly specified so, the fault is in education of such person.

I agree that refining is good, and these changes may make easier for someone to read the docs. I don’t understand why you are so into it. I’m really not sure if this promoted anything, or changed anything really useful. Vim isn’t better, just more correctly written (taking in consideration that author didn’t knew who would read the text, it is better to use neutral words).

In my country there is also that “stereotype” about nurses. But when 99% of nurses are female, and language forces me to use one or another I would shoot and ask “where is she” not where is he as I would only got 1% to hit. That’s why I don’t agree with your example.

@AgreeableLandscape
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Well… or the text was written by a male programmer and he was addressing himself as most people do when they write something

I disagree. When you write documentation, you necessarily address the reader, which can and will be any gender.

Thinking about about gender while writting technical documentation should be a second thought (as it is here too).

So just use “they”. It’s now the generally accepted English gender neutral pronoun, and for the younger generation especially, its use is already second nature. I don’t see why this is a problem.

@quiteStraightEdge
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Well reader maybe of any gender maybe not. It for sure is good practice to assume both possibilities. But I find it much more important for someone writting instructions to make them clear and correct, not necessarly think about it as an art piece with correct punctuation.

Because they is another word and as far as I … think I made a small mistake… They is plural form of he/she/it right? I got to correct myself in another comment I posted… Anyway I’m sure that reader of something is one person, and I don’t get how addressing this person in plural form is correct? Can you point me to some examples?

@AgreeableLandscape
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They is plural form of he/she/it right?

Yes, but it has also been generally accepted as a gender neutral singular, so it has two meanings.

Tom Scott video with more information: https://yewtu.be/watch?v=46ehrFk-gLk

@quiteStraightEdge
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I watched one (I didn’t use your link though, sorry) and example with Facebook and picture update makes a lot of sense. Webpage doesn’t know if Tom Scott is an organisation, some group or one guy (well it knows much much more over all so maybe that’s not the case). But I can assume than my reader is one or another so s/he seems to me really fine. Unless you are addressing users of your software as a group? Or someone could rewrite sentence to avoid any words like she, they. This for me would be much prettier, more precise solution. But maybe “they” just needs to grow on me? I guess we will see :p

@AgreeableLandscape
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But I can assume than my reader is one or another so s/he seems to me really fine.

What about nonbinary people? Also, s/he sounds really awkward to me, much more than they. Like, how do you pronounce that? Shakespeare used they for gender neutral, it’s nothing new.

And, yeah, it sounded kind of weird to me when I first learned about it, but a while after using it and seeing other people use it, it’s second nature now.

@quiteStraightEdge
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I guess they are the slash? Hm, in my country it is quite often used form, except we usually add it at the end of the word as the difference in femine and masculine form happens there. Usually because of that I read the word two times. First time so I know it is there, second time in correct form for me. Maybe it isn’t super efficient but works fine in my language. So here if you are women you read she, if you are male you read he. I guess if you somehow don’t like any of the two options you can pick slash or just skip it as it isn’t applying to you.

I guess I got to read Shakespeare then :D Maybe I get accustom to this :)

@quiteStraightEdge
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Tom Scott makes nice films so I for sure will. Btw. what is yewtu.be? Is it like invidio.us? :) (changing/mirroring yt links to remove tracking).

So it may mean one or few people. That doesn’t make language more precise. Language should be precises as much as possible to avoid confusion or misleading. Maybe in sentece (giving any context) it will be clear… and all people adopt it… Well I will go and watch what you recommended, there is high probability thay I already did but we will see.

(_I think I made here a ton of grammar mistakes for which I’m sorry, if you want you can point them out)

@AgreeableLandscape
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So it may mean one or few people. That doesn’t make language more precise. Language should be precises as much as possible to avoid confusion or misleading.

I’ve used they as a gender neutral for years now, and have heard a lot of other people use it. I’ve not experienced any issues with confusing it with referring to multiple people, there is always enough context to tell the difference.

I also speak Chinese, which has quite loose grammar rules, way more words that sound the same but have different meanings, and in general leaves much more to context than English, and Chinese people can still convey complex information just as well, so having a dual meaning word won’t be the language disaster that you’re making it out to be.

@quiteStraightEdge
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I guess it won’t :) Especially if it is in use for long time already. I guess then I have never noticed it. Maybe now because author pointed it out it sounded weird/alien to me? But if it is normal, then why post about it? Maybe it is not my jam. You found the changes easier/same to read?

I’m not really good with languages. I always wanted to learn Korean as the country as a whole seems nice, and their alphabet is based on matrix which is really cool :D Btw. so you are english native and learned chinese? I guess one way or another difficulty is similar. How long and with what amount of work you became able to do stuff like small talk?

@AgreeableLandscape
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so you are english native and learned chinese?

No, I’m Chinese born living in Canada. Chinese is my first language.

@quiteStraightEdge
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Can I go off topic? I guess there is many explanations for my question, and it is off topic so if you don’t reply I won’t mind. But if you do there is a question:

If you were born and are living in Canada, I assume you were rised there also. I also assume that your parents first language is chinese so the language part for me is clear. But you consider yourself chinese. Why not canadian as it seems to be your home?

This question maybe pointless, but I’m always eager to hear about another person perspective/experiences and I find your statement here interesting ^^

@AgreeableLandscape
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Yewtube is an instance of Invidious. The “official” instance run by the creators shut down, and they’re redirecting everyone to independently run ones.

@quiteStraightEdge
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I heard of that when app I was using stopped working. Good to know :)

@fruechtchen
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Thinking about about gender while writting technical documentation should be a second thought (as it is here too).

Yes, exactly!

If someone thinks that they can’t do something, unless it isn’t clearly specified so, the fault is in education of such person.

Yes, this is also exactly true.

In my country there is also that “stereotype” about nurses. But when 99% of nurses are female, and language forces me to use one or another I would shoot and ask “where is she” not where is he as I would only got 1% to hit. That’s why I don’t agree with your example.

but this is not what i meant. I was talking about more general cases, for instance when you talk about the general job a nurse does and not the concrete person. A general job has nothing to do with gender and therefore it makes logically no sense to use gendered pronouns.

Maybe some additional context is useful here. I noticed that originally in chess videos, where some person explains a theoretical position, some random imaginative position which never occured and is just made up to explain theory.

In this chess example gender should not matter becaue there are no players. And still this person who i watched used “he” pronouns when talking about for instance the attacking person in this theoretical position.

Yes i agree this person thinks probably of a male chess player and therefore usess male pronouns.

And at the same time, a recent chess study (lemmy post( has revealed that there are so few female chess players because of gender stereotypes. Women play much better when they think they play against women.

And using male pronouns by default when gender should not matter is a very subtle way of giving women the impression they don’t belong in chess.

So the gender stereotype is what you mean with education. Men are much more likely to play chess because society educates Men that brain work is for them. In many movies men solve difficult problems but very few women do solve difficult problems.

@quiteStraightEdge
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I think in some comment I rushed my thoughts and said that they is plural for of it… what I wanted to say is that it is plural form and not singular… gaaa but I don’t know how to find this message… I even don’t know how to find your oryginal post without having to scroll everything… I guess I should learn how to use lemmur app :p But it would be so usefull to be able to jump from “replies” to oryginal post ;-;…

@quiteStraightEdge
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I wrote quite a bit, but I couldn’t put myself into making proper sentences so I deleted that. Maybe also because I don’t read such studies as I often found them very subjective, so I couldn’t really address what you were pointing to here… I’m still not convinced. Maybe some poeple try to imply by using male pronouns that women are not welcome, but I’m sure it also goes the other way around. I don’t care if for somone it is simpler to use he or she in sentence. I really dislike when people divide world by their categories… male, female… It is good practice to use neutral forms or address both genders when we don’t know who is going to read or hear what we are going to say. That’s all I find there is to it. Trying to censor or change text and speech is a bad way to go about it. I heard a lot about impact of vocabulary on how people think… there was also well known fiction book about society in which government changed dictionaries… was that “1984”? Anyway I find disturbing when one group of people tells rest of the world how they should talk, and by that how they should think.

I don’t find anything wrong in that there is less women playing chess than men (if that is true). If because of that someone explaining chess tactic will while giving example use “he”… I guess a lot depends on context… it would be better (more proper practice) to use neutal words like player where possible, but if not and someone uses “he” or “she” I don’t care. If I want to do something I won’t stop because someone would say “she”.

I don’t understand this movement to force people to do what some view as good or better etc… If there is few women playing chess… Why do you care? Will you force women to play more chess to make statistics look better? Maybe just majority of women and men, well people… just don’t like chess? Maybe more men play it… but why would that matter? Why so many people recently scream black people are this… white are this… women… man… etc. It looks for me that by fighting with stereotypes some are just putting others into boxes, divide people into groups and explain everything with statistics which when it comes to unit are almost always wrong.

Censoring books, speech, destroying monuments, destroying memory, hate… these are the worst offenses.

Someone somewhere here in comments wrote something about using form “they”… But isn’t it a plural form? Isn’t singular form… it? I’m not a thing, and you are not one either. Using s/he as it was in there already written is the best way in my opinion to address both possible options. I’m not english native so maybe there is something I’m missing.

@ajz
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@quiteStraightEdge
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I must admit that I don’t know much about chess, except how to move figures. Are you sure that he never before made any drama? He has 100% track record of gentelman behaviour towards males, and opposite towards females in situation of his defeat? But yes, I can imagine that some circles are still very traditional, but for sure with time it will change. But change usually takes and should take time. If you try to bend twig too rapidly it can crack. Salty losers maybe also will vanish some day.

Yeah… I don’t like these changes… If master drive was a very good metaphor then it should have stayed. Removing words from dictionary won’t change the world or history, but may make people less aware of some things. If times were dark and you didn’t knew word slave, then would you be able to recognise yourself as one?

One day when… Twitter? made such changes I was lauging with my friends about how close minded and uneducated are people in the west/usa. That everything that is black must be about some person skin colour, because people are black, white or asian, they are not units by themsleves. They are not humans, they are their skin colour. If talking about slavery it also must be about dark skinned person. Ah… USA is such a young country, with so short history, everything seems huge. Words you mentioned got whole other meaning in my country. I got really used to them, very wise books were written which use such words. Now people so often get aggressive thinking than someone would get offended so they get offended and create even more hate…

But back to these words. Black colour is associated with criminals and evil (well not really these days, but these days everything is much more fluid). If you have seen black BMW you usually prefered to go other side of street. I never thought about black list as of list of black people, because in this context it doesn’t make sense.

Slavery is as old as world. As a country geographically close to germany you can guess we didn’t had fun time during WWII, and many years before it and after it ;) Yet I view slavery of hard drive in another light than slavery of a man. I’m not sure how one can mix these two things. If this word perfectly describes relation of these mechanical/electrical parts, then why change it?

Yes awerness, but you should be aware of whole world not only yours. In my country there is a lot of women of power. I don’t view other as worse, so if I see them not doing something I assume they do something else they prefer. Not that they are weak and didn’t manage to do something so I have to fight for them especially if they didn’t ask for it.

I know that not everything is pink and we should always strive for improvement (like japanese kizen; about which I learned while reading about Scrum) but I don’t view these changes as right ones. I’m not sure if changing word for black list makes social media like Twitter less bad for society in anyway, or that people in USA will shoot each other less. For me it’s more like PR stunt than anything else.

@ajz
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@quiteStraightEdge
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before: I think I really have stretched my thoughts here. I’m sorry for that as you may feel obligated to read my reply. I’m not sure if I even pointed to any clear conclusion. Here is my reply:

Thanks :) I would have to read about that tradition as I think I never had heard of it before. <reading an article> So Pete is a fictional character going around the world with Santa Claus… I find people that fight with racism and homophobia often to be so extreme that they end up on the other end. Putting people in boxes saying that other do that and it hurts the other other people… “White kids dressing as a character from book and painting their faces black”. Ofcourse they god damn do that. Why it matters that they are white? This is racism. They want to dress as this character and are light skinned. They put their hearts in their costumes and some fanatic calls them nazi. Okay, not in these words, but I feel annoyed how world looks only at a surface of everything. Ofcourse some real nazi groups in Holland used that image but why let them spoil fun for everyone? “Yay Santa and Pete are coming, I hope I will get something nice.” Noooo but Pete has dark skin, so it is racist. I never before thought about that stuff. People are people. We look different, dress different, like different stuff in bed. Why look and stop at skin, or gender or something else thin?

Also why hate history and put fog over it? We should learn from it so we can do better. Except… there is nothing to learn from. This is a tradition where children dress as hero from a book. Just because he is of one skin colour or another doesn’t make that racist, maybe only a trendy headline for paper.

They dress as a character of a book. If they dressed as Kanye West that would be better, worse? Or would that be racist if a WHITE kid wanted to look like his favourite rapper? I guess painting face brown would be a bit much. But there are people that want to look like characters from comic books, for example there is a guy that attempted to make his skin red. Important is context, as always. There is difference in running around dressed as african native and shouting “I’m dumb removed”, and running around as Pete, Santa helper.

And what about asian, american (as in native) and every other little human living in Holland. If someone has more narrow eyes then he/she can be Pete?

Also you mentioned that people in USA are shocked… which people? Did all of USA citizens read about that tradition and found it bad? Why would that even matter? The point of this event isn’t to hurt anyone. No one is doing purge during this time. Shaming anyone. Why opinion of few people would matter if they don’t know the thing they are commenting on?

I’m sorry because this reply maybe was a bit chaotic…

If Pete was white and dressed as stereotypical european of that era should I scream that this is racist and i don’t dress and look like that?

And saying black person, white person… People mean whom? If I get it right Pete was from Spain, at least that’s where he sent naughty children. Whole Spain should I guess feel offended.

I could put probably ton of labels on myself, and others. But everyone is first and foremost themsleves. If people get grouped by something as far stretching as skin colour then ow boi… It’s like saying that “white man invaded some country”. No, not white man invaded some country, usually history tells us whom exactly and why went where and did what. It is easier to put label and throw everyone to one bag. As some do with muslims and terrorism, dark skinned americans and gangs, etc…

Pete is first and foremost Santa helper.

@AlmaemberTheGreat
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@handvat
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I’m kind of sad they didn’t go with the even more inclusive (s)(t)he(y). That way, no matter if you’d like to be addressed with he/she/they, you can feel represented in the most elegant way ever known to humans.

EDIT: [/sarcasm]

@fruechtchen
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i feel like you are trolling since gramatically ‘they’ refers to all genders, so adding he/she pronouns doesn’t improve the situation and makes the readability worse.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/singular-nonbinary-they

@handvat
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I hoped the last part of the sentence was enough of an indicator that it was sarcasm. I just don´t get why people are flaming about pronouns. Using male pronouns when the gender of the person in question is not known does not always mean the author thinks males are superior and addressing a person of unknown gender with them instead of (s)he does not lead to the end of the world.

@0x90
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Yes. Very important for technology and science.

We should also define sexuality, genders and furry fetishes for: universe, galaxies, astrophysics, and let’s not forget about atoms.

spoiler

Very useful.

@quiteStraightEdge
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I change my opinion. This is terrible to read for me. Especially when there often were used things like “s/he”. This looks like pushing some ideology, not making better readable text.

@AgreeableLandscape
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This looks like pushing some ideology

The ideology called Modern English, I guess. “They” is now the most widely accepted gender neutral pronoun in English, and most people (me included) think it sounds the most natural.

@quiteStraightEdge
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But isn’t they a plural form? How is that correct and better to use than using something s/he or dear reader? Can you give an example? Also isn’t singular form of they, it? How does saying “Hey boy!” or “Hey girl!” sounds worse than saying … “Hey they!”…? That’s how you think that sentence should look like?

Also u said modern english… I read articles written every day but never seen such use. Maybe when talking about group of people, then yes. Like when article is about a company or something.

@alchemistswater
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With the most respect possible, can I ask if English is your first language? I’ve noticed that people who speak English as a first language seem to have less issue with the they/them in singular, than those who have learned the language later. A thing I assume is due to how it is learned. To me, if I say to someone, “I was looking for Bob, have you seen them?” I mean have you seen Bob, in the singular form. If I were to say “Alice is looking a little sick, aren’t they?” No one would think I was discussing a group of Alice’s. The context gives the meaning. Singular they has been in use for a very long time. I think though that people learning the language as a second language, (Or however many layers deep into language learning they may be) are taught that it is a plural thing, and only used for that. It creates a jarring thing in the mind when you’re certain of your skill in a language and then suddenly the words go on an alternative adventure.

I might be way off base though. I’m up for being educated.

@quiteStraightEdge
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With that amount of respect, I will as kindly try to reply. It is not. I’m happy that you asked that, as I assume (hope) the answer wasn’t obvious :)

When you brught up these sentences they sound well, so I guess I had to hear/see them before but never really noticed.

When it comes to learning, most of my “skill” in english is taken from games, films and internet. If you had played game Tibia then you probably know that it is mmorpg, and besides talking to players you also have to type to talk with NPCs. Because of that I almost never payed any attention at my english classes (that’s why I often feel uncertain about grammar and some words, but anyway I never had any problems with passing even advenced versions of exams). Even so, I’m quite sure that teacher or book or some exercise never really mentioned or allowed such usage of word “they”. Also in my language we really often use male/female forms in daily use. Even word for a group of people, if it is mixed, is the same as plural form for just men, so context or being able to see the group tells if it is just men or both.

Hm, do you find these changes made in this pull request done well? Are they easy for you to read?

@alchemistswater
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My first and only language is English, so I never considered how other languages use gender as compared to my own. Honestly, I find the s/he or the s/he/them sort of clunky. they/them feels a lot more elegant from my perspective, but I spend a LOT of time in communities that are openly non binary or at least supportive of that, so I don’t know if it’s language related or learned from my experiences. So to answer your question, I think the language in the docs now is much easier to understand, and looks better than it did before.

@quiteStraightEdge
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Well… I think recently that people no matter the context attach vaginas and balls to things. Because of how mine language works words usually have endings in female or male form. Thing is… I think context is important. It is like with scissors (this word works the same in my language). The word is ending in plural form, but when you ask someone for scissors you won’t get a whole pack. Word nurse in my language isn’t specifcally ending in female form, but when you ask for one it doesn’t mean you want a woman come to you, unless you explicitly say that you prefer nurse to be a woman for some reason. It is that there is no form which addresses both so you will use form that is most likely, and if a man comes to you there is no shame in that.

I guess maybe world has changed and I stayed the same in that way, or I am thinking in my language while reading english… I’m really not into these gender/sexuality related things so maybe this is also the reason. Maybe in some groups language had already evolved a bit?

Anyway: If it gets information through then it works. Thanks for reply :)

Btw. you should try to learn another language! It is really cool when you can communicate with more people, and it is a nice exercise for brain :)

@ajz
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SeerLite
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What’s the ideology that’s being pushed?

@quiteStraightEdge
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Read that again. I don’t know.

@fruechtchen
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@ajz
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@AlmaemberTheGreat
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@AgreeableLandscape
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It has nothing to do with male domination and it’s gross that you would assume that.

Seeing how a lot of the documentation was worded to portray the user as a “he”, it’s at the very least unintentionally male centric, which is still problematic.

@ajz
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@nutomic
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That sucks, do you have any idea how we could change that?

@ajz
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@nutomic
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That is true, hopefully we will get active communities for other topics as well in the future.

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Metawish
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The words we use reflect our values, or so some people say… depending on your perspective too. As someone who really enjoys language, this is absolutely worthy of a post. If you don’t think something is “worthy” of a post just scroll past it

@fruechtchen
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In the PR, i found 8 cases where only male pronouns were used. So i think this is obviously sexist? I guess you sure would think this is sexist when only female pronouns would be used?

see https://github.com/neovim/neovim/pull/14582/files#diff-39ce7fc6897bf0e742a197cdeee45ecef2d3590ece65cce1047b6864d0e4efa8R1878 for one

@AlmaemberTheGreat
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@fruechtchen
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@k_o_t
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What is libre culture?

Libre culture is all about empowering people. While the general philosophy stems greatly from the free software movement, libre culture is much broader and encompasses other aspects of culture such as music, movies, food, technology, etc.

Some beliefs include but aren’t limited to:

  • That copyright should expire after a certain period of time.
  • That knowledge should be available to people, not locked away.
  • That no entity should have unjust control or possession of others.
  • That mass surveillance is about mass control, not justice.
  • That we can all band together to help liberate each other.

Check out this link for more.

Rules

I’ve looked into the ways other forums handle rules, and I’ve distilled their policies down into two simple ideas.

  • Please show common courtesy: Let’s make this community one that people want to be a part of.

  • Please keep posts generally on topic

  • No NSFW content

  • When sharing a Libre project, please include the name of its license in the title. For example: “Project name and summary (GPL-3.0)”

Libre culture is a very very broad topic, and while it’s perfectly okay for a conversation to stray, I do ask that we keep things generally on topic.

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