[tor-project] Proposal for the people page: Pronouns

Nima Fatemi nima at torproject.org
Tue May 22 02:08:00 UTC 2018

Hi Juha,

> I agree with John and let me explain why.
> This conversation is concentrated to native English speakers.
> For example, Uralic languages (with the most native speakers are Hungarian,
> Finnish, and Estonian) lack of grammatical gender. Logically there is one
> pronoun for both he and she; for example, hän in Finnish. As a result,
> logic of language expressing gender is strange for Finnish speakers. This
> causes Finnish people often mix, for instance, she/he and
> actor/actress when they try to speak English. For them hän is always
> correct and neutral!

I'm a self taught English speaker and my native language is a gender
neutral one, like yours. But I disagree with you and John and am
actually concerned by his trolling efforts to waste hours and hours of
our collective time that could be spent on doing better things.

While I tend to ignore emails coming from John (as I've long lost
assuming good faith), I figured I'd reply to yours as it may have come
from a different place. We're all coming from different backgrounds (and
cultures) but here we're talking and writing in English and
collectively, have chosen this language as our main communication
channel. It only makes sense to respect the etiquette of the language if
we want to maintain the rule of "be excellent to each other" and have a
healthier and more inclusive community, which in my personal opinion is
something we might not have always been the best at, but hey we're
having this conversation so there are improvements.

> As a native Finnish speaker my language codes my brain not to see
> difference and the whole idea is untranslatable to my native language. As a
> result, I often mix between she/he/hers/his/actor/actress etc. Indeed, I
> have said something like "About my grandmonther, he is..." in English which
> translates completely right to my language!

I too make this mistake a lot. And that is okay. If you catch yourself
making that mistake, you can always correct yourself. It takes about 2
seconds. And if you don't, that's okay too. As long as it's an honest
mistake and you don't deliberately continue to call somebody with the
wrong pronouns. My rule of thumb is that I default to they/them in my
language to avoid people's feelings.

> Most of the Tor user are not speaking English as their first language.

This is true, and for many years, I've been an advocate to move away
from focusing too much on the English speaking user-base. This is a fine
argument to have under another topic and when it's related to our
products and definitely not under this topic. It's not our place to
decide who wants to be called what and how.

Live and let live.

0X58C4B928A3E218F6 | @mrphs

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right
to say it" --Evelyn Beatrice Hall

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