Wikipedia talk:No personal attacks

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Comparing editors to Nazis, Communists, Terrorists, dictators, or other infamous persons. should not be a "personal attack"[edit]

Comparing editors to Nazis, Communists, Terrorists, dictators, or other infamous persons is listed among vastly more serious attacks, such as: doxxing, Death threats, Abusive, defamatory, or derogatory phrases based on race, sex, sexual orientation, age, religious or political beliefs, disabilities, ethnicity, nationality.

It doesn't seem fitting at all that on an open platform you cannot compare and hold an adminstator's decision accountable to people/ideologies that did similar things on a larger scale, i find this rule to be National Socialistic in spirit. ReaIestTruth (talk) 17:10, 11 November 2018 (UTC)

@ReaIestTruth: . So you're ok being called an anti-administrator Nazi? Toddst1 (talk) 03:31, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
@ReaIestTruth: Nazis are not welcome on this site and should not be welcomed anywhere else (Nazis can stop being shitheads at any time but non-whites, homosexuals, and many other groups Nazis hate can't or don't need to). For that reason, calling someone a Nazi is unacceptable.
If someone calls a user a communist, nine times out of ten it is an ad hominem attack meant to imply that their views are not worthwhile on the basis of their political beliefs. Thus it falls under derogatory phrases based on [...] political beliefs. That's not even addressing the issue that often when someone calls a user a communist, that user isn't a communist, the attacker is just convinced that anyone left of their favorite right-wing politician is a full-blown Marxist. It's pretty much the same deal for the other attacks you've suggested shouldn't count as attacks.
Now, doesn't Nazism count as a political belief? Doesn't really matter, Nazis can go get fucked with coral -- and that's why you can't go around calling non-Nazis Nazis. Ian.thomson (talk) 03:57, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
Good point, @Ian.thomson: In connection to that, I would like to see your opinion about these statements, which I arranged according to the aggression level:
  1. "You are (he is) Nazi"
  2. "You are (he is) Nazi supporter"
  3. "You are (he is) Nazi apologist"
  4. "You are (he is) Hitler apologist"
  5. "You are (he is) engaging in Hitler whitewashing"
  6. "A user makes edits that support Nazism"
  7. "A user makes edits that whitewash Hitler"
  8. "This user's contribution is whitewashing Hitler"
  9. "This user's contribution looks like it is potentially whitewashing Hitler"
Obviously, the last statement is a priori acceptable, whereas the first one is a priori personal attack. However, where, in your opinion, is the border that divides personal attacks from legitimate characterisation of user's contribution?
In addition, what is the best page where this question should be asked to obtain an opinion of a broader community on that subject?--Paul Siebert (talk) 01:57, 29 September 2019 (UTC)
It would depend on context, what the user is doing, and why it was being said. If a user openly admits to being a Nazi, that would be a WP:SPADE exception to the rule that calling someone a Nazi is a personal attack. If a user admits to supporting David Duke, it would be a case of WP:SPADE to say they're a Nazi supporter (even if they were vehemently clear that that only supported him after he left the American Nazi party to espouse the exact same bullshit). "(Pronoun+copula) engaging in Hitler whitewashing" and everything below that would not be an attack if WP:DIFFs can be provided but WP:ASPERSIONS could apply if that were not the case. Even "This user's contribution looks like it is potentially whitewashing Hitler" could potentially be an attack if the editor in question was in fact focused solely on a singular grammatical nitpick.
Because this issue, like a variety of other potential personal attacks, is so situational and intention-dependent, it's best to continue not having any explicit rules about what you can or cannot say. Ian.thomson (talk) 03:36, 29 September 2019 (UTC)
Paul was just recently topic banned for 3 months for calling a fellow editor a “defender of Nazism” Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Enforcement#Paul_Siebert, but he still does not seem to understand the odiousness of that epithet levelled at other editors working in good faith, particularly when working in difficult and contentious topic areas of WW2, like Soviet collaboration with the Nazis in the early days of the war. —Nug (talk) 04:30, 29 September 2019 (UTC)
Sorry, that is a blatant lie. My statement was "I am going to present evidences that user's contribution whitewash Hitler", and said nothing about his real intentions. I got no opportunity to present evidences, and no analysis of validity of my statement was performed.
--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:38, 29 September 2019 (UTC)
Regardless of the exact phrasing, that it is a part of your topic ban does make this line of questioning appear to be an appeal-by-proxy rather than legitimate concern for . Ian.thomson (talk) 05:38, 29 September 2019 (UTC)
@Ian.thomson: I don't need any proxy, I need to understand the rules. By the way, that is not only my problem: another user expressed a concern that he was having similar misunderstanding of rules, so he could very well be in the same situation. Francois Rober asked similar question at AE. Still no clear answer. I really want to know: what the rules are?--Paul Siebert (talk) 06:43, 6 October 2019 (UTC)
@Ian.thomson: Next question. If we need to take into account a context, does it mean that only false accusations of that type (see above) are considered personal attacks?
Second question. Since Hitler support is absolutely prohibited on Wikipedia pages, does it mean that each accusation of that kind (except the cases when they are obviously false) must be carefully checked to reveal possible Hitler whitewashing cases and severely punish the perpetrators?
Actually, the main reason why I am asking is as follows. To declare that "Nazism is very bad, so every accusation of Nazism is a severe personal attack" means that Wikipedia de facto supports Nazi, for any good faith user will think twice before accusing a real or perceived Nazi supporter. What we should do in reality is to declare that any accusation of supporting Nazi is treated seriously, and false accusations are punished, but no accusation of Nazi supporting can be considered as personal attack until it was proved that it was false. And, all cases of intentional or unintentional Nazi support should also be punished severely.--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:45, 29 September 2019 (UTC)
To declare that "Nazism is very bad, [...] " means that Wikipedia de facto supports Nazi, -- I'm going to emphasize this just to make it clear how ridiculous your argument is. Now, the argument that counting accusations of Nazism as personal attacks would make good faith users think twice before accusing a real or perceived Nazi supporter is already in line with policy because we're supposed to start off with the assumption that any given user is not a Nazi until we see evidence otherwise.
no accusation of Nazi supporting can be considered as personal attack until it was proved that it was false -- Guilty until proven innocent? Yeah, that's not going to result in a lot of disruption when combined with the assumption that any user might secretly be a Nazi.
all cases of intentional or unintentional Nazi support should also be punished severely -- That's not our job. Our job is to tell Nazis to fuck off and prevent them from influencing the site in any way. That's all we can do here.
I'm very much on the "punch Nazis" end of the political spectrum but you seriously need to go re-read WP:AGF over and over and over until your eyes bleed. Ian.thomson (talk) 05:38, 29 September 2019 (UTC)
@Ian.thomson: I had almost finished to write a response to you where I wanted to say you are right, but, upon reflection, I've realized you are not.
In my institution, there is a poster near the main entrance: "If you see something - say something". That is how my country is fighting against what it sees as a real threat, terrorism. Everybody is encouraged to report any suspicious activity, and this report will be treated seriously, and, independent on whether it was justified or not, a person who reported it will not be sanctioned. The only exception is a deliberately false statements (e.g. false phone calls about bombs). That is an example of a well organized fight against real threats.
If I see a suspicious object, I will report about that without hesitation. In 99.99...% of cases, it will be not a bomb, but that will not lead to any negative consequences for me.
Now imagine a situation when any report about bombs is treated as potential "telephone terrorism". How many people will report about suspicious activity in that case? Virtually nobody. IMO, in that situation, terrorists feel more protected that good faith citizens.
If I understand you correct (I wish I am mistaken), a situation with Nazi supporter in Wikipedia is closer to the second example (every report about suspicious pro-Nazi activity is treated as potential PA).
As a result, if I'll see some activity on Wikipedia pages that looks like a support of Nazism (but not necessarily is in reality), I'll better abstain from any actions, for it is much easier to prove that accusation of supporting Nazi has been thrown than that that accusation was justified. The former is seen by admins as an obvious PA, whereas the latter as "just a content dispute". That creates a situation when tacit Nazi supporters feel more protected than their opponents.
It seems to me that declared zero tolerance to Nazism on Wikipedia pages is more a declaration.--Paul Siebert (talk) 14:38, 29 September 2019 (UTC)
P.S. Well, maybe, I am exaggerating a problem. In that case, you can dispel my doubts. I see, you are an admin. If some user comes to your page and says: "I am going to present evidences that a user X makes edits that whitewash Hitler, what is a proper venue for that?", will you consider this statement as a personal attack of a user X?--Paul Siebert (talk) 14:56, 29 September 2019 (UTC)
As an administrator who has probably blocked more Nazis, holocaust deniers, bigots and their follow travelers than most, I can't see that there's a magic way to interpret the motivations behind a text-only communication with someone at the other end of the Internet to to reliably determine that they're really Nazis, as opposed to people who are naive, misinformed,, or who have just spent too much time listening to talk radio. We have perennial problems with people who freely interpret anti-Semitism as "of you disagree with me you're an anti-Semite and I will retaliate." This camp includes one of our most prolific vandal/trolls, who will be certain to weaponize any hard policy. Then there's the potential for organized disruption, using policy as a club to eliminate opposition to a covert agenda. Acroterion (talk) 15:18, 29 September 2019 (UTC)
@Acroterion: Actually, my question was not about motivation. Moreover, I deliberately leave motivation beyond the scope. Motivation may be totally different: thus, a user jast may believe Communism was much worse than Nazism.
My last question was more specific. Imagine, a user comes to your talk page and declares they want to report some activity of a user X that partially whitewashes Hitler, and asks where and how should they present evidences. Can this statement be interpreted as a personal attack at the user X? Let me clarify again: I wrote "that whitewashes", not "who whitewashes", for we are discussing NOT user's intentions, but their actions, which whitewash Nazism. --Paul Siebert (talk) 15:35, 29 September 2019 (UTC)
P.S. I myself find a habit to see antisemitism everywhere very unproductive, and I agree that "false accusations of Nazism/antisemitism" is a tool to eliminate opponents. I saw even more perplex examples: "false accusations of falsely accusing a person of antisemitism" (you can find it in the ongoing ANI thread). All of that is a problem. However, that doesn't affect a problem outlined by me: a good faith user who wants to report a possible case of Nazi supporting editing is at greater risk that the user who is (possibly) engaged in the activity that whitewashes Hitler.--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:47, 29 September 2019 (UTC)
While not an explicit violation, you appear to be trying to use this discussion to re-litigate your recent topic ban. I don't think that's a good idea. Acroterion (talk) 16:09, 29 September 2019 (UTC)
@Acroterion: Yes, I am going to appeal the ban, and before I do that I need to understand what my violation consisted in. I think that is a quite legitimate desire. In connection to that I want to get an answer to a very simple question: "If I want to report a user who is engaged in PROFRINGRE POV pushing that whitewashes Hitler, which wording is appropriate in that case, and how can I avoid accusations of personal attacks?" I still got no clear answer. If some strict rule exists, where can I find them? If no strict riles exists how can we avoid accidental violations of them? I think my question is quite legitimate. It seems the problem is more universal, for another user is asking pretty much the same question - and got no answer so far.--Paul Siebert (talk) 06:35, 6 October 2019 (UTC)
Just to answer the question by Paul... There is no need to explicitly accuse anyone of anything. All one has to do is to show the diffs to one of administrators and politely ask what he/she thinks about such and such possibly problematic edits. If those were obvious pro-Nazi or antisemitic comments/edits, the admin will agree and possibly make an action. This is assuming the user is not under a topic ban. Bringing diffs in the area of topic ban may be regarded as a topic ban violation. My very best wishes (talk) 17:58, 29 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Acroterion blocks Nazis. Acroterion blocked me. I'm a Nazi? Hmm... Drmies (talk) 17:31, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
You've got it all wrong. I blocked you 'cause you're made of wood, and therefore a witch. Acroterion (talk) 23:49, 3 October 2019 (UTC)

@Acroterion:@Ian.thomson: Now, when my topic ban has ended, I would like to return to this discussion, because now noone can claim I am trying to re-litigate my case. Actually, this case just demonstrated the gap in the policy, which I want to discuss.

The opening statement of the WP:WIAPA section says that no objective rule exist that defines what constitutes a personal attack, although some comments, which are listed below, are never acceptable. However, at the end of the list of unacceptable comments, there is a reservation that the list is not exhaustive. In my opinion, this reservation and the opening sentence are mutually exclusive. Indeed, if the list of non-acceptable statements is non-exhaustive, then how can we decide whether some concrete statement is acceptable or not? To do that objectively, we need a rule, which, according to the opening sentence, does not exist. In connection to that, I think the policy should be clarified in one or another way, and it should be done as follows:

  • Version 1. No rules exists that define what PA is. Every statement must be analyzed in its context, and it is not possible to claim a priori if some statement is a personal attack unless the analysis of evidences has been performed. However, the statements from this non-exhaustive list are very likely to be PA, and they will be considered as such if they are not supplemented with very serious evidences. If this approach is accepted, the words but some types of comments are never acceptable should be replaced with but some types of comments should never be made unless they are supported by extremely solid evidences.
  • Version 2. In general, no rules exists that define what PA is, however, some types of statements from this exhausive list must be strictly avoided. If this approach is accepted, the words These examples are not exhaustive must be removed.

Personally, I think both versions are equally acceptable. However, combining these two versions (which currently takes place) is not acceptable, because many users who are working in sensitive areas are at risk: from one hand, the current version of the policy implies some statements must be strictly avoided, but from the other hand, it is not possible to predict if some concrete statement belongs to the set of unacceptable statements, because the list is non-exhaustive, and no transparent rules are provided in the policy. Therefore, many users feel themselves at a minefield, because it is hard to predict what statement will be considered as an a priori personal attack by some concrete admin(s). --Paul Siebert (talk) 05:27, 5 January 2020 (UTC)

The opening sentence saying that no objective rule exists and the reservation that the list is not exhaustive have the same meaning and purpose: we don't have a "complete" list because otherwise someone will use a brand new personal attack and they'll say "it wasn't on the list." Those two clauses are not contradictory, they're complementary.
The opening sentence is just affirming that a complete list would be impossible.
The non-exhaustive clause is just affirming that that list is not complete.
And I'm just going to say "ok, sure" to the minefield comparison but argue that's a good thing: if someone lacks the empathy, maturity, or intelligence to avoid personal attacks, then fear is really the only thing we've got left to make them behave like a damn adult. Not our fault, not our problem, we don't need to accommodate individuals who didn't figure out how to play nice in primary school. Ian.thomson (talk) 22:49, 5 January 2020 (UTC)
@Ian.thomson: Frankly, the level of your arguments is somewhat disappointing.
"it wasn't on the list" etc That is a straw man argument. I never implied that any statement that is not covered by that list should be considered not a PA. My point was that we should strictly discriminate accusations that are a priori unacceptable, and the accusations that might be (but not necessarily are) acceptable when supported by adequate evidences. Therefore, any person who "invented" a new type of personal attack is not immune from sanctions if that person appears to be incapable of supporting their accusations with adequate evidences. Actually, that is in agreement with what you yourself wrote on 03:36, 29 September 2019 (UTC), therefore, I am totally puzzled by your above response.
...if someone lacks the empathy, maturity, or intelligence to avoid personal attacks, then fear is really the only thing we've got left to make them behave like a damn adult. One man's personal attack is another man's neutral statement. I can give you a simple example: calling someone "Communist" may be, historically, a personal attack in the US (although some leftist intellectuals may disagree), but in India or Italy a situation may be seen at a totally different angle. Different adults have different intelligence, life experience and cultural background, and it is not clear why some of them (admins) are allowed to make a decision about the level of empathy and intelligence of others. That puts normal adult persons in a position of kindergarten kids, who are not capable of making a correct judgement about their actions, and have to rely on an opinion of adults. I am not sure such a situation is fair. In reality, "damn adults" feel themselves on a minefield not because of the "lack the empathy, maturity, or intelligence", but because they have absolutely no clue about principles that will be used by some concrete admin to make a judgement about their actions.
Anoner example: during a talk page conversation with some person, who, as I retrospectively concluded, had a southern US cultural background, I used a Lynch mob analogy, which sounded pretty innocent to me (I know about that mostly from Mark Twain's books), but looked terrible to that person. Does that mean I had less empathy or maturity? No. Does that mean I was expected to know in advance that that analogy was terrible? Obviously not. There are many actions that I see insulting or offensive here, but I know that all those people do not want to offend me, they do that just because of a difference in our cultural background. That is another reason why some clear and transparent rules are totally necessary. --Paul Siebert (talk) 23:30, 7 January 2020 (UTC)
I maintain: there should be a clear and exhaustive list of statements that are unacceptable without reservations. The statements falling in that category are not only offensive, but also unhelpful or even harmful. For example, I cannot imagine a situation when the statement "You are a bastard" may be helpful: it is a pure insult, and it cannot serve any positive goal. The statements that do not fall into that category should be treated as conditionally unacceptable. For example, a comparison of users with Nazi may be quite acceptable if it was made in an appropriate place (in a relevant forum) and a polite form. Consider this example. This edit removed some very important and well sourced information about the Holocaust from the Final solution article and replaced it with a blatant advocacy of Hitler's aggressive actions: according to the anon, Hitler's aggressive war was just self-defense against evil Soviets and Western Allies. Of course, it is possible to report that behaviour using a "soft language" (something like "unjustified removal of well sourced text and replacement of it with an unsourced statement"), however, admins are not expected to be knowledgeable in WWII history, and they may decide such a report is dealing with just a relatively innocent content dispute. As a result, a blatant pro-Hitler vandalism may remain unpunished. Obviously, it would be important for Wikipedia as whole to clearly link the above user with the name of Hitler. Not doing that will be harmful for Wikipedia as whole, and our policy must provide needed protection for users who are doing that. Currently, no such protection is provided by a policy, so the users who are reporting obvious vandals are always between Scylla of being too soft (so their reports are toothless and unsuccessful) and Charybdis of being too direct (so they may be sanctioned for "personal attacks"). By no means that leads to improvement of Wikipedia's content. --Paul Siebert (talk) 00:54, 8 January 2020 (UTC)
Of course there should not be a list of unacceptable statements. Such a list implies that any statement not included, no matter how personally insulting, is acceptable. The simple rule is: if the intent of a remark is to insult, and no better explanation is forthcoming, it is a violation of this policy. You can nitpick all you like but if I see anyone making statements which I interpret as being intended as personal attacks, I will push the block button. If you don't want to be blocked, don't give admins reasons.
An entirely separate problem is admins who block based solely on the utterance of specific words or key phrases. We could get a bot to do that; admins should be using their brains to do better. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 13:34, 8 January 2020 (UTC)
@Ivanvector: Actually, that is a core of the problem: one admin advises me to behave as a "damn adult", whereas you say: "Be a good boy, for if I decide your behaviour is not good, I'll punish you". These two approaches are inconsistent. "Damn adults" interact according to some commonly accepted rules, and if one person reserves a right to judge others according to his own internal rules that he does not bother to explain properly, that implies he treats other persons not as adults, but as children. If we are expected to behave as "damn adults", we are supposed to be treated accordingly. That implies admins and other users are considered equal, and the fact that you have an access to some magic button does not make me your subordinate, so the overall tone of your response can hardly be considered appropriate.
There is one point in your post I completely agree with: admins should be using their brain. The problem is that different admins have different brains, and they use them in different ways. A situation when we, good faith users, are expected to guess what each admin may see as a personal attack cannot be considered normal, and persistent refusal of admins to clearly explain the rules we are supposed to observe is disappointing and frustrating.
As one wise admin noted, you admins are janitors, whose role is to provide a comfortable environment for other users. I doubt your approach serves this goal. An office that is ruled by janitors will be clean and cozy, but it will hardly work efficiently.--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:15, 8 January 2020 (UTC)
In addition, I don't remember I ever proposed to create a list of unacceptable statements. I proposed to create a list of statement categories that are unacceptable a priori, and to make that list exhaustive. Thus, it is qute correct to include threats of legal action, threats of violence or other off-wiki action, threats or actions which deliberately expose other Wikipedia editors (...), and, probably, to add some other categories to that list. However, adding "but not limited to" may cause a problem. Thus, is a statement "Please apologize, otherwise I will report you to AE/ANI/ArbCom" a threat that may (theoretically) be considered a personal attack? --Paul Siebert (talk) 17:42, 8 January 2020 (UTC)
I directed my statement fear is really the only thing we've got left to make them behave like a damn adult at anyone lacks the empathy, maturity, or intelligence to avoid personal attacks, not you specifically. If you took it as being directed at you, that's your problem. In light of that, and in the light that this entire discussion was clearly started because of some grievance you hold over a topic ban, perhaps you need to try to find the crux of the matter within yourself?
The question regarding "apologize or be reported" shows one problem here: you are asking us for general rules about things where specifics dominate. Ian.thomson (talk) 22:50, 8 January 2020 (UTC)
@Ian.thomson: First, your statement implied that if a person was blocked for PA they lack maturity. It does not matter if it was directed at me or somebody else, the very approach was deeply flawed: my major question was why some group of Wikipedians decided that they have a right to decide who has maturity and who hasn't? We all are equal, and admins can make a judgement about behaviour of others only according to some clear, transparent and understandable rules. Only ArbCom members are totally free in their decision, but there is a big difference between arbitrators and admins: I am ready to accept ArbCom decision, because I voted for them. With regard to admins, you were not elected, and you are janitors, not judges.
Second, I am holding no grievance over my ban. Actually, I made a mistake: I became drawn in the conflict I was not going to be a part of, that was against my own rules, and I myself am surprised that I had broken them. Surely, I was easily avoiding this type problems in the past, and I see no problems with avoiding them in future, so I feel pretty safe in that respect. However, I am very disappointed by the way admins approach to the PA problem, and I find that very harmful to the project, because NPA is becoming a tool in hands of civil POV pushers, who are successfully gaming it to achieve their very questionable goals.
Regarding "general rules", that is not what I am asking. In reality, a situation is totally different. The policy de facto had already introduced some general rules, and what is even worse, these rules are vaguely formulated, but they authorize admins to take actions without analyzing a context. In contrast, I propose clearly separate some quite obvious cases (such as direct insults, which are obvious and indisputable PAs) from the cases "where specifics dominate". To this end, the policy must clearly stipulate: "These types of comments are never acceptable" (the current list can stay, although some minor revision is necessary), and in all other cases "specifics dominate", so admins are supposed to analyze evidences before making a decision. Frankly, that is a quite logical and non-controversial statement, and I sincerely don't understand why it is facing opposition. Maybe, I haven't explained it clear enough?--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:59, 9 January 2020 (UTC)
With regard to the revision of the list of indisputable personal attacks, I already explained that "comparing other editors to communists" is a pure Americo-centrism: this type statement is not considered as a serious insult outside of Anglo-Saxon world. Furthermore "Accusations about personal behavior that lack evidence" definitely do not belong to the list of indisputable PA: it would be correct to move it to the preamble and convert to a general rule: "any accusations that lack adequate evidence are considered a personal attack". And so on, and so forth.--Paul Siebert (talk) 05:10, 9 January 2020 (UTC)
Yes, this is culture-dependent. For example, calling someone "a supporter of Hitler" would be a greater insult in Slavic cultures than in "Anglo-Saxon world". I am not sure about "communists", but how about comparisons with Stalinists or Chekists? Most people in modern Russia would not consider this to be an offense, only a few would. As always with harassment issues, everything depends on perception by the person at whom the potential harassment was directed. If she/he perceives something as a harassment/personal attack, then it is the one. Just do not say anything which may be considered by others as a personal attack. This is very simple. My very best wishes (talk) 14:00, 9 January 2020 (UTC)

Adding protection for gender identity[edit]

The policy currently prohibits Abusive, defamatory, or derogatory phrases based on race, sex, sexual orientation, age, religious or political beliefs, disabilities, ethnicity, nationality, etc. but does not explicitly include gender identity. Many anti-discrimination policies now include gender identity, including the Wikimedia Foundation, Walmart, Harvard University, etc., etc., etc. The Canadian Human Rights Act has been amended to include gender identity protection as well. WanderingWanda (they/them) (t/c) 01:24, 4 March 2019 (UTC)

@WanderingWanda: . So if someone referred to someone who wishes to be referred to as they/them/it as he or she, are you saying that would be a personal attack? Toddst1 (talk) 03:29, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
Accidental misgendering happens, even between cisgendered individuals. No matter what the alt-right's favorite psychologist thinks, no one is looking to go "that cismale-rapist-pig called me the wrong gender after I deliberately dressed androgynously to fool him! Mwahahaha, now he'll go to jail!" There are, however, some people who view any situation besides their culture's understanding of masculine males and feminine females as sufficient reason to attack someone.
Regardless, if someone makes it clear that they identify as a particular gender, deliberately identifying them otherwise after it has been brought to one's attention could be a deliberate attack. "But I know their real gender is different" would violate WP:OUTING. This would still be true even if gender worked exactly the way conservative evangelicals wanted it to. Ian.thomson (talk) 04:13, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
This is pretty much what I was going to write. :) As always, Assume Good Faith (and Use Common Sense) would apply. If Goofus accidentally calls Gallant a girl, that's a mistake, not an attack. But if Goofus repeatedly, maliciously hectors Gallant by calling him a girl, even after being corrected, sure, I'd call that a personal attack.
Adding "gender identity" would also cover, for example, transphobic slurs.
In the end I predict the tangible effect of this change would be small (any hypothetical transphobic personal attack I can think of is still, well, a personal attack, so is essentially covered by the policy as is.) But it's still good to continue to affirm, as best we can, that Wikipedia is not a place where attacks, discrimination, or harassment are welcome. WanderingWanda (they/them) (t/c) 05:57, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
It's been one week and no one has objected. Change implemented. WanderingWanda (they/them) (t/c) 21:06, 10 March 2019 (UTC)
Changed per reasons I gave. Discrimination based on gender identity is not just about transphobia. Female-identified editors on Wikipedia have been attacked simply for identifying as female. By that, I mean because the men's rights/gamergate type of editors know their sex/gender or what they have been told by the women of their sex/gender anyway. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 18:54, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
In addition to the "gender identity" link being changed from transphobia to gender identity, the "sexual orientation" link was also recently changed from homophobia to sexual orientation (for similar stated reasons.) I have slightly mixed feelings: if the point of the paragraph is to educate people about prejudice, direct links to articles about prejudice might be more conducive to that. But in the end I agree it's probably better to err on the side of being broad and inclusive, so I won't argue against either change. WanderingWanda (they/them) (t/c) 20:50, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
  • I oppose the proposed change per the above concern that it would easily allow abuse to target conservative or religious editors. Flyer22 Reborn's argument sounds like WP:ILIKEIT. Linking to articles about actual harassment seems like a good compromise, but in my opinion it's still WP:COMMONSENSE that homophobia and transphobia against other editors are unacceptable. See WP:CREEP. Finally, my favorite option would be removing the list altogether because there are endless forms of attacks for reasons unrelated to editing Wikipedia. See WP:GAME. wumbolo ^^^ 19:18, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
Don't slander conservatives and religious people that way. Just being conservative doesn't mean one has to be a bigot, and I'd say that if someone is both religious and a bigot, they've missed the point of religion. There's an overly vocal minority of bigots who like to abuse conservatism and religion to justify their hatred, and the current wording is a problem for them but that's the point.
While one's gender identity and sexual orientation are irrelevant to editing, not only those bigots but some trolls believe that those elements are sufficient reason to exclude someone's good-faith efforts to improve the site. Ian.thomson (talk) 19:42, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
You are the one who singled out conservatives and religious people. even if gender worked exactly the way conservative evangelicals wanted it to. (emphasis mine) I'm not going to respond to your No true Scotsman defense of religion. wumbolo ^^^ 09:43, 14 March 2019 (UTC)
Stating that my argument "sounds like I WP:ILIKEIT" is silliness. For the same reason we don't engage in that type of egg linking in articles, we shouldn't engage in it in our policies and guidelines. You speak of common sense. Well, common sense is to not have "gender identity" pipelinked to transphobia. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 08:52, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
I pointed to a specific group noted for enforcing rules based on their views on sex, gender, and sexuality, yes; you expanded it to all conservatives and all religious people. Ian.thomson (talk) 05:38, 23 March 2019 (UTC)
It is not relevant whether religious people or conservatives want to monopolize views on gender (that they do is your opinion). What's relevant is that a large number of people, who are religious or conservative, do not share your view on gender and misgendering. Even if they don't persistently and purposefully misgender someone, they are vulnerable to accusations of personal attacks. WP:GAMING this policy is not allowed, but surely it's difficult to understand someone's motivation in this contentious topic. wumbolo ^^^ 21:28, 23 March 2019 (UTC)
And yet you were the one who made it about conservatives in general and religious people in general.
Don't assume that non-transphobes don't know what accidents are. Ian.thomson (talk) 22:21, 27 March 2019 (UTC)
I was talking about a scenario where an editor would be abused, and said that the editor would be conservative or religious because that's how you described those with unconventional views on gender. This policy would not help anyone (bad-faith transphobes will use other ways of bullying) except encourage non-transphobic editors to be bullies against conservative evangelicals, as you put it the 1st time. wumbolo ^^^ 09:01, 2 April 2019 (UTC)
@WanderingWanda: I find the whole discussion senseless. You correctly noted: But if Goofus repeatedly, maliciously hectors Gallant by calling him a girl, even after being corrected, sure, I'd call that a personal attack. That is correct. However, that is equally applicable to any other case. For example, if Goofus repeatedly addresses to Gallant "my dear fellow", but Gallant feels uncomfortable and asks Goofus not to use these words, it would be correct to describe Goofus' behaviour as a personal attack. I don't know if the NPA policy stipulates that, but, in my opinion, it follows from the policy's spirit that, if a user A finds some word/phrase X offensive, and asks a user B: "Please, don't use X during a conversation with me", then, if B ignores this request, it is a personal attack. Entia non sunt multiplicanda, and we don't need to add too many details to the policy.
Of course, I may be wrong, and that does not follow from the policy's spirit. In that case, I think it would be correct to add that to a policy. In my opinion, that will help to prevent a broad spectrum of potential conflict.--Paul Siebert (talk) 20:16, 8 January 2020 (UTC)

It's subjective[edit]

The first line reads "There is no rule that is objective and not open to interpretation on what constitutes a personal attack". This means almost anything can be considered a personal attack. Anyone can be accused of a personal attack for any reason. It's an arbitrary rule applied arbitrarily and inconsistently. That's bad news for everyone. If it were merely a slap on the wrist, it might be OK. But if people in power were to use this an excuse to block or eliminate people from Wikipedia, that would create a chilling effect, discouraging people from speaking freely. Speaking freely is necessary to debate and consensus. That's why there are "Talk" pages. For talking. For discussing. If people feel they can't speak freely, they will censor themselves (and each other). They will hesitate to address problems, because they will be afraid of being punished. Very little would get accomplished.

There's no such thing as a perfect rough draft. If people didn't make mistakes, there would be no need for editing. Mistakes are not some terrible sin that warrant punishment. Far from it. Mistakes are part of the process of learning. Where it gets to be a problem is when people don't learn from their mistakes. Then they make no progress. They go in circles. But even in these situations, they hurt themselves more than others. Wikipedia should encourage people to fail just as it encourages people to be bold. It should encourage people to speak up to solve problems. Otherwise problems don't get solved. It's no wonder Wikipedia has a hard time retaining editors. These are the same kinds of problems that exist in the real world in toxic workplaces where bad people thrive and good people are driven out. In those workplaces, people are not allowed to speak freely because they fear some kind of reprisal or punishment. Such places work against themselves. Maybe there should be revisions to this policy. Maybe this policy ought not to be used as a reason for blocking.
Vmavanti (talk) 15:41, 18 March 2019 (UTC)

What events inspired you to make this comment? NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 15:58, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
A fair question but irrelevant. I'm not interested in getting anyone in trouble. Especially me.
Vmavanti (talk) 16:40, 18 March 2019 (UTC)

Harassment, mocking or otherwise disrespecting someone on the basis of gender identification and pronoun preference[edit]

This discussion has generated a lot of heat and almost no light and there is almost no prospect of that changing. Thryduulf (talk) 09:10, 9 May 2019 (UTC)

In the light of some of the unexpected arguments put forward yesterday on ANI and then AN with regard to whether someone openly mocking pronoun preference by either deliberately targeting an contributor using other pronouns, stating they are doing so, or deliberately using fictional pronouns (like "Peh", used in comic books but by no living person), it appears that NPA needs a supporting consensus and more explicit wording as to how bad hounding someone based on their gender identification needs to get, before it stops being "acceptable normal discussion" on Wikipedia and is instead treated as harassment with commensurate sanctions. Surprisingly it does not appear sufficient that NPA states that it covers "gender identity" as even in egregious cases there appears to be room to debate whether any of this is sanctionable, even when the protagonist openly states they are being deliberately disrepectful.

Does anyone want to offer suggestions at to how wording of a RFC might usefully work, or indeed want to offer a different approach to establishing a consensus? Clearly, this is not about expecting sanctions for people making mistakes by calling someone "he" or "she" by accident, or forcing anyone to use non standard pronouns when if in doubt they can avoid pronoun use or use the accepted plain English dictionary standard singular 'they'. However a new consensus can make it clear that any pattern of deliberate misgendering or mocking someone based on gender identification or pronoun preferences does fall under the NPA policy.

FYI: As an entirely separate point, there have been moves to add preferred pronouns in user preferences and in signatures to make it easy for participants in discussions to see, but as a practice for talk pages this has no consensus or expectation for how it might be adopted if it does get more widely promoted as a user preference.

Thanks -- (talk) 09:17, 8 May 2019 (UTC)

  • Appreciate the sentiment but this is a very subjective and rare occurrence. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen it before the recent brouhaha involving grammar linguistic pedants. IAR covered it then and would do if it happened again (unlikely). - Sitush (talk) 09:34, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
    • A contributor's gender identification is not linguistic pedantry. If you believe NPA is mistaken to have gender identification in it because it will never be enforced, then propose that it is removed. Thanks -- (talk) 09:40, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
      • No, but the choice of alternate words (xe, thon etc) was. - Sitush (talk) 09:41, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
        • The use of "thon" was clearly bizarre. Check it up. Nobody should be targeted this way, yet we still have people defending use of bizarre pronouns, even entirely fictional ones, to refer to living people rather than actually respecting their identification. -- (talk) 09:50, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
          • But I think you are making a mountain out of a molehill and yet again it supports the impression, rightly or wrongly, that some people hold of you seeking victimhood and being "professionally offended". Virtually all of your time on en-WP nowadays seems to be spent arguing about gender issues, not building the encyclopedaedia, and I've seen calls for your topic ban to be reinstated. That will probably happen unless you adjust your editing habits. One-of events do not usually justify changes in policy. - Sitush (talk) 09:55, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
            • Helping move Wikipedia forward to a more gender inclusive environment seems pretty important to many people. Improving NPA is part of that. If you are interested in my volunteer projects where my volunteer time goes, take a look at my user page rather than promoting false myths about me, thanks. -- (talk) 10:01, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
              • rather than promoting false myths about me - diff, please. - Sitush (talk) 10:17, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
                • Here you are. On the other hand you are hijacking this generic discussion about improving NPA to make multiple negative allegations about me, can you either remove those statement or support them all with diffs? Thanks so much. -- (talk) 10:34, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
                  • Thanks for the diff. I would echo every comment Sitush made there (I haven't seen calls for a topic ban, but I could understand such a call being made). Andy Dingley (talk) 10:40, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
                    • here's one - Sitush (talk) 11:42, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
                    • Give this some context, this thread is about improving our consensus view of NPA with respect to "harassment, mocking or otherwise disrespecting someone on the basis of gender identification and pronoun preference". Threatening me with blocks and bans when I am totally guilty of starting the discussion is shooting the messenger. -- (talk) 10:50, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
The repeated statements you made that people "misgendered" you, that they "declared that they personally hate" you, and so on, from those discussions, are much worse personal attacks than what you are now trying to raise here. As far as I can see, no one adressed you with "Peh" in those discussions either. While yo may prefer "they" and it would be more courteous if people used this, there is no misgendering happening if they instead use "xe", which is explicitly intended to be gender-neutral. Your constant misrepresentation of what others said and constant playing the gender / minority / prosecution card is rapidly growing stale, and continued such remarks may well lead to you getting blocked for disruption and personal attacks. Just drop it instead. Fram (talk) 09:41, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
You appear to have not read the ANI discussion, I was addressed as "Peh", if you take a moment to look. There is no other reading of that sentence than it being intended to mock. The question here is not that example but what should be improved in NPA. Threatening me with blocks when clearly I am not attacking anyone, does not move the discussion forward. -- (talk) 09:48, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
Right, "Peh" was used once there. Mocking (if that was the intention) your insistence that only singular "they" is acceptable and e.g. Xe is unacceptable misgendering is not a smart or nice thing to do, but hardly worthy to change or strengthen policies over. As for "clearly I was not attacking anyone", no, clearly you were attacking people, and even more clearly you were attacking them on spurious grounds. This discussion does not need "moving forward", this discussion needs to be closed as it has already wasted too much time at AN and ANI and everything that needed to be said (and much besides) has been said. Fram (talk) 09:55, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
There is no basis for deliberately referring to Wikipedia contributors with "Xe" when you have been told their preference is "she" or "he" or "they". The non-standard pronoun "Xe" is definitely misgendering people if that is not their chosen pronoun and you continue to use it to refer to them against their wishes. Claiming otherwise, to the extent of threatening blocks, is pretty strange when no reliable guidelines for conduct in discussions for any forum would support this view. -- (talk) 09:59, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
Nope, yo just ocntinue to use the "misgendering" label for something which is not misgendering at all. "Misgendering is the act of labelling others with a gender that does not match their gender identity." In what way does "Xe" label you with a gender different from the label attached to "they"? If I would address someone who identifes as male with "the man" all the time, instead of using "he" and "him", then it would be tiring very quickly, but it would not be misgendering. Fram (talk) 10:11, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
This is a fallacy, I am not sure why this confuses you. Deliberately and repeatedly calling a "he" a "she" when you know the person's correct pronoun is misgendering. Deliberately and repeatedly calling a "she" a (non-standard) "xe" is misgendering when you know the person's correct pronoun. Deliberately and repeatedly calling a "they" a "she" or a fictional "peh" or a nonstandard "ze" or "xe" or "yo", when you know their correct pronoun is misgendering in exactly the same way as the examples of misgendering a "she". The expectations for respectful treatment of women who wish to be referred to as "she", or gender neutral people who wish to have their use of "they" respected should be no different when it comes to the implementation of Wikipedia policies.
If on Wikipedia we have special rules that allow people to be repeatedly and deliberately referenced with incorrect pronouns, then there is literally no point in NPA including "gender identity" as it means nothing. If however "gender identity" is only ever applied to binary genders, then let's explicitly state that rather than pretending otherwise. -- (talk) 10:22, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Would you like a policy that says, "A particular named editor on WP is prone to using abusive forms of address towards others, and this is considered as breaching NPA"? I don't think you're going to get a policy for that, but you've already got and ANI archive and could easily get an RfC or even ArbCom ruling recording that. But it's not the function of policy to be so specifically targetted to named editors.
"Deliberately and repeatedly calling a "he" a "she" when you know the person's correct pronoun is misgendering. " I would agree. Do we already state that, or do we need to make it clearer? But note that it includes both "repeatedly" and "when known", so it would not apply in cases of GF accident (and nor should it).
In the recent case, it was not repeated. Nor was it accidental. It was a restricted use, and could be judged as being deliberately provocative (I'd see it as such). But that's different to the situation above. It's about abuse, not gender politics (and I think ANI saw it as abusive). Andy Dingley (talk) 10:30, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
(ec)No, it is not a fallacy. Using a gender-specific pronoun (she) to refer to someone who identifies as having a different gender (he), is misgendering. Using a gender-neutral pronoun ("xe" or "they") instead of another gender-neutral pronoun ("they" or "xe") is not misgendering, although it may (depending on how and why it is used) still be objectionable and sanctionable. You have not been misgendered by the use of "xe" instead of "they". You may be insulted by the use, and it may even have been the intention, but you don't help your case by insisting on giving it a label it shouldn't have. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that the thought process was "hey, look at that silly person insisting on using the gender-neutral "they" to be adressed with; let's mock him by using other equally silly gender-neutral pronouns like "xe" or "peh"". If this was the intention, then it was insulting you, mocking you, and can be argued that it mocked your gender. That still doesn't mean that it "misgendered" you. Fram (talk) 10:35, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
As stated using nonstandard pronouns to refer to gender neutral people without that being their preferred pronoun is misgendering. There is no policy, guideline or non-controversial external reliable standard that demonstrates otherwise, though you are welcome to find them and quote them if you believe otherwise. Your views here demonstrate why a clearer consensus on what the respectful treatment of "gender identification" currently written in to NPA is needed. Picking up on Andy Dingley's question, the top of this thread is more focused on having an RFC proposal that establishes a clearer consensus on how "gender identification" is implemented, that may result in no changes to the NPA policy, just that we reach a common understanding. -- (talk) 10:42, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
Replying by simply repeating your refuted assertion is not really convincing. Misgendering "Refer to (someone, especially a transgender person) using a word, especially a pronoun or form of address, that does not correctly reflect the gender with which they identify." In what way does "xe" not correctly reflect the gender which with you identify? It is gender-neutral, "they" is gender-neutral. It is not the pronoun you prefer, we get that. But adressing someone in a way they don't like doesn't equate misgendering, calling someone "lad" or "lassie" may have the gender right and still be insulting and unacceptable to the person. Fram (talk) 11:23, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
"Xe" is obscure, if not downright bizarre. It is not widely used, it is not understood when used, it is not Fae's choice. If you want to continue arguing that "Xe" is always civil to use and ignore stated preferences, despite what all published respectable English dictionaries tell us (looking at the entry for Xe in the full online OED right now), then produce a reliable source that backs it up. The burden of proof is not on the side of presuming all dictionaries are wrong, so how about presuming that burden of proof is yours rather than mine. Thank you so much, I look forward to reviewing some interesting reliable sources that prove me wrong. -- (talk) 14:51, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
"If you want to continue arguing that "Xe" is always civil to use": strawman argument. I have never argued that "xe is always civil to use". On the contrary, I have made statements like "If this was the intention, then it was insulting you, mocking you, and can be argued that it mocked your gender. That still doesn't mean that it "misgendered" you." right above. I am not going to spend time defending a position I never argued in the first place. Look at it from a different perspective: if I were to call an African-American "white", I would be mis-racing them (comparable to misgendering). If I were to call them "nigger", I would not been "mis-racing" them, but I would be extremely insulting anyway and would deserve an instant block for personal attacks. Similarly, arguing that "xe" is not misgendering you doesn't mean that it is always acceptable or civil to use (although I haven't seen any evidence that it carries the negative connotation the N word has). Whether it is civil to use depends on the context and the intention, but it is not inherently uncivil, and it is not misgendering when used in lieu of another genderneutral pronoun, even if you prefer that other pronoun. Fram (talk) 15:08, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
Putting aside the n-word (really?), I no longer understand the point you are making. I find being labeled a (non-standard English) "xe" when it is not my pronoun is weird and insulting, as most women find being called "he" because the writer is using "he" as a neutral pronoun (as many policy writers used to do pre-1990s). Given that context, you still seem to be arguing that it can never be uncivil to use "xe" when referring to anybody with a non binary preference, even when they have told you that they are unhappy with "xe", is that right? Presumably you also would argue that using "xe" instead of "she" would be civil too. As said, I no longer really understand which of these viewpoints you support. Perhaps you make a clear but generic position in WW's new section below, preferably with a reliable source that defines what "xe" means and how it is supposed to be used in discussion forums. As "xe" just means Xenon in the dictionaries I have access to, a commonly accepted reliable source would be useful. -- (talk) 15:18, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
"you still seem to be arguing that it can never be uncivil to use "xe" when referring to anybody with a non binary preference". And with that, I oppose any addition or change to this policy based on the wishes of Fæ, and I support any action taken against them, including reinstating bans or topic bans. Letting someone who displays this extreme form of "I can't hear you" loose on any discussion pages is utterly useless. Lettting someone who apparently can't even use Google loose on enwiki in general is useless as well. As an example, look at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center, section "What are some commonly used pronouns?". "There are also lots of gender-neutral pronouns in use. Here are a few you might hear:" "Ze is pronounced like “zee” can also be spelled zie or xe". The ones given as offensive are "Never refer to a person as “it” or “he-she”. These are offensive slurs used against trans and gender non-conforming individuals." And with that, I leave you to find another victim of your soliloquy. Fram (talk) 16:18, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
"I no longer really understand which of these viewpoints you support" are the words I used, and I explained what I think your viewpoint reads to me as. Again, I am not a victim of anything, and if you do not want to lay out your reasoning in a way that I and others can understand, I guess that's your call. What should be clear from the views of others, is that if a complainant states they are being misgendered by someone via the repeated unwanted use of "xe", then that does not make the complainant a harasser, or mean that they are playing the victim card. Someone in this position should be able to make that complaint, without being attacked for it, hounded for it, or need be lectured that their understanding of "gender" is wrong. The one website you provided, and the resources on LGBT+ history I have at home, nor any other website, book or guide that I have come across in my reading on this topic, have ever indicated otherwise.
Thanks for your engagement, I am sorry that you are so aggrieved, for reasons I still do not understand, that you felt the need to threaten me with blocks and bans for expressing my viewpoint. -- (talk) 19:55, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
  • "Xe" is obscure, if not downright bizarre. It is not widely used, it is not understood when used, it is not Fae's choice.
So why use Xe? It's not a regular habit of the user to use it. I can only see it being used (from the context there) as a deliberate choice, a choice which has still managed to ignore Fae's expressed preferences, and a choice whose main result is to highlight the form of address as "peculiar". In effect, it's moving from a statement "They <Fae> did this." to "Look everyone, that weirdo <Fae> did this." It's that pejorative. I'm reminded of the US political campaign describing an opponent as a "self-confessed homo sapiens" and their actress sister as "an admitted thespian". Words have context, and meanings implicit on those contexts. It's not hard to take a word, even some like Xe created to address this problem, and to turn it into an example of that problem instead. Andy Dingley (talk) 10:24, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
  • What is missing from our current statement? What do you think needs to be added to it?
I don't see any significant need for change here. We have had a problem, agreed, but do we need to change anything? or was our existing policy adequate for the task?
There are two external influencing factors here: We want to support personal choices as to identity, and avoid disrespect by ignoring that; also we need to recognise that there is scope for still-GF accidental misidentification and mis-use of pronouns etc. In the recent case, a "he/she/they" confusion could be put down to accident without blowing it up at ANI, but choosing to find some bizarre form of address was clearly something else – and ANI reacted on that basis.
So yes, you were insulted and I'm sorry for that. But did ANI not deliver for you? Was that a problem of policy, or of behaviour at ANI? Is there really a policy change to NPA that's going to improve things? Andy Dingley (talk) 10:18, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
Fram's example, which you have responded to, shows there is a gap between NPA including the words "gender identity" and there being a consensus of how that is implemented on Wikipedia. The proposal here is not a rehashing of the AN/ANI example, it is suggesting that we put an RFC to establish a consensus on how NPA is to be implemented in the future. -- (talk) 10:29, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
  • I'd be a bit nervous about the scale of "pronoun preference" - he, she, they are all fine and I happily adapt to whichever is desired. However if "xe" is requested or some other more tenuous creation then I'm reticent to say that my refusal to do so could be considered even partway towards hounding. Nosebagbear (talk) 10:28, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Also, this isn't really an RfC, it's more of a discussion about possible proposals Nosebagbear (talk)
Correct, this is not an RFC, it's a discussion about how to write one. -- (talk) 10:29, 8 May 2019 (UTC)

You know what, repeated threats to block and ban me here have completely derailed this thread. Thanks everyone for making it so bloody clear how stupid it was of me to attempt a real discussion about respectful treatment of gender neutral identity as a reasonable follow up to being harassed. Non binary people are unwelcome on Wikipedia, let's be honest, we may as well put that in a banner on the front page.

What is the point? -- (talk) 10:50, 8 May 2019 (UTC)

  • Then maybe you shouldn't make clear personal attacks on Sitush as "promoting false myths about me" (above). Nor have you pointed out where there's any falsehood here. Andy Dingley (talk) 11:09, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
I do not have to defend myself against false myths. "Virtually all of your time on en-WP nowadays seems to be spent arguing about gender issues" is a false and pointy myth. Anyone who bothers to actually look at the work I do can see that. Yes I was targeted and mocked, that does not make me a victim and I should not be burdened with false allegations as a result of defending myself. Thanks for derailing the discussion, message understood, I should f**k off and shut up rather than wasting my time trying to improve the system. -- (talk) 11:16, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
Why do you always try to make everything personal, that is make it be about you? Twisting and turning everything that others say/write here. If you intended this to be a discussion about gender-neutral pronouns, then stick to that, and skip the rest. As for standard and non-standard personal pronouns, there are only two standard pronouns, he and she, corresponding to the only genders that are legally recognised in the vast majority of all jurisdictions. Everything else is non-standard. Editors here can choose which personal pronoun they prefer in the settings here, he, she or "null", but there's no God-given, or even Wikipedia-given, right to choose which one of the umpteen variations of gender-neutral pronouns that have popped up over the past few years, and other editors not using the exact word that you prefer can not be labelled as you being "mis-gendered", and can most definitely not be a personal attack, and any claim about it being harassment would require having been subjected to it repeatedly, and over an extended period of time... - Tom | Thomas.W talk 11:27, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
"...there are only two standard pronouns, he and she..." Incorrect. "They" is a standard pronoun and has long been used in the singular. Jonathunder (talk) 15:45, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
Nope, not in this context. In phrases such as "a journalist should not be forced to reveal their sources", which is a typical example of the old, and very common, way to use it, singular they is used as a catch-all word referring to both men and women, but that's not what we're discussing, what is being discussed here is using singular they as a personal pronoun for the "third sex", people who identify as neither man nor woman, i.e. on par with "he" and "she", and that use is less than 20 years old, and far from standard. - Tom | Thomas.W talk 16:12, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
I would very much second Thomas.W's comment here, "Why do you always try to make everything personal, that is make it be about you?"
You have a good point about wording at NPA and whether it's adequate to address issues of respect in addressing others w.r. to their self-identified gender. But turning this into an attack on either Sitush or Guy doesn't help that. Andy Dingley (talk) 12:55, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
Do you agree that "any claim about it being harassment would require having been subjected to it repeatedly, and over an extended period of time"? Presumably that being deliberately misgendered, say referring to you as "she" would not be a problem unless done more than three separate times, with you correcting that person, and over weeks or months rather than a couple of days. Seems that would be worth adding to the common understanding of what Wikipedia respecting "gender identification" means. -- (talk) 13:03, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
  • It's very easily done (and online, it's easily done to cisgender people too) to simply misidentify someone's identity or their wishes, by a GF mistake. We should not construct a pillory at NPA for such mistakes.
If it's being done for other reasons, I think we're largely capable of recognising that anyway. Equally edit-warring is a bright line at 3RR, but we recognise when it's being done before that.
If someone addresses an editor in a way that they're uncomfortable with, then the fix for that is to talk to them and to point it out. If they continue past that, it's clearly no longer in ignorance. Andy Dingley (talk) 13:24, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
  • As I wrote over at the AN thread yesterday, misgendering someone is not in and of itself a personal attack. People make mistakes and not everyone is incredibly familiar with nonbinary genders. Assume good faith, absent evidence to the contrary. When there is evidence that someone is deliberately misgendering someone in a way meant to offend or make a point, that behaviour already falls very neatly under the harassment policy. There's no need for a change in any policy here, just a change in a handful of editors' attitudes.
There's also a few people who in response or separately have said they will refuse to recognize anyone's nonbinary gender and/or refuse to use any neutral pronoun or any specific neutral pronoun. Well, okay, that's soapboxing and I disagree with your opinion, but as long as you keep it to general statements of linguistic pedantry then we'll all just ignore you and everyone can get back to building an encyclopedia. When you start using your view to attack other editors, then your block log will note that gender expression is one of the protected categories listed in the WMF's non-discrimination policy. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 12:24, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
I believe that NPA, as currently written, should cover pronoun issues. In WP:NPA#What is considered to be a personal attack?, the first item on the list us Abusive, defamatory, or derogatory phrases based on race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, religious or political beliefs, disabilities, ethnicity, nationality, etc. directed against another editor or a group of editors (emphasis added). Insisting on using the wrong pronoun despite being told the correct one is likely to be seen as abusive and derogatory. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 14:31, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
I basically agree with this analysis, but I don't see what the problem is with saying this more explicitly. Clearly Fae is right that some people don't appear to share this interpretation. Part of the point of the rules against harassment is that the potential harasser might see that what they're doing is covered, and stop. This is unlikely under the current rules, and we could make it more likely, so why not? LokiTheLiar (talk) 15:19, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
  • I am sorely tempted to close this thread as a waste of time. Ivanvector nailed it above; general linguistic pedantry is silly, but can just be ignored; language directed at a specific editor calling attention to one's refusal to use their pronouns is pointy at best, and already covered by our policies about harassment and personal attacks. Vanamonde (Talk) 16:19, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
    • Please. Nothing’s going to come out of this. It’s only causing more drama. —pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 21:42, 8 May 2019 (UTC)

No discussion of individual editors/incidents below this point![edit]

The above discussion is heavily focused on specific editors and specific cases. I don't think it's wrong to bring up specific cases in a discussion like this per se, but I'd like to offer an alternative space where we can just discuss any potential changes to the guidelines without arguing about specific editors/incidents. WanderingWanda (talk) 15:07, 8 May 2019 (UTC)

Like I said above, I don't see what the problem is with adding a line that says "deliberate misgendering is harassment". It probably is covered already, and if it isn't it really should be. LokiTheLiar (talk) 15:22, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
Because it is subjective. I refer to the section above, right from my first response. Define deliberate and define misgendering. - Sitush (talk) 15:40, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
Sitush's point is why I'm insisting this is covered by the harassment policy. It's difficult to confidently argue that a specific word or turn of phrase is deliberate misgendering - what is deliberate? Misgendering is a bit more clear, but how do you cross a line from ignorant/innocent to malicious/deliberate, and how many times do we assume good faith? That all needs to be defined if we're to add it to NPA, and that's a black hole of hurt feelings. It is much easier to identify a pattern of behaviour meant to cause distress and discomfort, which might include deliberately misgendering someone but generally includes other harassment as well, and that's what the harassment policy is already all about. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 15:53, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
Generally speaking, I realize this is a bit idealistic, most admins recognize a personal attack when they see one, without having to have a bullet list of what is and what is not a violation of the policy. It comes down to more than just what characters appear in what order on the page. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 16:04, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
  • As Fae noted, "Deliberately and repeatedly [...] when you know [...]" is a reasonable basis for it, as it becoming clear from there on. Do we need to state that explicitly? Otherwise, as you say, harassment tends to be recognised as harassment anyway. Andy Dingley (talk) 16:20, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
It's my general opinion in these situations that vague policies lead to a reluctance to enforce the policy. I do think that "Deliberately and repeatedly when you know the person's pronouns" is a workable standard. Or something like "if the person corrects you and you persist". But frankly I'd even support the addition of "deliberate misgendering counts as harassment based on gender identity" without further clarification. I don't see how that introduces any subjectivity that the current policy against harassment doesn't already have: if we all agree that deliberate misgendering is already against the policy, than we already have the problem of "what counts?", and simply refusing to state the policy explicitly does not make the problem any better. LokiTheLiar (talk) 17:19, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
As is repeatedly evidenced in the preceding section, people have different definitions of what counts as misgendering. Using he when it should be she, or vice versa, is obvious but when dealing with non-binary people there are a wide range of terms adopted in the real world and you'll thus see them on Wikipedia, too. I recall Qwyrxian, a now inactive admin, always used the "xe"/"xer" etc style to which some are objecting strongly above.
It simply isn't worth the aggro, as my opening remark said. One rare instance in over 10 years (to my knowledge) does not justify the drama that is being sought. - Sitush (talk) 17:37, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
In my experience, LokiTheLiar, it's the opposite: overspecificity in the policy leads to reluctance to enforce, because it leads to endless nitpicking over literal interpretations of the policy and choices of specific words. See, for example, this 160,000 bytes of discussion which essentially boiled down to whether to use the word "engage" or the word "initiate" in the no legal threats policy. On the topic of gender expression and misgendering specifically, why not write a supplementary essay? Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 18:30, 8 May 2019 (UTC)

Misgendering is the use of any third person pronoun other than the one the user prefers. Deliberate is one of those "I can't define it, but I recognize it when I see it" cases. It should be noted, though, that the use of a well-known gendered name isn't good enough to ensure that users know which pronoun to use. For example, people from a pure English-language environment know that Noah is a masculine name; however, people from Israel would see it as the feminine name נועה, which would be likely to be translated in tbe same way. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 20:44, 8 May 2019 (UTC)

  • Last I knew, we can't get consensus that telling someone to "fuck off" is incivility. "Misgendering" can be a form of harassment when the intent is to convince editors that they are unwelcome on the project due to personal characteristics. It isn't harassment if a person is simply mistaken. I don't feel like it is a form of harassment per se in the far more common instance where someone (myself included) uses "he" in a generic sense, or even under the assumption a given editor is probably male because Wikipedia's demographics are notorious. Though you can argue that one. So if someone uses the "wrong" third sex pronoun, is that harassment? Well, if you can prove intent, maybe. But at the same time I honestly feel like it is my right to start referring to every editor on Wikipedia as "xe" out of frustration with our old archaic sex-obsessed language without it being an act of harassment, even if the person prefers "they" or whatever. So I have a hard time seeing a path from unformed philosophy to a fixed policy. Wnt (talk) 21:56, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
The section opened with "this is not about expecting sanctions for people making mistakes", and everyone appears to agree with that. Similarly as in your example, someone commonly using a specific pronoun for convenience or when writing generically is normally accepted without comment. But in the circumstances where someone has taken the effort to ask that a their preferred pronoun is used instead of the mistaken "she" or "xe" by the same writer, it is not really logical that for either frustration with the binary language, convenience for the writer, or on some fine principle of free speech, that the request from the individual can be deliberately ignored from that point on as an unreasonable request or a lesser priority. Being aware and respecting the preferred pronoun of the person you are making the effort to directly address, or simply avoiding pronouns when you are uncertain, has never felt like a big ask to most Wikipedians in practice when it helps provide a non-hostile environment. In almost all talk page practice away from dispute notice boards, like this paragraph, we are responding to points in a discussion, not making points about any individual contributor anyway. -- (talk) 22:26, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
It may not seem like a 'big ask' but it doesn't seem like a 'big ask' to request someone put up with your own choice of pronoun either, especially if it is a gender-neutral pronoun, and that would particularly be the case if you used it as a general practice with many editors. Now to be sure, if the editor reserved his special pronoun just for one editor and then made sure to refer to that one person that way every time, you'd quickly get the feeling that a sort of harassment by announcement was underway much like using "(((Echoes)))" around the username of a Jewish editor, and you'd have very good reason for concern. But the policy cannot go so far that if you get promoted to a religious leadership position and start demanding to be called the Reverend Fae, that it would seem like the same thing as we do for transgender editors. The most reasonable point has to be somewhere in the middle -- in other words, somewhere near to where the policy currently would seem to stand. Wnt (talk) 10:33, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
Failing to use your honorific, is not comparable to someone repeatedly calling you "she" when you have explained you are not a "she". It is not a big ask, because it actually takes more effort to disrespect or make fun of someone's correct pronoun than just not use one. -- (talk) 11:00, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
I should note that this is the section not about the specific case. If an editor goes out of his way to discomfit another editor, making a special effort to remember and use the wrong pronoun simply to be annoying, then you have a relatively standard harassment scenario. I mean, if you were dealing with a large number of people in person and you kept calling one person "she" based on what your eyes told you, that might be one thing, but there's usually no way for someone on Wikipedia to know who is a "she" except by memory. Wnt (talk) 15:34, 10 May 2019 (UTC)

It is clear from the discussion at ANI and above the line here that some editors do not view the deliberate use of non-preferred pronouns, after a preference for one of the standard pronouns (he, she, or they) has already been clearly expressed, to be a personal attack. I strongly disagree. It is a personal attack. The discussion has been derailed by the question of whether this kind of attack really counts as "misgendering", but although I have an opinion on this I think it would be less controversial to set it aside as that's not what we need to decide — it can be a personal attack whether or not it is the same as misgendering. I think that this sort of deliberate wrong-pronoun-use is clearly a personal attack, and that it should not be allowed, to do this. I think the recent discussions have shown also that we need explicit language in NPA saying that it should not be allowed, because too many editors have been trying to rationalize or excuse these attacks rather than treating them as attacks. I take no position at this point on what should happen when an editor expresses a preference for a non-standard pronoun (except that it should always be acceptable to use the editor's full editor name, or non-pejorative abbreviations of it, in place of pronouns). —David Eppstein (talk) 22:34, 8 May 2019 (UTC)

  • I tend to agree with Ivanvector on this already being covered by the harassment policy. A single instance is going to be really difficult to enforce as a personal attack given WP:AGF and the difficulties of showing "deliberate". Any sanctions on this point would likely require multiple instances, and if that's the case it's "a pattern of repeated offensive behavior that appears to a reasonable observer to intentionally target a specific person or persons" and so clearly able to be dealt with under WP:HARASS. I support the underlying sentiment--misgendering is a form of incivility--but I think we already have the tools to handle that without adding new language to NPA. Wugapodes [thɑk] [ˈkan.ˌʧɹɪbz] 04:13, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
    • I agree, in a sense, that it's "already covered" by the broad language that's in place, but you could probably say that about any new guidance you could think to add to WP:NPA. WanderingWanda (talk) 22:02, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
      • I don't think you could. Let's say tomorrow Donald Trump calls Chuck Schumer a cottonheadedninnymuggins and teens across the world start using it as an insult. A few days later an editor in a content dispute gets angry and calls me a cottonheadedninnymuggin. That's unambiguously a personal attack but it's not harassment, and we may then want to add it as an example at NPA because it wouldn't be covered under HARASS. See also the discussion about whether "fuck off" is a violation of CIVIL; using it once is (maybe) not civil, but telling a user to fuck off probably wouldn't fall under HARASS either. So unlike other forms of incivility the community has discussed which clearly don't fall under HARASS, this one seems to and so I don't think we need to add language to policy to prohibit what is already prohibited. Wugapodes [thɑk] [ˈkan.ˌʧɹɪbz] 00:11, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
        Someone calling you a cottonheadedninnymuggin, or telling you to f**k off, is not deliberately abusing you based on your gender, so not a useful comparison. -- (talk) 11:00, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
        Yes that's exactly my point, these are examples of personal attacks that are not harassment. Wanda said you could probably say that about any new guidance you could think to add to WP:NPA and I was giving examples of things that show that's not the case. Wugapodes [thɑk] [ˈkan.ˌʧɹɪbz] 00:26, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
  • I agree fully that intentionally using the wrong pronouns for someone will often be a personal attack (there are a few contexts in which it will be acceptable, and accidents will happen), and in some but not all of those cases it will be misgendering (e.g. repeatedly calling someone "they" when you know that their preference is for "she" could be a personal attack but would not be misgendering). The "What is a personal attack" section begins "There is no rule that is objective and not open to interpretation on what constitutes a personal attack as opposed to constructive discussion, but some types of comments are never acceptable" and ends with "These examples are not exhaustive. Insulting or disparaging an editor is a personal attack regardless of the manner in which it is done." (emphasis mine). Given this I think all that is a statement somewhere (and I'm not sure that this page is that somewhere) that "intentionally addressing or referring to a person using pronouns you know to be incorrect can be a personal attack and that doing so repeatedly is harassment. Intentionally misgendering someone is a personal attack, but as it is an "Abusive, defamatory, or derogatory phrase[] based on [...] gender identity" it is already fully covered by the first bullet point here. Thryduulf (talk) 09:36, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
    • Wording based on what "you know" rather than what the subject prefers could be problematic, for instance in cases of editors who "know" that a transgender person's assigned birth gender is "correct". —David Eppstein (talk) 17:40, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
  • I concur with @David Eppstein here. XOR'easter (talk) 16:59, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
    • @David Eppstein: Good point, I'd not thought of that, however there does need to be some element of the editor being aware of the subject's preferences. Thryduulf (talk) 21:27, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
      Again, this is a mostly unproductive thought exercise with respect to updates to policies. It's a worthwhile discussion, I just don't see any of this making its way into the policy without being controversial and not widely adopted, and us being back here in a series of exhaustive nitpicky discussions about what constitutes misgendering, deliberate, malicious, and so on. It is already very easy to define what we're talking about as behaviour meant to embarass, intimidate, and/or discourage an editor, and take action under the harassment policy (noting that harassment based on gender expression is covered either there or by the global policy). Wikipedia is not a court of law, we don't need to have specific examples of every action that violates a policy. It's actively harmful to update our policies this way, because then you end up with editors at ANI saying "well I didn't do any of the things in this list". Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 12:09, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
  • While its within the scope of NPA to not be disrespectful to the gender identity of other editors, I think allowing an editor to mandate the pronouns they are addressed with is going too far. As long as the pronoun an editor uses isn't contrary to the gender identity of the person being referred to, we should respect the linguistic preferences of the speaker. (Altering your pronoun use specifically to spite someone would also fall within NPA territory) Monty845 02:20, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
    • I disagree with this. If you wish to be referred to by a particular pronoun, you should be able to be referred to by that particular pronoun, regardless of your gender. I also don't think this creates that difficult of a rule, either. If someone prefers, say, zhe, and you keep calling that user hir, that's intentional and disrespectful. But if you called that same user "he,", you call everyone "he" unless an alternative gender is obvious, and the alternative gender is not obvious, that's probably not optimal but it's not really the problem we're trying to address. SportingFlyer T·C 12:51, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
      Nope. You should expect to not be misgendered; nothing further. If you prefer gender-neutral, then any roughly generally accepted approach to that is perfectly fine here. Many people are dead-set against using singular they or particular grammatical [they'd say ungrammatical] applications of it. Others are dead-set against using neo-pronouns. Some (few) who hate singular they don't actually object to neo-pronouns (as something new but not wrong while they see some or all cases of singular they as errors – the same argument that you can coin a new term like dysbiosis, but you can't make elbow mean refrigerator). Still others are staunch advocates of very particular neo-pronouns. Yet another minority are in favor of every neo-pronoun anyone might make up, no matter what. And quite a lot of us prefer to just write around the problem by avoiding pronouns entirely in such cases. No one on any side of this is objectively right or wrong, other than we can objectively say that the social norm today is that insisting on referring to a transwoman as he, for example, is offensive, both to the subject and to a lot of observers. You don't have a magical right to make people who do not like neo-pronouns use them in their own writing (much less use a particular one), or force them to use they if they don't want to.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  20:33, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
      Nope. It's an issue of respect, not an issue of right or wrong. No one is forcing you to use any pronouns at any point in relation to any user. I don't know the genders of the majority of users on this site, for instance. But if you know someone is gender-neutral, you will also know which pronoun they prefer to be called, and actively and intentionally calling them something different is objectively disrespectful. SportingFlyer T·C 13:04, 13 May 2019 (UTC)
      You don't seem to be closely following the discussion or those that led up to it. The entire point is to require everyone to use the exact pronouns someone else prefers.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  14:17, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
  • No change. While willful misgendering would certainly be an issue, we are not going to start sanctioning people for what are essentially synonyms - especially not when the English-language-as-a-whole is struggling to define of what is and is-not valid English usage. What we actually have here is one editor who has been seeking excuses to provoke a series of conflicts, and a second editor who has been deliberately playing with the bait to escalate the problem. If this nonsense continues to one more page, I suggest both parties involved get slapped with a mutual interaction ban. They're both disruptively trying to provoke the other. Alsee (talk) 05:48, 13 May 2019 (UTC)
  • If any, very narrow he/she mis-use prohibition - @SMcCandlish: has written a great summary just above. I think if and only if a change should be made, then it should be a prohibition against using "he" for "she" (or vice-versa), with a standard "deliberately and repeatedly". When it comes to assessing "deliberate" it's the same as any other assessment we have to make. Only clear cut cases could be pursued due to AGF, but it can be possible depending on statements made and degree of repetition. Remember that every pure vandalism sanction is a judgement on deliberate misbehaviour. Nosebagbear (talk) 19:54, 13 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Enforce for only clearly bad faith cases - people make mistakes and we want to avoid punishing people who made a honest mistake. However, malicious use to try and emotionally or mentally harm others is definitely not allowable. I support Nosebagbear's sentiment in that regard, but I also agree with Alsee - it would be a bad idea to sanction people for it. Instead, we should consider this a subset of WP:No personal attacks, where if someone is deliberately and maliciously using incorrect pronouns repeatedly they can be warned under that policy. Kirbanzo (userpage - talk - contribs) 14:41, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Using a wrong pronoun is quite trivial, can happen to anyone, and is not a personal attack. Action should be taken if and only if there is a pattern. Anything less is failing to AGF. If this is a blockable offense on the first offense, why aren't all grammatical mistakes blockable offenses on the first offense? wumbolo ^^^ 10:42, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
  • If I don't know the gender of an editor, and it's not specified somewhere (or I'm too lazy to look), I either don't use a pronoun, or use the singular "they" if it's not ambiguous. If someone insists on using the wrong pronoun (he, she, xe, etc.) after being told specifically that the editor prefers another, I would call that uncivil behavior that should be discouraged. If one doesn't believe there should be pronouns other than "he" and "she", fine – use the person's name, use "they", re-cast the sentence, or just don't write it at all. —[AlanM1(talk)]— 04:24, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
That's the balance I prefer as well. While I am not a fan of all of the (mostly needless and sometimes offensive) drama that has arisen in recent months in opposing overly-arduous changes to guidelines regarding pronouns (that is, I substantially agree with the concerns expressed by Alsee above, regarding how some parties have recently presented their opinions on such matters), I agree with editors who are cautious with regard to changes in this area at least this far (though not much farther): it is unreasonable to expect someone to remember a potentially boundless number of new pronouns to match the whims of every single editor who may, over time, wish to assume a new non-binary gender label, and it is unreasonable to assume that someone who fails to comport with that expectation is doing so in order to deny one their dignity or make a statement.
The approach I have always taken is as follows: like Alan, I always refer to anyone first by "they" unless/until I see some indication (on their talk page or in a discussion) that they prefer "she" or "he", at which point I switch accordingly. But I'm sorry, while I am usually a pretty reliable vote for supporting the expansion of trans rights, I'm just not ever going to endorse a standard that requires a log book of people's genders beyond the immediately recognizable and recallable ones--and that's not based on a lack of respect for an individual's rights to self-determination, but rather on an understanding of the brain science behind how such linguistic features are processed by the mind and why there are legitimate limits to what you can expect people to recall when it comes to function words vs. content words. At the end of the day we are talking about natural language here, and it doesn't always work in a way that is amenable to rapid social engineering, no matter how egalitarian the motive. That doesn't make the people who struggle with remembering new sets of pronouns (or indeed, even those who refuse to do so because it strikes them as an unreasonable imposition) automatic bigots.
As far as I am concerned, every individual on this planet has a right to live within the gender identity that makes them feel most natural in their skin. But that does not empower anyone with the right to create new grammar for all the English speaking world and then take umbrage if some are not immediately on board. If extra pronouns are going to become standard in English, it's going to be through the same kind of linguistic evolution that has always controlled such matters; its going to be a kind of informal consensus process that takes place throughout the anglophone sphere and it's going to take a little time. And it's never going to be able to accommodate a limitless number of pronouns continuously expanding in number as each is made up to meet completely idiosyncratic identities adopted by individuals for personal use or scholars creating artificial labels, or small groups who adopt either--not because those individuals are judged unworthy of having their own ideas about their identity, but because that's just not how pronouns work, as a linguistic matter. Now, to those who make a supreme effort to accommodate every single idiosyncratic gender out there and think they can keep that up for the rest of their lives and want to signal their openness to everyone's self-expression by doing so--more power to you, that's quite the commitment in support of your fellow person's right to self-determination and kudos to you for making the effort to keep up with however many evolve. But I don't think it's ever going to be feasible to hold everyone on Wikipedia (nor indeed any other community of any degree of scale) to that standard.
And if we really want to forestall harassment in this area, we shouldn't even try to capture it in such rules, which will never keep pace. We should rather empower admins and community discussions to be more pro-active in stopping any behaviour that looks like it is undertaken simply to be unkind--I agree with others here: keeping faith with admins and community discussions to apply the 'smell' test for this sort of thing is more useful than trying to create a rule here that accounts for every potential violation. Now, as to someone actively calling another editor who clearly identifies as female by a male pronoun, or vice-versa (either because the person being targeted is trans, or for some other obnoxious reason), I guess I would generally classify that as needlessly hostile, especially if the person using the inaccurate pronoun were not even willing to default to "they", or just refer to the party by name. But realistically, when does this happen? I don't think this is the scenario those wishing to change this policy are looking to address. Snow let's rap 08:47, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
This section is not for specific cases, but we know that deliberate misgendering happens, including unwanted attention to gender or deliberate mocking based on perceived gender, such as calling a woman a "scold". This is what passes for normal on Wikipedia as if the target complains or even highlights the mistake, they are as likely to be dismissed as a "gender warrior" and disruptive to the project, as to be taken seriously. Rather than weird or creepy, this is normal for the English Wikipedia. -- (talk) 09:06, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
Oh believe me, I am plenty familiar with the prevalence of that situation, and I'm all for tightening the rules and scrutiny regarding that kind of harassment. The thing is, ideally that should be handled through the fact that these comments very commonly rise to what I would consider a reasonable person's concept of a WP:PA. But enforcement of behavioural breaches in the vein of WP:Civility has been on a generally downward decline for a long, long while now. A lot of this stuff shouldn't have even been necessary to say in the policy, but insofar as it is, I'm all for putting explicit reference to the fact that using gendered pejoratives generally is paradigmatic example of a personal insult (because, of course, it is).
But that's a very distinct issue from pronouns. And my last comment was meant to reference the fact that a situation like calling a person who identifies as male by women's names for the perceived effect of belittling, while not an impossibility, is not something I can recall seeing here before. Much more likely is a transwoman being called "he"; this is only going to happen so often because of: 1) our diversity problem and relatively small proportion of female editors, 2) only some of whom will be trans, 3) most of our longterm editors have at least enough tact to not be uncouth about this. Surely there will always be the occasional instance, though. On the one hand, I really have difficulty with the thought police aspect of making people recognize and accept the gender of another person. But at the same time, I just don't understand why it is such a challenge to just make a gesture of basic social respect out of it. I guess what it comes down to is that, if the offensive party can't even be convinced to use some sort of work-around to the problem (use 'they'; use the person's name as the subject of every sentence; talk about editorial matters in the abstract to avoid needing to actively address the person; avoid interacting with that person even if it takes pulling back from some area; whatever) and just actively blasts a transwoman with 'he' or a transman with 'she', that's probably getting on to the edge of where I'd be willing to support sanction in a community discussion, especially if it was part of a broader demonstrated trend of abusive, hostile, or disrespectful language. How to capture that nuance in the policy though, that's a tricky question--even if one first managed to form consensus on the contours of that nuance, expressing it in a way not amenable to distortion or abuse could be difficult. Snow let's rap 09:38, 13 June 2019 (UTC)

"Wikipedia:IDONTLIKETHENOMINATOR" listed at Redirects for discussion[edit]


An editor has asked for a discussion to address the redirect Wikipedia:IDONTLIKETHENOMINATOR. Please participate in the redirect discussion if you wish to do so. ComplexRational (talk) 17:39, 29 August 2019 (UTC)

Is this really a personal attack?[edit]

Hijiri88 (talk · contribs) here. Posting this logged out not to hide from the Wikipedia community in general but to protect myself from specific targeted harassment from an editor who I believe is monitoring my logged-in edits but is not monitoring this talk page. (If this is somehow a violation of the sockpuppetry policy, I apologize, and will post logged in to confirm that this is me and to "out" my own act of posting here to my harasser, but past experience indicates that this is not a requirement: I have done this a few times in the past, and never been warned about it being a violation. I will also post here logged in in a week or two, if I remember to do so, once the harm that could be brought from my harasser seeing this comment when it is new is no longer a concern.)

I have always assumed that the text Accusations about personal behavior that lack evidence. Serious accusations require serious evidence, usually in the form of diffs and links. had the broad consensus of the Wikipedia community as something that did constitute a personal attack and was sanctionable as such, but I've never seen anyone actually get blocked or otherwise sanctioned for doing it, and have even recently (over the last 11 months or so) seen admins engaging in it with no apparent consequence. Looking at the page history (thank you, WP:WikiBlame!) indicates that User:Jehochman added (and shortly thereafter modified) the text in October 2008, at which point this talk page contained no discussion of such additions (ditto, apparently, VPR and VPP). Looking at Jehochman's contribs to other pages around the same time doesn't shed any further light on the matter (User:Risker messaged Jehochman about a peripheral issue, implying that the overall edits were tacitly approved of, but that's about it).

Don't get me wrong: I agree with the edits 100%, but I wonder if saying that these are types of comments are never acceptable is something that is overall supported by the Wikipedia community, and if it is, how does the community generally support handling such types of comments? (talk) 04:24, 31 December 2019 (UTC)

  • I think Hijiri88 (talk · contribs) should try harder to let it go. Ignore these things. There is no productive action to propose. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:52, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
@SmokeyJoe: So, you are saying that these kinds of comments are personal attacks, they are never acceptable, but you don't think they should be sanctionable? The above is a request for clarification, not a "proposal", but if I had to make my request in the form of a proposal it would be to add some caveat such as to say that "remarks of this type are difficult for the community to address", since right now the implication is that all such remarks are either swiftly retracted or met with blocks when reported to an admin.
Anyway, I would appreciate not being pinged into this thread or any more remarks being made about me personally that do not relate to what I wrote above. I don't want to have to log out of Wikipedia (on three devices) every time I need to reply to defend myself or request clarification of some point. (talk) 05:06, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
I am saying that some unfortunate and ill-considered things are best passed over, and not dwelt upon in public forums. Instead, write these things down in a personal paper notebook, and see if you can let it go.
Note that by posting in Wikipedia_talk space logged out, you are in violation of WP:SOCK. If you have an account, in ProjectSpace you must use your main account. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 05:11, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
I don't think a post starting with an identity declaration violates SOCK. However I agree with everything else you have said here. I recently browsed ANI and had to quickly press PageDown several times to skip the current excitement. @Hijiri: You really need to let things go! Learning that here will help in real life! Shit happens, particularly on a website that anyone can edit. I don't think Jimbo promised perfection or even fairness. Re the OP's substance, yes, no aspersions is policy and is enforced. However, it is rarely sanctioned in it's own right because someone who repeatedly casts aspersions is counseled, and sternly warned, and so on. Inevitably there is a backstory and it's the backstory that is usually the undoing of the aspersion caster. They might end indeffed for wasting everyone's time and unblock appeals are rejected because others can see there is too much excitement associated with the account, regardless of the editor's merits. Just as one or two expletives directed at another editor rarely results in a sanction (assuming general behavior is good and editing is constructive), one or two aspersions are often overlooked. But being a PITA is one area where persistence does not pay off. Johnuniq (talk) 05:48, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
FWIW, I wasn't referring to ANI (one instance of this has occurred as a peripheral issue related to that thread); it's a general question about something I've seen going on in dozens if not hundreds of cases over the course of years. But hey, I'm happy to drop it and move on if others disagree, so feel free to close, collapse, or whatever this thread now that two users I respect and trust have told me pretty much the same thing. (talk) 06:44, 31 December 2019 (UTC)