[UbuntuWomen] Gender specific pronouns in applications

Jennie Petoumenou epetoumenou at gmail.com
Mon Mar 12 18:34:32 UTC 2012

I see your point. I guess that means that the chosen solution should be
optional and also offer an appropriate non-gender specific version.
Let me clarify one thing though.  I propose that the personal pronoun I
choose for myself should be stored locally on my computer and be available
only to me, in exactly the same way as my account's login, password and
icon are. I am not suggesting that this information should be public or
stored online. And while I definitely prefer not giving up my gender to all
kinds of corporations where I have an account, I would like to see my
computer, on which I spend several hours a day, to use the appropriate
pronouns when referring to me. And I'm specifically thinking of the ubuntu
me/messaging menus here, and how they translate in languages like French,
German, Spanish, etc., where adjectives like busy and away are inflected
based on gender.

On the other hand, I don't know, maybe this is a dangerous can of worms,
where we stand more to lose than to gain.


On Mon, Mar 12, 2012 at 10:45 AM, Ireene-Sointu <ireenesointu at phonecoop.coop
> wrote:

>  Hello!
> I would like this to be taken into account if/when anything relating to
> gender pronouns is determined:
> per = she or he
> pers = her or his
> pershelf = herself or himself
> This would do away with a need to differentiate genders for those people
> who do not want it; who want to emphasize our common humanity rather than
> our differencies like I do.
> With best wishes,
> Ireene-Sointu
> Legally, one personal name: Ireene-Sointu. No surname. No title.
> 12.03.2012 08:52, Jennie Petoumenou kirjoitti:
> Hello again,
> I guess the main reason why I joined this mailing list today was to ask a
> very specific question:
> Has there ever been a discussion about using gender-specific pronouns in
> applications?
>  E.g., if your username is jennie, your online status should read "She is
> busy", "ocupada??" in Spanish. If it's John it should be "He is busy".
>  Personally, I've grown tired of having to use complicated he/she
> structures whenever I translate into Greek. Especially when I see what
> great pains developers have taken to avoid using complicated
> singular/plural structures. These days, dialogs don't say "13 second(s)
> remaining". They either say "1 second remaining" or "13 seconds remaining".
> And if your language has a different conception of plurality, this is also
> accommodated  (for polish,there is a  binary plural for "2 seconds
> remaining") . So, how come I cannot have "She is busy" or "She has won the
> game"?
>  Like I said, I don't really know if this idea has ever been discussed
> before. But I would like to see it being discussed, not just for FOSS, but
> for all software. And I would really like to see some concrete proposals
> from people with better coding skills than myself.
>  What I have been envisaging is this: Every time you're asked to create a
> username (mostly in messaging applications and games), you would also be
> asked "What pronoun would you like to use with this username?" And your
> options would be all the grammatically correct options available in your
> language. E.g., in German and Greek it would be masculine, feminine,
> neutral, in both singular and plural. Thus covering a range of choices,
> including nicknames based on inanimate objects or couples having joint
> acounts. Moreover, such an approach would alleviate many privacy and
> discrimination concerns, as opposed to a question like "Are you male or
> female?"
> As for the technical side of things, I suppose that the singular/plural
> differentiation and localisation infrastructure would provide a good
> starting point for this.
>  Jennie
> --
> Ubuntu-Women mailing list
> Ubuntu-Women at lists.ubuntu.com
> https://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/ubuntu-women
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