Announcing - Gender Pronouns Userfield on Meta

:tada: You can now add gender pronouns to your user profile on Meta by navigating to your User Preferences → Profile page!

Encouraging the disclosure and use of gender pronouns helps create inclusive and welcoming work environments, and one of the simplest ways to promote the appropriate and correct use of pronouns is by being open about your own in everyday communications.

We’ve added an optional Gender Pronouns Userfield on Meta you can now add to your profile so you can share what pronouns you would like to be referred to as while interacting within the community.

Adding your gender pronouns to your user profile page will add these pronouns to your user card and your publicly viewable user summary page, so others can easily see what pronouns you use.

:rainbow_flag: You can also change your pronouns at anytime, and there’s no limit on the number of pronouns you can add to your profile.

Using a person’s chosen name and desired pronouns is a form of mutual respect and basic courtesy, and a way to demonstrate empathy and kindness towards other people. Everyone deserves to have their self-ascribed name and pronouns respected.

As a diverse team, we hope that this addition will help continue promoting an inclusive environment and provide a positive impression on LGBTQ+ individuals, especially for those who may feel particularly vulnerable in a digital environment.

If you’d like to learn more, the following article contains a brief overview about using pronouns in your daily life. :rainbow:

:information_source: If you’d like to add a pronouns option to your site you can create a Custom User Field following instructions in this topic Create and configure custom user fields

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Love it. Thank you! :hugs: Now off to edit my profile.

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Cool!

My only initial feedback would be that it feels a bit weird to enter a single block of text for this, rather than being able to enter several (e.g. like tags).

Obviously the likes of slashes, commas, and interpuncts / bullet points exist, but it’s slightly awkward. I realise they aren’t edited often so it isn’t a big deal; just thought I’d mention it.

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GIF by Jason Clarke

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Quick fun French fact. :fr:

In French, we have the following pronouns:

  • je : I
  • tu : you
  • il : he
  • elle : she

In the context of gender, we don’t have an exact equivalent to “they”. We have “on”. “on” is most of the time used as a less formal version of “nous” (“we”). But the original definition of “on” is that it’s an impersonal pronoun. “on a fait quelque chose” means “undefined person(s) made something”.

So, as a gender-neutral pronoun, we created a new pronoun. A portmanteau: “iel”. It’s made of “il” and “elle”. “he” and “she”.

So, if I speak about @AlexDev to say he added a neat feature, I’d say in English:

“they added a neat feature”

and in French:

“iel a ajouté une chouette fonctionnalité”.

Of course, as a recent neologism, this pronoun is rarely used, and I’m not sure it’s been added to our dictionaries yet. If it hasn’t, I’m sure it will be in the future.


Oh, I also have a question. Not related to Discourse. In English, we always see user profile genders defined as “He/Him”, “She/Her”, “They/Them”, which I find redundant. In my (bad) English knowledge… He implies Him, She implies Her, and They implies Them.
So, why specify “Him”, “Her” and “Them”?

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You’re perfectly right in the examples you cite, but those aren’t really the point.

In maybe 99% of cases, Dave will be a he/him, Sarah will be a she/her, and Jeff Atwood will be a moderator/banner of trolls. Those people don’t need to specify their pronouns at all.

They do so as an act of solidarity with those who don’t conform to those norms - they/them is perhaps the most well known example, but there’s also other cases. Some people might identify using mixed pronouns (e.g. he/xem), and others still may use lesser known pronouns such as ze/zim/zir. In both cases the average person wouldn’t be able to infer all pronouns such a person uses from just seeing one of them, so those trying to be an ally have taken to using a full set to normalise the practice.

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Some people will identify with multiple gender identities so may choose she/them or he/them so it’s a good way of showing multiple pronouns.

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Why not use “She/They” or “He/They”?

It puzzles me a bit. I don’t know if this is a cultural or a linguistic thing, or both. Some concepts can be difficult to near impossible to grasp from one culture/language to another.
(I read @khenmu’s message, though it’s a bit cryptic to me)


I hope I’m not hijacking the thread in any way.

Perhaps a Wikipedia article could be helpful, @Canapin?

English | Français

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I think it would be nice if administrators had the option to change it to a dropdown menu with a predefined set of options.

Gender pronouns exist for self-identification. What do we gain from restricting how users choose to identify?

A predefined list also raises the potential need for translations. I’m not sure this approach will make anything easier.

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The way the user field for pronouns are currently implemented, there’s no restriction on inappropriate words or phrases. I just tested it with some common swear words.

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Sure and users can bypass the swear filter in posts if they get creative.

And when they do that we can deal with them :hammer:

It sounds as though you want pronouns to be filtered for bad words, rather than locked down to a list though?

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Yes, I’d be fine with that.

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Could you add to the first post instructions to add this feature in other instances, please?

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It’s a Custom User Field. You can find more info about setting those up in this topic:

(I’ve added a note to the OP :+1:)

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For the sake of convenience, maybe it would make sense to bake it into all Discourse communities? I don’t see any harm in having it enabled by default.

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No, there is no sense at all.

First at all it is an idelogic choise and easily done by an admin. Second: do you know how many languages out there is where is not gender related pronouns? I’m one of those :wink:

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Not if that administrator is inexperienced with Discourse. Like I’ve already said, it’s a matter of convenience.

Maybe it should be limited to English instances of Discourse? :thinking:

I’ve often wondered if we shouldn’t provide some standard custom user fields that admins can choose to add when setting up their site, and then edit again after creating them. There could be a step for this in the setup wizard or they could be provided in /admin/customize/user_fields.

If the field names and contents are standardized, then the display of them could also be designed for in themes. For example:

  • Preferred pronouns
  • Company/Organization affiliation
  • Contacts (for team collaboration - phone number, social media handles, email address)
  • “Ask me about…”
  • Add me to the newsletter
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