About Me: Emma 🏳️‍⚧️

I know little about Discourse admin but reading between the lines … it isn’t really a thing. It is a custom field that you will only see if you bring up the user card.

If forum users really want correct pronouns to be used then it would need Discourse to change so that this is a real field (probably) and in any case it would need to be displayed on the screen all the time with every post.

So in other words, whereas I see right now against your post:

Screenshot from 2024-05-01 16-16-53

I would need to see “(he/him)”, or whichever pronouns you would have chosen, within that information.

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Correct, the situation is exactly as you described.

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Updates:

  • I’ve decided to use my preferred avi for my user0 identity across different sites.

  • I’ve updated my name and pronouns on Codeberg, so commits now show my real name.

:sparkles::sparkling_heart::sparkles:

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I hope that this comes as no offense for me to idly imagine something while scrolling through Purism forums. But I found myself reading the updates to your aboutme topic here, and a thought popped into my head:

As language models and artificial neurons become more powerful, would you be for or against a forum where an AI would read all posts and automatically correct any time that someone was misgendered? So as an example, if someone was writing a post about a user whose pronouns were “she/her,” but the post’s author typed in “he/him” instead in-context in some sentence, then the AI-based forums software would simply alter the post as it was uploaded so that it was rewritten using “she/her.”

In such a forum, would AI make it unnecessary to have user pronouns as a public user setting, because the internal forum setting combined with the AI would mean that all communications were accurate, all the time, regardless of what the human at the keyboard originally typed?

(Edit: As a brainstorm, it seems that ChatGPT is entirely capable of the above, however running all posts to a forum through ChatGPT would have obvious data privacy concerns and so in my theoretical future the forum hosts would probably want an on-premise AI)

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As a general rule, this is a bad thing - because it means that what the poster clicked “Submit” on is not what ends up in the forum. Text should not just randomly change on you.

AI or even less-than-AI could spell check your post too but there is a less intrusive way of achieving that i.e. that potential spelling errors are highlighted for you before you submit your post i.e. not running on premise but in browser. (In Firefox that is indicated by a red wiggly underline.)

I also don’t think it would always work, since the post may be quite ambiguous about what a pronoun refers to. This is doubly so if a person has requested that “they/their” be used as pronouns. There are quite a few other pronoun schemes in use for non-binary situations - which might then raise the issue as to what dataset the LLM is trained on - trained on public content but running on premise v. trained only on this forum’s content and running on premise.

Also, note that this forum does not (yet) have the functionality of a pronoun choice attribute anyway. I did request it but understandably it is not Purism’s highest priority right now. (It would help of course if the Discourse forum software just came with that attribute out-of-the-box, in this day and age.)

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A bad thing in multiple ways. The first thing already came up more or less. It will become normal that AI reads every post and control them. At first it’s just he/she/they or whatever and later it’s much more. Beside of that, AI is also not perfect and can misinterpret texts. A correct used pronouns can become a wrong one.

In Germany for example we don’t just say “he or she”, but also gender every personal word like user, employer, biker and so on. If we want to say “all the drivers” we always say the masculine form which includes per definition also female person and non binaries. But feminists dislike it and push something called “gendern”. That means that the female version has always be included to the sentence. It could be “User and Userin” (male and female version) or it could be “User:in” (some people say the : stays for non binaries). But in my eyes it makes things worse this way, because sentence become longer or ugly to speak, but especially are not fair to non binaries which are pushed below male and female this way, which is discrimination (not all non binaries would agree, but it’s my opinion).

Now think what I wrote above about AI. Feminists could use such to force posts to be non binary discriminating for the “inclusive language” (self-given label).
And even further it could be actively used to censor specific things.

The other thing is that those systems push the alt rights, because they get more reasons to hate incoming changes. I mean some even hate that after a name stands (she/her) which they just have to live with (and in fact, it’s always a personal choice to use this feature or not). But when their texts get pushed that way, it will escalate quickly. If we want to get changes applied, we should do as the forum always has done. Once I mispronounced one person here, people told me and I edit my post with pleasure. We’re human and be able to solve such problems without AI.

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All the more reason to make this browser extension functionality.

If you want it, you install it. If you don’t, you don’t.

It can recognise that your locale is set to a language where even inanimate objects have gender, thereby making it more complicated still.

A small step in this direction (on the forum side) could be that when I type @Ick in a post, if I subsequently hover over the formatted result it could provide a tooltip with the user’s preferred pronoun, if the user has specified a pronoun, and likewise hovering over the user’s avatar anywhere that it appears on the screen would behave the same. (Right now, all of those offer instead to visit your profile.)

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Against.

I think the other responses did a good job of explaining several reasons why it’s a bad idea, and I’ll add two more:

  • Mistakes happen, and it would be best for people to be corrected by others instead of their words being automatically changed without their notice.

  • Intentional misgendering serves as a notice that a user should be separated from civil conversations.

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I would actually prefer to simply have my chosen name replace my username on the forums, similar to the display name feature on matrix, but I also like your idea very much too.

I really love seeing “Emma” all over my Codeberg account now, and I’d love to see it here instead of, or in addition to, my user0 account name. Having my chosen avi here is very nice, but it doesn’t actually show up when javascript is disabled, which is how I, and many other people here, browse these forums.

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That is a forum config (not user config) option but I have reservations about whether that could create integrity issues when coming up against malicious users.

Failing that, a painful option for you would be to start a new forum account under the username that you actually want. “user0” may have been suitably anonymous at the time but maybe it doesn’t meet your needs any more.

It looks as if a moderator (for example, me) could rename your username, if you requested it.

And another option for you would be to alter your profile pic so that it has your name on it.

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Wait, really? Like you could change my username to Emma? I did actually create a new account yesterday just in case, and I chose Emma. Could you or someone else actually switch the two, such that my user history is preserved under the username Emma, and the user0 account would be the alt account?

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That’s done. Bear in mind the limitations of the forum software. Almost all references are automatically updated but there could still be plenty of text that makes mention of “user0”. You can also see two unupdated references in the OP. There’s no way for the forum software to know whether those should or should not change (since they are references that are outside this domain of authentication).

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@Emma I have manually set your title to she/her based on your original post. Please let me know if any adjustments are needed.

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OMG!! :sparkles: :sparkling_heart: :sparkles:

Thank you @JCS!!
Thank you @irvinewade!!
Thank you both so very very much!!

:heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart:
:orange_heart: :orange_heart: :orange_heart: :orange_heart: :orange_heart: :orange_heart: :orange_heart: :orange_heart: :orange_heart: :orange_heart:
:yellow_heart: :yellow_heart: :yellow_heart: :yellow_heart: :yellow_heart: :yellow_heart: :yellow_heart: :yellow_heart: :yellow_heart: :yellow_heart:
:green_heart: :green_heart: :green_heart: :green_heart: :green_heart: :green_heart: :green_heart: :green_heart: :green_heart: :green_heart:
:blue_heart: :blue_heart: :blue_heart: :blue_heart: :blue_heart: :blue_heart: :blue_heart: :blue_heart: :blue_heart: :blue_heart:
:purple_heart: :purple_heart: :purple_heart: :purple_heart: :purple_heart: :purple_heart: :purple_heart: :purple_heart: :purple_heart: :purple_heart:

:tada: :partying_face: :tada:
:sparkles: :sparkling_heart: :sparkles:

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In the last few years of my life, I have allowed myself an increased amount of face-to-face time with some folks. Going further back, I really seriously had some years where I was chronically online in my spare time.

But in the recent years, when I found myself interacting with people who sometimes had very different opinions than I did, I have come to find that talking to people who disagree with me seems very, very healthy – as long as everyone involved is reasonable and their intention is to exchange ideas, not some malicious intention or whatever.

Also, as it happens, in the last few years, I have gained probably 20 or 30 lbs of additional weight. As far as I know, I believe this is a direct result of an increased consumption of pizza, chocolate, and ice cream while socializing, coupled with a decrease in my day to day exercise because I now work from home instead of walking to work.

When I think about the world, and when I think about myself, those extra 20-30 lbs are not a part of what I think about. These are not something that I want to be there, nor to identify as. But when I get in a conversation with someone who tells me that this kind of increasingly overweight person is who they see me as, even if I disagree with them about what I am, I do not feel that they should be “separated from civil conversations.” I would rather to think they are simply incorrect about who I am, or who I can be – a form of disagreement, if you will.

This is different than, say, if someone were to constantly refer to me as an increasingly overweight person – and perhaps at times when I was busy and not at liberty to do anything about it. There is a way that I could discern that someone’s actual intentional goal might seriously be to stress me out and cause me to feel hurt and unwell, rather than to inform me that they disagree about their perception of who they think I am. The people who really and truly only want to stress me out, and to make me feel upset or unwell at times when I’m not even able to do anything about it, are really a sort of folk that it’s good to stay away from. I think that’s probably very true and accurate.

But if you find someone who disagrees about their perception of who you are, would you go so far as to say that such a person should likewise be removed from civil conversations as if they were equivalent to the sort of antagonistic, hurtful kind of person?

Accordingly, from my perspective, I would think that the language someone uses isn’t itself the problem. Instead, I would think that if there was any problem, it would be whether the other person desired to be antagonistic – and that’s a different problem. If they were simply disagreeing with me about who I considered myself to be – for example if they believe I’ll never lose those extra pounds, and that’s who I am – well… Shouldn’t people who disagree be allowed in basically all civil conversations, for basically all topics, even if I’m extremely confident that they’re wrong to disagree with me?

Of course, in an ideal world’s civil conversations, I’m not sure chatbots should ever be allowed. So what I’m trying to imagine – this concept of a world where we allow people who disagree with us to be in civil conversations – I am imagining a world that would be free of malicious chatbots causing people to arrive at warped perspectives about their fellow humans. And it’s possible that we won’t ever be able to have that kind of world that I’m imagining. So there might be other consequences of this brainstorm – maybe it’s an attempt to imagine something that could never happen, or never work, and the real and pragmatic steps we have to take for how to have conversations end up being quite different. Maybe you find what I’m writing here extremely offensive; I guess I hope not, but whether you do is entirely out of my control.

But actual people should be allowed to disagree with me, in my ideal type of civil conversations. I’m just pretty sure that’s true, at least for me. Is that a really misguided take? Do you disagree?

Earlier in this thread, I asked where you would advise me to go to read about how to understand/respect the situation of people who are trans, since I mentioned that I’ve not actually really had much of a conversation with any in person. And I’ll admit, I did not yet make time to read through all of the materials you suggest. So there might just be stuff I don’t know. You might feel like I’m asking something that is a question you don’t want to hear, because it has been asked elsewhere too many times, and you would rather the ability for someone to think through this type of question to disappear.

I guess I can kind of respect that, if that’s how things are, but I didn’t go and research into it yet, and instead was sitting here sharing some thoughts on my Librem

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I think you’re reading way too far into what I said and should re-examine what I meant when I said this:

I was pretty obvious about what I was saying and very intentional with my words.

Not when the disagreement is centered on whether or not a person deserves to be treated with basic respect.

If someone refuses to call you by your name and instead insists on calling you a racial slur, is that acceptable behavior in civilized conversations?

That’s already perfectly fine. Disagreements are a necessary part of conversations. I really hope that you can understand the difference here between disagreements about the world and disagreements about whether people deserve basic respect.

No, I’m not offended by what you’ve said here. I am somewhat amazed that you didn’t understand what I said, but I’m not offended by your response.

That was literally my take that you responded to. The misguided take is that you ignored my use of the word “intentional” in my comment above.

I’m still very much open to questions from you and others. All I expect is respect.

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I’m sure that was the core message. I think a lot of people can’t imagine how much those things can hurt, especially if they come over and over again, from all possible sides. There are places in the world where people as Emma are accepted and welcome, but most places around the world are the opposite. Even in liberal countries and cities there are people who want to hurt others with purpose for such little minded reasons.

That does not mean that other opinions should not be allowed. But discrimination should not be (as mispronounces with “evil” purpose). After I read your text I’m pretty sure you agree with. I also once mispronounced one person on forum without purpose. Other people corrected me and I said sorry about. Nobody got hurt, all are fine.

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I have also misgendered someone. It happens. What we do is learn from our mistakes and correct them. As long as it’s not intentional misgendering, all is good. It really is that simple.

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As a quick question for clarity – and I think this applies to your previous post as well – do you mean mis-pronoun-ed when you say mispronounced? Or is that a common reuse of the word mispronounced these days? When I read “mispronounced,” I keep thinking of pronunciation errors – like if someone decided to read Dlonk aloud as “Dlunke” or “Dlohnk” but in my head when I invented the word as a kid, I instead meant for it to be similar to the onomatopoeia “clonk.”

I am having trouble with this analogy when I try to process it. Racial slurs have no legitimate meaning of who or what they describe. There is not any person where using a racial slur to describe them is an accurate description of who they are, so anybody who uses a racial slur is by definition incorrect about what they are saying.

In contrast, there are some people about whom “he/him” and “she/her” are accurate descriptors. So I keep thinking that either:
(1) being referred to incorrectly by one of these would hurt less than a racial slur, because the person saying it might have actually believed what they said, in which case it would be likely non-aggressive
(2) being referred to incorrectly by one of these might hurt substantially more than a racial slur, because of the potential fear that it might be correct. By contrast, any time that a person hears a racial slur used against them, they would know by definition that it is not correct, and cannot be correct, because it is an almost nonsense-level word that has no use outside of aggression

So then I’m having this difficult time picturing it as equivalent, rather than either worse or better. Maybe I’m thinking of it the wrong way.

But if someone is intentionally incorrect, is that a lack of basic respect? Exactly how mad can I be with the “flat earth” believers, for example? Are they disrespecting me when they intentionally state extremely and obviously wrong things?

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It’s not about being correct or incorrect. We don’t use racial slurs in civilized conversations because they are disrespectful and deny the humanity of a person.

Intentional misgendering, knowingly using the wrong pronouns or name for someone, is also disrespectful and denies the humanity of the person.

Black, white, gay, straight, trans, cis, etc. These are all innate parts of a person.

We are the ways in which we are, and we should show respect to one another.

Those that cannot be bothered to show basic respect for others should not be included in civilized conversations, and I think that most people agree, including you.

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