re: The problem with “you guys” VIEW POST


I would exit any community that implements something like this, without a backward glance.

Being inclusive leads to inclusiveness. Being nice to people leads to inclusiveness. Being human, empathetic and talking to people leads to inclusiveness. Listening to people leads to inclusiveness. Accepting people leads to inclusiveness.

Language policing does not lead to inclusiveness, it leads to *ex*clusiveness . It leads to people being afraid to speak. It leads to people who are in the know to be comfortable speaking within carefully circumscribed bounds, and those who just don't "get it" to be excluded.

Techno solutions do not lead to inclusiveness. Your bot is part and parcel of tech exclusiveness. If you feel that someone is using exclusive language, talk to them. Be real and human with them. Be empathetic.


Thanks for your feedback, @rendall ! As you know, from having read my post, I’m aware of the backside of calling out how people use language.

But I find it interesting that an automated private reminder to be more emphatic is so outrageous that you would blankly exit the community. Some people actually prefer it to having a moderator contact them and making a whole deal out of it.

But to your higher point, I do agree that we should strive towards human interaction and empathy. But I don’t think we can rule out how technology puts constraints and can augment this. Because after all, even here we’re typing in text fields over the Internet.


But I find it interesting that an automated private reminder to be more emphatic is so outrageous that you would blankly exit the community. <

Language policing, and in particular automated language policing, indicates deeper problems, as I partly outlined above.

You would be hard-pressed to find my saying such a dramatic thing in all of my online presence, stretching back years, but I am that certain of it.

I note without surprise that you literally had women telling you that they found the bot not helpful for inclusivity and you overrode their opinions with your own. That is not inclusiveness.

Be honest: there is no rational argument that would make you take it away, is there. I mean all of this feedback kindly to you: this behavior from a moderator is precisely what I would expect from a community that implemented this, and why I would see a language-police-bot as a huge red flag.

On top of all of that, when I saw the title, I expected to read an article arguing in favor of the proposition that 'you guys' is exclusionary. I was hoping to be convinced. Instead, this article is a story about a bot that takes it as given and then ignores any feedback to the contrary.

If I can offer any advice at all, do the hard work of exploring the topic with your community, of first discovering if "you guys" is actually a problem, if people are actually feeling uncomfortable there, and if so, what to do about it. Imposing a cop-bot is a cop-out.

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