First off, I am not interested in having an argument about the CoC changes regarding pronouns. Nor am I interested in debating mod resignations as a result of that. Those discussions should go somewhere else. I'm asking for clarification, not starting a war over the policy itself.

I saw this suggested edit. Here is what it did - it replaced 'him' with 'them'. It did not improve (edit) the post other than that.

If only one user needs read/write access, you can make him them the owner of the mounted directory using the option uid=<linux_username>:

I found this answer that states gender-neutral changes are good, but mass editing isn't. And this edit doesn't change anything else, so that doesn't provide any clarity. One high-rep user voted to approve it, one voted to reject the edit.

I do have an opinion, but I'm not going to share it here

So which is it? Should these edits be approved or rejected?

  • 8
    On a pedantic note 'one user' is not gender specific and need not be replaced with a gendered pronoun, the edit could have been simply 'you can make that user the owner...'. In general though I have always felt that there is a risk in quibbling about either mass editing or small scale pronoun replacement, the risk being that AU misses the wheel of change completely. For myself I would have approved the edit, not just as a moderator but as a person who believes that the changes sweeping the world in terms of gender are well overdue and something to be fostered in the AU community.
    – andrew.46 Mod
    Commented May 5, 2022 at 23:39
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    @andrew.46 I agree with you (and I approved it), I do believe that having gender-neutral language makes sense (when reasonable, of course) and is better. I just wasn't totally sure, as a very high-rep user rejected it, and generally mass-editing can cause issues (queue overflow...) if not agreed upon, which is why I wanted to double-check. I generally agree about using gender-neutral language, but the linked answer saying that mass-edits are bad made me hesitate a bit to approve it
    – cocomac
    Commented May 5, 2022 at 23:46
  • 2
    I agree with @andrew.46 :) btw, if the text at the start of this question is not a quote, then I suggest changing the blockquote formatting
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented May 6, 2022 at 10:29
  • 2
    Good on you for asking, but good luck. I got dogpiled when I asked a very similar question 8 years ago: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/223412/…
    – pattivacek
    Commented May 10, 2022 at 15:50
  • 2
    @pattivacek The circumstances have changed a lot since then, though. This topic is now covered as part of the Code of Conduct since 2019. So using the correct pronouns is a no-brainer. It just boils down to if we should be accepting edits to old posts.
    – Dan
    Commented May 11, 2022 at 8:00
  • As someone whose mother tongue is gendered, I'd always say the user is a he - it's weird to me to think otherwise, so that's how I'd write - I honestly think such edits are useless
    – CH4B
    Commented May 19, 2022 at 17:13
  • I, for one, appreciate the specificity of the question. You've made it clear that you aren't asking whether or not those edits should be made in the first place, but in whether or not accepting them improves the forums.
    – MDeBusk
    Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 16:57
  • @CH4B as a female and native English speaker, I still always assume people on the internet are male and use "he" without thinking about it.
    – Esther
    Commented Jun 28, 2022 at 20:20

1 Answer 1


As a general answer, I would personally accept it if I'm reviewing and it's just a one-off. But if I see several of the edits by the same user, I would reject them with a custom message with something like:

Although we appreciate fixing pronouns in posts, we prefer not to go into an editing spree to improve old posts as it would clutter the homepage, and new posts of people's questions will be pushed down and missed.

In this case, similar to @andrew.46's comment, I would accept and improve the edit to remove the pronouns altogether.

It's easier than worrying about which pronouns to use, especially in this case. The first part explicitly mentions a single user, while the last part of the sentence is plural.

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