Author Topic: Pronoun options?  (Read 6989 times)

vacantVisionary

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Pronoun options?
« on: July 31, 2014, 09:48:08 pm »
Any chance we could get pronoun options in the next build of lackey (optimally the ability to manually set them)? Or, you know, at least replace all the he/him/his with the gender-neutral singular they/them/their? (yes singular they is grammatical, please don't argue with me, I'm a linguist)

Trevor

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Re: Pronoun options?
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2014, 10:05:21 pm »
I would argue that "he" is a gender neutral pronoun, or at least more correct than a plural pronoun. I can add the option, but this is not very high up on my priority list. There's a lot more important things that people will be able to use/enjoy a lot more than the removal of a little grammatical confusion.

vacantVisionary

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Re: Pronoun options?
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2014, 10:57:20 pm »
a. Singular they has been in constant use within the english language since the 1400s.

b. This is not an issue of confusion, this is an issue of the comfort of anyone who uses your program but not he/him/his pronouns.

c. You already have code implemented to fetch profile-specific variables and plug them into the text log for the player usernames, right? All you?d have to do would be copy+paste that code for a new set of variables. Heck, if you toss me that piece of the source code I can probably do it for you.

Trevor

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Re: Pronoun options?
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2014, 11:35:02 pm »
From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender-specific_and_gender-neutral_pronouns,
Quote
Problems of usage arise in languages such as English, in contexts where a person of unspecified or unknown sex is being referred to, but the most natural available pronouns (he or she) are gender-specific. In such cases a gender-specific pronoun may be used with intended gender-neutral meaning, as he has been used traditionally in English
And even if "he" weren't valid, it would actually require a lot of code to be changed. In order for decent sounding grammar, the code is complicated enough that trying to do what you propose would take more effort (more than it might seem) than it is worth at this point in time, compared to all of the other things I can be doing.

And even if I did allow a gender option, I am fairly certain that few would know about the option or want/care to use it. And another fact is that females are indeed the minority with playing online games. So the number of people who would use this option would be a small subset of a small subset. Don't get me wrong. I would love to encourage more women to be playing card games online, but I don't think pronoun choice would really do anything towards that goal.

Another issue is the pronoun option would just be one more thing to complicate the interface. Some people's attitude with a new feature that might be used by some but not many is "what's the harm?". With that thinking, the interface would quickly be unwieldy and people would have a harder time finding things that are far more important. Already, a lot of new users can be overwhelmed by all the different buttons. I try to weigh all new complexity against the utility it provides.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2014, 11:50:42 pm by Trevor »

vacantVisionary

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Re: Pronoun options?
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2014, 12:14:11 am »
There are four conjugations of pronouns in english - subject conjugation (he/she/they), object conjugation (him/her/them), possessive conjugation (his/hers/theirs), and reflexive conjugation (himself/herself/themselves). If you replace all instances of him with her, of he with she, and of his with hers, you will still have a fully grammatical english sentence. It is exactly that simple.
I am also 100% sure I could code this option to default to "he/him/his", so that no one would notice if they didn't go looking for the option.
((Also: if you really want to know how helpful adding pronoun options would be to the women using your program, you could always, you know. Ask the one you're talking to.))

Trevor

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Re: Pronoun options?
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2014, 12:43:55 am »
There are four conjugations of pronouns in english - subject conjugation (he/she/they), object conjugation (him/her/them), possessive conjugation (his/hers/theirs), and reflexive conjugation (himself/herself/themselves). If you replace all instances of him with her, of he with she, and of his with hers, you will still have a fully grammatical english sentence. It is exactly that simple.
I am also 100% sure I could code this option to default to "he/him/his", so that no one would notice if they didn't go looking for the option.
((Also: if you really want to know how helpful adding pronoun options would be to the women using your program, you could always, you know. Ask the one you're talking to.))
I would implement it by calling the 4 functions:
GetHe(), GetHis(), GetHim(), GetHimself() wherever I used He, His, Him, Himself, respectively, but even then it's more complicated than that. For example, I'd also have to pass if it's capitalized or not.
Also, I'd have to break up the string generation code I have, which will not only take time, but it will introduce more possibility of bugs, and the additional complexity would make debugging other things more difficult in the future.

And as I said before, it is perfectly acceptable grammatically to use "his" as gender neutral in situations like this.

vacantVisionary

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Re: Pronoun options?
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2014, 09:25:54 am »
Whether or not it's grammatically acceptable, it makes pretty much anyone who disagrees with you and is not a man deeply uncomfortable and unwanted. (And I'm not speaking about hypotheticals - I'm saying this from my own experience, as a non-man, playing magic on Lackey with my friends, who are also mostly not men).
But, fine. You've very clearly told me that you don't consider this to be worth your time to do. That's why I'm offering to do it myself. Because it absolutely is worth the time and effort I'd have to put in, if it meant ensuring the comfort of myself and my friends.
I am 90% sure I could offer you a lightweight, bug-free fix if you gave me access to the relevant bits of the code. And really, what do you have to lose? You can always revert the changes if it doesn't work, or starts bugging up other parts of the code. But I really don't expect that to happen.

Trevor

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Re: Pronoun options?
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2014, 12:11:09 pm »
Whether or not it's grammatically acceptable, it makes pretty much anyone who disagrees with you and is not a man deeply uncomfortable and unwanted. (And I'm not speaking about hypotheticals - I'm saying this from my own experience, as a non-man, playing magic on Lackey with my friends, who are also mostly not men).
But, fine. You've very clearly told me that you don't consider this to be worth your time to do. That's why I'm offering to do it myself. Because it absolutely is worth the time and effort I'd have to put in, if it meant ensuring the comfort of myself and my friends.
I am 90% sure I could offer you a lightweight, bug-free fix if you gave me access to the relevant bits of the code. And really, what do you have to lose? You can always revert the changes if it doesn't work, or starts bugging up other parts of the code. But I really don't expect that to happen.
Don't get me wrong. I want to do what you're asking. I agree with your points about it making some people feel uncomfortable. I'm just asking "would you rather I do other things first?"
For example, I want to support dice pictorially, and this is almost done.
I want to let people lock cards/tiles in place on the table.
I want to finish NAT punchthrough.

imo, all of those are higher priority.

If you think I should do gender specific pronouns first, make a poll and I'll abide by how people vote. In the meantime, I'm sorry if the current pronouns bother you and other women and people who prefer not to identify as being male. Just be assured that no offense was intended, and I'd like to implement it eventually.

And it's also not a simple matter of giving you the code. For one, it's intermingled with any functions that say stuff in the log... which is a lot of them. And as I said before, I try to make the log messages as natural sounding as possible, and this necessitates somewhat complicated code. For example, it would be simpler to say
cout << PlayerName << " draws " << Number << " cards." << endl;
But I do
cout << PlayerName << " draws " << Number;
if(Number==1)
{cout << " card.";}
else
{cout << " cards.";}
cout << endl;

And things are far more complicated than that, with the end goal being things read as naturally as they can in the log.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2014, 12:18:48 pm by Trevor »

vacantVisionary

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Re: Pronoun options?
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2014, 05:33:14 pm »
I understand how to set conditionals in output text, and how to not interfere with existing functions. I wouldn't be offering to edit the code if I wasn't a programmer myself.

Trevor

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Re: Pronoun options?
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2014, 05:47:43 pm »
I understand how to set conditionals in output text, and how to not interfere with existing functions. I wouldn't be offering to edit the code if I wasn't a programmer myself.
It's more complicated than that. You need to store additional data about each person on the server and each person in a game, and you need to also modify the networking code to transfer that different data. You also need to make the interface to input a person's gender, as well as the systems that remember their selection. I could simplify things and only make the gender-specific pronouns be local, so you would see "her" but they might see "his", but that's not ideal.

It really is a fairly complicated thing to change. It's time consuming, and at this point I think everyone (yourself included) would get more bang for their buck if I invested my time in other things for the time being.

vacantVisionary

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Re: Pronoun options?
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2014, 07:13:42 pm »
But don't you already have code implemented that can already do all those things, for player usernames? Would it be that complicated just to duplicate that code for pronouns?

Trevor

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Re: Pronoun options?
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2014, 10:28:21 pm »
But don't you already have code implemented that can already do all those things, for player usernames? Would it be that complicated just to duplicate that code for pronouns?
It's not a simple thing to change.

cyberneticpony

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Re: Pronoun options?
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2014, 11:45:20 pm »
Are you so insecure about your gender that you are actually UNCOMFORTABLE? That's ridiculous. This sounds like some trans propaganda.

And before you accuse me of privilege or whatever you tumblr special snowflakes call it these days, my girlfriend is trans, and she has no problem with the single gender on Lackey, like most normal people.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2014, 04:13:34 am by cyberneticpony »

Trevor

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Re: Pronoun options?
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2014, 03:25:47 am »
Being uncomfortable is an emotion, and emotions are not rational. Much like the latin maxim, de gustibus non est disputandum, you can't tell other people what emotions they ought to feel. Objectively, the grammar is acceptable usage.

Assuming things were reversed, and the feminine pronouns were used (and assuming this was in a world where that was grammatically correct), I can imagine it would be a little weird to me, but I would brush it off as more of a "hey, that's kinda odd" thing.

cyberneticpony

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Re: Pronoun options?
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2014, 04:07:38 am »
Being uncomfortable is an emotion, and emotions are not rational. Much like the latin maxim, de gustibus non est disputandum, you can't tell other people what emotions they ought to feel. Objectively, the grammar is acceptable usage.

Assuming things were reversed, and the feminine pronouns were used (and assuming this was in a world where that was grammatically correct), I can imagine it would be a little weird to me, but I would brush it off as more of a "hey, that's kinda odd" thing.

I disagree on both points, but I guess I understand what you mean. I still think it's arrogant that someone is demanding a really non-essential feature be added for "comfort" that doesn't affect 99% of people. It's like demanding a restaurant close its windows because you don't like the light. I guess I'm just sick of gender issues being brought up in other spheres in inappropriate ways that I got a bit jumpy and angry when it came up here.