Feature Request: Optional pronouns in the title card

I see a lot of twitch streamers playing random strangers on the internet, and quite a few of them always assume he/him pronouns, even when they have no way of knowing. This might be quite discouraging for go players of other genders and flat out insulting for some.

I propose we allow go players on OGS to optionally specify their pronouns which will be displayed on their title card during a match. That way streamers are less likely to mis-gender their opponents when their opponents use a minority pronoun.

This might be difficult to implement cross languages so I suggest—if implemented—that the pronoun field be a free text field.

Thanks for considering this, and lets hope for a more inclusive future in the go community.

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Something like this is what I’m thinking of:

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I’d put it less prominently. Like on their profile a la location data. It seems to fit in that category of “information that would be nice to know to begin putting a person to the opposing player”, but not something that’s relevant in the typical game: it only becomes relevant if you start chatting with the person and setting up games and getting to know eachother. I do think the free text field is a nice touch to the proposal because it let’s OGS wash their hands from any gender politics, whereas a dropdown list would have to fall on one side or the other.

This isn’t to say I think this is needed, but that as the proposal is currently written, with the proviso above, it wouldn’t bother me.

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So something like this? That is the optional pronouns shown on the expanded player card as a smaller text next to username.

Note that the whole point of this optional feature would be to allow your opponent to refer to you in a third person, e.g. when playing you on a live stream.

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It still feels weird to have it there instead of on the profile. It’s something that is irrelevant to one’s go playing skill, so I don’t think it should be given any more prominence than other factors such as location or age or profile info.

If this does get implemented in some form, it seems like a text field for gender seems more natural than one for pronouns. In the vast majority of cases, the gender will make the pronouns obvious, and in cases it doesn’t, and the person cares, they can provide them in the same field: foobar (foo/bar). This approach has the advantage that it does not favor any particular side of the gender politics debate. It’s also quite common to have a gender field in profiles on websites. Whereas having a field for pronouns instead of gender presupposes that it’s a common use case to need to specify pronouns.

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I like this idea a lot; we could even make a more general small field “Stuff you would like your opponent to know” which could include for example

  • gender / preferred pronouns
  • languages spoken
  • “sorry, I cannot chat”
  • “ask me for a review”

and all these kind of pieces of information that are nice to know during a game, but a bit awkward to convey in the chat. We could show the first line (with a character limit) all the time and the rest after a click.

I almost never look at an opponent’s profile before a game, so showing it in the title card has value.

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I really like this idea. I think the text color should be like the rating instead of like the username, but other than that this suggestion would move it from something I wouldn’t mind, to something that I’d not only use, but would be in support of having (the first line) in the pop-up as the previous post suggests.

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This optional feature would become kind of useless if it is watered down into the profile page. Users are already able to put their preferred pronouns in their bio field (or link to https://pronoun.is as their website address). I never see streamers actually go to the profile page to check. Sometimes they check the game history, but I’ve never seen them scroll to the bio and see if their opponent has preferred pronouns.

For the same reason I don’t think this should be labelled just gender. It could be labelled gender / preferred pronouns. But you start hitting inclusivity when you only ask for gender. There are go players that don’t consider them self belonging to any gender, they might have a hard time filling this field if it was only asking for gender, but people usually have no problem providing their preferred pronouns. Also your opponent might not know which pronouns you prefer if you provide a gender they are not used to.

Please note that this has nothing to do with some “gender politics debate”, it just about giving hints to your opponent to prevent them to be rude to you on accident. In other words: it not about politics, it about us being nice to each other.

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Jhyn suggested broadening it and showing the first line in the pop-up. I like his version of the proposal, what are your thoughts?

Regarding people not seeing themselves as belonging to a gender, I think you’re talking about an extremely select group of people once you take away people who identify as male and female (which I assume also includes most trans people?), and people who identify as another gender. I’ve heard of bigender and gender fluid of the top of my head. Are you not counting those for some reason? Regardless, does Jhyn’s suggestion to widen the scope cover your concerns?

I’m using “gender politics” to refer to the debate over a variety of things including whether or not people should, and if so to what extent, accommodate people who don’t identify as male or female. I’m using it because it’s the common way to refer to that.

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The gender politics debate is essentially (and this is horribly oversimplified) the debate as to whether or not there is just he/she | male/female, or not. As such, this entire thread is intrinsically about the gender politics debate.

You wish to provide a platform for people to express their preference so as not to be accidentally offended, @Samraku’s described his suggestion in a manner that had the same goal.

I think this is a complicated area. It has taken many long discussions with family members for me to realise over time that previous preconceptions I’d had on the word gender do not seem to match its current usage. I used to start with the premise that sex and gender were synonymous, and now I feel one is expressly biological (and also non-binary) and the other is expressly about internal identity.

If I had a choice of pronoun for people to call me, I’d probably opt for “he” as it is familiar. I don’t feel all that strongly about pronouns, but I do value clarity and lack of confusion. It would not offend me if someone used a different one, I just might not realise it was me being referred to. If I had to choose what gender I identified as, I would always write “N/A”. I don’t identify as one. I don’t personally see the value for myself in doing so.

Perhaps my opinion is moot as I would leave the fields blank, and I rarely refer to people I don’t know by pronoun.

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Yeah, it’s all politics. If we choose to put in a field for your gender/pronouns we side with those who say it’s important while some might think it all doesn’t matter.

Since we’re talking about a text field, in my opinion it indeed sounds better to just have a “title” field where you can write in anything you want.

It’s going to be a nice feature, just look at all the regulars here, everyone chose a title they like. Except me, because I’m special.

After all, even if we denote the field specifically for pronouns, people are gonna use it as a “title” field anyway, putting in all kinds of stuff.

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You guys do understand that ogs has been translated for many langauges, and not all of those languages have gender-specific pronouns. This feature would look really weird for users finnish users having “hän” after every username.

Or would it be just free input field where we could write whatever we want? Then i’m totally for this, i wanna have great titles next to my name! ^____^

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Great post and well articulated. The way I see it (descriptive linguistics camp), there are more or less 3 common definitions of “gender”, all of which refer to different things: “grammatical gender”, “sex”, and “gender (most recent addition)”. This can cause confusion when people use the word to mean different things. I expect that we’ll probably end up with a completely different word to refer to the “sex” definition of gender (we can’t just use “sex” because the reason we use “gender” to mean that is to be more oblique about socially inappropriate topics), which would clear up the semantics part of the debate. Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg of the debate, but as a general rule I’m all for getting more words in our lexicon with which to express ourselves.

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I just refer to “black” and “white” whilst doing this, keeps the whole thing clean and simple

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One reason I like to make the suggestion a general-purpose “information for my opponent” small text is to avoid the whole debate of “OGS is endorsing the x agenda - forcing us to use strange pronouns - etc.etc.”.

If I would like to be referred to in a particular way, this is something I would tell you politely at the beginning of the conversation - among other info such as the languages I can speak. This makes it just a part of a normal human interaction. I don’t think it is a good thing to single it out and some kind of “special” information. Hope this makes sense.

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There’s a standard in mathematical game theory (and similar fields with two players, such as cryptography), which I’ve seen sometimes with discussing chess or go as well, to call one of the players female and the other male. That way a discussion does not need to repeat “Black” or “White” or the names of the players all the time, and still avoids confusion.

E.g. black peeped, upon which her opponent defended his weak point, she then played the 3-3 and he dropped down on the top side, since his goal was to build a wall towards the top.

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I’ve experimented with using this as well; it does have practical advantages.

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I thought I would put this page at Sensei’s here:

https://senseis.xmp.net/?PlayerGender

"At Sensei’s Library we usually refer to White as “she” and to Black as “he” if the players are unknown.

How do you do a onebox?

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If you read the article, there’s debate over whether White or Black should be he or she. I fall on the Black == she side, to match up with yin-yang associations.

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The title field is a great idea!
It’s the least intrusive because it’s optional and if left empty, doesn’t clutter the interface.
It allows the user to add any kind of personal information without changing their username, which works around any potential problems with “exhaustive” lists of pronoun options.

And I realize that not everyone is going to reveal their gender, which means that streamers may still misgender their opponents.
For that issue, @runarberg, I believe it will be much easier simply to educate streamers about gender-neutral language.
There are many more Go players than Go streamers.
Even if you convince all Go players to specify their pronouns (which some might not want to do publicly), streamers may still not pay attention to it.
Raising awareness with streamers really is the way to go.

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