[rfc-i] use cases for page breaking hints (digression thread)

Thomas Clausen ietf at thomasclausen.org
Mon Jun 30 13:12:47 PDT 2014


I've known Chris for many years. I could use many adjectives about him, but "Sexist" probably wouldn't even be the last on the list -- it wouldn't ever come to mind.

And yes, Chris is British, with a particularly developed vocabulary and an eloquent turn of phrase. He's also a mathematician by training - which is a different way to say "a real sticker for details". This carries over in his use of language.

Therefore, Chris using "he" as a gender-neutral pronoun (especially, when the English language doesn't have a gender-neutral pronoun) is a pretty good indicator that it's both accepted practice in colloquial language, and decidedly not sexist.

Your insisting that "you either shut up and agree with me -- or you go all nuclear and ask the nomcom to remove you" is not constructive.

And, FWIW, you're wrong about gender-neutral pronouns and articles in Danish: using the gender-neutral pronoun ("den") to address a person in Danish would be a grave insult...


Sent from my iPad

> On 30 Jun 2014, at 21:53, Ted Lemon <mellon at fugue.com> wrote:
>> On Jun 30, 2014, at 3:25 PM, Thomas Clausen <ietf at thomasclausen.org> wrote:
>> As a non-native English-speaker myself, I *sincerely* hope that a sitting AD is not suggesting that it's OK to hassle folks (his words) for (in his opinion) incorrect, or (in his opinion) non-politically-correct use of a subtlety of a detail of the  English language  ...
> A sitting AD is suggesting that when someone uses sexist language in an IETF discussion, it is appropriate to politely call them on it, in public, so as to establish the norm that in public IETF discussions, it's preferable to use gender-neutral language.   The fact that three different men have lambasted me at length for doing this tends to support my belief that it is worth doing.
> I do see your point about non-native English speakers; German has the same problem as English that there is no indeterminate third person pronoun, further complicated by the fact that the plural is in fact the same as the singular feminine pronoun, so they can't do the dodge we can in english with the singular "they."  Danish, delightfully, appears to have a common (genderless) pronoun already, so there is no need for these contortions.   I am jealous.   This also appears to be pretty easy to avoid in French, although I will admit that the way pronouns work in French largely baffles me.   Spoken Mandarin doesn't actually have a gendered pronoun, which is why you will occasionally hear Chinese participants referring to women in english using the masculine pronoun; this is something I quite like about Mandarin.
> My response to Christopher, who I think _is_ a native english speaker, was not intended to be a personal criticism; that's why I made a joke about it.   It was taken as a personal criticism, and I am sorry about that.   But that was not my intent, and I do not believe that the risk of such interpretations justifies silence.   This is really not a matter of political correctness.   I think if you read the article Tim Bray linked to, you can see a nice illustration of why that is so.
> That said, this entire discussion has really gone off the rails, and I think if you want to continue it, you should really just cut to the chase and tell nomcom to fire me.   I'm up for review this year, and would be perfectly happy if nomcom found a better person than I to be AD.   This will not free you from having to listen to me interject when participants use sexist language, but at least it won't be a "sitting AD" doing it.

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