Bug 37690 - Use Singular They in documentation
Use Singular They in documentation
Status: NEW
Product: UCS manual
Classification: Unclassified
Component: General
unspecified
Other Linux
: P5 enhancement with 1 vote (vote)
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Assigned To: Docu maintainers
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Reported: 2015-02-05 00:01 CET by Michael Grandjean
Modified: 2018-09-17 13:00 CEST (History)
6 users (show)

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Attachments
svn diff for branches/ucs-4.0/ucs-4.0-0/doc/manual/ regarding singular they (8.27 KB, patch)
2015-02-05 00:01 CET, Michael Grandjean
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Description Michael Grandjean univentionstaff 2015-02-05 00:01:21 CET
Created attachment 6646 [details]
svn diff for branches/ucs-4.0/ucs-4.0-0/doc/manual/ regarding singular they

I am aware that this is a political issue and I am available for further discussion.


1. What am I up to?
We should use Singular They in our english documentation. 
Singular They is the use of the 'they' pronoun (including their, them and themself) to reflect any gender. This means it replaces he/his/him/himself and she/her/herself: 

> "The printer can only be accessed by a regular user when he has local permissions ... " 
becomes
> "The printer can only be accessed by a regular user when they have local permissions ... "


2. Why on earth should we do this?
I quote 0xabad1dea here, since can't find better words:
"The tech industry has a gender gap problem. One way to combat it is to stop actively reinforcing the assumption that the user is male. When we use "he" as the pronoun of abstract individuals, we are reflecting our cultural problem in our language."¹
Changing the language of our documentation is an easy, simple, non-time-consuming step to contribute to the better and to make people not feel excluded.


3. But the grammar is wrong!
No, it isn't. Singular They has a long tradition in english usage². Besides, it works exactly the same way as Singular You and therefore doesn't destroy your flow of reading. 
And yes, this won't work with the german documentation.
Another possibility is to avoid the usage of singular third person completely³.


4. Implementation
- I suggest to stepwise replace gendered language in the english manuals, extended documentation, wiki articles etc.
- We should have a policy that new documentation should use e.g. Singular They or avoid gendered language

I will attach a first patch for the UCS 4.0 manual.

See also: 
¹https://gist.github.com/0xabad1dea/8870b192fd1758743f66
²https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singular_they
³http://infobits.eu/documentation/style-guide/#genderless-language