This is a follow up to our standing guidance on pronoun use in Q&As around the site: Should RPG.SE enforce a specific standard for handling gender pronouns?
The question asks:
Should RPG.SE enforce a specific language standard (here: with regard to gender) even when the original text is correct according to the rules of English grammar?
And the community consensus answer is:
All pronouns are neutral and should be enforced as such.
I personally think that nobody should be harassed, or be in the red for guessing wrong on how someone wants to be called, and this should extend to RPG.SE. no pronoun should have a negative connotation, whether being misused or otherwise.
Unless otherwise stated, all questions are gender agnostic.
This means that 'he/him', 'they/their', and 'she/her' pronouns are correct, and none of them are incorrect. Good answers simply maintain continuity, and don't switch to refer to the same people. The answer may decide to change pronouns if the answerer wishes, but there is no correct gender. An answer should never be wrong because the gender is 'incorrect', because no gender option is incorrect. If the OP puts in the post that this is a gender-issue, then correct pronouns should be used.
Despite this guidance, we are still seeing questions and answers being edited to remove gendered pronouns "he/him", replacing with "they/them", and these edits are insubstantial. Usually, the only thing changed in the edit are the pronouns.
This seems inconsistent with our existing guidance about pronoun usage and editing.
Our guidance concerning pronouns is quite clear that all pronouns are a priori gender agnostic and correct, unless context tells us otherwise (e.g. a characters preferred pronouns are stated in a post), ergo these edits are not correcting or improving anything1. Despite "No Improvement" being an option in the review queue, we are still seeing these edits pushed through in review.
In the 2021 Community Check-In, I put forward that by pushing these edits through, we are enforcing a standard upon these posts, despite our guidance clearly stating that we should not enforce any standard, and that post seems to have been well received (+18/-5 at time of writing). So consider this a follow up to a well supported community check in response.
We have clear guidance that we should not enforce the use of gender neutral pronouns, but should we enforce the policy of non-enforcement?
To be forthright about my own position and motivation, I don't much care either way about the pronoun issue itself, I just care about consistency between our written guidance here on meta, and what we see happening on main. If we need to change our written guidance a bit, that's fine with me, if we just need to enforce our written guidance better, that's fine too.
1 A user attempted to raise this very discussion: Is changing a gendered term to a non-gendered term a grammatical improvement? It was closed as a duplicate of our main guidance about pronoun usage, which to me seems like a roundabout way of saying "No, it's not an improvement, don't do it per our existing guidance".