Launched: Pronouns in Maker Profiles

Using someone’s correct personal pronouns is a way to respect them and create an inclusive environment, just as using a person’s name can be a way to respect them. [Source]

We want our Doc Gallery to be such an environment, and to make it easier to use the correct pronouns when describing Makers and their published docs. That’s why we’ve added an optional field in your Maker Profile to indicate your pronouns. It can be difficult to ascertain someone’s gender identity from one profile photo, so with the addition of pronouns you can appropriately say things like, “I really love Glenn’s docsーhave you seen his Animal Crossing guides?” or “Elly’s Virtual Cook-off Doc is great; she really helped me and my friends stay connected through food!”

Image 2020-07-21 at 2.07.48 PM

If you would like to add your pronouns to your Maker Profile:

  1. Login to Coda and visit your profile at coda.io/@[your_username]
  2. Click ‘Edit profile’
  3. Input your pronouns
  4. Click ‘Save’

It might be a small change, but we hope this is a positive step in continuing to support all Makers in an inclusive and engaging community in the Doc Gallery.

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Thank you so much for advocating for this for the team and our users, @Kelsey_Chan!

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YAY!!! This is so exciting. Thank you!

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I’m really happy we added this feature!

Got mine updated…

image

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You guys! :purple_heart:
It’s a small but really wonderful step that’s going to have a massive impact on inclusivity.
Thank you!

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:-1: Pretty bad idea from localization point of view and wasted efforts, IMHO

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what do you mean by ‘from localization point of view’?

I’m proud that we’re making steps in the right direction to make Coda a more inclusive platform. Thank you to the folks who pushed for and implemented this change. :slight_smile:

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My last comment was flagged by someone in the community though I didn’t say anything inappropriate or offensive.

I’ll make the same simple points:

A quick look in the forum will show that far more people (including paying customers like me) are more concerned about long-standing performance issues that affect daily workflows than are concerned with the ability to add pronouns to our profiles. These are performance issues that have been there since Coda 1.0

I have support telling me to break my documents down into multiple pages and to collapse/hide content to make it usable because Coda can’t cope with a text document of more than a few thousand blocks.

Yet at the same time dev time is going towards pronouns. If being able to add pronouns was a deal breaker for a user, they could simply change their profile name to include their pronouns.

@Kelsey_Chan can you explain why detours like this are happening when Coda’s core architecture has major issues that you’re aware of and have addressed in recent support articles?

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For what it’s worth, I don’t think that the addition of pronouns field took that much of “dev time”. It’s just one form field ffs, one extra column in the users database. I kinda think typing this announcement post could’ve taken longer than adding this. Yet to some people it’s an important signal, a token of solidarity.

Performance improvements, on the other hand, is not something that can be done overnight. One has to think of any corner case and backwards compatibility that could be affected by e.g. a simple schema change. Not as simple as adding a field that technically affects nothing, is it?

Also it’s not like a developer can just allocate an eight hours day to spend on performance, and type code for eight hours straight like a robot, and deliver an improvement. Software development doesn’t work like that. When I make Coda docs for clients (which is not traditional coding but software development nonetheless) it takes me an order of magnitude more time to think through a complicated addition than actually implement it. Adding a column somewhere? — pfff, I don’t even bother starting a timer for that.

BTW, I’m nagging Coda for more than half a year already to improve performance. The docs I make for hire are complicated beasts, and I’m running into Coda’s limitations probably more often than anyone else (or I’m just the only one willing to share my solutions for that.) So we’re on the same page there. And sometimes I too get frustrated that some cosmetic features (e.g. ones to get on par with Notion) get higher priority than perf. But those were the features that had actually taken quite some dev time. Not this addition here though.

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Hi @James_Longley1,
and welcome to Coda Community :handshake:

I see your point: from a content perspective it seems quite unreasonable to see interesting yet “irrelevant” features according to your urgencies.

I’d like to say that I’m also very much focused on performance issues, so I totally understand your frustration.

However, in this 18 months of extensive use of Coda (for myself and for my clients) and a real active participation in this community, I see why there is a broad range of features and therefore a weighted attention to what is still an evolving tool.

Aside from the latest much appreciated announcement (Launched: Improvements to doc load & performance), we all know that adding a feature - like pronouns in profile - and working on performance are completely different things altogether.
With a cost-to-benefit ratio that has to evaluated in the client/prospect audience.

Performance boost is definitely something structural that relies on design, compatibility and reliability and it has a long - typically infinite - roadmap.

At the same time, there is an army of very well motivated people who demand UI improvements because these are must-to-have-no-matter-what requirements (and they are right, of course!).

I think that Coda has its double edged sword in its flexibility and we have to keep constantly asking ourselves if our expectations about this tool are appropriate.

I warmly invite you to share your document needs (also privately, if you prefer) and see if another approach might be possible.
There are extremely skilled people here and I’m sure this can lead to a great advantage.
Included the one that let us choose another direction or another technology.

Cheers!

Edit:
Basically what @Paul_Danyliuk just posted, but we submitted it at the same time! :smiley:

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Coda is consistently growing and improving and one particular area of improvement that is very important to us is inclusivity. We are striving towards more diversity and inclusion for both employees and customers and the work it takes to get there is most definitely a priority.

Everyday we juggle challenges and put in the work it takes to grow the product as well as the company. These challenges vary across a wide range of disciplines, and inclusion is a goal in all of them.

Adding pronouns to maker profiles is a small step we could take to show that we support and encourage Coda Makers to express their identity in the ways that are important to them. We are working on many other small steps, big ones too, and we will continue to do so.

I think you’ll find that not only are these steps feasible, but they also don’t take away from Coda continuing to add to, and improve, the product experience. We have many projects in the works and we’re excited for you all to see them get launched over the course of the rest of this year.

The best solutions in this community happen when people from all over the world pitch in. Seeing challenges from different angles and each trying a different approach. If you’ve ever used a solution posted here or a template from the gallery, you’ve benefited from work done to make sure everyone feels invited and encouraged to post. These small steps amount to hours upon hours of contributed help.

In this community we love to work together and changes like this make that together even bigger.

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Hi @James_Longley1, great to have you here and thank you for your perspective.

The challenges of building an amazing product like Coda are twofold:

  1. Build features and ensure they perform well
  2. Find out what features to build and what’s not performing well

The second task is equally important as the first one. And how do you do it well? You encourage people to contribute and to provide feedback. You ensure that people feel welcomed. That means that we work together collectively to make sure that people feel heard and taken care of—as you continue to use the coda forums you’ll find that this sort of behavior is the norm here. We want to ensure that you’re heard and successful.

Part of that dedication to inclusiveness is what you’re experiencing here. There are internet pits that exist out there where to disagree with the implementation of a pronoun feature would result in ostracization or bans. That’s not how we do things here and that’s why what you get in response are of the kind and understanding variety.

We all want Coda to be successful—to be speedy, beautiful, and powerful. I don’t think that this feature detracts from it, rather it encourages and enables it. Ntm, as @Paul_Danyliuk and @Federico_Stefanato pointed out, it’s probably not a high cost feature and it has a benefit of increasing our ability to make people feel included.

I have 0 doubt that Coda will continue to take performance and functionality very seriously.

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@BenLee this sounds great, but it belies the greater social narrative that is happening around pronouns. They currently represent more than ‘inclusivity’. Bill C-16 in Cananda came close to criminalizing not using the correct pronoun. It seems fair for community users to see this and wonder if that type of enforcement is going to come to this non political technology product. Many contemporary thinkers suggest that the introduction of novel pronouns is a way to control thought and compel speech.

Since this came as an official Coda release, it is fair to ask - is this now part of the community guidelines? Should we check each maker profile before responding in the community? Will posts be censored or users kicked off the platform for wrongspeak? It seems that has already happened - @James_Longley1 says his first post was censored for wrongthought.

I’ve never seen this feature requested, although many things come up repeatedly. so it seems fair to ask why this was prioritized over other things the community is requesting (https://coda.io/pack-requests) and begs curious minds to ask what is being signaled and is politics entering what has been a neutral platform?

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Some great, well thought out responses to my questions - and I appreciate the perspectives on the feature not taking a great deal of time.

That being the case, I have no issue with the small additional features being added when requested by users. I do, however, agree with what @Johg_Ananda says above. It seems like a political move to a certain extent and I share his concerns about its inclusion above other clearly requested features.

The fact that my first post was flagged and removed bothers me, particularly in light of this reply “There are internet pits that exist out there where to disagree with the implementation of a pronoun feature would result in ostracization or bans.”

I can only assume the reason it was flagged was because I commented on the political nature of this statement in the ‘source’ cited above:

“These assumptions aren’t always correct, and the act of making an assumption (even if correct) sends a potentially harmful message – that people have to look a certain way to demonstrate the gender that they are or are not.”

That’s spurious at best and definitely political. So the real question is whether this is something users have been requesting - or an indication of a leaning within the company.

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I certainly hope this is not the case here.

Full disclosure: I’m coming from a background where the preferred pronouns thing is considered ridiculous. It’s somewhat hard for me to accept and be serious about neopronouns like zir, xir etc — I see it more as a self-expression device rather than linguistic necessity (and perhaps I’m incorrect there, but that’s my belief at the moment.) Yet I totally see how one could be upset about calling them a “he” or “she” when they aren’t. Just as I totally see how one would be upset if their name was mispronounced, or they were replied to as “Hey Alex” when they finished their previous email as “Regards, Alexandra.” Or if one had a title like a Dr. or a Sir and expressed their will to be addressed as such, but you would ignore that. And out of respect for another person, I’d try and address them as they wish. It doesn’t take much effort but sends a positive vibe.

I see this addition not as political really, but as a token of respect for makers to be named how they want to be named. It will help Coda support in how they address users, too. I don’t think anyone expects us to visit each maker’s profile to learn the pronouns before addressing them. I’ll personally just keep using singular they like I do all the time since I’m on the web — as far as I know this is still appropriate. The community has also been very tolerant to people who make mistakes because they don’t master the intricacies of the English language (particularly mistakes with pronouns) and I don’t think this is going to change.

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