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Re: DEP1: Non Maintainer Uploads (final call for review)

Russ Allbery <rra@debian.org> wrote:
> MJ Ray <mjr@phonecoop.coop> writes:
> > No, it hasn't.  It is used naturally for indeterminates.  Using it for
> > singulars sounds stilted and contrived.  The developer is clearly not
> > an indeterminate.
> It's a single person with indeterminate gender, which is exactly the use
> case for the epicene they.  I believe you're simply wrong here.  This
> supposedly stilted and contrived construct routinely goes unremarked and
> unnoticed by native English speakers who are not concentrating on applying
> prescriptive grammar rules.

Maybe unnoticed by some, but then some ignore all sorts of brokenness.

> > This was covered in a thread around
> > http://lists.debian.org/debian-project/2005/01/msg00360.html
> This thread seems to establish that you're in a small minority with this
> opinion.

Well, I was using it to give a reasonable collection of the arguments
in a fairly short subthread, not as an appeal to numbers, but of
participants expressing a view, it's actually 3-3 with 4 or 5
irrelevants (mostly about "y'all") by my quick tally.  Even so, why
should language style be a weight-of-numbers thing?  If we believed in
weight of numbers as convincing, none of us would be using debian.

I'm disappointed if the docs have been patched quietly to expand the
"singular they" bug.  There's almost no need for it.  When reasonably
possible, please phrase things in such a way to avoid assuming gender,
or switch some examples.  We could actually be sending positive
messages by including examples clearly of both genders, instead of
confusing some people with singular they.

Hope that explains,
MJ Ray (slef)
Webmaster for hire, statistician and online shop builder for a small
worker cooperative http://www.ttllp.co.uk/ http://mjr.towers.org.uk/
(Notice http://mjr.towers.org.uk/email.html) tel:+44-844-4437-237

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