Or is this just a case of the language not offering enough choices to cover all situations?
Pretty much. The character I have in mind would have begun transition already with some other characters already referring to him/her as "she." It's kind of the situation I'm in now; write what you know I guess, just as long as it doesn't turn into some kind of self-insert fantasy.
One of the things Goldsmith does in Genma's Daughter, which is a Ranma 1/2 fanfic, is to refer to Ranma as he or she depending on which form he/she's in but always as Ranma until he/she decides to lock the Juusenkyo curse and go full time living as a woman for a few weeks. At that point, the author begins referring to the character as Ranko. Not to give spoilers if you haven't read it, but there are only a few times when Ranko is in male form after that, and Goldsmith reliably refers to the character with the name "Ranko" and the pronoun "he."
In the non-fiction book Whipping Girl, Serano observes that pronouns are often a matter of presumption and contextual guessing that one has to make within the first few moments of meeting somebody. After all, we generally don't go around performing a "Crocodile Dundee" manuever to verify which body parts a stranger has between their legs before we decide whether to use "he" or "she" when referring to that person. Checking others' genitals would also lead to ambiguity in the case of trans women who have the female gender and a woman's name on their driver's license but have not yet undergone (or does not desire) surgery.
One might argue that the state of one's genitals is of utmost importance, which is one thing that feminists and right wing authoritarians can both agree upon. However, because we do not check others' genitals regularly, it becomes a moot point unless there's romance involved. The zombie flic Wild Zero presents one such situation.
As Serano also notes, sometimes we get it wrong. As an example, I used to work with a perfectly cisgendered man when I used to do fast food who would often be ma'amed when talking to customers over the drive-through speaker because he had a feminine way of speaking. Sometimes when I'm very tired, I'll get ma'amed by strangers who have only my appearance to go on when clearly presenting as male simply because when I'm tired, I forget to use masculine body language. So, it's not as straight-forward of a process as we'd like to imagine it is.
I feel that getting the language thing down would be one of the challenges of presenting something like that to a wider audience. One solution might be to write from first person, but it would be more interesting to use third person omniscient so I can use the same technique as Goldsmith. I feel that the way other characters use he or she can be an effective way to demonstrate what other characters think of the protagonist's gender---the narrator's choice of pronoun being dependent on whether the character is presenting as male or female---, and which particular name the narrator uses to refer to the protagonist can demonstrate the state of his/her own identity at that point in the story.
Well, here we are. We'll see how the slashcott goes.
I may be back on the 17th, but I intend to use the beta exclusively. If "classic's" days are numbered, then so be it. Maybe the beta will improve. If the things that kept me coming back since I registered this UID here over a decade ago are gone for good, then it's time to move on.
I've voiced my suspicions, and well, if Dice wanted to chase me away, they've succeeded, certainly for the next week, perhaps for good.
It works, that's why. I believe given that [FUCK] BETA is going to happen, that we carefully question the validity of transphobia in greater discussions of gender.
On the one hand, there's Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the Lambs. The Silence of the Lambs is actually a good movie if you can accept the premise that Buffalo Bill is not actually a trans woman (evidence provided by the character Hannibal).
However, there's the powerful feminist lobby (that's made of cis women and trans women who are grovelling to cis women to have their status as women of some kind at least).
The idea is that trans women, fundamentally, are Buffalo Bill, however that doesn't hold water. But then here come the feminists who are saying that trans women are Buffalo Bill, but perhaps on a metaphysical sense. Nobody knows that to believe because most individuals have a "cis blind spot;" that is, they cannot separate their mental gender from their reproductive gender.
The bane of the American system is freeloaders. The argument is that nobody would hire a trans woman because she would be masturbating all the time. Therefore, a trans woman wouldn not be able to pay for her own cosmetic surgery. Therefore, any arguments that being a trans woman has any basis in physical reality are clearly attempts to create communism. Q. E. D.
All that, and FUCK BETA.
Thank you. I sitll intend to participate in the slashcott next week, however. I believe that there is a political element at Dice that would not mind seeing the wretched hive of men's rights activism and anti-feminism that is Slashdot in mothballs.
Godspeed to those who are working on altslashdot.org. I'm afraid that Code.org and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have given orders from On High that the community that questions feminism at Slashdot must be disbanded.
I've encountered sexism many times in my life before. Usually the argument is that because I was assigned the male gender at birth, despite the physical gender of the wetware between my ears, THEREFORE I am sexist. Q. E. D.
I wished many, many times during my male adolescence thatI had been born female instead. None of those wishes came true. However, if any of them had, I suspect that my school's administration would not have attempted to threaten me with FBI incarceration because I wanted to have a computer club nor would they have attempted to paint me as a plagarist because my code was "too good" for somebody of my age back then.
More assigned males are speaking out against this problem. There is nothing you can do, Dice or Code.org. More and more of us are becoming aware that the feminist narrative is wrong-headed.
As much as I wish more cis women would go into programming, I am not their mistress or their Borg queen. I do not control their actions.
There needs to be a different approach.
I would be happy with [FUCK] BETA if it weren't for the superfluous sidebar that continues down the page to infinity and beyond, limiting space for comments and the various other layout issues. The font size is too big for another thing. Now I know I can hit ctrl+- a few times, but I mean, come on! I want comments to be the full width of my window, and I want to choose whether I want to see all comments when I'm moderating and whether I just want to browse at +1 or +2 depending on my attention span any particular day. In fact, I don't give a FUCK BETA whether a comment was modded up because it was funny, insightful, or interesting or whatever. All I care about is how many moderators thought the comment was noteworthy when I don't care to browse at 0 or -1.
FUCK BETA is like everything I hate about the mobile site brought to a desktop site. I even do "request desktop site" on my phone when browsing Slashdot because the mobile site is worthless. I once tried modding on the mobile site, and not a single mod ever took place! (Still had my mod points when I got home!)
We can argue about whether or not it's too AJAXy or whether JQuery is too onerous. All I want is the Slashdot I know and love for its threaded comment system and moderation/meta-moderation system. More power to Dice if they can realize a functional AJAXy vision of that in my opinion as long as it degrades gracefully for browsers such as elinks (yes, I actually do use elinks on occasion!) and screen readers, but FUCK BETA is not that.
Just voted it up.
It seems from some of Soulskill's comments that this is a change that's being rammed through from the Higher Ups and the Powers That Be.
It'll be interesting to see how this will play out, and I'm glad to see that there are people already working on building a new "slashdot." I was thinking about doing some hacking on slashcode or coming up with something new entirely this weekend when I'll be more free, but it looks like the initiative is well underway by individuals with better experience at such things than I have.
Something occurred to me today while browsing through all the FUCK BETA comments. I might need to loosen my tinfoil, but who knows. The way things go will be telling. I mean, I like the freaking MS Office ribbon and I'm looking forward to Wayland! FUCKing BETA is just an absolute disaster, but maybe it's intentional.
We know that Dice is a backer of Code.org, and Code.org has been involved in some proposals one might use the euphemism "affirmative action" for, but I prefer to call it what it is: sexism and discrimination based on assigned gender at birth.
This place is one of the few places I know on the internet I can come and participate in discussions about alternate theories about why there are no cis women in programming and whether that's even a problem or not (and get properly downmodded when I cross the line into misogynistic ranting). Personally, I think it is, although others disagree. All of those discussions are completely contradictory to the narrative that Code.org and feminism would like us to believe: that lack of interest from cis women must needs imply some kind of sexism and oppression on the part of all assigned males.
Perhaps the higher ups at Dice think that if they torpedo this site with a horrible excuse for a redesign (it looks like something I would design! and I'll freely admit I'm a terrible graphic artist!), that opinions such as mine and others that run contrary to the feminist narrative that constructs gender as a dichotomy of rapists and victims would lose their soapbox.
Maybe my tinfoil is on too tight, but Dice seems to be demonstrating that in the face of falling revenues from this property, they're willing to have it commit seppuku.
Hopefully I'm wrong and if the boycott next week goes well, Dice will see the light. However, I believe there may be a political element present in Dice that wouldn't mind seeing Slashdot in mothballs.
Slashdot has been around, well, a very long time. Longer than any of it's competators, but not as long as IIRC. Slashdot was a very much one of the first true social media web sites.
On Slashdot, you could create a handle or ID. Something personal, but not too personal, unless you wanted it to be. But it was not required either. We know each other by our handles, we have watched each other grow as people. We may have even taken pot shots at each other in threads. Unless of course you are anonymous, but often we can guess who that really is.
One of Slashdot's first motto's was "News for Nerds" that Matters. I have no idea when that was removed. I have not always scoured the boards here daily, life can get too busy for that. That excuses my ignorance in a way. I guess someone thought it politically incorrect, but most of us "Nerds" enjoyed it. We are proud of who we are, and what we know. Often we use that pride and knowledge to make someone else look bad. That is how we get our digs in, and we enjoy that part of us too. We don't punch people, we belittle them. It's who we are!
What made Slashdot unique were a few things. What you will note here is "who" has been responsible for the success of Slashdot. Hint, it has never been a just the company taking care of the servers and software.
— First, the user base submitted stories that "they" thought mattered. It was not a corporate feed. Sure, stories were submitted about companies. The latest break through from AMD and Intel, various stories regarding the graphic card wars, my compiler is better than your compiler, and yes your scripting language stinks! Microsoft IIS has brought us all a few laughs and lots of flame wars to boot. Still, we not only read about the products but get to my second point.
— User comments. This is the primary why we have been coming here for as long as we have, many of us for decades. We provide alternative opinions or back what was given in the article. This aspect not only makes the "News" interesting, but often leads to other news and information sharing. It's not always positive, but this is the nature of allowing commentary. It also brings out the third point.
— Moderation. Moderation has been done by the community for a very long time. It took lots of trial and error to get a working system. As with any public system it's imperfect, but it's been successful. People can choose to view poorly modded comments, but don't have to. As with posting anonymous versus with our own handle it's an option that allows us to personalize the way we see and read what's on the site. And as a reward for submitting something worth reading, you might get a mod point of your own to use as a reward for someone else.
Why we dislike Beta and what is being pushed, and why this will result in the end of an era if it becomes forced on the community.
1. Bulky graphics. We get that Dice and Slashdot need revenue. I have Karma good enough to disable advertisements, but have never kept this setting on. I realize that Slashdot/Dice make money with this. That said, the ads sit away from my news and out of the way. I can get there if I want it (but nobody has ever gotten a penny from me clicking an ad... nobody!), but it's not forced into my face or news feed.
2. Low text area. I like having enough on my screen to keep me busy without constant scrolling. Slashdot currently has the correct ratio of text to screen. This ratio has never been complained about, yet Beta reduces the usable text area by at least 1/2 and no option for changing the behavior. I hate reading Slashdot on mobile devices because I can't stand scrolling constantly.
4. Ordering/Sorting/Referencing. Each entry currently gets tagged with a unique thread ID. This allows linking to the exact post in a thread, not just the top of the thread. In Beta this is gone. It could be that the site decided to simply hide the post ID or it was removed. Either way, going to specific posts is something that is used very commonly by the community.
5. Eye candy. Most of us are not here for "eye candy" and many have allergic reactions to eye candy. Slashdot has a good mix currently. It's not as simple as the site starting with a r-e-d-i-t, which is good. That site has a reputation that keeps many of us away, and their format matches my attitude of them (s-i-m-p-l-e-t-o-n). At the same time, it's not like watching some other "news" sites with so much scrolling crap I can't read an article without getting a headache. The wasted space in beta for big bulky borders, sure smells like eye candy. Nothing buzzes or scrolls yet, but we can sense what's coming in a patch later.
The thing is, the community cares about Slashdot. We come here because we care. We submit stories because of that, we vote because of that, we moderate because of that, and we comment because of that. At the same time we realize that without the community Slashdot loses most of its value. We respect that we don't host the servers, backup the databases, or patch the servers. Slashdot/Dice provide the services needed for Slashdot.
It's a give give relationship, and we each get something in return. Slashdot gets tons of Search hits and lots of web traffic. We get a place to learn, teach, and occasionally vent.
Look, if you want to change default color scheme or make pre-made palettes for us to choose from, we would probably be okay with that. If you want to take away our ability to block ads by Karma, or move the ads to the left side of my browser window, I would be okay with those things too.
If you want to make drastic changes to how the site works, this is a different story all together. The reason so many are against Beta is that it breaks some of the fundamental parts of what makes Slashdot work.
User input until recently has not been acknowledged. The acknowledgment we have received is not from the people that are making the decision to push Beta live. We told people Beta was broken, what it lacked, and we were rather surprised to get a warning that Beta would be live despite what we told people. People are already making plans to leave, which means that Slashdot could fade away very soon.
Whether this was the goal for Dice or not remains to be seen. If it is, it's been nice knowing you but I won't be back. A partnership only works when there is mutual respect between the parties. A word of caution, us Nerds have good memories and lots of knowledge. The loss of Slashdot impacts all of Dice holdings, not just Slashdot. I boycott everything a company holds, not just the product group that did me wrong.
If that was not the goal of Dice, you should quickly begin communicating with the user base. What are the plans are to fix what Beta has broken? Why is Beta being pushed live with things broken? A "Sorry we have not been communicating!", and perhaps even a "Thank you" to the user base for helping make Slashdot a success for so many years."