Since deleting my Facebook and Twitter accounts over the past year, Slack has become an increasingly important tool for me to stay connected to my professional network as an engineer.
Recently, I noticed an acquaintance of mine had modified their name to include (they/them) and it inspired me to also add my pronouns. Being a cis gender woman means that including my pronouns is unlikely to have any consequences since "she" and "her" meet people's assumptions. It also puts me in a powerful position to normalize the idea that sharing pronouns is helpful. It's helpful because it helps us avoid making assumptions about other people's gender.
So - I decided to try and figure out how to add my gender pronouns to my slack name in a way that was consistant and elegant.
First I tried adding them to my username.
The problem with this solution is that depending on how other slack users have their settings configured for the group they may not see my pronouns. Here is an example of what a conversation looks like for a user that has their settings set to only show the user's full name:
Then I tried adding my pronouns to both my full name AND my user name:
But then my profile that shows up when you hover my name looked busy and messy to me with all of the names and pronouns everywhere 😖
I want something elegant! So - this was not the solution for me.
Finally, after much mucking around with my full name and user name settings, I deleted my username. That's right - no username just my full name and pronouns!
You'll notice that the username defaults to your full name. So now, my hover profile only has one name on it and my pronouns show up regardless of how users have their slack settings!
I could see how this might not work for everyone. For example, some people like having their slack username match their github or twitter usernames. There could also be circumstanse that I don't know about that would lead a person to wanting a different username and full name. However, I love how up front and transparent my pronouns are now! Since adding them last week, I've noticed 2 other people add theirs and that's a pretty great reward.
As software gets more and more integrated into our lives, the industrialization of its crafting process becomes inevitable. But the over-generalization of software engineering can be crushing the creative side of programming.