This blog was dormant for a while because I didn’t want to give Diaspora bad press. There were security and licensing issues; the team claims that they have been fixed. There were issues with the very model of the code; they weren’t game-enders. I was looking forward to having a Facebook alternative I could use with my friends.
Then I read this: Gender is a Text Field on Diaspora
This is a sign that the programming team — not some unrelated pinheads, but the five or six people who are supposed to be writing the code — have put strong, usable code last on their priorities. It comes behind marketing, behind ideology, and behind absurd identity politics.
via Avery’s Diaspora News – I’m Dropping Diaspora, This Site Is Now Closed. I would say there is a much more reasonable middle ground. Options for gender, Male/Female/Other/Prefer Not To Say/No Answer. As far as the problem of figuring out how to refer to someone inside of the app, we have pronouns that don’t require gender (they, you, etc). This seems like a ridiculous amount of complaining for something that is actually important. Gender politics for some people is perhaps the most important aspect of their live. So it won’t make developers lives easier, get over it, writing software isn’t easy as it stands today.
The author’s main complain is this:
But don’t destroy the usability of basic fields that are necessary for talking about the user.
I really don’t see that sort of change as huge problem. sure maybe it should have some reasonable level of input, like I suggested 5 choices that would allow people to pick the one closest to them and feel comfortable with their choice without trying to examine and provide a reasonable for all the different identities that people have. But that doesn’t make it impossible to talk to or about the user.