Not 'she' -- better writing skills

From: Jimmy Wales (
Date: Sat Mar 31 2001 - 16:59:53 MST

I didn't mean to open such a can of worms, and I hope that we can
drop this soon and talk about technical issues of more importance.

I don't think using 'she' is a good idea, for the same sort of reason
that I don't think using 'he' is a good idea. An AI is not likely to
have anything like a human gender at all.

What I advocate is _better writing_. English is semantically complete
in this area, so it is unnecessary to use artificial or awkward
constructions of any kind. Nor does 'it' connote "dumb matter",
either, in a great many common uses!

Knock! Knock!

"Who is it?"

"It's the super, I've come to fix the sink."

Is "it" the superintendent, or a superintelligence? :-) Either way,
we don't find this construction awkward -- it's the most common
construction in this context.

Those who are skeptical that good writing skills can cure what ails
ya in this area should just give it a try for awhile. I think you'll
find, as I have, that you need never use awkward constructions of any
kind. Just think a little harder about alternatives, and soon they will
come to you naturally, leaving you with a smooth and graceful style.

Your writing can be approachable to newcomers, and precise enough
for experts. No compromises!


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