Not sure if this kind of post is allowed, but this has been bothering me for a while. I won't deny that I haven't been guilty of it as well, but it's only because I didn't want to cause conflict at the time (what I hope to start now is a disscusion).
The Haruichi Furudate page currently uses "he/she" as whenever it describes Furudate. That's totally fine since it's grammatically correct. However, I do understand why users have been changing it to "they".
To be honest, I would personally prefer "they" - it sounds more natural and looks much cleaner. Sure, it's not grammatically correct, but English has never been clearcut. Maybe proper writing has a certain style that must be followed, but it can't be helped that people want to write naturally on a wiki. While there is a line that shouldn't be crossed, I believe that some grammar rules are flexible and should be acknowledged without just being labled as either only wrong or only correct.
Also, using "they" to refer to something singular isn't something new. I will admit that it might be when it comes to referecing someone of unidentifiable gender, but with modernism and the growing trend of agender, I wouldn't be surprised if this somehow becomes the norm in the future.
Something I noticed that doesn't help is that the wiki isn't consistent. In Manual of Style, this is what is written:
Personality — The personality of the character (what he/she acts like, their nature)
So whose right and whose wrong?
Some interesting reads that talk about the uses of "they" (both proper and improper):
Feel free to disagree with me. These are just my thoughts on the matter. It's impossible for all of us to use the same grammar rules, especially on a forum that anyone from anywhere can edit on. If the majority wants to keep it as "he/she", then do so. All I'm asking for is for it to be clearly stated and enforced that the Haikyuu!! wiki uses proper (and I mean, PROPER) English. To say that something isn't grammarly correctly can always be debated.
Last thing - I honestly believe there are worse grammar issues on the wiki that could be focused on.
I do agree with you that "they" sounds more natural and looks cleaner so I understand why users have been changing it. But I would still use "he/she" in this case. I use "they" to refer to something singular sometimes but I do think that "he/she" is more proper and that I think it is fine the way it is.
As far as other grammar issues on the wiki, I'm not confident enough to change anything since I still have a lot to learn about writing and proper grammar.
There is certainly no need to feel guilty at all, and I am actually glad that you decided to bring this issue up so we could settle this once and for all.
I have reviewed the sources you referenced, and they have made me understand your point of view much better: It is certainly easier to just use "they" to refer to a third-person singular subject versus "he or she" since it just sounds far too clunky. I also understand that certain people would like to use "they" in respect to the growing, popular modern notion of one's own gender diverging from the standard or typical binary genders, and really this is such a messy issue to even touch since there are no proper guidelines to English language. Rather, there are just a bunch of scholarly committees who may unevenly decide the changes or revisions to their accepted list of rules and exceptions, but ultimately, language is not based on groups of scholars voting on guidelines. It is instead based on current culture and society which is, of course, constantly changing. Thus, it would make sense to use "they" since culture and society is going to that direction.
However, while I do understand these points, and I admittingly do use "they" to an extent in casual conversation, I still stand with the use of "he/she" or "he or she" on this Wikia for two reasons:
1) Formality: Our Wiki tries its best to be formal with wording as we would like to be seen as a somewhat decent and professional appearance. Although we can be inconsistent on certain pages, we try our best to do so. We are also aware that sometimes our rules may also be inconistent, but we also try our best to enforce them and make them as specific and thorough as possible.
2) Implication: The implication I am referring to here is ourselves and the Wikia. Please keep in mind that anything I talk about in this paragraph is not specifically referring to the change in "his/her" to "they". Rather, it is about the users themselves: I am not totally sure if you remember the 'Acnes or Freckles Debate' that took place in Yamaguchi's Talk page, you will know that some users (mostly unregistered I would like to point out) tend to take small matters and magnify it into a gigantic issue. Unfortunetly and shamefully due to my lack of experience and lack of confidence in my administrative abilities, I caved into the users demands and decided to settle the issue with popular vote. However, this debate mostly encompassed users that barely contributed or made a difference in the Wiki so unregistered user-specific Wiki productivity was not actually affected. Rather, this whole problem just turned out to be frustrating for a few of the administrators and a few of the users who had actually done work on the Wikia. So after the debate, the scores were tallied, and freckles had won. However even after the ordeal was formally settled, users still made changes to the page that violated the conclusion of the debate which led to an embarrassing lock on the page which has still not been removed to this day. So the point that I am getting at here is that users who focus on such tiny problems and do not even contribute to the Wikia's productivity in any aspect will always make problems for the Wiki, and if we continue to yield to their demands, our Wikia will give the appearance that we do not have rules or even a backbone. This Wikia was built (or rather revised) on the work of several, small users to fullfill the dream and hopes that perhaps one day we will become a greater Wikia that can be truly one to respect. If our Wikia yields to such items, then our prideful team will falter, and that dream may become distorted. Change is certainly good, but this change that stifles the growth of the Wikia and reduces it to dull argument will steer ourselves away from our set sights and back into our unripe roots.
Now finally, I can get to the concluding revisions (apologies for this lengthy post!):
So after this review of the matter and conclusion of reasoning, I decided to also offer some revisions or changes to what I would like to do that do use the "he/she" rule but I still feel may be in some good congurence to both of our thoughts.
1) I now realize that our rules may conflict with some of the culture and history of the English language as we would like to try to remain very basic in language while maintaing formalness. Thus, I think we should revise our rules on the Wikia to have our very own set of rules that do not completely go off the tracks of standard (which actually could also be debated about as well if we go deeper) English language but rather set specifics like this so that we will not have a back-and-forth editing problem.
2) I agree with what you mean by my use of "grammatically correct" after thinking about this topic some more. English is flexible with society, and it can always be debated. Thus, I will try to remember to always write, "proper English" or something that references our Manual of Style instead of "grammatically correct."
However, I too would like to hear some other opinions on this matter so none of these revisions will be implemented, of course, unless I hear from the other majority of users.
If I missed something and did not cover it in my post, please feel free to tell me, and if you still disagree, that is totally fine! I am very glad, once again, that you brought up this topic. I do not very much like to "fight" with users over such trivial matters like this, and I do whole-heartedly agree that we do have bigger issues to conquer. Thank-you though. I am looking forward to both yours and other users responses.
Hi Fattieschan, I'm really sorry for taking so long to reply back. My laptop's screen broke so I had to wait a couple of days to get it repaired. Then when I tried to type a response, it didn't post for some reason. I didn't save it anywhere or take a photo, so I got fustrated and ended up putting off (irresponsible on my part).
Thanks for being so understanding about this topic. I was a bit worried about creating some huge fight. I do agree that the wiki should use formality while still acknowledging English's flexibility. A specific set of grammar rules should be decided on and then enforced. If the majority believe in keeping 'he/she', then absolutely continue using it. While I do favor 'they' more, in this scenario where neither one is completely wrong, adminstration should come to a decision on what should be used.
I wasn't a part of the Haikyuu fandom when the 'Acenes or Freckles Debate' occured so I can only give you my thoughts based off what you wrote and what I already knew before. I actually agree with putting a ban on Yamaguchi's page. There were users who weren't accepting the results of an open-to-everyone poll (created by the admins might I add) so something had to be done. While it is a little strange that it hasn't been removed over a year later, I do believe that it was the right decision as it took care of an issue that was giving the community trouble.
It is totally fine. I get sort of frustrated too when my responses to messages go unsaved, and I actually just responded late because I was not avaliable for almost the whole week due to some personal trouble so I also apologize for that as well!
Anyways, though, it is certainly no problem, and I pretty much agree with you as I said, but it seems like nobody else but us plus a few other unregistered users are even giving their opinion about this topic which leaves us to think: how should we get public opinion on this topic?
I thought of this, and possibly we could hold some sort of meeting if you would like as it is the only idea I can conjur up for now. If you think of anything else, please tell me.
On a last and somewhat irrelevant note about the debate, I understand, and I do not really have anything else to say about it except that 1) it was pretty awful as I said before and 2) you pointing out the page being locked for such a long period of time had just actually made me rethink of when we should actually unlock it. We did not have a set date and never decided on one due to the fact that it simply kept the peace, but now that you mention it again, I might think a bit more about it so thank-you for putting that thought back into my mind.
If I had not mentioned already, thank-you for your politeness and understanding about this topic as well. It is not everyday you encounter a user who is willing to understand and comply rather than just simply argue!
Once again, sorry for the extremely long gap in replying. It's completely my fault and you have every right to be disregard me at this point.
Since this issue has seem to have died down (for now at least), I don't think a meeting is neccessary anymore. It just has to be made clear that the wiki uses 'he/she' for singular, non-gendered subjects. To be honest, I'm not sure how to gather public opinion on a wiki aside from polls (which have failed before) and forums (which can easily leads to arguments).
As contradictory as this sounds, I'm not sure if unlocking Yamaguchi's page would be a good idea at the moment. With season 3 airing, new fans of Haikyuu are coming to wiki. Some might try to edit his page from freckles to acne. I do wish to see Yamaguchi's page completely unbanned in the future. The decision of when this could ever happen should definitely be left to you and the admistration.
Thank you as well for being so listening and understanding. I've had my fair share of admins (and internet users in general) who would see their opinions as right and always argue against others. This has been a refreshing experience, and I'm glad the both of us were able to peacefully talk with one another.
It is totally fine again. I always understand the gaps and relucantness to respond to incredibly, long messages so I also apologize for this three-day late response.
I am totally fine with not having a meeting, and I am fine with eveyrthign you have said. It's all good here.
As for your uncertainty for how to gather public opinion, there is, admittingly, no efficient way for this so we have stuck to just polls and forums. Arguments are unavoidable in these scenarios, as you have said, so our best bet is to simply quell whenever such a problem arises. If any other method ever comes up or is mentioned, then we will, of course, be sure to jump right on it and consider it.
As for the Yamaguchi Freckle Case, I have already said that I am fine with what you think, but I will add a bit more to my conclusion here to leave you a bit more informed on this situation and tell you what we are thinking in case you want to know: to be honest, we have no set date for when we should ever unlock the page still. That is still an issue that we are thinking about, but it is not a priority. We will, however, continue to consider it.
It's quite flattering to read your compliment, and I would like to also say that we will always try to not be too biased with these situations. I would also like to thank-you for keeping up with the difficulties with these issues and keeping up with the formalities of this entire thread of messages. I think it must be a pain to constantly be talking like this and trying to seem very formal and trying your best to not mispell anything (I sure hope I didn't do that) so I'm going to be slightly more comfortable with my speech towards you from now on except in more some more serious situations which calls for it. It's really been nice talking to you, too. I hope we can talk sometime more like on the Live Chat or something, but for now take care.