Dale is a Woman and Kris is a Man

These days it’s nearly impossible to guess the gender of an author by their name alone, much less figure it out on an authors name from a far away land where we’re not familiar with the naming conventions of their culture.

We’re considering adding the GENDER [M] [F] database field for all members so that we can learn more about the demographics of our members and so that we can respond via email without embarrassing ourselves with the wrong pronouns.


I know we could also provide useful data once we have a complete enough sampling of our members data… and we could also (not sure if we would ever do this) put a pink or blue symbol next to the authors article to indicate gender so that a person could then also search articles by gender…

What do you think?



I see the obvious benefits of being able to look at the data demographics for male and female writers.

Don’t think I would want a blue symbol by my name tho………..

Comment provided May 1, 2007 at 9:51 AM


Audrey Okaneko writes:

Would this information be available to you/your staff only, or would this information be public?


Comment provided May 1, 2007 at 10:08 AM




Initially, only to our staff.

We may want to provide demographic reports to the public and our advertisers, but this would be generic and not identify any particular author.

Are you saying you personally don’t want your gender known by your reader or a reader of your profile?

If so, could you help us understand why?

Comment provided May 1, 2007 at 10:17 AM


Thad writes:

Putting a blue or pink symbol next to peoples name would give the impression that one is better than the other.
After peoples sex you could put their age in different colors as well.
Then after you got their age you could get their race as well and allow people to do real specific searches for articles that have nothing to do with the article.
I am looking for articles written by a 26-35 year old White Female got any of those?

Either you write good articles or you dont gathering demographics is something that should be left to goverment (even then I wonder).
I understand the whole for communication purposes need to know but people who get offended by the missuse of he/she just are having a bad day.
With that said during sign up or even in the memeber areas you could give people the option to specify their sex.
Taking it any further than that just doesnt make sense to me.

Comment provided May 1, 2007 at 10:21 AM


S Phadke writes:

I don’t see the point. How does it matter what sex the person belongs to when you are concerned with the persons thought or idea or argument or what have you and are not trying to fix a dinner date.

Comment provided May 1, 2007 at 10:34 AM



I think you’re getting into a whole area here that is a mistake and could be interpreted by some as setting the stage for discrimination and maybe even profiling. If it’s just so you won’t make a mistake when communicating with authors, that’s not a very good justification.

If your reason is to aid site users, then authors who want to be taken seriously and communicate well, will complete their author profiles and include a photo. In most cases, I expect that would clear things up for everyone.

The very act of collecting personal information such as gender implies judgment.

Comment provided May 1, 2007 at 11:04 AM



I guess MySpace is one of the biggest *Judgers* on Earth?

I’m leaning towards the opinion of requiring gender identification (rather than being optional) and not displaying the information on the site. This solves the problem of wanting to understand the demographics of our members for our benefit and the generic benefit of sponsors without the worry that members might think their privacy is not being respected.

Comment provided May 1, 2007 at 11:13 AM


Thad writes:

Myspace is a social networking site not a Article Community.
I dont know how you could compare the two in regards to needing to know their sex, unless I missed the memo where EzineArticles was turning into a social network and all of our articles are really just blogs that other people can put on their sites (now that I said it it is kinda of true)
But not true enough to make it where everybody needs to knoow our gender even though the articles I write only a fool or perhaps a genius would think that I am a female.

Comment provided May 1, 2007 at 12:23 PM


Chinmay Chakravarty writes:

No symbals please! Make it M or F in the required field. And, please keep it optional for the writers.

Gender bias should be avoided at all costs.

Comment provided May 1, 2007 at 12:33 PM



I would think that the option to upload an author photo would take care of any confusion on that front.

If, after seeing the person’s face, the reader is STILL not certain of the gender? Then they can always try using pronouns in the author bio and or resource box.

“Chris Trimbley helps dog owners do such-and-such. For the past X years, *she* has trained over X dogs. (so on and so forth).

So I guess my answer is no, I feel there is no need to offer a dropdown or form where one can specify one’s gender to the EzineArticles audience.

Comment provided May 1, 2007 at 4:47 PM



And now, talking out of the other side of my mouth…

If you DO collect gender information, it could be purely for internal reasons – marketing data.

You might find out, for example, that the majority of your audience is female, which makes it MORE likely that they’d respond favorably to branding such as the EzineArticles.com Angel.

(I’m not saying your audience IS or is not female, NOR am I making generalizations that females prefer angels over some other type of icon. Me, I would feel an affinity for the EzineArticles goat or cow perhaps…)

But I wouldn’t feel the need to publish gender of the author, the way that Myspace does, no. I think it’s a bit silly.

Comment provided May 1, 2007 at 4:54 PM


Lance Winslow writes:

I am emailing the “Transgender Individual Transvestites Scociety” and you what that stands for and they are going to file a Lawsuit against you. How dare you leave out the “In-betweeners” they are writers too you know?

Comment provided May 1, 2007 at 7:45 PM


Michael Russell writes:

Perhaps we should have an ‘other’ designation for Lance .

Seriously though the question needs to be optional, otherwise you could be getting into delicate privacy law areas here in Australia (if not in the USA).

Comment provided May 1, 2007 at 7:56 PM


Michael Russell writes:

Note: The previous post left out my *grin* for Lance :-)

Comment provided May 1, 2007 at 7:58 PM


Lance Winslow writes:

Yah, Thanks Michael, It so easy even a Cave Man can write articles?

Comment provided May 1, 2007 at 8:47 PM


Jan writes:


We know it’s easy to write articles, just look how many you’ve written.

The Cave Man comment is OUTRAGEOUS!!!

I can’t believe you could be so sexist!

AS for whether or not Gender Specific is a good idea… Um, I honestly can’t see any value in knowing either way – Biblically, HE works. You might try using transgender pronouns “IT” might be sufficient.

or you could resort to simply numbering us. I be JV1…

Okay – I think I’m rambling.

Jan (oops JV1 out)

Comment provided May 2, 2007 at 3:20 AM


Lance Winslow writes:

Yes, that Caveman Comment was really non-PC I totally agree, but you have to admit that is one of the best commercials on TV.

Comment provided May 2, 2007 at 4:04 AM


Susan Scharfman writes:

I agree completely with Dina. Touchy-Touchy. Perhaps submitting photos should be required rather than optional. Or leave things alone; better to risk some confusion with foreign names than an appearance of profiling or God knows what else you might back into. You could always communicate to the non-English speaker that EzineArticles is not familiar with their language and could they confirm gender.


Comment provided May 2, 2007 at 9:49 AM


Audrey Okaneko writes:

Wow, lots of interesting comments. My first reaction was “I get enough spam, I don’t want foreign folks who might not know Audrey is female to now have a way to send gender specific spam”.

My next thought was “heck my article bylines on parenting articles say Audrey is mom…” so this is a giveaway that I’m female.

If you think knowing I’m female will be helpful to you, then mark me as an “F”. You, your site and your staff have been wonderful to me…it’s the least I can do to offer you an F by my name :)


Comment provided May 3, 2007 at 11:51 AM


Lance Winslow writes:

This could be a good thing because being a male means that I would have an M and there are more female writers than male writes who will get an “F” on their articles they turn it. So that means it is an advantage to all the males and since I am a male, let’s do it.

Comment provided May 3, 2007 at 10:04 PM


Jan Verhoeff writes:

What a lame way to get a better ‘grade’ Lance!

It’s a real booster there — shall we send you chocolate munchies to go with your kuddos?


Too funny.


Comment provided May 3, 2007 at 10:59 PM


Lance Winslow writes:


Your articles against my articles? Well considering my dismal odds, I would take any little advantage I could get? ha hah ha.

“M” stands for Magnificient and that is like an A++ you see?

Comment provided May 3, 2007 at 11:02 PM



Actually Lance, “F” is before “M” in the alphabet… but I digress.

We’ve already decided to NOT put the gender on any public pages.

In the future, should we change our minds, we’ll make it an option, not a requirement if an author chooses to reveal their gender.

Comment provided May 4, 2007 at 7:15 AM


topbar1 writes:

CK: Your question “Are you saying you personally don’t want your gender known by your reader or a reader of your profile?” puts the onus on the user to justify the an absent user data collection policy of a leaderless business. This is exactly the wrong approach.

Each business must define a set of ethics to guide them in determining whether it is appropriate to collect gender, age, marital status,… in consideration that some personal identifiers may be implied by a combination of others. (e.g., same gender couples)

What is appropriate in one business context may not be appropriate in another, and each business must lead by example.

Also, ownership rights of user data is highly dependent on locale, as in the US, the business is generally presumed to own user data, whereas in Europe and many parts of the world, the business functions more as a data repository, with the user retaining most rights. For clarity as well as legal reasons, each businesses should therefore openly state their user data collection policy.

Comment provided May 7, 2007 at 11:51 AM


Jan Verhoeff writes:

Lance, I just saw your response…

Last I knew, M was far after A – which would make it an A ————————- and you get more of those little dashes than an F would…

Chris is right as usual. Gee I wonder if THAT is why we both write FOR him?

Just for the record, I’d NEVER presume to compare my articles to yours, Lance. I much prefer standing alone! ;)

Although, I do enjoy a reference now and then! (Thanks)


Comment provided May 7, 2007 at 12:43 PM


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