Microsoft Teams needs to copy this inclusive feature from Slack

Galaxy S20 Review Slack Greenmat Dnd
Galaxy S20 Review Slack Greenmat Dnd (Image credit: Ara Wagoner / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Slack is rolling out a new feature that lets you list your pronouns under your name and job title.
  • Admins could create a custom field for this already, but the new option is rolling out to everyone.
  • Many people have requested the same feature for Microsoft Teams.

Slack has a new pronouns field that allows you to list your pronouns below your name and job title. Your pronoun will appear on your mini-profile and your full profile, helping people know how to address you. The feature is rolling out now, so you might not see it just yet (via The Verge).

It was already possible to have a pronoun field in Slack if an administrator created one. Some people also include their pronouns in their name. If an administrator already created a pronoun field for a Slack channel, they can continue to use that field or switch to the new one that's rolling out to everyone. The new pronoun field is featured more prominently in people's profiles.

Source: Slack (Image credit: Source: Slack)

The new pronoun field in Slack is hidden by default, but it can easily be enabled. Slack has a guide on how to enable the pronoun field.

Slack rival Microsoft Teams may want to follow suit. Almost 3,000 people have voted for the same feature to roll out to Microsoft Teams through UserVoice. Now that the option to list pronouns is rolling out to Slack, people in the UserVoice forum have expressed frustration that it isn't available for Teams.

An admin from Microsoft responded to the UserVoice post, stating that Microsoft loves the idea and that it is under review.

Some other popular sites and apps have rolled out the option to add pronouns to profiles, including Instagram, OkCupid, and Lyft.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

55 Comments
  • Need less of this.
  • If it doesn't affect you directly, why is it an issue?
  • Because we don't want this done ideology infecting or society. It's a mental illness.
    Read the room, you're in the wrong
  • Not an ideology. Also your statement is not in alignment with the medical evidence. And cruel for no reason. OMG you are being politely requested to refer to someone by their proper pronouns! This is something that we already do in all sorts of contexts. Mrs, Ms, Miss, Mr, Sir, Sr, Jr, Doctor, etc etc etc etc. Somehow you are incredibly worked up about this issue but I am certain you never called out all the other places where we assign definitions to a name or person.
  • Why not have more of this?
  • I'm against this. On my planet, we are all "it".
  • Then you should be for this. Now you can do just that ...for yourself. :)
  • Screw this pronoun crap and screw this article for suggesting and supporting it.
  • Like this feature in Slack, reading this article and reacting to it is in an option you chose. Stop playing the victim.
  • Opinion? Sure! He's says he's a victim? No so sure.....just saying. He doesn't like it, that's all.
  • Your wokeness is windows Centrals downfall. Get the politics or of this ****.
  • Not politics. Just respect.
  • So you wouldn't want to be called by what you prefer?
  • Doesn't seem to have affected him/her/they/it yet. It's stupid and will more likely lead to discrimination against those who put down something the "traditional" majority consider weird.
  • It's discrimination either way, may as well have this so it's clear who's being the bigot.
  • I fail to see the harm to addressing people the way they want to be addressed. I'm fine with this.
  • I don't address people I'm speaking to as she, they, it. I use their name. (good example of singlar/plural pronoun). On a slack/TEAMS call, do you refer to someone who is on the call by a third person reference? If Arcadio (see header picture) is not on the call, and someone asks about Arcadio, are you obligated to say, "They are off today"?
  • If Arcadio prefers to be called "he" when it comes to subject pronoun, we should say "He's off today" if we don't use his name. That's it. That's the entirety of how complicated it gets. You are free to use his name, but how does having the explicitly declared pronoun make anything harder? What is the harm here?
  • When you are chatting in team chat, which is key to Slack's user base ... do you always refer to Arcadio as Arcadio, or do you use whatever pronoun occasionally as well? I find it very hard to believe you always address someone by their name and never use a pronoun. In direct conversation with someone it's ridiculous to call someone by their name or a pronoun, you both know who is being addressed. However, as mentioned, 1-1 chat is only a small part of Slack.
  • Fostering more respectful workplaces is a nice idea.
  • Ludicrous.
    If you really need to do this (sigh), just put it in your 'about me' in your Office profile?
  • Lots of people need to do this. And as a user of Teams in a large corporation it would be useful to at a glance know how to respectfully address someone I haven't interacted with yet.
  • Good point David. My wife has a name that most people in the US assume is a man's name (and actually is a unisex name where she comes from). So this will come in handy in the huge organization she works in (they use Teams now). So in theory, you could be an anti-trans bigot and still be in favor of this! I guess the bigotry trumps everything for some.
  • They must find a reason to be offended by everything including all the things that do not even slightly impact their lives.
  • I just came for the conservative snowflakes sharing their hurt feelings in the comments.
  • Hello liberal jackhole,
    We conservatives, the far more intelligent and experienced members of society, are not the snowflakes. We believe in the science of 2 genders.
    It's morons like you who want to change the definitions of everything, and get hurt when a person with a penis is referred to as "he/him", who are the snowflakes. Gfy
  • As usual, conservatives are obsessed with genitalia. I have no idea why they have this obsession but clearly it really is on their mind all the time.
  • My pronoun is "new owner of Windows Central" please refer to me as Master or daddy.
  • IKR? What's next, people choosing their nicknames?!? Ludicrous I say!
  • Do we get a choice? If yes, call me Emporer. I identity as a Roman leader in a former life. I mean it, this is who I am. No harm in you calling me called Emporer, is there? Not to you anyway. Just go with me on this, please. Or captain_eric.
  • Heh. Well, even in Latin 'Emperor' is a title, not a pronoun. But I like the way you think ;)
  • Good point. Call me His Excellency, or His Royal Highness. That should work, right?
  • Or they could instead focus on making Teams something people want to use when they aren't forced to by their employers.
  • I'm not sure those things are mutally exclusive.
  • It's mutually exclusive because adding bullshit like pronouns is:
    1. Not necessary
    2. Anti-science, because it allows for more than 2 'gender' identities
    3. It's part of the woke movement that is destroying our society
  • 1) 90% of every app is not necessary
    2) You do not understand the science of gender, which is clearly not binary
    3) OMG PEOPLE ARE ASKING ME TO BE RESPECTFUL AND IT HURTS MY FEELINGS! Typical snowflake behavior.
  • Idk, I like Teams. I like Slack also.
  • I generally support people being called whatever they prefer. I do, however, have a minor grammar problem with using plural pronouns for a singular person. A person can't be a "they." Still, that's less important than being considerate to others. I don't like when someone mispronounces my name, so I should similarly refer to people as they prefer.
    One comment though: there seems to be a sense of entitlement to not being offended. Of course, we should all try to be polite and considerate, but that goes both ways. If you feel offended, unless the person who offended you was intentionally being malicious, then that's more on you for being offended than the person who spoke the words you didn't like. Otherwise, it's an endless cycle where whoever says, "that offends me" first wins, creating a perverse cultural incentive to be offended. That's clearly ultimately a divisive effect and something we should therefore all seek to stop. It's just as inconsiderate to take offense at someone's words who may have a different background as it is to use language we know may cause offense.
  • Is they always a safe bet? Like if you are in the moment and the pressure is on, can you just say "they" and be ok?
  • As Sven notes above, the safest bet is the person's name. Unless it's unpronounceable! I've used 'they' (which can in fact be singular) and I think that's fine too. Listing the person's preferred pronouns makes things easier, not harder. Unless having to be respectful of trans people hurts one's feelings!
  • Andrew, "they" is a plural pronoun. From a pure language perspective (I'm not suggesting that individuals don't have preferences independent of the language), "he" would be a more appropriate generic singular pronoun than "they." In Romance languages (French, Italian, Spanish), nouns have a gender, which is typically unknowable without being told (is a chair male or female? turns out it's female). In English, for the most part, only living things with an actual gender use a gendered pronoun. We use "it" for singular things without a gender. There are some exceptions, like ships being female, but those are very rare. Also in English, male pronouns are the "proper" (historically) pronoun to use where a gender is expected, but not known. For example, "He who smelt it, dealt it" (which must be a British English expression, because in American English "smelt" refers to extracting ore, and is not the past participle of "to smell"). This has been a source of criticism for the English language long before there was a concern over pronouns for people who may not view themselves as male or female: some pointed out that male being the "default" pronoun was sexist, and implied women were someone lesser. This is related to the criticism of words like freshman or mankind. Personally, I think that's silly, as you could just as easily argue that it favors females by giving only them a specific pronoun, where the male pronoun or word is diluted as also being the generic, but that's a separate topic.
  • Actually you will find that they/them has been and can be used to denote individuals. News report, an individual broke in, they have not been apprehended. I found a wallet, when I find out who it belongs to, I will return it to them. In both cases, we don't know the gender and using they/them is natural. There are other ways to phrase those to avoid it though. I have more problems understanding it when it's, this is my child, Bobby, they like to play guitar. Maybe it is irrelevent, or should be, whether Bobby is a boy or girl, but that construction is strange to me.
  • SvenJ, that may be somewhat common, like saying "I'm him" (should be "I'm he," because "to be" is a linking verb) but it's grammatically incorrect. There are a handful of grammar mistakes relating to incorrect pronouns I hear all the time in routine conversation ("Me and Bobby went to the store," should be "Bobby and I went to the store," because that's a subjective pronoun, and "I" or "me" always comes last in a list, "Between you and I...," should be "Between you and me...," because there it's an object pronoun, and people frequently use "myself" in place of "I" or "me" where "...self" pronouns are reflexive object pronouns and can only be used when subject and object are the same, like "I talk to myself"). I realize that most Americans don't have particularly good grammar and we should all be big enough to just accept that and be OK with it. I'm not here to be the grammar police. However, when there is an intentional and academic effort to devise an alternate pronoun usage to avoid forcing a gender identification, then at least for written communication where we generally have a higher standard than in colloquial speak, surely there are better options than one that is a flat out grammar crime. Feels like just a dumbing down of the language, which makes me a little sad. That said, on the scale of things I care about, this is pretty close to the bottom. Small pet peeve at worst.
  • After writing that I checked on what the formal style guides say. I figured it was changing for the gender identity concerns, but I also see that it had some acceptance before this. Grammar Girl Mignon Fogarty covers it well here (she always does): https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/gender-neutral-prono...
  • It's because there really isn't an alternative non-gender based pronoun aside from they/them/their, unless we just invent a new word. If it existed then we'd be using that already. Gender identity is vast and doesn't include the binary male/female.
  • Great idea. This should definitely be available for those who want/need to use it.
  • It's a highly polarized topic and one that's being abused by both proponents and detractors. In fact, if Twitter is any indication then both posting your pronouns *and* not posting your pronouns are equally offensive and used to start needless arguments and ferment social unrest. There's no win there. Until cooler heads prevail and most politicians are permanently imprisoned along with their agent provocateurs, it's definitely not ready for adoption in a business setting and should continue to be a matter handled on a personal basis. I've had a colleague transition before and several come out and people from all sides have shown them dignity and compassion and bolstered friendship. In comparison I have never, not once, seen the same reaction in listing pronouns due to its top down affair.
  • My thoughts exactly. It seems we're on a very slippery slope here with those for and against. Society today cannot agree/debate on the most basic of ideas without rioting and insults, let alone sensitive issues such as this.
  • Slippery slopes are a logical fallacy. So is the idea that everyone must come to agreement before doing something. This harms no one. It's a simple request for respect. Nobody is asking people to go marching in pride parades (although it wouldn't hurt to do so). Just refer to people as they request, the same as we do with all the other labels we use in society to refer to other humans.
  • Found the agent provocateur.
  • You got me! Totally what I am! I get to cash those phat checks every month from my comments in online forums! Seriously, it's 'provocative' to just refer to people as they wish to be referred to. So tough. Just a step too far.
  • Besides the "not clear on sex"-Cases, i do like this feature for Asian names, where for me it's totally unclear if male, female, or something.
    If someone/something would like to have "his highness" as pronoun, i'm happy to fullfill this wish. Live and let live.
  • Yup, it's useful for a lot of reasons. Plus, even English names are in some spaces gender neutral. I work with a guy named Symone. It's nice for people to know via their profile that it's a man.
  • It never surfaced my Sex either, and since it doesn't matter because we are all equal anyway, why should it go out of its way to show Gender? What a waste of time to pander to people who need that kind of attention.
  • It's the other way around, the people needing attention are those who are....constantly calling attention to the fact that some people don't conform to the standards they are useful. No idea why you all keep making such a ruckus over details that do not affect you in the slightest.