I recently made a comment at an answer to “Transgender” versus the obsolete term “transgendered”. It was deleted shortly afterwards.

Can't copy the comment but from memory it was something like (comment 1):

I would like clarification about the meaning of transgendered used by this answer or lack of it. When reading this answer sometimes I get the impression this answer considers transgendered as having a meaning which is insulting. And sometimes I get the impression this answer considers transgendered as having no meaning.

Then I got a comment (comment 2) by a 3rd person which in my opinion would greatly clarify this answer we are commenting on if that is what the answerer indeed meant.

Then I commented (comment 3) that such would make a great addition to the answer or could even be written as an answer itself.

Comment 3 might be seen as too chatty I guess.

I realize the question touches a controversial issue which has raised discussion in comments and moderating that is difficult. No biggie either way. But the answerer might appreciate being able to read comments 1 and 2 since they show how others like myself may not understand the answer and might help the answerer to improve the answer without changing its meaning. Which is what comments are for.

  • Request clarification from the author;
  • Leave constructive criticism that guides the author in improving the post;

1 Answer 1


We've already had to remove close to 60 comments on this question just to keep things focused on "helping people learn English", which is this site's mission.

Your comment (which is perfectly acceptable) was:

I would like a clarification about the meaning given by this answer to the word transgendered or the lack of it. Does it mean something and if so how does this answer define transgendered? Or does it not mean anything at all? When reading this answer I sometimes get the impression that this answer considers that transgendered has a meaning which is insulting. And sometimes I get the impression that this answer considers that transgendered has no meaning.

The response to that from Phosi is also OK:

@JoseAntonioDuraOlmos: By virtue of existing inside the set of grammatical rules which is the English language, "transgendered" has a meaning simply by the conventions of language. If you have been transgendered, then you have been made transgender. This is a meaning, it just isn't one which makes any sense by modern scientific thinking, which does not believe you can be made transgender any more than you can be made gay or white. Thus, while the word doesn't have a valid meaning, it does have a meaning, and using it lends weight to the idea that its meaning is valid. Thus, insulting.

Your response to Poshi:

@Phosi That would make a great addition to this answer, or even an excellent answer itself in my humble opinion.

The answer says:

Transgender is not a verb that makes sense, so transgendered is nonsensical. And a transgender is also considered to be offensive and dehumanizing, as this usage strips us of our personhood, because of the power dynamics and sociopolitical nature of identity.

Weighing the value to a EFL learner of clarifying the exact nuance of Emily's answer against the ongoing disruption to the community, I decided it was best to remove the comments. The response to your comment, while constructive, is starting up discussion that the mod team has already removed (multiple times). I understand a lot of people might disagree with my decision here, and to be honest, if what had gone before had led me to believe that the author of the answer was open to editing their answer to clarify instead of starting up another discussion in comments, I might have left the comments.

There are multiple highly scored answers to the question offering different perspectives, and there is a chat room created for Emily's answer for the folks that would like to continue discussing the connotations of "transgender" versus "transgendered".

Chat rooms are particularly useful for discussions about sensitive topics like these, because any moderator from any site can respond to a chat flag. This allows any "Be Nice" violations to be dealt with much more quickly so the discussion can stay constructive.

  • Thanks for your answer. I do not ask for a different perspective, just to understand what the answerer is saying. Since the answerer prefers to leave the answer in a state where I can't understand it I'll have to vote it as not useful. May 19, 2018 at 14:21
  • @JoseAntonioDuraOlmos How you vote is your choice. Your response to Poshi seemed to indicate that your confusion was cleared up, which was also a factor in me deciding to remove those comments when I did.
    – ColleenV
    May 19, 2018 at 15:47
  • Poshi's comment seems a likely explanation of what Emily means. But, as a comment, it is ephemeral. Besides, only Emily really knows. May 19, 2018 at 16:37
  • I am one who disagrees. Why can't the OP's comment be restored in the chat thread? I think the comment was useful and pertinent, it was pointing out that Emily's answer was confusing, is "transgendered" an offensive or meaningless term? Or both?
    – Mari-Lou A
    May 20, 2018 at 15:24
  • P.S This is not the first time I visited the relevant page or mulled over the answers given. The Wikipedia link is fantastically confusing.
    – Mari-Lou A
    May 20, 2018 at 15:27
  • @Mari-LouA - The OP's comment was made after the chat room had already been opened up. The OP has the option of entering the chat room and adding the comment there, but there is no way for a moderator to move someone's comment into chat after the room has been created. Bottom line: If you want your comment to persist after you see the infamous "This conversation has been moved to chat" message, then leave your comment in the chat room that was created for that purpose (and, of course, make sure the comment is respectful and follows the "Be Nice" policy).
    – J.R. Mod
    May 21, 2018 at 20:52
  • I agree, generally if a chat room is opened, of course comments should go there. But sometimes, if lots of viewers are likely to have the same confusion about an answer, I think it can be helpful to leave up an unanswered request for clarification, just so subsequent visitors don't keep asking the same question. It seems these work best when they're in a form similar to "could you edit your answer to include an explanation of X?" rather than an open-ended "what do you mean by X?" so that're less inviting of third-party comment-replies.
    – 1006a
    May 21, 2018 at 21:08
  • 1
    @1006a - Every situation is different. Sometimes we'll do exactly what you say, for exactly the reason you suggest. However, with a politically-charged "Hot Network Question," sometimes we'll err on the side of widespread deletion, just to keep things from boiling (or re-boiling) over. Sometimes we'll even let the request for clarification remain at least until the answerer has logged in and seen the comment, then delete the comment only after the answerer has declined to make an edit and opted to let the answer stand as-is.
    – J.R. Mod
    May 21, 2018 at 21:29
  • Also please keep in mind that the mod team has access to all of the comment history (as well as some comments that spilled over into a non-SE venue). I think that while there is always room for improvement, the existing answers are good ones and along with the linked "Confused using the word 'Transgendered'" question offer reasonable coverage of the topic. The question is "protected" (not locked) so it is open to new answers by folks who have earned 10 reputation on ELL (1 answer upvote or accept, 5 accepted suggested edits, or 2 question upvotes).
    – ColleenV
    May 21, 2018 at 22:39

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