The question received twenty five moderator flags. At least twenty of those were directly related to the controversy caused by this title wording; I haven't had time to count them. This was also a Hot Network Question at the time of the event. (Hello, future people!)
I think I was justified in my actions in this specific case, however I do not want to set a precedent because my main concern with the OP's actions was not the use of "father".
Now for a post history timeline viewed through the lens of heuristics performed by my brain.
- A question, with title "Father of ASM language" was posted.
- A user with edit privileges:
Changed subject into possibly more appropriate wording and put an image description in.
- The edit was reverted by the OP, removing the image description and changing the title from "Who is credited for the creation of Assembly Language?" to "Father of ASM language".
Iirc the question was on the Hot Network Questions list by this point, so having an unclear title that wasn't a real question was especially problematic.
This edit made the question worse.
- Four minutes later, the OP edited the question title to "Father of Assembly language"; better, but not as good as before the revert.
- An trivial edit was suggested that changed the word "Father" to "Creator". It was rejected.
The question had collected a lot of superfluous comments, including:
+10 Unfortunate choice of words for the title.
(two similar / reply comments omitted)
+1 however one would never say that a woman “fathered” her children
+0 Anyway, I am your father.
+3 redacted ad hominem
+4 debate about the nature of reproduction
+2 -1 for gendered title
so Chenmunka removed them from the question. (+n is the number of comment upvotes.) (It keeps going on!)
- In an attempt to eliminate the cause of this, I rolled back to Revision 2. This had the side-effect of making the question title into a question and restoring the image alt text (which has an assortment of benefits; the relevant meta question is: Please [Enter Image Description Here]).
- By the time I came back to the question, three more rollbacks had occurred. I rolled it back again, accompanied with the comment:
Please stop rolling this back. If you want to change the title to the (gendered) original, at least keep the image alt-text.
- The OP rolled the question back.
- The OP posted a comment:
This is the wrong forum for "grammatical bleeding heart sexism political opinions". Within reason, the OP has the say on Stack Exchange as to the wording expressing their thought. I am not opposed to grammatical correction - just sexism political viewpoints. The title and explanation expresses in the fewest words the thought I wished to convey and is grammatically correct.
- The OP added a ranty meta note to the end of the question. A Hot Network Question.
- The OP updated this meta note.
- The OP made an improvement to the wording of the (actual) question.
This edit made the question better.
- The OP made another edit to this meta note.
- The following comment was posted:
No, the orignal poster doesn't have the final say, especially when they chose to use sexist inflammatory language over a simpler title using plain and clear language. Who has the final authority in an edit war? OP or a moderator? Why edit out inflammatory language? Is that censorship?
- The OP revised the meta note yet again, successfully surrounding the useful contribution in two revisions of useless content.
- I reverted back to the last known good configuration, locked the post and posted a comment:
@jwzumwalt I've locked this post. You should post meta comments on Retrocomputing Meta, not edit them into your question.
- And here we are!
(Note: If your comment was included here and you wish it to be attributed to you, please post a comment on this answer saying so. I have redacted names to preserve user privacy.)
(In reversion of this meta note, I also removed the following:
This is not a question about who did it first, it is about who made it a common or popular way to program in a manner that would be recognized today.
This occurred because I used the "revert" button, and this was added / edited during the addition of the meta note.)
Here I have replicated the final revision of this note in full:
[ For those offended by the use of "father", the meaning conveys a unique limit to the question. "Father" often is used as non-gender and in this case identifies in the fewest words the person responsible for making something widely accepted, known, commonly understood, or a substantial contributor. Many times the inventor or creator (including ideas or philosophy) is relatively unknown but someone does something that makes it widely known and accepted and is given credit as the Father (they can be man or women). Martin Luther King is considered the Father of the civil rights movement (he certainly energized it) but he was in no way the first to work towards it or invent the ideology. Father can be a noun or verb and in this instance is more a verb than a noun. Mr. Stephen Kitt's answer meets all the requirements and though unintended was by men, Maurice Wilkes, David Wheeler, Douglas McIlroy, and George Mealy; also making a gender interpretation coincidentally correct! I would embrace another choice of words if it conveyed the same thought in as few words. ]
Here I am addressing the final version of the meta note.
For those offended by the use of "father", the meaning conveys a unique limit to the question.
I'm not so sure that is "unique". Plus, the question is clear with the title completely omitted, so it doesn't "convey a [...] limit to the question".
"Father" often is used as non-gender
The tech industry is currently suffering from perceived gender-based discrimination, which is (wrongly) discouraging some people from going into that field. That's being alleviated somewhat now, but there's still a problem. Chenmunka's answer is clearer on this matter.
How a word is "often used" is irrelevant. How it is often interpreted is much more relevant. "Father" is a gendered term, and unlike many aspects of English there are multiple gender-neutral equivalent single words.
and in this case identifies in the fewest words the person responsible for making something widely accepted, known, commonly understood, or a substantial contributor.
There are other words that have this meaning. Plus, it was unclear enough for other people to not get this impression; I don't know where the "fewest words" requirement came from but it's not a useful one in this case.
(Also, your sentence is unclear. I recommend adding an "or" after "known," and perhaps removing the comma.)
Many times the inventor or creator (including ideas or philosophy) is relatively unknown but someone does something that makes it widely known and accepted
Yes, your question body makes this clear.
and is given credit as the Father (they can be man or women).
I haven't seen a woman being described as a "father" of something anywhere.
Martin Luther King is considered the Father of the civil rights movement (he certainly energized it)
Martin Luther King Jr. was... male. I'm not sure what point you're trying to make.
but he was in no way the first to work towards it or invent the ideology.
Doesn't that contradict what you said above, and in the question body? So... the word "father" is ambiguous.
Father can be a noun or verb and in this instance is more a verb than a noun.
It's a noun.
Mr. Stephen Kitt's answer meets all the requirements and though unintended was by men, Maurice Wilkes, David Wheeler, Douglas McIlroy, and George Mealy;
I'm not sure how this is supporting your assertion of "non-gender".
also making a gender interpretation coincidentally correct!
If you're in a hole... This is showing that the word "father" is gendered. Stephen Kitt's answer isn't necessarily right, yet you've latched onto it because it fits the "father" requirement.
I would embrace another choice of words if it conveyed the same thought in as few words.
Revision 2, which you reverted.
I have noticed some inaccuracies in the question, which I will address:
The original question was...
(Title) "Father of Assembly Language"
No it was not. It was "Father of ASM Language". As trivial edits are discouraged, it was sensible for the editor to improve the whole title (and also add an image alt-text) instead of just changing one thing. The "father" thing was not the only point of contention; it's just the easiest to argue against.
I later added:
"This question is not about who created assembly language but rather
the person or research group that was primarily responsible for promoting,
popularizing, or making commonly accepted the assembly language syntax that
we are now familiar with?"
No... you didn't. You did add:
This is not a question about who first did it, it is about who made it common or popular way to program.
And then changed it to:
This is not a question about who first did it, it is about who made it a common or popular way to program in the manner in which it would recognized today.
However, you also added and edited (respectively) the above-mentioned meta note whilst doing so, which was a net reduction in clarity.
I and others reminded the moderator "wizzwizz4" that "Father" in this non-biological context can refer to either a man or woman, research group [or even a company or corporation] and is non-gender. The moderator refused this explanation and refereed to it as "Gendered".
That's misrepresentation. I was not the only one (or even the main one) claiming that it was gendered, that was not my main objection (and even if you ignore that the others still stand) and I did not "refuse" the explanation. (If I did, I would also be censoring this meta question, deleting your account and setting the Drone Army of Doom™ on you.)
The moderator removed "This question is not about who created assembly language..." changed the title and meaning to "Who is credited for the creation of Assembly Language?" and locked the question.
Correct. (The following is clarification.) For the former, I was reverting to the last on-topic version that was clearest (although I now see that you weren't intending to ask what others interpreted your question as asking). And yes, I did lock the question. Though the question lock will time out; it was primarily a cool-down period, and I couldn't exactly leave it in the state it was pre-revert.
It is interesting to note that of nearly 10,000 views, there have been only two comments after the question was locked.
They're chat messages. Also, there haven't been nearly 10k views since the lock.
1) - "...I do share his choice of words. Father in this context isn't anything gender related but a general term. It's of a seriously low understanding of [the English] language to mix this up."
This quotation makes this message seem a bit more polarised than it really is.
While I do have some issues with @jwzumwalt resoning, I do share his coice of words. Father in this context isn't anything gender related bot a general term. It's of a seriously low understanding of language to mix this up.
In context, this was clearly not a response to the locking, but to the heated debate about language. Post hoc. As I have repeated, the debate was a concern, but the actual use of language wasn't much of a concern in my decision to revert and lock (though I admit I do have a slight bias towards inclusivity when it comes to moderation decision).
2) - "Who is credited with promoting assembly language in the form we currently know it?", then; [is] not necessarily a single person, either." [making a non-gender interpretation undeniable]
I honestly don't see how this "makes a non-gender interpretation undeniable".
Has it gotten to the point moderators will be voted on and chosen by their political or ideological views?
No. I rose to power through the authoritarian regime known as Moderator Pro Tempore, where I was possibly the least qualified candidate out of the three people who volunteered. Mwahaha! (On a serious note, I did prove myself capable over the first few months; it's a pretty hard job when there's work to do, and that workload is (slowly) growing.) But no, I didn't inform anybody of my political or ideological views any time before my appointment, so that can't have been a factor.
Is Stack Overflow going to provide a political free safe haven for technical subjects to the international community,
With any luck, it's going to be politics-free in this sense of the word.
or are moderators going to be allowed to inject subjects with American political ideology on gun control, abortion, or in this case feminism?
I'm not even American. Also, false dichotomy.
Perhaps a ethics panel of five judges is needed to remove moderators who abuse their privileges with unrelated bias, prejudice, or political views?
There is a process whereby Chenmunka and Matt Lacey could hypothetically remove me as a moderator, but I make an effort to act free of "unrelated bias, prejudice and political views" (in fact I pride myself on this).