ToneCheck for Women

Apparently this new software will check your email for emotional tone and issue a warning if you’re about to fire off a missive you might regret later. You can get it here if you’re interested. So far, it only works with Microsoft Outlook.

Great idea… but wait! What about a women’s edition? Every woman who’s spent any time in a male-dominated professional environment knows the value of keeping her tone in check. Here’s how ToneCheck for Women might work:

ORIGINAL TEXT: I disagree with you.

TONECHECK FOR WOMEN: I’m so very sorry about this, and I’ve been trying really hard, but I still don’t see why I’m wrong and you’re right. Perhaps I just don’t understand it well enough yet. If it doesn’t inconvenience you too much, could you please try to explain it to me again?

ORIGINAL: This paper by X and Y isn’t really that great. It may have been submitted to the Important Journal, but I don’t expect that it will be accepted, seeing as it only rehashes some old tropes. It’s unfortunate that there is no other evidence in support of X’s tenure case.

TONECHECK: X and Y are such wonderful colleagues. Of course this paper is a very interesting contribution to this exciting area of research, and I hope that X gets early tenure based on it. It’s only fair that our female colleague W, who has published several papers in the Important Journal already, should wait a few more years for her periodic review – not that anyone was asking me anyway.

ORIGINAL: Z is not a suitable candidate for this or any other significant administrative position. His stint as the graduate adviser was an unmitigated disaster.

TONECHECK: Z is such a wonderful colleague and I’m so happy that he has been nominated for this position. This is a major commitment of his valuable time, and he already has so many responsibilities, so is there any way that I could help him to do some of that work? Of course I would never be so selfish as to ask for service credit or any other compensation.

ORIGINAL: You’re the best graduate adviser we’ve had in many years.

TONECHECK: You’re doing such a wonderful job as the graduate adviser. Of course, so did Z, and Y, and all those respected and distinguished colleagues over the years. It’s such an honour to have had an opportunity to work with each of you.

ORIGINAL: I agree with you.

TONECHECK: Of course you have excellent arguments, but our wonderful colleagues X, Y and Z disagree with you, and I have already promised to help Z in his new job. Is it really possible for them to be wrong? I don’t know what to make out of it. I’m very sorry about it, but perhaps I just don’t understand it well enough yet, so could you please try to explain it to me again?

Heh. And now you’ll need to invent ToneReverse software if you want to know whether we’re still even trying to say anything.

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6 Comments

Filed under feminism

6 responses to “ToneCheck for Women

  1. They should make ToneCheck for plain text files.

  2. Excellent post, Izabella! The latest entry on my blog is very much in the same direction.

  3. coherentsheaf – Yeah. “Say it with Microsoft Outlook.”

    Alex – I wish I could say that I was surprised.

  4. Matthew Bond

    I would comment on this entry, but there would be no telling what I actually meant.

  5. And isn’t it supremely enlightening to have such conversations.

    (Edited to add that the snark isn’t directed at the commenters here.)

  6. Matthew Bond

    Yes, I can hardly imagine the new and exciting ways in which software like this will enhance communication.