F as in Freedom: How We Talk When We Talk About Free Software
Social media, mailing lists, and other asynchronous communications are vital tools for the production of free software, the success of the movement, and the strength of these communities. The language we use is vital, both in how it can fill in gaps left when text replaces facial expressions and the nuance carried in tone. Strong language and taboo language especially can be used to express strongly negative or strongly positive mindsets ,highlight misunderstandings, and help us identify pain points moving forward.
At LibrePlanet in 2016, I did an analysis of several thousand tweets, correlating “negative language” and the use of the terms “free software,” “open source,” and “FOSS” on twitter. I will expand this to include similar analysis on Reddit threads, in efforts to compare the use of language in long and short forms.