I'm seeing some questions and answers that contain ambiguous wording - for example, the use of "use" and "using" in the meaning of "licensing my software under a specific license" or keeping a project "accessible".

When discussing licensing, the precise terms can sometime be very important - for example, the FSF use the terms "propagating" and "conveying" for the GPL v3 to avoid ambiguity with "distributing" as it is used in some jurisdictions.

"accessible" is less ambiguous, unless you are concerned about accessibility features in your software, but can still cause confusion.

Do we need a glossary for some terms (tags alone can't do this, I think)? Do we actively change questions and answers to avoid ambiguous wording, especially for licensing topics?

  • 3
    Could you link in the questions/answers you're commenting on? I can imagine that "use", "using" and "licensing" is some cases ambiguous, and in some cases perfectly clear. Working from problematic examples might be easier
    – Martijn
    Commented Jul 2, 2015 at 17:50
  • I'll do that later - right now I lack the time for searching the questions. Commented Jul 2, 2015 at 17:52

3 Answers 3


SE sites are for the public to find answers to their questions. As such both questions and answers should use language that people can understand without needing to consult a glossary. If a term is likely to cause confusion it should be explained in the post, or at the very least link to an explanation.

Technical terms are fine, and sometimes necessary, but they should be used consistently with their use off-site.

No post should be written in a way that requires learning site-specific interpretations of certain words.

If you come across a question or answer that is ambiguous, either edit (if you can resolve the ambiguity without doubt) or comment if you are not certain which one was the intended meaning.


We can create colloquial posts for clarifying the terminology. It will dilute the heavy bank of licensing questions as well.


A glossary could be helpful, but I think we should also consider the fact of whether people will bother looking at it, or whether other places may use conflicting terms. However, there is nothing bad in having one. For those who are committed to asking and answering a question, it would help raise the quality and tone of the questions on our site.

Therefore, I'm in support of this!

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