- we're planning on getting this done, but we'll do it when the CMs come around to change our name - they can do this at the same time.

When I go to ask a question, I see the typical placeholder text. However, it appears like this:

hardware and other non-software concepts are on topic here. So, can we change

What's your open source software question? Be specific.


What's your open source question? Be specific.

  • Agreed, but this'll need SE involvement - I can't find a tool that lets me do it.
    – ArtOfCode
    Aug 5, 2015 at 15:37
  • @ArtOfCode I figured.
    – HDE 226868
    Aug 5, 2015 at 15:37
  • It would be really nice if we can drop the "software" part for now, pending further discussion. This would definitely be an improvement, even if it's not perfect.
    – Martijn
    Aug 21, 2015 at 12:41
  • Hey guys, I've marked this as status-deferred so you know that we will do it sometime. These fields are populated by variables which the SE dev team can change, but we need to wait for the site name to change so that everything is structured correctly and we don't miss the what bits and what nots.
    – Zizouz212
    Aug 21, 2015 at 14:24
  • @Zizouz212 what are the specifics of this? What variables does this depend on?
    – Martijn
    Aug 21, 2015 at 15:00
  • @Martijn I'm not a dev! I have no clue, sorry :/
    – Zizouz212
    Aug 21, 2015 at 15:01

3 Answers 3


I think FreeRadicals suggestion is good, but it would be better this way:

What's your question about open source or free culture? Be specific.

This way we avoid the word software altogether and cover 4 keywords: free, open, source and culture. Some of these four are usually used in the context of the things we cover here.

  • We already have "opensource" in the site's URL (and we're being told that it can't be changed). Why do you need to repeat those words in this text? Aug 5, 2015 at 17:40
  • I understand that the people that initially established this site had a clear preference for this particular term for reasons that elude me. However, if you really care about building an audience that also includes people that strongly dislike this particular term because of its political and philosophical implications, it may not be wise to use this phrase in other places where the phrase "free software" is not treated as its equal. IMHO, that very unfortunate choice of URL for the site requires some balancing act on the part of the site's moderators. Aug 5, 2015 at 17:40
  • What about the people that dislike the term 'free software' because of it's political implications? I made the suggestion because it includes all the keywords, free is there as well as open and it is shown that it is about more than software. Let the community decide, they have both options presented, let's see which gains more upvotes.
    – Mnementh
    Aug 5, 2015 at 17:43
  • "What about the people that dislike the term 'free software' because of it's political implications?" - well they can relish in the fact that the site's URL has the term "open source" in it - and it can't be changed. Again: That very unfortunate choice of URL for the site requires some balancing act on the part of the site's moderators. Aug 5, 2015 at 18:32
  • @FreeRadical The URL surely can be changed, but it may be hard to convince the CMs to do so. Aug 7, 2015 at 2:50
  • I read in other comments that in another case it lead to technical problems to change the URL. Tim Post said in an earlier thread though, that additional URLs with redirects could be created. Again something the staff has to do.
    – Mnementh
    Aug 7, 2015 at 3:45

I think it should be changed, but "open source" is not the solution, as the accepted meaning of "open source" is "open source code" (i.e. software source code).

We need to broaden this site's scope to more than source code - for instance that we also care about freedom. There is not much room in this field, so a full list of all the stuff that's on topic is not practical. However "free culture" is a term that covers a lot of ground (such as free and open data, open knowledge, freedom to remix and share free literary and artistic works). My suggestion:

What's your question about free software or free culture? Be specific.

  • 1
    How could we then avoid the "Free as in speech, not free as in beer" issue?
    – HDE 226868
    Aug 5, 2015 at 15:46
  • 1) It is highly unlikely that someone that has got as far as being prepared to ask a question, having read the site decription, etc. is unaware of the irrelevance of "free beer" in this context. 2) My impression is that the "free beer" misunderstanding is more a rhetoric device used OSI acolytes to prevent the "f"-word from being used, than a real argument. Aug 5, 2015 at 15:51
  • @HDE226868 for now, by quickly closing as off-topic. If it proves persistent, we can deal with it when we get to it. Personally I doubt it.
    – Martijn
    Aug 5, 2015 at 16:09
  • Just because you have a site name that describes one subject doesn't mean you should not include it here.
    – Zizouz212
    Aug 8, 2015 at 13:46
  • 1
    @FreeRadical: The confusion is happening in the real world. I wanted to help someone who suggested to create a free Pen&Paper RPG, until I realized he meant free beer free. Some question on this site show that the term is unclear. The best example is my boss, who wanted to give away software and gice also source code for people who registered and don't change or rerelease. He wanted it call open source first, after I pointed out this isn't possible he thought free software would be even better (as he gave away the software for free). The free beer confusion is no rhethorical device.
    – Mnementh
    Aug 29, 2015 at 8:28

I'd suggest

What is your question about Free & Open development? Be specific.

  • I like this, however I'm not sure whether I like the word development. Maybe substitute the word or take it out?
    – Zizouz212
    Aug 8, 2015 at 13:47

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