When I was growing up, we constantly dropped the word “faggot”.

I don’t think most of us who used the word were anti-gay, we just didn’t really understand (or care) what we were saying. Over time I’ve started using the word a lot less, and I’ve noticed a similar trend amongst my friends. Part of this comes from genuine belief that the word shouldn’t be used. Another part of it comes from a growing respect for political correctness (or as some suggest – fear of its consequence).

I was interested in seeing if my personal observations held true on a larger scale. Were attitudes towards these words changing on Reddit the way it was in my social circle?

“fag” and “faggot” is on the decline

We see a pretty clear trend here. Redditors seem to either be using the word less, or down voting anyone who does. This might be a change in the demographics of Reddit or it might be a change of sentiment within all demographics. Either way – the changing landscape is clear.

The Data

The data here comes from the top-comments made on front page posts since 2012. The set was collected by scraping the Reddit Archive. From ~150,000 posts, ~20,000 were randomly chosen and their comments were fetched. For an understand of which comments were ferched, just check out any front page post and don’t click any “more” or “expand” buttons and you’ll get an idea of the comments that we’re looking at. This data set isn’t representative of all Redditors or subreddits – but it is representative of the community standards as a whole. It ignores heavily dowvoted comments and comments nested deeply within the thread.

The script looked for any instance of the word “fag” or “faggot” which occurred as a full word. If a comment had multiple instances of either word, it was still only counted once.

You can run your own analysis on the data here:

-Aakil

aakil@getredditalerts.com