One of the reasons that words matter so much is that different words prompt different emotional reactions from people. If you call someone a spammer, they are more likely to react defensively than if you said that they were advertising. Even though, when it comes to the action, these are the same thing.
Let’s take this post for example. I would be willing to wager that, based on title alone, a good portion of those who open it will be predisposed to disagreeing with me, even before they read what I had to say, simply because I used the word censorship instead of “removing bad content” or “banning members.” Not everyone will have this reaction, but some will.
This post is partially inspired by a survey conducted by The American Assembly at at Columbia University (via Jonathan Bailey via Government Computer News). Spurned on by the SOPA (Stop Online Privacy Act) legislation, they asked 2,303 adults in the United States a series of questions.