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In the context of information flow, when you talk about the property of variables being tainted, do you speak about "taintness" or "taintedness"? Both occur online, both sound weird to me.

An example from http://www-verimag.imag.fr/~potet/PUBLI/mdv10.pdf:

To achieve that, we propose to perform a taint dependency analysis whose objective will be twofold: 1) to compute the variable taintness at each program location; 2) to extract from the program source the whole dependency chains between each vulnerable statement and the corresponding inputs leading to this vulnerability.

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  • $\begingroup$ -ness takes an adjective, not a verb, so taintedness is correct, taintness isn't. Doesn't this rather belong on ell.stackexchange.com ? $\endgroup$ – reinierpost Jul 18 '16 at 19:04
  • $\begingroup$ I'm puzzled, too. $\endgroup$ – reinierpost Jul 18 '16 at 21:30
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Which should you use? Neither. Personally, I think the words "taintness" and "taintedness" both look awkward. I would recommend rephrasing the sentence to avoid using either of those words. Instead, you might try to use something like "whether the variable is tainted". Or, if you desperately need a noun phrase and can't make the prior suggestion work, try something like "taint status".

For example, I might rewrite the quoted sentence as something like:

To achieve that, we propose to perform a taint dependency analysis whose objective will be twofold: 1) to compute which variables are tainted at each program location; 2) to extract from the program source the whole dependency chains between each vulnerable statement and the corresponding inputs leading to this vulnerability.

(I added italics to highlight the part that I changed.)

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  • Taintness is how much something taints
  • Taintedness is how much something is tainted

I would use taintedness. The variables are the recipient, not the cause, of the tainting/poisoning.

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