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This is (probably) happening, and it's annoying me, and there's quite a lot of backlash from the community.

If you read all of that post and the comments and the answers and the answers' comments (or, indeed, CTRL-F + code golf1), you will see niche sites like Code Golf and Code Review mentioned as being special, that is, not the same relationship as Stack Overflow has to code snippets (or far more than snippets.)

I realise it's mostly up to The Ones At The Top With The Lawyers, but what are will be the effects of this on Code Golf? Will anyone obey my I hereby request you attribute this to me, blah blah2? Will this kill creativity in answers? Will the site change at all, or will nobody care at all because nobody gives a thought to the current licensing scheme...?


It seems, especially from some comments made by the Meta.SE mods, that in the cases of communities like ours, communication and a community-voiced stance will be encouraged. This seems to imply we, as a community, can contribute to the state of the licenses used on SE.

What, if any, will our stance be?


1 I guess this is a form of code now ... ?

2 And so is this?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because discussion on the post belongs on the post itself, not on individual Meta sites. See this comment for further reasoning. \$\endgroup\$ – Mego Dec 17 '15 at 2:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mego Fair enough, I suppose. I didn't see that comment initially \$\endgroup\$ – cat Dec 17 '15 at 2:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ Note that discussion on specific meta sites has been explicitly encouraged: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/271080/… \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax Dec 20 '15 at 19:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ There are arguments both for a specific discussion here, and for a unified discussion on meta stack exchange, but I think it would be useful to have both so that points that are more relevant to PPCG can bubble to the top here and be taken note of, rather than be lost in the sea of different points on mother meta. \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax Dec 20 '15 at 19:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's already been stated that individual meta sites will be considered, so we don't have to worry about our voices here being overlooked, and we are all free to post answers both here and on mother meta. \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax Dec 20 '15 at 19:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not suggesting different policies for different sites, but just that we show staff what our consensus is per site, so they can try to find a solution that takes each into account. Votes on mother meta will be drowned out and not represent this for any specific site. \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax Dec 20 '15 at 19:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ As a more general comment, I fully agree with this post, especially "Don't pretend this is the MIT license". I can only judge in the EU law scope, but whatever the "new" dual-license is, it is not MIT. I personally don't care about the use of my posts at all (but then again, I didn't participate in CodeReview yet, which is the site most sensitive to this "change"), I just wanted to leave this as a note. \$\endgroup\$ – mınxomaτ Dec 23 '15 at 22:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ FYI the license discussion is back on MSE \$\endgroup\$ – Andras Deak Jan 14 '16 at 20:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AndrasDeak Yeah, I was just reading that -- they're only making things worse. \$\endgroup\$ – cat Jan 14 '16 at 21:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's interesting to note that the meta post currently has -58 score, even though people inactive on MSE cannot downvote, only upvote... \$\endgroup\$ – Andras Deak Jan 14 '16 at 21:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AndrasDeak as noted in a few of the answers, the only reason it has upvotes at all is because people think it's important. \$\endgroup\$ – cat Jan 14 '16 at 21:29
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Different motivation and expectation

When I write code for an answer on StackOverflow, I'm aiming to give someone a solution to a problem that they have. Obviously I'm expecting them to take the code I write and include it in their project, and unless it's a significant chunk of code I'm not too fussed about attribution.

When I write code for an answer on PPCG, it's either as a pure intellectual exercise, an investigation into an interesting topic raised by the question, or an attempt to one-up someone else. In general I have no expectation that anyone will copy that code for any purpose other than to test that it works or to improve it for a follow-up answer to the same question.

Why might that expectation fail?

  • A blog post / essay / paper / book about either code golf / optimisation in general or about the abstract problem behind a given question. If someone's quoting my code as an example of how to do something, I want to be credited.
  • There are some answers on here which could potentially be useful for real-world implementations. E.g. my constant-time AES SubBytes implementation. But if my code happens to be the best implementation around then, again, I want to be credited.

In short: because answers on PPCG are not written with the intention that other people use the code in "real life", any answer which someone else wants to use in real life is almost certainly so good that the author would want attribution. The idea that attribution is, by default, not necessary is a hideous one.

It's also against at least the spirit if not the letter of international treaty, but if I find the inspiration to write a full answer on that theme then it belongs on the meta.SE discussion, not here.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I (and any upvoters of this comment) would like to see your potential meta.SE answer that you mention in your last paragraph. \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax Dec 27 '15 at 3:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ Note that CC-BY-SA and MIT both require attribution. \$\endgroup\$ – Alex A. Dec 27 '15 at 3:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AlexA. Does MIT? I thought it only requires re-including the licence for that part of the software or something. \$\endgroup\$ – Martin Ender Dec 27 '15 at 9:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MartinBüttner The author's name is included as part of the reproduced license. See here. \$\endgroup\$ – Alex A. Dec 27 '15 at 18:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ In response to Alex A.'s comment, the original post seems to suggest that instead of MIT, it will be "MIT with attribution requirement waived" although the wording is not clear to me. \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax Dec 27 '15 at 22:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AlexA., I wouldn't object to MIT, but as trichoplax says the proposed change isn't straight MIT. \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Taylor Dec 28 '15 at 23:32

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