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For new Q&A sites, does Stack Exchange offer their framework so that other teams can create new sites or is it all in-house?

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If you're looking to host your own SO-like site, a clone might be of interest: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2267/stack-overflow-clones –  Bart Dec 27 '12 at 19:56

2 Answers 2

Area51 is where new sites (topics, as you put it) can be suggested.

There is a whole process of them going into private beta, public beta and graduating (or not).

The process is public and community driven - anyone can suggest a new site, so in many ways - nothing is "in-house" (very few exceptions - the original trilogy of Stack Overflow, Super User and Server Fault and Ask Patents, which was a special deal with the US office of patents).

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I WANT THAT HAT –  Pëkka Dec 27 '12 at 21:18
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If you are talking about making your own site outside the Stack Exchange network...

Then yes, you are allowed as long as you:

  • Make sure that you make it known that you have nothing to do with Stack Exchange.
  • Do not use any logos or copyrighted material.
  • Do not copy their exact HTML, CSS, Javascript, or any other code you can see.

I think I covered everything, but comment if I didn't.

You can't copyright the look and feel of a site or app. You can patent it, but as far as I know, SE doesn't have any patents (again, comment if I'm wrong).

If you are talking about making another site inside of the Stack Exchange network...

Then yes, you are still allowed :-).

Stack Exchange created Area 51 for just that: so that users can propose new sites. If you have a new site idea, go ahead and propose one on that site! From the Area 51 FAQ:

 Area 51 is the Stack Exchange Network staging zone. It's where groups
 of experts come together to build new Q&A sites that work just like
 Stack Overflow. Here you can:

     - Propose new Q&A sites. If you have an idea for an expert Q&A site,
       propose it here.
     - Get involved in the process. Help sites get off the ground by
       defining the types of questions that are wanted, recruiting a
       critical mass of experts, and committing to the site's success.
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