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I asked two open-source tagged questions that were closed. I've had some discussion this morning, and I'm told anything legal is closed on open-source. I was not proposing any legal action in my questions, just seeking to understand mine and others rights with the common open source licencing agreements.

I need to know what the rules of the open source licences I choose so I can communicate with other coders who want to join with my code. This falls in "practical, answerable problems that are unique to the programming profession" from the FAQ. Operating under an open source licence of some sort is a problem unique to the programming profession in open source hobby software projects. I did a search of the FAQ for the word 'legal', and it was not in the FAQ except at bottom of the page as a link to the Stack Exchange user agreement.

I have edited all four of my last four questions which includes these two tag open-source ones and my two iOS HIG guideline questions.

I'd like some support in being able to ask questions again as I'm question banned for four closed questions in a row. I also would like tag open-source to be more clear as to what is a good question for that tag as many seem closed that seem to meet the FAQ element I mentioned above.

The first paragraph of the tag wiki as it stands now is particularly misleading:

"Open source software is software distributed under an open source license. Such a license specifically allows anyone to copy, modify, extend and redistribute the source code without paying royalties or fees to the original authors. Many open source licenses require that the source code is released for software that includes (modified) portions of the original open source software."

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closed as off-topic by Al E., Ward, Nathan Tuggy, PolyGeo, Werner Jan 30 at 5:08

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question pertains only to a specific site in the Stack Exchange Network. Questions on Meta Stack Exchange should pertain to our network or software that drives it as a whole, within the guidelines defined in the help center. You should ask this question on the meta site where your concern originated." – Al E., Ward, Nathan Tuggy, PolyGeo, Werner
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Little confused by the question, but are you asking why it's not appropriate to ask questions about the legal issues around open source? I would suggest that questions about the legal/political/moral/My Little Pony issues about anything are not on topic for Stack Overflow; this is about programming questions and things directly related to programming, not to questions about your business model. It's not specific to Open Source, though as I don't post in that tag perhaps there are separate issues. – Joe May 20 '13 at 17:40
the questions were strictly about understanding programmers rights to their code under open source agreements. There is no business model, there is no money, this is a hobby project. the questions are in my profile as my last two questions. my stack profile under same name LanternMike – LanternMike May 20 '13 at 17:43
Licensing questions are off-topic for SO. They are however seemingly on-topic for the Programmers SE – Bart May 20 '13 at 17:46
Note that if you take free legal advice from strangers on Programmers, you deserve whatever happens to you. – Wooble May 20 '13 at 18:05
I don't have any money at stake. the open source project doesnt pay me anything. I just wanted to understand the rights under the licences and thought people on tag open source would be familiar with the common issues surrounding licensing. there seems to be a lot of negativity about asking the question i asked that perhaps is over done. – LanternMike May 20 '13 at 18:19
up vote 1 down vote accepted

There is a proposal for a Q&A site regarding Open Source licensing on area51:

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SO is about strictly programming problems. For not programming-related but program/programmer-related questions is Programmers.SE.

They have quite a plenty of Open Source questions there: so yours can be a good fit on that site.

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as a sitenote, nerves of steel are good there, because they are eagerly downvoting :) – Danubian Sailor May 20 '13 at 17:49
Just make sure you ask good on-topic questions and you should have no such problem. If unsure, ask on their Meta for confirmation or in their chat. – Bart May 20 '13 at 17:50
i wish the description of tag open source mentioned that instead of all the mention of licences. I don't want to post a question that doesn't belong on a tag. if i have more questions your link is likely to be the place not that tag that got me question banned :) – LanternMike May 20 '13 at 17:51
@LanternMike the problem is the users make the tag wiki, but it doesn't change anything with rules what is on- and what is offtopic. Maybe a good point to fix tag wiki? – Danubian Sailor May 20 '13 at 17:55
@Bart I haven't asked there any question yet, but I always see about a half of questions with minus rep, so there's generally something problematic with on-topic definition there :) Maybe because they were designed to host off-topic questions from SO :) – Danubian Sailor May 20 '13 at 17:56
Or maybe because many users think "hey, if my question gets closed on SO, I'll just take my crap there". Who knows. It's not the site being hostile. – Bart May 20 '13 at 17:57
i guess i didn't quite realize that. but yea fixing the tag wiki, not just for me but because anyone can to to that tag and see they are closing a lot of questions would be good. AT least some words of moderation to avoid what appears to be a common problem on that tag for unsuspecting users. – LanternMike May 20 '13 at 17:57
I suggested a fix to the tag wiki. – Niels Keurentjes May 21 '13 at 8:58
Thank you guys for your help and the suggested change to the tag wiki. I think this is probably the best answer and the other issue, can my questions be acceptable under the FAQ, while I might have thought so I expect they will still be ruled as not constructive for this site because the questions imply the best person to answer is a lawyer. I can live with their closure as off topic. – LanternMike May 22 '13 at 7:20

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