According to this question, the API doesn't return the owner details for some questions.

According to the answer, the API doesn't return the owner details for answers (and questions?) that have a "greyed-out" user, and that this greying-out can be caused by the user being deleted, the question being migrated to a different site where the user has no acccount, or the two somehow becoming disassociated. (Basically, the item is no longer linked to its author for whatever reason, but does still get tagged with their name.)

This raises two questions in my mind to do with SE's own Attribution requirements:

  1. Given that a "greyed-out" user still has some details (even if just the name), shouldn't the API be returning these as the item's Attribution? (From the blog, point 3: "Show the author names for every question and answer")

  2. If an item is migrated and loses its link to the author's full profile (or the mysterious "somehow disassociated" happens), isn't this breaking point 4? ("Hyperlink each author name directly back to their user profile page on the source site")


Disassociation of authors occurs because the author specifically requested it under the terms of the CC:WIKI license; the attribution requirement no longer applies.

Section 4a of the license states that:

... upon notice from any Licensor You must, to the extent practicable, remove from the Collection any credit as required by Section 4(c), as requested.

Section 4c of the license states that:

If You Distribute, or Publicly Perform the Work or any Adaptations or Collections, You must, unless a request has been made pursuant to Section 4(a), keep intact all copyright notices for the Work and provide, reasonable to the medium or means You are utilizing: (i) the name of the Original Author (or pseudonym, if applicable)

The hyperlink for migrated questions links back to the site where the question was originally posted, where the author's attribution is available. The author can easily reclaim a first-class attribution on the target migration site by logging in there.

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