Google was recently issued a patent for Delegating authority to evaluate content. It seems to mainly focus on delegation of authority to others.

Essentially we're delegated varied levels of authority based on our points, but some are delegated special community mod privileges.

I know most of these things don't get solved/understood/worked out until they go to court, but does anyone who's more patent/legaleese savy have any insight?

  • The description is so generic that could describe any rating system where who rates the content has different privileges, or roles.
    – apaderno
    Nov 30, 2011 at 20:09
  • If challenged I'm sure this would fall, it's the most generic patent I've ever seen. It's just a (very broad/basic/well-known) application of divide and conquer.
    – user154510
    Nov 30, 2011 at 20:11
  • I assumed it was probably a "War Chest" type patent to go after companies that piss them off or compete with their revenue sources, I was mainly curious as to how much of an eye we might need to keep on this one.
    – Aren B
    Nov 30, 2011 at 20:18

2 Answers 2


The patent was filed in 2010, after SO came into existence, and SO's method for rating posts hasn't changed since then. Therefore the patent cannot affect SO as it is (if SO was covered by one of the claims then it would constitute prior art and invalidate that claim).

It's possible that some of the claims (which I haven't read too closely) might affect Stack Exchange's plans with anonymous feedback. But those claims look awfully generic; if this patent is at all accepted, the broadest claims are not likely to survive.

  • What are Stack Exchange's plans with anonymous feedback?
    – Herbert
    Dec 1, 2011 at 21:18

It's not the same thing.

Read the last 5 paragraphs for an example of how their model works. I really don't think that's something that could reliably be put into practice.

And certainly not without a tremendous amount of work involved by the various "authorities" it mentions. SO shouldn't have anything to worry about.

  • I got to the third last paragraph and went cross-eyed, but I'll take your word for it. This stuff is harder to follow than PERL sans whitespace.
    – Aren B
    Nov 30, 2011 at 20:20

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