I was just asked if I was willing to sell my Stack Overflow account.

enter image description here

Of course, I won't agree to do this, but I was just wondering if there is any official rule regarding this. Do you guys pretty much hand off our accounts to us for us to do with them as we please? Or is there an official guideline as to this specific situation?

(This also raises another question: does the Twitter account above seem to be fake? Part of me thinks so, primarily because they assume PayPal is theirs to barter with.)

Okay, let me make this a little simpler. Am I allowed to sell my account?

  • 32
    bah! when will people stop wanting an "official guideline" for every tiny little thing? I don't see an official guideline for tweeting an answer while taking a dump. Should the publicist badge count if you forgot to wipe? If you want to sell your account, by all means do so. No one can stop you. May 22 '12 at 5:21
  • 3
    @yoda: Does that edit do it for you?
    – Purag
    May 22 '12 at 5:32
  • 16
    Ha! And people laughed at me when I asked if anyone thought this would happen! Laughed at me I tell you!
    – Jay Riggs
    May 22 '12 at 6:02
  • 3
    if the price is right
    – örs
    May 22 '12 at 6:37
  • 7
    How much did they offer?!
    – Benjol
    May 22 '12 at 6:46
  • 4
    I have a feeling 'Josh' is going to have a very interesting day on Twitter.
    – Tim Post
    May 22 '12 at 13:19
  • That question just make my day :D May 22 '12 at 13:41
  • 4
    It gets worse:twitter.com/#!/gerbil249/status/204935706907377664
    – Rosinante
    May 22 '12 at 14:18
  • @Rosinante it appears to be a throw away twitter account. It could conceivably be a breaching experiment of some kind, but I doubt it.
    – Tim Post
    May 22 '12 at 14:53
  • Can I have a hat somehow here?
    – Liviu
    Dec 18 '14 at 17:24
  • This is screaming out the question of "Why would you want to sell a free to sign up account?" if the person is willing to of course but if that was just to gain the rep and badges you have what's the point? like if he isn't any good at answering and asking questions his rep would surely drop... then the badges are just worthless... May 12 '15 at 7:30
  • Also I would be wary of this request as it may be an attempt to gain you account details for free... make sure they actually pay you before you hand over the details. May 12 '15 at 7:33

No official rule, but we will feed you to a unicorn if you do so.

Note: I'm not a lawyer and all advice here is purely from my thoughts

Let's go legalese! (from https://stackexchange.com/legal)

Subscriber is responsible for all of its activity in connection with the Services and accessing the Network. Any fraudulent, abusive, or otherwise illegal activity or any use of the Services or Content in violation of this Agreement may be grounds for termination of Subscriber’s right to Services or to access the Network. Subscriber may not post or transmit, or cause to be posted or transmitted, any communication or solicitation designed or intended to obtain password, account, or private information from any Network or Service user.

Subscriber is solely responsible for any use of or action taken under Subscriber’s password and accepts full responsibility for all activity conducted through Subscriber’s account and agrees to and hereby releases the Network and Stack Exchange from any and all liability concerning such activity. Subscriber agrees to notify Stack Exchange immediately of any actual or suspected loss, theft, or unauthorized use of Subscriber’s account or password.

Subscriber will indemnify and hold Stack Exchange, its directors, officers and employees, harmless, including costs and attorneys' fees, from any claim or demand made by any third party due to or arising out of Subscriber’s access to the Network, use of the Services, the violation of this Agreement by Subscriber, or the infringement by Subscriber, or any third party using the Subscriber's account, of any intellectual property or other right of any person or entity.

Basically, I see no restriction against selling your account, but I see lots of stuff holding you liable for any actions taken via your account.

Also, remember that rep is a rough measure of how much the community trusts you. You, not your account. The trust system goes boink if someone else uses your account.


The ToS are not transferable

This Agreement is not assignable, transferable or sublicensable by Subscriber except with Stack Exchange’s prior written consent

Update: looking at https://twitter.com/#!/gerbil249/status/204935706907377664, this is sort of different. That is gaming the system/fraud and is explicitly disallowed. You could get yourself suspended for that.

  • 1
    The point of selling is that once you sell, it is no longer "your" account, just like a house is no longer yours once sold. So any clause holding you liable will be rendered ineffective depending on the agreement/contract you have with the buyer May 22 '12 at 5:15
  • 4
    The real question is whether the subscriber agreement is transferable (cc @yoda)
    – Cody Gray
    May 22 '12 at 5:24
  • @Purmou Deep breaths =) May 22 '12 at 5:30
  • 1
    @Purmou Uhh? There's only been one comment of that nature, and it was posted to the question. That's not what Manishearth's answer says, and that's not what anyone else's comment to this answer implies. You're asking about an official policy, and people are trying to answer that question. I don't see anyone who's said you asked a stupid question.
    – Cody Gray
    May 22 '12 at 5:33
  • @TheEstablishment: Not w/o prior consent of SE. See edit May 22 '12 at 5:36
  • /cc @yoda, see above comment May 22 '12 at 5:37
  • Ah, nuts! I just posted that.
    – Cody Gray
    May 22 '12 at 5:38
  • @TheEstablishment and Manish: I don't think that ToS line is sufficient... I could very well sell my openID, and the SE site just happens to be controlled by that id. From a certain point of view, you haven't sold your SE account, because the openID is still the same. SE can't control the sale of your openID. May 22 '12 at 14:09
  • @yoda: That does make sense. But the ToS refers to the human behind the openID, not the openID itself... All legal stuff refers to humans. Basically we have an unenforceable rule :/ May 22 '12 at 14:14
  • Yes, but when you have no means to verify who the human is, it is, for all practical purposes, the person controlling the openID. A similar situation: if you leave your wifi open and your neighbour does illegal stuff on your IP, you're still responsible legally even though you weren't the actual human who did it. May 22 '12 at 14:19
  • @yoda: I know. That's what I mean by "unenforceable", and that's why there's all the "you are liable" thingy in my post. May 22 '12 at 14:24
  • @CodyGray, The real question is whether this would hold up in court. If the terms there wrote that "by clicking agree you owe S.E. $1", or you owe S.E. at least one answer worth 1 upvote, would that be valid?
    – Pacerier
    Jun 13 '15 at 11:45
 /$$   /$$           /$$
| $$$ | $$          | $$
| $$$$| $$  /$$$$$$ | $$
| $$ $$ $$ /$$__  $$| $$
| $$  $$$$| $$  \ $$|__/
| $$\  $$$| $$  | $$    
| $$ \  $$|  $$$$$$/ /$$
|__/  \__/ \______/ |__/
  • 21
    Hey, come on, if ever there was cause to pull out the 'Big Money' figlet - this is it!
    – Tim Post
    May 22 '12 at 13:35
  • 3
    This looks all kinds of crap on mobile.
    – Richard
    Aug 2 '16 at 14:22

The way I read the subscriber agreement/terms of service/legal mumbo-jumbo, selling your account would not technically be allowed.

I call your attention to section 13 (emphasis added and trimmed for brevity):

13. Miscellaneous

This Agreement (including the Privacy Policy), as modified from time to time, constitutes the entire agreement between You, the Network and Stack Exchange with respect to the subject matter hereof. This Agreement replaces all prior or contemporaneous understandings or agreements, written or oral, regarding the subject matter hereof. The failure of either party to exercise in any respect any right provided for herein shall not be deemed a waiver of any further rights hereunder. […] This Agreement is not assignable, transferable or sublicensable by Subscriber except with Stack Exchange’s prior written consent. Stack Exchange may assign this Agreement in whole or in part at any time without Subscriber’s consent. […] Any notice to the Network that is required or permitted by this Agreement shall be in writing and shall be deemed effective upon receipt, when sent by confirmed e-mail to team@stackexchange.com or when delivered in person by nationally recognized overnight courier or mailed by first class, registered or certified mail, postage prepaid, to Stack Exchange Inc., One Exchange Plaza, 26th Floor, New York, NY, 10006, Attn: Legal Dept.

Thus, it appears that the subscriber agreement is non-transferable without express written permission from Stack Exchange. And since your account on the network embodies your acceptance of the terms of the subscriber agreement, you would not be able to transfer it (and the agreement made to the subscriber agreement) to another individual, whether by sale or gift, without first obtaining the requisite permission from Stack Exchange.

Of course, the obvious caveats apply: I am not a lawyer, not qualified to give legal advice, and even if I were, I would never admit to such a thing.

  • 12
    +1 for "even if I were, I would never admit to such a thing." May 22 '12 at 5:45
  • @CodyGray, This is highly unlikely to hold up in court.
    – Pacerier
    Jun 13 '15 at 11:47
  • 1
    @pace Do you have any actual evidence for that assertion? The non-transferability/non-sublicensability of agreements has been upheld many times by the courts. What you mention in the comments on that other question are positive obligations, and I'm less familiar with whether or not those would hold up in court, but I can't see a good reason why not. The only reason it wouldn't hold up would be if the judge overturned the entire idea of a subscriber agreement. That's happened in limited cases with license agreements, but don't expect it to happen every time. And this isn't a license.
    – Cody Gray
    Dec 13 '16 at 13:48
  • If you're looking for more than my non-expert opinion, you might try the Law site that we now have!
    – Cody Gray
    Dec 13 '16 at 13:49

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