I want to delete some of my questions and answers on Stack Overflow. I can't because there are accepted answers (Q) or they have been accepted (A).

Now, SO has a very easy sign-up process, I can't remember clicking away some EULA (please correct me if I missed that). That leaves the question: who is the intellectual owner of the Q&A on SO (trilogy).

I feel very deeply that I should be able to delete what I posted. For answers that would be easy, just remove the condition about Accepted.

For Questions, where other users might have posted worth-while answers, it is a little more complicated. As a suggestion, answerers should be able to see a deleted question (like 10K+ users, for some time) so that they can salvage there answer and do a answer-your-own-question.

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    A more interesting question is whether the license is enforceable or not. It's possible that it may not be enforceable if it can be shown that a preponderance of users are not aware of the license until after they sign up. See the discussion on software licenses and contracts of adhesion on Wikipedia. – tvanfosson Sep 23 '09 at 22:13

The content is licensed under CC-Wiki (see the legal stuff at the bottom of the page), which explicitly leaves intact your moral rights as the author:

In addition to the right of licensors to request removal of their name from the work when used in a derivative or collective they don't like, copyright laws in most jurisdictions around the world (with the notable exception of the US except in very limited circumstances) grant creators "moral rights" which may provide some redress if a derivative work represents a "derogatory treatment" of the licensor's work.

You may request that SO remove your name from any question or answer that you don't want associated with you.

  • Which "deleting" does not do. I think we should add this feature. – deleted Sep 25 '09 at 23:40
  • You'd need to distinguish between permanently deleting and temporarily deleting to correct and republish. I'd be ok with simply being able to email the team and have them do the permanent delete. – tvanfosson Sep 26 '09 at 12:37

See the cc-wiki link at the bottom right of every page.

  • I thought I "looked around" carefully but I missed that. – Henk Holterman Sep 23 '09 at 22:05

Note that licensing and ownership are two distinct concepts.

You own the content you contribute, but by posting it you give license for your content to be used under the terms of the license (which is, as others have pointed out, the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license).

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    And, relevant to the question of deletion, this licensing is, hopefully, not revocable. ("Hopefully" because the entire open source system falls apart if it does turn out to be recovable.) – chaos Sep 23 '09 at 23:50

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