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Maybe the answers are given somewhere and I just didn't bother to find it, but I have a few basic questions about SE as an organization.

  1. Who owns SE? Is it an individual, an organization, or some international government initiative?
  2. What amount of power does the owner have? (For example, could the owner just delete the sites one day and start selling the content?)
  3. Do users/moderators have any say in the basic functioning and policies of SE? If yes, can a majority of users make any changes in the basic principles of how the content is owned and dealt with.
  4. Why doesn't SE merge with other popular sites such as WikiAnswers, Yahoo Answers, Stack Overflow, etc?
  5. It's okay if moderators have greater power, but shouldn't ordinary users be able to flag any kind of task so that a moderator could look into it? (For example, if an off-hold question has been edited to make it appropriate, nothing can be done until a moderator somehow happens to find it. A normal user can not flag, vote or do anything to bring it to the moderator's attention)
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  • 12
    You do realize that Stack Overflow is part of the Stack Exchange network?
    – animuson StaffMod
    Nov 24, 2014 at 18:22
  • Check here to see the answer to Q5. Gain more rep, and you'll gain more power.
    – Beta Decay
    Nov 24, 2014 at 18:32
  • 10
    This question does not show any research effort.
    – Geobits
    Nov 24, 2014 at 18:34
  • 3
    This question is also way too broad. Nov 24, 2014 at 18:46
  • I'm pretty sure this is a troll, looking at number 5's use of terminology like "flag" and "vote." Nov 24, 2014 at 18:48
  • 1
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about trolling. Nov 24, 2014 at 20:37
  • it is owned by the Intergalactic Marshmallow Unicorn Cooperative
    – user273376
    Nov 25, 2014 at 7:40
  • Why is this considered a troll question? Are such questions not allowed or something? Nov 25, 2014 at 9:48
  • @user45195 in case you're somehow honestly wondering: people think this question is trolling because some of the features you're asking about do exist on Stack Exchange sites, and you've used the exact terminology we already use for them. It's somewhat unbelievable that you know exactly what we call these features without knowing that they already exist here. Besides, your questions could have been answered by a few basic Google searches and/or searches on this meta site. We expect askers to do at least a little bit of prior research, and if you don't, your question will not be well received.
    – David Z
    Nov 26, 2014 at 12:16
  • Well, I had heard that users can only delete questions using flags, not reopen them. Anyway, sorry. So should I delete the question or just let it be? Nov 26, 2014 at 14:22
  • With 23 downvotes, I don't think your request will be accepted any time soon... Feb 3, 2015 at 22:57

1 Answer 1

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  1. Who owns SE? Is it an individual, an organization, or some international government initiative?

Stack Exchange has a CEO named Joel Spolsky. It is an incorporation. I don't know anything about their division of shares.

  1. What amount of power does the owner have? (For example, could the owner just delete the sites one day and start selling the content?)

I suspect it would be a pretty big deal to delete the sites, and they probably don't have a big red button to do it> Stack Exchange is one of the most popular sites in the world, so there's enough redundancy that I can't imagine it'd be an easy task. Someone would get stopped before doing any real harm. It's the same as Amazon, Facebook, or any other huge company. You can read more about that and the licensing on legal.

  1. Do users/moderators have any say in the basic functioning and policies of SE? If yes, can a majority of users make any changes in the basic principles of how the content is owned and dealt with.

Users and moderators have a huge amount of say, which you can review in posts. But at the end of the day, it is Stack Exchange employees who make real changes, and there are some fundamentals (like licensing) that I don't imagine will ever go away, even if they legally could, which I don't imagine they can (I haven't actually read the license recently, but generally once something's licensed out there, it's hard to take back).

  1. Why doesn't SE merge with other popular sites such as WikiAnswers, Yahoo Answers, Stack Overflow, etc?

Stack Exchange owns Stack Overflow, and wants no part in WikiAnswers or Yahoo! Answers. Those sites serve very different purposes, and SE has more than enough of the market share to be happy letting them coexist (I imagine).

  1. It's okay if moderators have greater power, but shouldn't ordinary users be able to flag any kind of task so that a moderator could look into it? (For example, if an off-hold question has been edited to make it appropriate, nothing can be done until a moderator somehow happens to find it. A normal user can not flag, vote or do anything to bring it to the moderator's attention)

Well, yes. Users can vote to close questions, flag posts, up- or down-vote posts, and everything else you've listed. You can read about how much involvement moderators really have here.

As for on-hold questions, users with the privilege can also cast reopen votes, and any edited post will end up in a review queue. Moderators very frequently have no part in that step of the process.


But this all said, I should make it clear: nobody is out to get us users. It's in the best interest of Stack Exchange Inc., Joel, any developers working there, moderators on any site, and mostly users on any site, to keep things running smoothly and keep the majority as happy as they can be. SE has a good thing and no interest in ruining that. Selling all of our content, even if they could do that, wouldn't help anyone, and neither would deleting sites.

But that all said, your content is licensed under a Creative Commons license. So you shouldn't post anything that you aren't comfortable with other sites "taking" as well. And just like services such as Facebook, it's probably bad practice to host very important documents there (not that I imagine you even could on here), since yes, servers can go down and such. But you really shouldn't be too concerned, day-to-day. A lot of people would be very sad if all our content got destroyed, so again, it's in everyone's best interest to not let that happen.

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    You posted a good answer for the troll question Nov 25, 2014 at 7:44

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