I recently saw a Visual Studio extension called Developer Assistant that simply grabs code examples from various places including Stack Overflow.

The tool shows the code samples only, and allows copying the code sample without visiting Stack Overflow.

Is this within the intended use cases of Stack Overflow, or is this abuse?

1 Answer 1


As per the Jeff Atwood's "Attribution Required" blog post:

All the content contributed to Stack Overflow or other Stack Exchange sites is cc-wiki (aka cc-by-sa) licensed, intended to be shared and remixed. We even provide all our data as a convenient data dump, seeded by us.

But our cc-wiki licensing, while intentionally permissive, does require attribution.

So let me clarify what we mean by attribution. If you republish this content, we require that you:

  1. Visually indicate that the content is from Stack Overflow or the Stack Exchange network in some way. It doesn't have to be obnoxious; a discreet text blurb is fine.

  2. Hyperlink directly to the original question on the source site (e.g., https://stackoverflow.com/questions/12345)

see more rules

Here is the screenshot taken from the video posted on "Developer Assistant for Visual Studio" page:

enter image description here

You can see the URL link in the "Source" which clearly indicates the content is from Stack Overflow. So, it does comply with the rule number one. Also, I'm not sure whether the shown URL has a hyperlink (OP confirmed - see comment) directly to the original question on the source site which comply with rule number two. So, a good faith effort is made to attribute the content.

  • 1
    What about rules 3 and 4? 3. Show the author names for every question and answer 4. Hyperlink each author name directly back to their user profile page on the source site (e.g., stackoverflow.com/users/12345/username) Sep 19, 2015 at 20:50
  • "This is about the spirit of fair attribution. Attribution to the website, and more importantly, to the individuals who so generously contributed their time to create that content in the first place!" Sep 19, 2015 at 20:51
  • @DavidPostill I agree rules 3 and 4. It will great if someone from SE team could point that out to Microsoft. SE is one of the big client of Microsoft products so they could definitely talk about the SO content attribution Sep 19, 2015 at 22:37
  • @HackerKarma I wonder how we attract the attention of the SE team to this question and your answer? Sep 19, 2015 at 22:39
  • 2
    @DavidPostill Maybe create a new question outlying your concerns, that way a bounty can be attached. Also, a new question is more visible than a few comments on an answer. Sep 19, 2015 at 22:58
  • @DavidPostill I agree with user angussideny on posting a new question. Also, it would be great to point out if ALL the rules must comply or few are fine Sep 19, 2015 at 23:05
  • @DavidPostill, thank you for taking this so seriously. Your concern was actually my point, that I chose to make in the form of a question. I'm also concerned that DA short-circuits community participation, which is very helpful to developers, whether they know it or not. Good luck on your efforts to reach out to MS. Perhaps you could comment on their YouTube video about DA. If I can help you let me know.
    – toddmo
    Sep 20, 2015 at 19:32

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