While preparing to file my own comment on FCC Docket 17-1078 Restoring Internet Freedom (whether ISPs should be treated as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934) I noticed that the filings website makes use of the Stack Overflow icon from Font Awesome.

The icon enables creating a PDF file of results and isn't used in relation to Stack Overflow in any way. Not sure if is this is something the community / company cares about wanted to bring attention to it.

Screen capture of FCC Stack Overflow icon use

  • 7
    Wanna bet this is down to FontAwesome?
    – ArtOfCode
    May 8 '17 at 22:24
  • 2
    @ArtOfCode Not sure what you mean. The site's HTML specifies the fa-stack-overflow class for the button.
    – ahsteele
    May 8 '17 at 22:27
  • 5
    Aye, but FA's labelling/explanation about the SO icon has historically been... not good, leading to a number of situations like this. Not sure if it still is, but I'd be willing to put this down to that issue.
    – ArtOfCode
    May 8 '17 at 22:39
  • So what's the question?
    – Ramhound
    May 9 '17 at 0:07
  • 3
    @Ramhound is this something that is okay? Is Stack Overflow protective over its icon being used incorrectly?
    – ahsteele
    May 9 '17 at 0:18
  • Looking at the icon, it is slightly different (oddly), it has 6 "coins" instead of 5
    – Ramhound
    May 9 '17 at 0:36
  • 5
    @Ramhound It's our old logo.
    – animuson StaffMod
    May 9 '17 at 0:37
  • 3
    @ArtOfCode it is listed under brand icons here fontawesome.io/icons and the page contains the text "Please do not use brand logos for any purpose except to represent that particular brand or service." May 9 '17 at 7:14
  • Strange they choose that rather than fontawesome.io/icon/file-pdf-o if it is to download a PDF. May 9 '17 at 7:28
  • 1
    @jon did you read the comments before rolling back? That edit just incorporated additional info from one of those. May 9 '17 at 7:49
  • @MartinSmith: Yes, but it was thoroughly redundant with the existing question. The comment should have stayed that way: a temporary clarification for an unusual misunderstanding. May 9 '17 at 7:54
  • I assume one of two cases: the web developer used Stack Overflow for the PDF part (and failed, but it's not relevant) so did it as credit to the site, or is totally oblivious of what this icon means, and just saw something cool that can be used. May 9 '17 at 8:29
  • @MartinSmith +1 for your prior comment about this approved suggested edit ... Why improve the readability of a question (without any question mark ...), if you can also find it by digging up to the 5th comment to find it there ... May 9 '17 at 21:04

This is not limited to fcc.gov, though being "official" site of USA government, it's probably the most irritating.

Font Awesome themselves keep track of websites using each and every icon, including the Stack Overflow icon. As can be seen there, 101 sites (from those tracked) are using the Stack Overflow icon in their home page.

Random example is https://stumpblog.com/ which using Stack Overflow logo icon for "World News":

Smart? Not really. Legal? I suppose so.

The programmer writing the website most likely didn't pay much attention, they just browsed the font awesome icons list, and chose what they saw fit, without really bothering to check if there's anything behind each icon.

Bottom line: funny, maybe irritating, but nothing we can or should do.

  • 1
    The programmer writing the website doesn't have a SO account? Never googled anything programming-related and landed on SO? SO is THE resource for devs of all stacks and skills worldwide... if this isn't a deliberate misuse of a trademarked, copyrighted logo (that's what "site design / logo © 2017 Stack Exchange Inc" stands for, right?) with crystal-clear terms of use... and nothing we can or should do? ...I don't get it. If the dev had used Coca-Cola's logo instead, there would already be a bunch of lawyers on the case... Jul 12 '17 at 13:45
  • @Meta'sMug if anyone is to blame and/or sued it's FontAwesome themselves for creating that icon. Jul 12 '17 at 13:50
  • 1
    Well if I have a blog and I want to link to some SO content or my SO user profile, I don't see no harm in using the SO logo for that (and the trademark usage guidelines don't either). My problem is when SO's logo shows up on a random "download PDF" button - clearly not "fair use". IANAL but IMO SO/SE IP (hasn't the company been renamed Stack Overflow? the legal pages haren't kept up with that apparently) is clearly being misused. FA says "Please do not use brand logos for any purpose except to represent that particular brand or service." Jul 12 '17 at 14:00

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