In the latest news from SO, the following was posted (emphasis mine):


  • MIT licensing of code was proposed, but held back due to community naysayers.
  • CC-BY-SA incremented from 3.0 to 4.0. - likely in good faith.
  • Vast majority of community likely fine with 4.0.
  • Vast majority not fine with fait accompli.
  • Some (a very few?) thought that this happened in bad faith.

Stack Overflow:

  • We have apologized for the fait accompli.
  • We want to signal our intent to keep up with future changes to CC-BY-SA.
  • We will create a process and be engaged on licensing issues on Meta.
  • We have had hours of meetings on this, and it is a big priority.
  • We have no intention of moving away from creative commons or paywalling users content in any way.

Has that actually happened? Was there any place were SO made any sort of apology related to their actions in the licensing space? The original re-licensing announcement is here, and there was a follow up post to it here, but I don't see any apologies there, and I don't know of any other posts related to this.

For those suggesting that this question is a dupe of mine, I disagree. It was answered in one week and its possible SO did something since then. The SO leadership seems to have explicitly stated something was made, which is in direct contrast with the answer in that post.

  • 15
    Of all apologies I've seen on SE the answer from Tim is at least not a hollow one. It explains why they have done that and that they will stick with it. Not all apologies need sorry in it. Better not.
    – rene
    Commented Feb 4, 2020 at 19:56
  • 29
    @rene I think we have a difference of definitions here. I absolutely think that all apologies need a sorry (or something similar) in them. I see nothing like that from Tim. I agree Tim's post did a good job of explaining in more depth the why of their decision. It did not though attempt to make an apology, and I don't understand how one could qualify his post as one. Commented Feb 4, 2020 at 20:58
  • We certainly have differences. Glad we do.
    – rene
    Commented Feb 4, 2020 at 21:02
  • 9
    @rene Don't mean to nitpick, and maybe we should move to chat, but I'm now really curious. How do you define an apology? What is it about Tim's post that makes it an apology? Commented Feb 4, 2020 at 21:04
  • 4
    Not everything needs an apology.
    – Kevin B
    Commented Feb 4, 2020 at 21:27
  • 39
    @user400654 But if you specifically say that you apologised for something, you should have in fact actually apologised for it. Commented Feb 4, 2020 at 23:26
  • so, your problem is that maybe they lied? maybe misinformed? i mean... ? so what. if that's the biggest problem we have, it's smooth sailing from here on
    – Kevin B
    Commented Feb 4, 2020 at 23:28
  • 22
    @user400654 I agree not everyhing needs an apology, but it is claimed that the CEO (or possibly Ben Popper/Sara Chipps) said that there was an apology. I'm not asking them to make one now. I'm asking for evidence of a statement that has been claimed to exist Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 2:34
  • 1
    @user56reinstatemonica8 what more would they do than say “we apologize for this?” I don’t get what this question wants. Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 3:24
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    @Stormblessed I think the point is, don't say "We have apologized for the fait accompli" if you a) haven't apologised and b) as a policy, intend to continue with "fait acompli" i.e. changes without prior consultation. Do one or the other: either apologise and commit to consult next time, or, don't apologise and stand by not consulting (ideally, with a reason why they won't consult). To not apologise then pretend they did is just confusing, and means no-one knows where they stand (except... we do know where we really stand, and that's the problem - which they deny). Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 7:49
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    @Stormblessed the question is pretty straight forward. SE claims that they apologized for something, and this is asking if that's true, as simple as that
    – Lamak
    Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 15:02
  • 4
    @rene I think you are talking about justifying something, not apologizing
    – Lamak
    Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 15:03
  • 9
    The word "sorry" is not needed, but some elements are usually required: meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/…
    – Nemo
    Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 15:05
  • 8
    "fair accompli"? I'm more concerned by the fact that the relicensing was illegal than the fact that they didn't tell us beforehand. Though if they told us, then we might have at least been able to point this out (even I bet they would have gone ahead and done it anyway)
    – Jo King
    Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 22:00
  • 1
    Before an apology, they would need to actually ask the user to re-license their content. I was not asked up to now, so they still do not have a valid CC4 license for my old content.
    – allo
    Commented Feb 6, 2020 at 12:35

2 Answers 2


We have posted an update on the Licensing issue. Please see there for a recap of what happened, what we are going to be doing in the short term, as well as what issues still remain open.

Additionally, to quote Tim Post in a comment on his post:

…I honestly feel the hurt, and I'm sorry for it. I'm just glad you're still here to say it, and thanks for staying

  • 5
    Sorry but I have to downvote and disagree with marking this as completed, since the update contains no apology. The word "sorry" does not exist in there, and neither the word "mistake". It's just, well... an update. (Blessed one, sure, but that's not the question here.) Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 15:22
  • 6
    @ShadowWizardisEarForYou I am also sorry that you feel that you have to downvote. I have added Tim's comment from the other post. I am sorry, but the words that you are looking for will probably not be added to the other statement. However, this update is our official response and plan for this issue (hence marking this question completed). Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 18:08
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    Sigh... if I would vote by heart/feeling I'd give +1000 here. Wait, I can. looking for start bounty button Commented Mar 4, 2020 at 9:00

To be blunt: No.

It's been presented as a done deal, and no one has addressed it since the "our lawyers told us we're in the clear, try and sue us" post.

An apology would be an admission that they did something wrong, and probably would involve some kind of liability. Don't expect one. That's just the way things are now.


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