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I reported a website (Quora) copying a significant amount of Stack Exchange content via https://meta.stackexchange.com/contact and got the following response from the Stack Overflow support team via email:

Due to the nature of this request and the amount of time it takes to process them, it is unlikely that you will receive any further follow-up emails regarding this issue.

I very much appreciate the support of Stack Exchange in this matter but it would be nice if instead the reporter receives some follow-up emails to be able to track what is happening, at the very least when the case is closed.


Full email:

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Stack Overflow Community
Date: Thu, 30 Jan 2020 at 07:15
Subject: Re: Meta Stack Exchange - Stack Exchange content is being reproduced without attribution - [Ticket ID]
To: Franck Dernoncourt

Hi Franck Dernoncourt,

Thank you for reporting this content. I've passed the information along to the person at our company who handles such issues. It's the diligence of users like you that helps us stay valuable!

Please note, bringing these sites into compliance (or getting them to no longer serve our content) is often a long and arduous process. You may not see immediate results. However, rest assured that we're working on it.

Due to the nature of this request and the amount of time it takes to process them, it is unlikely that you will receive any further follow-up emails regarding this issue.

  Regards,
Stack Overflow Team

  • 2
    I don't understand what you ask. SE states: We will not do any follow-up. And now you still insist they do? Is No not an acceptable answer for you? – rene Feb 7 at 19:41
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    @rene I am simply suggesting that a follow-up would be more considerate to the reporters, hence this feature request. It Stack Exchange insists on not doing any, then so be it. – Franck Dernoncourt Feb 7 at 19:45
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    I don't think adding more overhead to a long and arduous process is beneficial to the goal. There is nothing actionable for you once you know the case is closed. – rene Feb 7 at 19:51
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    @rene on the contrary, if the reporter is being notified that the case is closed in that no action was taken, then the reporter could take legal action themselves. – Franck Dernoncourt Feb 7 at 19:53
  • @FranckDernoncourt if it's your content that is being used without respecting your license or without having the right to (re-)publish it I would always take action yourself regardless as you are the owner of the content (and have the copyright) and you are the one who actually can bring a legal case (if you want to pursue that). – PeeHaa Feb 7 at 21:27
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To be perfectly honest: we don't send any follow-up because we do nothing with about 99.9% of those reports. After we did analysis on scraper reports a couple years ago, we found that the vast majority of content scrapers go offline or the problem is otherwise resolved within a couple of months before we ever get around to doing anything about them. Tracking and dealing with these reports turned out to be mostly a waste of our time.

We continue accepting these reports because they do occasionally bear fruit and reveal a proxy that needs to be blocked or some other serious issue, and also because it makes users feel good that they are doing something positive for their community even if the desired action isn't likely to occur due to us doing something. But in most cases, we send that auto-reply and just close the ticket. No one else ever looks at it. There isn't follow-up to be had.

If you're very concerned about content being copied, we recommend looking into some of the options at the bottom of the FAQ.

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    Thanks for the honesty, I appreciate it. – Franck Dernoncourt Feb 7 at 19:54
  • Is there even something you (SE) can do as the content is not yours to begin with? – PeeHaa Feb 7 at 20:01
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    @PeeHaa Not really. Long ago we used to send messages to try and get them to comply with the license (assuming we could even find contact info for them), and would also report them to Google to make sure their content didn't appear above ours. The former rarely resulted in anything happening, and the latter is no longer available. – animuson Feb 7 at 20:30
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    Thanks for the honesty. I agree with the passive approach, but suggest that Quora is not "just" a scraper. It's a large enough concern that I'd like to see our powers that be actively trying to shut that down, if nothing else just to show that our IP contributions are valued, and would appreciate M.SE updates on this particular matter. – Scott Seidman Feb 7 at 21:14
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    In other words, I've been completely wasting my time, and you've wilfully and deliberately let me do it, and have specifically not provided any feedback on the process because you didn't want me to find out. Nice. Thanks. – Lightness Races BY-SA 3.0 Feb 8 at 14:09

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