The Twitter bots operated by Stack Exchange share bountied posts and some other posts on Twitter. The bots have an algorithm and choose things that seem like they might be worthy questions to share.

Instead of the bots sharing the posts without informing the OP, it would be better if SE allowed the OP to decide whether their posts can be shared (or cannot be shared) by SE bots. I'm proposing this as a feature request.

Some points to consider:

  • The OP is not notified that their post is shared on Twitter by a bot (operated by SE). The OP gets to know that their post is shared by the SE bot, only if they look at the revision history or the timeline of the shared post.

  • Not everyone is OK with their posts being shared by bots (maintained by SE) on social media.


2 Answers 2


Let me make a bold statement here.

Up till today in total 1,213,385 tweets have been tweeted for 225 sites (main and meta sites).

I learned yesterday for the first time that not everyone is OK with their question being tweeted. If over a million questions are tweeted I'm sure you'll find 6 to 8 users that are unhappy about the tweet. Not sure where that disgruntlement is vented but it certainly doesn't look like it is done on Meta.

Maybe I'm too much of an optimistic / feel good type of person but I can't fully grasp the motivation behind on one hand posting a question on a public site and the other hand not wanting to expose that question to as much eyes as possible to get it answered.

I do support the feature request Prevent questions from being tweeted onto the site's Twitter account if they are removed from Hot Network Questions because it is weird if you don't want to parade a question within in your own network of sites that you still allow it to be brought up and expose it to a lot of strangers.

Given that SE might remove the bots entirely (based on the comment from a CM) I don't think this per user opt-out for tweeting questions should be implemented. If anything the FR I linked earlier should be addressed if the Tweeting is bound to continue for another 6 to 8 weeks.

  • 1
    I don't think that people find SE questions in Twitter pages of bot accounts. People rarely like or retweet the tweets tweeted by bot accounts (at least, that's the case with Ask Ubuntu Twitter account). Dec 6, 2020 at 13:54
  • Let's say that someone is using the name "Sharon" as profile name in Twitter and in SE. Sharon decided not to share their Twitter details in SE profile because of privacy reasons. Sharon doesn't want what she does in SE to be posted in Twitter because social media companies track users in a very serious way. Sharon knows that even SE tracks users for ads, but things get worse when what she does in SE gets posted by SE in Twitter. Dec 6, 2020 at 14:15
  • 6
    If "Sharon" cares about their privacy then I would start with using a totally different display handle, like technastic_tc for example....
    – rene
    Dec 6, 2020 at 15:28
  • 4
    I'm OK about my post being tweeted. In fact, it makes me proud of my own post. That happened once on Photography Stack Exchange, where one of my posts became a hot network question and was tweeted by the SE bots. I was really proud of that, given that I only had 161 rep on Photography SE. Dec 6, 2020 at 16:44
  • @TheTechExpertGuy I do accept that some people are happy and fine with their posts being shared by SE bots. Dec 6, 2020 at 17:42
  • 1
    @RandomPerson Yeah, if no one wanted to have their posts tweeted, then SE wouldn't have as much users as it has, since social networks like Twitter can be a good platform for trying to get people to join SE and produce more good content on SE. Dec 6, 2020 at 19:07
  • 1
    @RandomPerson I completely understand privacy concerns. I am extremely uncomfortable with sharing my information. However, I really don't think "sharing to twitter" is relevant here. If "Sharon" uses the same name on multiple sites, then it's not very relevant whether somebody posts an SO question to Twitter. Same name, means that it's still possible to draw a link between the two profiles. I'm not a big fan of "caveat emptor" (or close enough in this case) but "Sharon" shouldn't rely on the SO bot for privacy protection.
    – VLAZ
    Dec 7, 2020 at 8:14
  • @VLAZ Let's chat here: chat.meta.stackexchange.com/rooms/1538/… Dec 7, 2020 at 17:28

Not everyone is OK with their posts being shared by bots (maintained by SE) randomly on social media.

I would add that posting on social media platform means giving some rights on the content to the platform, which often doesn't respect the Stack Exchange license (viz., CC BY-SA 2.5/3.0/4.0).

For example, see this answer by user6726 on Are tweets an intellectual property? regarding Twitter terms of services:

Under the Twitter TOS, [...] you do license the content:

By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed). This license authorizes us to make your Content available to the rest of the world and to let others do the same. You agree that this license includes the right for Twitter to provide, promote, and improve the Services and to make Content submitted to or through the Services available to other companies, organizations or individuals for the syndication, broadcast, distribution, promotion or publication of such Content on other media and services, subject to our terms and conditions for such Content use. Such additional uses by Twitter, or other companies, organizations or individuals, may be made with no compensation paid to you with respect to the Content that you submit, post, transmit or otherwise make available through the Services.

The totality of conditions, including the Twitter Rules, is ever-evolving and not apparently contained in a single link. From what I can tell, there is no condition that prohibits a user from copying tweets into a book. There are numerous statements about "respecting copyright" which refer to taking material that is not licensed to Twitter and redistributing: nothing about redistributing licensed material.A plain reading of the first bold sentence says that you can make your content available to the world, not restricted to "retweeting".

Twitter is also notorious for selling at a high price APIs to access the tweets, so a Stack Exchange user may disagree with giving their work to Twitter for free.

With that being said, Stack Exchange never showed any interest in preventing bots from masscopying Stack Exchange questions to Quora, so I doubt they'd care much about the social platform licenses.

  • There is a very substantial difference between SE itself copying content and SE not pursuing other companies who are copying content from SE posts. SE itself copying content needs to be in a manner which is consistent with the licenses granted by users for that content. It's completely SE's responsibility to correctly comply with the licenses granted to it when copying. Other companies copying user contributed content from SE is something that SE just doesn't have the legal standing to pursue (must be done by the copyright holder or the copyright holder's agent, which SE is not).
    – Makyen
    Sep 4, 2022 at 19:32
  • It is, however, not clear that SE doesn't have the right to post such things on Twitter. In addition to the CC BY SA license, the TOS grants SE an additional license, which might be considered to cover such postings.
    – Makyen
    Sep 4, 2022 at 19:32
  • @Makyen "the TOS grants SE an additional license": thanks, link/quote? Sep 4, 2022 at 19:50
  • 2
    In the current TOS it's "… and you grant Stack Overflow the perpetual and irrevocable right and license to access, use, process, copy, distribute, export, display and to commercially exploit such Subscriber Content, even if such Subscriber Content has been contributed and subsequently removed by you as reasonably necessary …". Similar terms which grant an additional license to SE, separate from the CC BY SA license, have also have been in prior versions of the TOS.
    – Makyen
    Sep 4, 2022 at 19:56
  • @Makyen thanks, I'm not sure that allows SE to change the CC BY-SA license of the content. Sep 4, 2022 at 20:04
  • 1
    I consider it arguable wrt. SE sub-licensing to a company to aid in "distribution" and/or "commercial exploitation". Those terms can cover quite a bit of ground as to what SE might be able to do with the content. "Distribution" could reasonably be considered to include a wide variety of things which might be necessary to distribute the content in various forms. "Commercial exploitation" reasonably includes advertising, which is the purpose behind posting on Twitter. Granting a license to what is, effectively, the advertising company, would be a fairly normal part of "Commercial exploitation".
    – Makyen
    Sep 4, 2022 at 20:26
  • @Makyen CC BY-SA already makes commercial exploitation and redistribution possible, so mentioning them doesn't imply that changing the license is allowed. Sep 4, 2022 at 20:34
  • 1
    What's permitted under the CC BY-SA license has really nothing to do with what's permitted under the additional license, other than it could be argued that the additional license is specifically to allow things which wouldn't be permitted under CC BY-SA.
    – Makyen
    Sep 4, 2022 at 20:47
  • @Makyen of course. Just saying that commercial exploitation and redistribution doesn't necessarily allow changing the license. Anyway let's see what Law.SE says, I'm not a legal expert. Sep 4, 2022 at 20:48
  • Does this answer imply that it should not be possible to share SE posts on Twitter other than the OP? Because the "Share" link on each post also provides Twitter sharing (along with Facebook)... Sep 5, 2022 at 4:27

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