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Glorfindel wrote:

The CC BY-SA license only covers content. Tags are (apparently) considered metadata.

Feature request: Tags assigned to a question should be CC BY-SA licensed.


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Answers to comments:

Why? What benefit/additional protection would this provide to the poster, content, reader, etc? How would renaming a tag, changing a tag to a synonym of another tag, or eliminating a tag be effected by putting them under a license? – 1201ProgramAlarm 1 min ago

Having a CC BY-SA license on the tag would allow anyone to reuse the tag info outside SE. (same argument as having a CC BY-SA license on the questions, answers and comments)

Anyone already can reuse the tag info, because it's not under copyright in the first place. That's why it has no license. It doesn't count as content. Adding a tag to a question doesn't qualify as a creative act. – OrangeDog 16 mins ago

Tag info can be viewed as annotations, which can have a license (example). No license does not mean public domain.

I'm not even remotely a lawyer, but to me that sounds like adding metadata to a question that's not relevant for licensing. – Adam Lear 10 mins ago

See https://data.europa.eu/sites/default/files/d2.1.2_training_module_2.5_data_and_metadata_licensing_en_edp.pdf (mirror) "Licensing of open (meta)data is important."

There appears to be some confusion here. The contents of a tag info page, (eg the gdpr tag has this info page: meta.stackexchange.com/tags/gdpr/info ) is covered by copyright, and as Adam Lear mentioned, it's plausible to add licensing info to the tag info page. However, there's also the action of adding a tag to a question (or removing a tag from it). That action doesn't modify the contents of a question, it modifies the metadata that the system uses to organise & display questions. – PM 2Ring 6 mins ago

I'm talking about the action of adding a tag to a question (or removing a tag from it).

You seem to be massively misinterpeting the relevance of the sources you are linking.  animuson 6 hours ago 

The sources I am linking were on a question pertaining to editing the tags of a question, which seems relevant here.

You [should] expand on what exactly you mean by "allow anyone to reuse the tag info outside SE", given that you've also explicitly excluded the tag description? All that leaves is a word. – jonrsharpe 27 mins ago

I'm indeed talking about just one or several words/phrases assigned to a question. If a user do it on several/many questions, then I'm concerned it may become copyrightable (the same way labels assigned to texts in a dataset are copyrightable).

E.g. on https://stackoverflow.com/users?tab=Editors&filter=all one can see many users with over 10k edits, and these edits (which sometime include tag edits) are likely to be copyrightable given the amount of work the sum of them represent:

enter image description here

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    Anyone already can reuse the tag info, because it's not under copyright in the first place. That's why it has no license. It doesn't count as content. Adding a tag to a question doesn't qualify as a creative act.
    – OrangeDog
    Jul 1 at 22:03
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    @OrangeDog afaik, tag info can be viewed as annotations, which can have a license (example). No license does not mean public domain. Jul 1 at 22:20
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    We were going to put license information on tag wiki history (similar to posts)... I think that actually slipped off my todo list at some point. I'll see if I can dig up/resurrect that plan.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Jul 1 at 22:38
  • @AdamLear thanks! How about the license on the annotations users made on a question (annotations = assigning a tag to a question. Let's ignore vote/bookmark/etc. for now)? Jul 1 at 22:43
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    @FranckDernoncourt I'm not even remotely a lawyer, but to me that sounds like adding metadata to a question that's not relevant for licensing.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Jul 1 at 22:49
  • @AdamLear data.europa.eu/sites/default/files/… "Licensing of open (meta)data is important." Jul 1 at 23:01
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    All: I'm done commenting here, up to you to decide whether you want to make tags assigned to questions legally reusable. I'm quite amazed to see 10 downvotes vs. 3 upvotes for a feature request that would allow us to reuse user contributions (tag assignments). Jul 1 at 23:03
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    @FranckDernoncourt You seem to be massively misinterpeting the relevance of the sources you are linking. You're being downvoted because your request would do nothing. A database of information compiled into one place is a copyrightable work. Someone adding/removing a tag from a question is not. You can keep trying to apply weird, barely relatable things to the situation but it all comes down to the information cannot be licensed because there is nothing to license.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Jul 1 at 23:10
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    @animuson then those people should write as answer instead of downvoting. Jul 1 at 23:15
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    This is interesting because I consider wikis and edits as content, the edit summaries however do seem to be metadata. (If someone can see how edit summaries are content I'd be interested in reading the argument for it. Same thing for costum close reasons which also feel more like metadata than content.)
    – bad_coder
    Jul 1 at 23:28
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    There appears to be some confusion here. The contents of a tag info page, (eg the gdpr tag has this info page: meta.stackexchange.com/tags/gdpr/info ) is covered by copyright, and as Adam Lear mentioned, it's plausible to add licensing info to the tag info page. However, there's also the action of adding a tag to a question (or removing a tag from it). That action doesn't modify the contents of a question, it modifies the metadata that the system uses to organise & display questions.
    – PM 2Ring
    Jul 2 at 2:11
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    You you expand on what exactly you mean by "allow anyone to reuse the tag info outside SE", given that you've also explicitly excluded the tag description? All that leaves is a word.
    – jonrsharpe
    Jul 2 at 12:38
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As multiple staff members have explained:

The information cannot be licensed because there is nothing to license.

We should assume that this position has the backing of the Stack Exchange legal team. Usually when we point out some legal mistake that SE has made then all staff are forbidden from talking about it, and that hasn't happened here. In contrast, the legal status of the site content has had a lot of scrutiny after they messed up last time.

You should consider the matter closed, or employ your own lawyer to advise you.

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    Thanks, not my downvote, but only two staff said "The information cannot be licensed because there is nothing to license." and one gave an incorrect reason for it. But if that's true then that's good news! Jul 2 at 12:29

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