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If I post content (authored by me) on an SE site, and I have released it under some license X, how does this work with the SE TOS (even though it links to SO I assume it's applicable to all sites since this is from the TOS link at the bottom of MSE)?

My assumptions are:

  • Regardless of the license I attach, it's always licensed to SE under CC BY-SA 4.0, (unless my license is less restrictive than CC BY-SA 4.0?)
  • If other people use the code, they are subject to the license that I've attached (or are they subject to CC BY-SA 4.0 no matter what license I attached, or are they subject to the intersection of the two licenses?)
  • If SE then redistributes my content, they do so under CC BY-SA 4.0 regardless of the license I had originally attached.

In other words, what happens if I post content on an SE site but I use something besides CC BY-SA 4.0? Am I even allowed to do that?

I definitely have a feeling this has been asked before, and I did try searching but there's so many posts about specific licenses and other licensing issues that I wasn't able to find what I'm looking for. I read all of section 6 of the TOS as well but wasn't able to find a direct answer.

From the comments below, I found this answer which indirectly appears to answer part of my question (by implying that I'm not allowed to post non CC BY-SA 4.0 code) but it seems to be debatable in the answer comments and it's also for an older version of the TOS. Other than that, I couldn't find any clear indisputable answers there. Those answers seem mostly focused on use of content that's already been posted, rather than how to post the content.

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Everything you post here is CC-BY-SA licensed; that license includes terms that let anyone use it as long as they follow a few minimal requirements. Not just SE.

You still own your content, though, and can additionally license it however else you want. CC-BY-SA license requires attribution? Well, if you find a buyer you can still sell your content to people willing to pay you money for the right to not attribute anymore. Prefer MIT? Go ahead. What you cannot do is revoke the CC-BY-SA license or prevent anyone from using your content under those terms if they prefer. Anything else you offer is just an alternate.

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    I see, so if I post content under license X, basically users of that content now have a choice between using X or CC-BY-SA?
    – Jason C
    Jun 29, 2023 at 13:59
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    @JasonC Yes, that's correct. I suppose the one place you'd get into trouble is if X includes some sort of promise of exclusivity that you won't release under other terms, but that's not something imposed by posting here or CC-BY-SA. Jun 29, 2023 at 14:03

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