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Here's a hypothetical scenario.

Say that the Stack Exchange management does something that the community thinks is so counter to their core values, that a large majority decides to set up a new platform. Their thinking is that Stack Exchange should function like a custodian of their content, like Wikipedia, much more than, say, a Silicon Valley startup chasing hype and growth.

Following the Wikipedia model, a Stack Exchange clone is built and deployed, which is managed by a non-profit foundation, and driven by donations. They take the following steps.

  1. They copy all existing SE/SO content, clearly attributing the originals on Stack Exchange.
  2. They create a mechanism by which users on the new platform can link to their Stack Exchange accounts, so that reputation and authorship information is broadly preserved on the new platform.
  3. The new platform uses similar mechanisms for comments/voting/etc to the original Stack Exchange.

Say that the Stack Exchange management is unhappy with this development. What parts of it could they prevent? The question/answer content is CC-BY-SA, but does that hold for the user information like reputation as well? Can the alternative platform use exactly the same mechanics as Stack Exchange, or would that be a copyright violation? If so, how likely is the Stack Exchange management to get litigious if such a "fork" of the project would prove successful?

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  • 8
    You mean a fork that we then call codidact ?
    – rene
    Commented May 7 at 13:45
  • 3
    Re "Here's a hypothetical scenario.": It isn't. Commented May 7 at 13:48
  • 3
    @rene Ah, so maybe not that hypothetical. Still, I guess the questions stand. If we all move to codidact, how much of a tantrum could StackExchange throw?
    – Peter
    Commented May 7 at 13:49
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    Well, we have at least one founder there that is well-seasoned when it comes to tantrums thrown by SE. I assume that fork has their stuff sorted, even when it comes to legal stuff.
    – rene
    Commented May 7 at 13:52
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    @rene Does codidact include a copy of Stack Overflow content? Commented May 7 at 14:00
  • @PresidentJamesK.Polk not by default but members that moved their seeded the site with their SE posts
    – rene
    Commented May 7 at 14:03
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    considering SE essentially copied the format from EE and started from scratch, I'd argue the trick wouldn't be moving content, it would be effectively moving over and supporting communities, both ones that are currently still on the platform, and diaspora ones. Commented May 7 at 14:19
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    Related: Legal and Clones of Stack Overflow/Exchange Commented May 8 at 5:12
  • All the branding for sure. That belongs to the company. Commented May 10 at 9:29

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