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I am not here to complain about the partnership; I think we have all heard enough of that.

One day we get the post about the partnership, and for many, aside from rumours, this is the first time we have heard about this, and then a week later it’s officially integrated into SE and SO sites!

Who made the executive decisions for this to go ahead, and who makes these kinds of decisions in general?

The actual partnership is unrelated and beside the point.

But why didn’t we, the community, get a say, or at very least get to express our opinions before the decision was final.

If we didn’t, who did decide then? The moderators? The staff? The board of directors?

I know Stack Overflow is a company and needs to make revenue, but with all the stink the community has been making, and some have even been threatening to ruin their contributions and leave the site, is it worth it?

Again, I am not commenting or kicking up a fuss about the actual partnership itself (even though we are all thinking the same thing. :D)

I just personally feel that we should have had more of say in this, and I’m sure many of you agree.

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    Because you’re the product they’re selling. They already know how you feel about that. Commented May 25 at 1:33
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    @ThomasMarkov They do indeed know- but they don’t really care- do they? Commented May 25 at 1:35
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    There are some great people on the community team who care. But they don’t make business decisions, and you’re asking about a business decision. Commented May 25 at 1:38
  • @ThomasMarkov I don’t doubt there are. And this isn’t anything against anyone personally, not even employees that agree with the partnership. It is to do with the whole company and system all together, is all I’m saying. Commented May 25 at 2:20
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    While many of us may not like the deal, I'm not sure why we should feel so entitled that we'd expect to have some say. They don't listen to our feedback about bold tags or hotlinking images, why should they consult us about $$$big money$$$ deals? After layoffs last year, do we want to stop them from scraping money any way they can, if it means the site stays alive? Do we even know the deal is bad? Seems many of us have made up our minds without any details. Also, why do you think moderators were involved in the deal? Commented May 25 at 6:02
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    Its worth reading between the lines. No one's 'really' mad about the tie ups in particular. Its more the loss in trust, and the breakdown in the social contract. In an entirely alternate universe, this might have been seen as a big win. Commented May 25 at 7:04
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    threatening to ruin their contributions -> this we can't do (and we have seen thwarting of this all over). As JG says below, Those that threaten to de-face their content didn't read or misremembered the license they agreed to. Once I click save, that content is no longer mine alone (only attribution to it is, if I decide to keep it - I can disassociate myself from that content if I want). This makes it fruitless and the impact null aside from the extra work we'd create for volunteer moderators and curators who have nothing to do with it. Commented May 25 at 12:38
  • That's rene, not me. :D Commented May 25 at 12:40
  • @JourneymanGeek Ope! Sorry Commented May 25 at 12:49

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Who made the executive decisions for this to go ahead- and who makes these kinds of decisions in general?

The chief executive officer, at the time of writing Prashanth Chandrasekar and before that Joel Spolsky.

This is not unique to Stack Overflow. The majority of businesses across the globe have an organization structure similar to this.

But why didn’t we, the community get a say- or at very least get to express our opinions before the decision was final.

Because business strategy is best executed in secrecy with the number of people involved as small as possible to prevent leaking of plans. This is crucial to gain or keep a competitive advantage. Some business decisions can stand in daylight ("We partner with RecycleNow, so all our used coffee cups get recycled"), but most can't. Business deals that involve huge sums of money fall in that category. And this becomes even more prevalent when a company is publicly traded (Stack Overflow isn't, but Prosus is).

is it worth it?

Yes, Stack Overflow always had a very clever Terms Of Service and License model that guaranteed that user content was irrevocable licensed to them. In other words: Once you click the Save button that content will be used by them, forever. There is at best some impact by users leaving the site. Their content stays, in an un-ruined state. Those that threaten to de-face their content didn't read or misremembered the license they agreed to.

I just personally feel that we should have had more of say in this- and I’m sure many of you agree

No, I don't agree. I'm not here to run their business for them. I don't want to be bothered with their business strategy. I'm busy enough keeping my own business afloat. I'm happy to share my ideas / opinions / suggestions when an idea is presented to me, and I'm also happy to raise pain points once a decision became public. I might even praise them for doing something good, but that balance isn't near its tipping point.

I found and find it very disheartening to realize the OpenAI trained their model on all content from across the Internet without respecting any license whatsoever and now charge their users for that regenerated content. As the copyright holder of my own content I have no means to go on a legal battle against big money. I need some organization to fight that battle for me. I pretend Stack Overflow now gets reimbursed by OpenAI for the use of my content and/or negotiate how to properly attribute my content when used by OpenAI. A small win, in my own fantasy.

The CEO is tasked by the shareholders to generate return on investment. The CEO is responsible. The nature of the business requires a community. Running a for-profit operation doesn't need control by a community. No shareholder would approve of that. It is not how this company works. Find an alternative if that idea no longer aligns with your goals.

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