I was searching for some coding related questions and the second result pointed to coderesource dot org. Albeit the unappealing presentation I dug a bit around and suddenly landed at Stack Overflow.

It turned out that the whole site, in the end, always points to Stack Overflow. They only contain the questions, not the answers.

Just later I turned off my ad-blocker (um...) and discovered the whole thing it a simply ad-ridden trap.

Is such (ab)use of content ok with Stack Overflow?

Since the whole SO content is made available, it probably is .. maybe I'm just too sensitive?

  • 6
    Someone should be *'ing shot for creating ads that blink.
    – squillman
    Mar 27 '10 at 2:02
  • @squillman: Agreed, now what do we do with those who blink so much that they don't notice the ad blinking and click on them?
    – Tim Post
    Mar 28 '10 at 13:15
  • So today, pure coincidence, I came over that very same page again on coderesource. I don't see any author attribution at all, still. So what is a license worth if not obeying has no consequences?
    – mark
    Jul 14 '10 at 22:41
  • I don't see coderesource in the search result with my query anymore, maybe googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/… is already active.
    – mark
    Feb 25 '11 at 9:25

Usually Google hammers these sites pretty hard -- it's difficult for them to come up as relevant in search results.

edit: looked, this is actually close to correct. Every post links back directly to Stack Overflow, but they do NOT link the authors' SO pages, which is part of the terms of our cc-wiki usage agreement. The ads are also really bad, not adsense as I thought. Worse.

  • I was always under the impression that if they give a link back to the question, then that is "enough" attribution
    – Earlz
    Mar 27 '10 at 5:02
  • @earlz nope, they have to follow our rules specified in the file. And those rules say posts AND authors must be linked back. Mar 27 '10 at 6:49
  • In what file? The one in the dump? If yes they could have gotten the questions via HTTP or even copy & pasted them manually. The license says that "You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor", but you don't specify anything on the website, so legally I believe they are not doing anything wrong Mar 27 '10 at 9:05
  • 1
    @kop the file contains rules -- see the readme.txt and license.txt inside it .. as well as the footer of every page, see "user contributed content licensed under cc-wiki with attribution required" (they are links). Mar 27 '10 at 9:31
  • Oh, I missed the second link in the footer. Nevermind then! Mar 27 '10 at 17:17
  • Looks like its been taken down.
    – Tim Post
    Mar 28 '10 at 13:13

It doesn't always point to StackOverflow. I saw at least one article from geekipedia.

Oh, and I did visit the site. After all, xrc seems to have suffered no ill-effects after a visit sans-ad blocker and I'm running a fully-patched system with up-to-date anti-virus software. Unfortunately, that site may have put a virus on my system (of the silently turn on your webcam variety). And I'm sorry, Jeff, but I am talking about your old laptop here.

I only noticed because there was suddenly an oem02mon process that was pegging the cpu every few seconds, making the computer not show my keystrokes as it should. It seems to have let me kill it without complaint, I haven't had this system long enough to know if that process is maybe supposed to be there, and google gives it mixed reviews (malware does sometimes use that name, but it's also normally part of some Dell laptop webcam drivers). So I might just be over-reacting, but I wanted this out there right away before anyone else visited the site.

I'll post back later (meaning tomorrow at least) if I keep seeing suspicious behavior, and I will have my eyes open (and maybe boot from a flash drive to scan the disk, just in case).

Unfortunately, since they do link back to the original content credit is given as per the license and I don't think StackOverflow has any real legal recourse. The only good news I have is that if they really did give me a virus, Google is pretty good as spotting that kind of thing and it will kill their search ranking, meaning the site won't make money and it will just go away on it's own.

Update: After some looking, I don't think the laptop caught a virus, but I do think one of the ads tried to give it one.

  • 1
    I think this virus scenario you describe is very unlikely. I'd suspect your anti-virus is slowing things down.. I hate that stuff (real-time anyway), performance hit is too severe. codinghorror.com/blog/2007/02/… Mar 27 '10 at 9:34
  • @Jeff I don't usually run it, but I'm using this machine at work some too, and it's required there. Mar 27 '10 at 14:30
  • I've not run an anti-virus in over 5 years now. On an unrelated note, anyone want to test this executable I can send you?
    – Gnome
    Mar 27 '10 at 23:50

If they follow the license (I did not visit the site myself), such abuse is unfortunately allowed.

I would not think that makes it okay with most anyone involved (officially or unofficially, like most users), but that's part of the trade-off with a liberal license. Most human visitors should see it for what it is, but search engines are a different problem.

In the end, it's probably good that you alerted MSO about it, so thanks for that.


While it is a horrible example of a website. It is not abuse.

Spread over 25 programming languages from 13 websites. We are adding new stuff daily!

So they are not getting it exclusively from SO, but from other common QA sites as well.

They are just as free to point to SO as you are in you blog. Is it a bad ad-ridden site? Yes. Is it abuse? No, at least not formally..

(Some people can say it's wrong to SEO until you get to #2 where you actually only have a link pointing to the #1 spot but have tons of ads)

  • 1
    It is, if they aren't following the license in the readme.txt of the dump and the footer of every web page on every trilogy site (go look, I'll wait here..) Mar 27 '10 at 9:32
  • Displaying copied content for the purpose of SEO to then show paid ads is abuse. It is legal and allowed by the license, and I'd fight for their right to do it (after they comply with the license), but it is still abuse.
    – Gnome
    Mar 27 '10 at 22:28

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