I just accepted the UELA for being a diamond mod on the site that I moderate.

I think this is a great move, especially the bullet points regarding what you can and can't do with the information, and that we're not SO employees.

I even read the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy as required. But would it be possible to get a laymans-term summary of the ToU and PP at the top? That way I think more people would actually understand what was in it.

Otherwise it's a bit like how Apple want me to accept a 43-page EULA on my iPhone before I'm allowed to download the update to an app.

  • 7
    Apple's up to 46 pages now. – Joel Coehoorn Jan 12 '11 at 23:44
  • meh, it's not that long and nothing's weird IMO, just what we all knew by common sense... – juan Jan 12 '11 at 23:46
  • 16
    I found this a bit odd: "Moderators will electronically, or through U.S. mail addressed to Stack Overflow Inc., 55 Broadway, 26th Floor, NY 10006, convey one (1) photograph of themselves dressed up as Liza Minelli [if male] or Otto von Bismarck [if female] no later than fourteen (14) business days after entering this agreement." but if you guys are okay with it... (shrug) – Pekka Jan 12 '11 at 23:53
  • 1
    @Pekka - which site was that on? Maybe the LGBT proposal? ;) – Mark Henderson Jan 12 '11 at 23:55
  • 1
    @Pekka: That's not in the agreement... [quickly double-checks] – uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN Jan 12 '11 at 23:57
  • 2
    @Pekka, that's exactly what I meant by common sense – juan Jan 13 '11 at 0:55
  • @Juan yeah, I can see that now. I was just mildly surprised at first. – Pekka Jan 13 '11 at 1:00
  • On why this is a bad idea: programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/26761/… – John Jan 13 '11 at 5:17
  • @Pekka - we need that to finish the mural in the NY office. – Marc Gravell Jan 13 '11 at 7:23
  • 2
    @John: I read those criticisms, and maybe a summary does create some ambiguity, but that's far less ambiguous than not reading it at all, which is what 99% of people are going to do. What do you think happens when you take a contract to a lawyer? They summarize it for you, they don't read it word-for-word. If you're actually worried about being sued then obviously you need to read the whole thing and take it to your lawyer. A mountain of legalese runs completely counter to the no-barrier-to-entry philosophy of SE. – Aarobot Jan 13 '11 at 14:03
  • @Aarobot: Fair enough, just thought I'd bring that up. – John Jan 13 '11 at 16:51

It's not the moderator agreement per se that's long-winded, it's the TOS and Privacy Policy that are dense legalese.

Here is my interpretation (and that is just what it is, an interpretation, not a legal opinion or in any way representative of SOIS) of all the legalese:


  • No guarantees, no warranties, no liabilities. Love it or leave it.
  • All content on the site is copyrighted and all user content (including yours) is CCASA licensed.
  • Don't post illegal content or engage in any other shady business.
  • If you use any of the paid services, you have to pay.
  • You have to be 13 or older to have an account.
  • The TOS can change.

Privacy Policy

  • Stack overflow collects non-personally-identifying information without explicit consent.
  • Stack overflow collects personally-identifying information with your consent.
  • Information that isn't PI but could be used to obtain PI information gets treated the same way as PI.
  • Stack Overflow will normally only disclose PI to employees and affiliates who need to know it in order to keep the site running and who have agreed to keep it to themselves.
  • Stack Overflow might disclose PI information under other circumstances if it's required by law or to prevent a nuclear apocalypse.

I repeat, this is my interpretation and I am not a lawyer nor do I represent Stack Overflow in any way. If you get your account terminated or end up in a Turkish prison because you didn't read the 86 pages of legalese, it's not my fault.

  • 2
    I like this, and it's exactly the sort of summary that should be at the top of the page. – Mark Henderson Jan 13 '11 at 2:53
  • Weird that the ToS specifies you have to be at least 13 years old, but the birthday box on the profile page does allow 9-year-olds. – Jan Fabry Jan 13 '11 at 7:26

Unfortunately, I suspect that it would be hard to summarise the ToS and PP in that page without that becoming the de-facto ToS and PP, thus weakening them. I'm not a lawyer, but I suspect Aarobot's summary is more-or-less there - but "suspect" here should be treated in a strictly non-binding kind of way.

My (equally not-a-lawyer) summary would be:

don't be a pillock and you'll be fine

The moderator text itself is remarkably short and readable, IMO - kudos to whichever lawyer wrote that. But I do sympathise a bit in that the ToS and PP is a bit... grandiose.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .