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Allow licence change when there's only one contributor

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I wrote a post without realizing I was using the default licence CC BY-SA instead of the licence I wanted to use (CC0).

I wanted to amend my mistake; I wasn't able to.

Other similar (but closed source) Q&A platforms allow for flash edit. I need licence flash edits!

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1 comment

2 answers

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I agree that authors should be able to make an immediate edit to change the license -- you post, only then notice the default license, and can't fix it. That's frustrating. The workaround of deleting and reposting is extra hassle -- and, for answers and for people who can see deleted posts, adds clutter. It would be better for authors to be able to fix that. What's a reasonable grace period for this sort of edit?

That's about immediate edits. The broader use case (implied by your title) is interesting too and requires more thought. If you're the only person who has edited the post so far, it does seem reasonable that you should be able to change the license -- nobody else is invested in it yet. The implementation could also get complex. Some questions:

  • What should we do about tag-only edits? Tags are metadata not content, so maybe they shouldn't count against the author's ability to change the license.

  • But if we say that, then are we opening the door for trivial edits -- for an author saying "look, somebody corrected my one-character typo; why should that block me?"? Which might then lead to a need for editor approvals of license changes, and suddenly this is getting too complicated for its benefit.

  • Does the license status of a question affect answers and answerers? If the license for a question is changed, is there a reason for people who answered to object? (Real question, not rhetorical -- I have no idea.)

If we only supported immediate license edits ("immediate" to be defined), would that address enough of the need to be worthwhile? Or would that not be helpful without the broader approach?

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2 comments

Regarding the last bullet point, consider also where someone answers a question and, in doing so, quotes part of the question. If the person who posted the question then changes to a more restrictive license, does that affect the use of that material in the answer? Canina‭ 3 months ago

Also, what if that is done somewhere other than in an answer directly to the question, say, in a blog post elsewhere? Such use might be in compliance with, say, CC BY-SA, but not CC BY-NC-SA. Lots of complexities that might need consideration. Canina‭ 3 months ago

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It should be possible for you to fix your mistake by, if nothing else, deleting the post and re-posting it with the correct license. Doing so would effectively dual-license it, under CC-BY-SA and CC0. Since anyone who uses it under CC-BY-SA should also be in compliance with CC0, that shouldn't be a problem.

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2 comments

This implies CCBYSA content cannot be relicensed to CC0, but it fails to link some explanation to such claim. .                                                .‭ 3 months ago

@8063 This answer in no way implies, let alone claims, that you can't relicense CC-BY-SA content to CC0. It simply provides a way to achieve your goals today without changes to the software or support from site administrators. In fact, this is arguably how license changes should be handled. Editing a post in place leads to potential confusion as to what license was provided when a post was referenced (via link). Derek Elkins‭ 3 months ago

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