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Do SE users have the right to have their SE posts removed from Codidact? If so, how?

+6
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I don't know what the etiquette is here for bringing up Stack Exchange, and I don't want anyone thinking I'm trying to start any cross-site drama. In fact, I'm hoping to snuff any such drama out before it begins, by resolving the issues detailed below in a diplomatic fashion. I'm posting this on the overall Meta instead of the Writing Meta because, while the dispute is specific to Writing, it could apply to other sites on the network.


There is currently a user on Writing.SE who is objecting - quite vocally - to the fact that their questions and answers have been imported to Writing Codidact under an account bearing their name. I won't repeat their exact statements on the matter, but their belief is that hosting posts that they never wrote, under an account in their name that they never created, could mislead people into thinking the site is more active than it is.

My understanding is that the Creative Commons license gives Codidact the right to repost content from Stack Exchange as long as it credits the originals - which it does - and therefore, this site has done nothing wrong. Nonetheless, I can also understand why someone would object to having content posted under their name in a context that they disagree with.

Setting aside the reasons for this user's disagreement, or whether their objections are valid: do they have any recourse here? Is there a way they (or other SE users) can have their imported posts and profile(s) removed from Codidact, and if so, how?

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General comments (3 comments)

2 answers

+11
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Yes. The Creative Commons license requires that attribution be provided by default, but also provides that if the author does not like the manner in which the licensed material has been used, they may require the attribution to be removed. This is the same principle under which Stack Exchange offers post dissociation on request; Codidact offers the same. Posts will not be deleted from the sites, as the CC license gives us the right to redistribute them, but the author's name can be removed on request.

To request dissociation, email info@codidact.org, linking to the relevant Stack Exchange account and Codidact profile. Specify whether you want posts dissociated on all sites or only on one. You'll also need to edit your SE profile to contain an explicit confirmation that it's you making the request, otherwise anyone could request dissociation in your name - something on the lines of "Codidact dissociation requested" and the current date should be fine - please do include the date, as that also helps validate the request.

Please note that posts will not be automatically dissociated on any sites created in the future, as the license requires us to provide attribution until its removal is explicitly requested; it's not possible to provide that request for future sites.

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1 comment thread

General comments (1 comment)
+1
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My understanding is that the Creative Commons license gives Codidact the right to repost content from Stack Exchange as long as it credits the originals

Yes, the Creative Commons licensed knowledge is free and can be displayed anywhere as long as you abide by the conditions of the license. Any objection of the author after the original publication to sharing the knowledge is ineffectual.

However, one of the other main points raised seems to have been the creation of fake or ghost user profiles, i.e. user profiles that looked like they would have been created by real persons with activity over many years, while that was not the case. They might even have earned reputation. These user profiles have a sentence "This user was automatically created as the author of content sourced from Stack Exchange." which may sound a bit odd if you assume that users must be real persons (then they cannot really get created).

It might be that this was simply the easiest way to import content from SE, but maybe there should be a way to not count the fake/ghost users as users but as something different and make the difference better visible in the user interface.

Of course users can become inactive at any time, but these users have never been active at all, so they aren't really users in the sense that they never used the service, I'd argue.

I think there is something about that second point, we should not continue to create user profiles automatically anymore (if we ever import more data) and we should think about ways how to demote the affected user profiles. We basically have content that has not been written by a human user of the network and we should have ways to show that and include it in the workflow.

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2 comment threads

Less of an issue going forward (1 comment)
Stub users (1 comment)

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