Second Edit -- to try to expand the scope BEYOND W.SE and to cover any CreativeCommons work, not just here. Deleted part about the badges.

-- Edit -- to clarify it's not quite a BLOG, more a portfolio of teaching resources I've developed.

My website (on a Wordpress core, but mostly a portfolio of my instructional work) is more empty than I want, but I do tend to write in response to a "conversation." One example is my writing here on writing.se, but I also want to include my own comments on some blogs with active discussions in the comments, or my forum posts on spacebattles.

I need to verify, but I'm pretty sure all of them are Creative Commons, at least for the discussion (if not the actual main blog-writer's post, such as Alison's Ask A Manager -- I am pretty sure her columns are copyrighted, but the discussions are CC.)

Using W.SE as a purely hypothetical example of one of many creative-commons places where one can contribute...

Can I do something like:

On writing.stackexchange.com (it would be a link to the specific question) someone asked about ESL characters (quick summary of question), and I responded...

blockquote of my answer

Summary of a few other answers

Maybe me expanding more instructional resources beyond what I put on W.SE, maybe not..

Anyhow -- I want to be sure I'm correctly understanding both Creative Commons and the reuse/remix policies.

  • 1
    Subquestion - when referring to multiple Stack Exchanges sites/communities, are they called Stacks, Exchanges, SEs, or something else? Feb 25, 2019 at 14:11
  • 3
    I use SEs, but "stacks" sounds cooler now that you mention it.
    – wetcircuit
    Feb 25, 2019 at 14:37
  • 9
    I see close votes for "off topic", and on any other site I would agree because it appears to be a question about Stack Exchange. But here, I see it as a question about copyright and complying with licenses involving one's own writing, which I think fits. I suggest generalizing the question a bit to focus more on the CC license and less on SE specifically, to avert the concerns that I suspect are leading to those votes. Feb 25, 2019 at 20:18
  • 4
    Adding to what @MonicaCellio said above, I'd say this question does not belong on Writing Meta!
    – user
    Feb 25, 2019 at 20:24
  • 2
    This old question on meta.SE about how to download your own posts here might be tangentially relevant. (Disclaimer: One of the answers, which links to this SEDE query, is mine.) Feb 25, 2019 at 22:34

4 Answers 4


You have the legal right to reuse elsewhere what you post on Stack Exchange.

It's your content. When posting to SE, you give SE a nonexclusive license to use it, and doing so requires that it's your content to license in the first place; see the terms of use for the details, it's referred to as Subscriber Content.

So nothing legal would prevent you from reposting your own contributions elsewhere, even under a different (non-exclusive) license.

However, others' contributions are only available to you under the terms of CC-BY-SA, unless the copyright holder(s) license it to you on other terms in addition to the blanket license given by posting it to SE in the first place. So in order to use that content, you'd need to either comply with the terms of CC-BY-SA, or obtain a separate license from all contributors to the content you are using.

Copyright applies also to derivative works, but whether a summary constitutes a derivative work in the legal sense or not seems unclear at best. I'm not sure I'd want to go there.

It would be easier to either (a) use only your own content, possibly copied from SE if that's easier for you; and/or (b) use other peoples' contributions verbatim, with appropriate attribution and clearly marked as used under CC-BY-SA.

That should be enough to keep you in compliance with CC-BY-SA.

A good answer is likely to be meaningful even if read without the context of the question, or at the very least should be easy to adapt such that it is even without incorporating the question itself into the answer.

Standard disclaimer, I am not a lawyer (and certainly not your lawyer), yadda yadda.

  • 4
    For quite an interesting take on that, someone is/was selling ebooks on Amazon for various collections of SE questions and answers. physics.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/10581/… This physics meta discussion is a very interesting read IMO. Someone found many issues with their CC-BY-SA attributions, and we actually got a detailed reply from the author explaining his issues with attribution on the various platforms he sold on.
    – JMac
    Feb 25, 2019 at 20:22
  • @JMac I see lots of big media that attribute photos to "Wikipedia" or "Wikimedia Commons" without as much as even a link back. Makes me want to do something inappropriate.
    – user
    Feb 26, 2019 at 10:09
  • One interesting question is what happens if your answer has been modified by other user's edits. When does it cease to be your content? Maybe you can only use your initial post without the edits.
    – pipe
    Feb 26, 2019 at 10:54
  • @pipe My uneducated guess would be that the original version is yours, and any changes you make based on the original version are yours, but significant changes made to what you post is copyright exclusively whoever made them, or possibly shared copyright as a derivative work. Since those changes are CC-BY-SA, I'd expect you to be golden if you're publishing under CC-BY-SA. Trying to apply a different license to content with multiple authors gets complicated. Ask the Linux kernel community.
    – user
    Feb 26, 2019 at 12:17

I have done this on my own website, more than once. Before I did it, I checked the SE license, which states that work here can be freely used and modified, but must be attributed.

Personally, I did the following: I only reused my own content, I rewrote it fairly substantially, and I linked back to the original post. I don't think any of that is strictly necessary from a legal standpoint, but those seem like reasonable personal standards in terms of being respectful of other people's work.



The Creative Commons page is here: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

It says all the information is available to everyone, to build on and remix, and even charge money for. You are required to attribute it and link to the same CC page.

The restriction is that you cannot prevent anyone else from doing the same, so if you later decide your answer should be excusive to your book or lecture, that would not be something you could enforce. Other people can remix and even sell your answers, edited however they like (they cannot take credit for it, and they cannot use whatever extras you write on your blog).

Answers here are not always permanent. Questions are closed, users are removed. An inevitable site redesign might break links in the distant future. There is a Stack Exchange page about where their archives are stored (it has been an issue, I guess). I would grab all the info as you go, and not rely on being able to access the source page in the future.

  • The reason I would include the link is that I assume, by the presence of the "booster" type badges, is that SE wants people to link to their answers to help drive traffic this way. Feb 25, 2019 at 15:00
  • 1
    Yes. I would still add the page link, but for the sake of your future use (in classes, in a book) just grab an archive (pdf) of the whole webpage and store it with your writing notes.
    – wetcircuit
    Feb 25, 2019 at 15:02

You wrote what you wrote, so I see no reason why you couldn’t use your own writing. However, when you start talking about summarizing others, I get nervous. I would be very angry if I found something I had written on some random blog - you need permission and at the very least would need to credit it appropriately.

If your blog is empty, write for it. You want readers and creating content worth reading is part of having a blog. If I saw a blog that consisted of recycled replies from another site and hyperlinks, I would go elsewhere.

Of course, I am not the usual demographic for blogs - but try writing something original and interesting.

Have enough respect for your potential readers to put in the effort to write something fresh.

  • My "blog" is really a resource demonstrating my teaching abilities -- It has some of the resources I developed for classes via BlackBoard, and these would fulfill the same role. I just call it a blog as it's on a WordPress framework, but maybe a "portfolio" may be a better description of it. Feb 25, 2019 at 14:40
  • 1
    By posting what you wrote here, you've already given implicit permission for anyone to copy and adapt your writing under the terms of the CC By-SA license. Those terms do indeed explicitly include the requirement to credit you, though. Feb 25, 2019 at 22:22
  • I should certainly hope I would be credited. I used to supply photos to a local newspaper for advertising and they would put - supplied - so I stopped contributing to it.
    – Rasdashan
    Feb 26, 2019 at 1:02

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