Somewhat self-referential and perhaps better suited for the newsgroup but that won't reach the targeted audience. Which of the following would you prefer:
- All content of BioStar distributed with a Creative Commons license.
- All content of BioStar distributed between the moderators to ensure continuity.
- All content of BioStar maintained by the main administrator (current state)
If no obvious consensus emerges your votes might be weighted by your log10 scaled reputation :-) ...
The problem is that you don't own the BioStar content, those who post the questions and answers hold the copyright, and they are the only ones who can attach a license to their content. This is why Wikipedia has a big fat warning, and StackOverflow at least a CC-Wiki button. Biostar has neither, and by now it might be too late to convert everything to another (or any, for that matter) license. (IANAL, but have seen license switch debates for Wikipedia and OpenStreetMap.)
If copyright of existing Q&As is an issue, it might help to stop it getting any worse by updating the user agreement on BioStar so that any new questions/answers fall under CC. Presumably this could be done now, instead of waiting for the new-and-improved-BioStar. To address the existing questions, these could always be flagged on a new system as being copyright-held-by-posters exceptions.
^^ Answered by your comment on Daniel Swan's post, in respect to the purpose of distribution!
@Istavan Michael raises a very valid point. Legally, each person holds copyright over the content that they created. Since nothing else was stated at the time of the posting, the current status is "All Rights Reserved". Option 1 would in my view be highly desirable; however, it would require that someone gets in contact with every contributor to BioStar and obtains their permission to redistribute their content under a new license. Any content from people who didn't give their consent - possibly because you could not reach them - would have to be removed.
Perhaps we can have users post a comment in their profile stating if their prior content can be licensed under CC, e.g. "all questions, comments and responses I have provided prior to 1 Dec 2010 are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License"
Is the BioStar backend MySQL? I assume the dumps would therefore be simple MySQL dumps! Useful for distributed backups, but not sure how the information would be useful to any one individual?
I support option 1 if it is possible.
@Michael It is never too late. We can always remove contributions.
@Lars, true, and we would contact people. In practice things tend to work out well, those that contribute a lot answer their emails ;-)
@Istvan, please also make it clear that using the license is not a copyright transfer, but instead the users agree to release their content as cc-by-sa.
A note about the CC licensing has been added to the 'Ask Question' page.
@Istvan, the note about the change in policy is great for future questions, but how can we efficiently apply CC licensing to past content? Your proposed email solution doesn't provide a public record that users have authorized their content. My suggestion about adding a note to our profiles was aimed at providing a public record of our consent for past content.
@Casey, there is no need for a public record. Adding the information to one's profile is a bad idea because there is no easy way to track that information.
@Michael, there is indeed a need for a public record of people's choice about their content since BioStar did not start under a CC license, and there is substantial back content that is not/will not be covered by Istvan's recent change to include a CC license disclaimer to future content (see giovanni's post below). What is your solution for how this issue can be dealt with? How can we demonstrate that users agree to having their back-content available under a CC license?
Added information to FAQ, Main Page and Question prompt. We'll sort out the issue of the previous content license in some way that is minimally annoying and intrusive. In the end it is the spirit of the license that needs to be followed. For example I would consider everyone above suggesting the CC option as automatically opting in for their past contributions as well.
@Casey, I do understand the issue, the emphasis was on the word public and not on record (sorry to spam here, can I write messages to users somehow?). Profile information can be added and removed at will by users, the stackexchange platform does not keep track of that. Thus I could add the line, remove it afterwards, and noone would know whether I had agreed or not. If Istvan sent out a mail asking each user to opt-in, him keeping the answers would be sufficient.
Was there ever a consensus reached about licensing content? How about licensing "meta" content such as tags?