I have been going over the list of recently deleted posts, to see what new there since my last visit, and I have noticed something strange.

One of the network-wide moderator has deleted a question. The moderator has left a comment pointing out that this thread was deleted due to a DMCA filing, i.e. legal reasons. This for itself raises questions, as the question is particularly uninteresting.

The reason I bring this up to meta is that I want to have a clear grasp on the question in the title: when do network wide moderators remove questions?

I mean, should they ever do that? I'd feel slightly safer if even a legal request were deleted by our local moderators, although I can understand if there is something which requires otherwise.

I posted this thread for two main reasons, the first is to alert the community that this has occurred and get some input on the topic; and the second is to find out whether or not there is some legal obligation that the network should delete the thread, or did they just prefer not to bother the local moderators.

  • 8
    $\begingroup$ Being uninteresting and being in violation of DMCA are not mutually exclusive properties. Did the question look remotely like something within the scope of DMCA, or do you think the mod made a mistake? Anyway, it makes perfect sense to me that the legal stuff is handled by SE employees rather than volunteer mods. Volunteer moderators are not SE agents, while the ToS item 15 says the requests will be handled by an SE agent. $\endgroup$ – 40 votes Jul 12 '13 at 22:58
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @40votes: It looked like an interview question, I suppose (and it had an answer). I don't have a solid opinion on the topic, which is why I brought this to the attention of the meta readers. Until an hour ago I had no idea that network mods delete questions. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Jul 12 '13 at 23:19
  • 8
    $\begingroup$ You may want to expand the question to: does SE carry out their promise "all received notices will be posted in full to Chilling Effects Clearinghouse", made at the end of ToS? Searching for "Stack Exchange" I found only one two notices and they are by SE users taking action against bloggers who copied SE content without attribution. $\endgroup$ – 40 votes Jul 12 '13 at 23:40

I'm a moderator on two other SE sites, and what SE has told us about copyright is that it is not our job as moderators to enforce it. Copyright can be rather complicated and I don't know enough about it to correctly deal with it. So copyright stuff is something that we leave entirely to SE (plagiarism is different, we enforce our own rules there, which is different from copyright law).

The guidelines for anyone that wants to remove a post that violates their copyright has to file a DMCA takedown notice and SE executes them. One important point here is that SE has absolutely no room for judgement here, they have to blindly execute the takedown notices to qualify for the "safe harbor" part of the DMCA. So bringing in a local mod makes no sense if there is no room for any informed decision anyway.

SE informs all posters via mail that their post was deleted due to the DMCA, as far as I remember it from a previous case. Those users can file a DMCA counter claim to assert that they don't violate any copyright and get the posts reinstated.

  • $\begingroup$ That. I also remember some explicit note somewhere that moderators should not delete stuff for DMCA reason and leave that to SE and its legal department. $\endgroup$ – Michael Greinecker Mod Jul 13 '13 at 7:51
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Is the post in such cases deleted completely, or does it remain visible for 10k+ users? $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Jul 13 '13 at 8:57
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak I'm a 10k user and I can view it. $\endgroup$ – Potato Jul 13 '13 at 9:26
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak And I notice that you are too! Here's the offending question: math.stackexchange.com/questions/243155/… $\endgroup$ – Potato Jul 13 '13 at 9:27
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I was just wondering whether it is ok, as far as DMCA and possible copyright infringement, if some users still can view the question. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Jul 13 '13 at 14:15
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelGreinecker: the explicit note you are thinking of is a sticky comment pinned in the Math Moderators Chat Room. $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Jul 15 '13 at 8:34

About the specific post: users under 10K can still access and download it, with its answer, by using the query Post with its answers, by Id and entering 243155. This will no longer work after a few hours, because a new public dump will be generated, without this post.

I propose that when a post is deleted due to a DMCA notice, its Id should be added to this thread, so that those interested can download it, post it elsewhere, print it on T-shirts, etc. (I would not go that far for this particular one. :)

And although we have an accepted answer, it remains unclear why a copy of the relevant DMCA takedown notice wasn't "posted in full to Chilling Effects Clearinghouse", as SE Terms of Service promise.


You must log in to answer this question.

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