I've seen a few posts reporting that some websites where copying and uploading the questions and answers here in their site, as if they were their own.

My question is, does stackexchange.com do anything to stop this? And if so, why? What's the point? Worst I can imagine is taking traffic from the site $\rightarrow$ reducing SE's income (ads?).

But in general, why is such practice wrong/worth stopping?

  • 6
    $\begingroup$ One scenario: a person searches for something and in doing so they find a question that is close to theirs but not exactly the same. If they find it here they can then ask their question with a chance of getting an answer. Elsewhere this is likely not the case. Another scenario: some other sites host the content in a poor form, not rendering the MJ for example. Again, a person searching might be served much worse with a site other than the original. $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    Jan 30, 2016 at 22:25
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    $\begingroup$ I, for one, do not want my work copied without attribution. I am comfortable with posting under the current license, but not less. $\endgroup$
    – user296602
    Jan 30, 2016 at 23:31
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    $\begingroup$ I have found some extraordinary good/interesting posts on this great site which i maybe want to use in a small noncommercial project, with the proper reference to the author and site. But i would also like to pay the poster a reasonable fee for using their material. But on this site there is no way of contacting other members. Is it possible to go via a moderator in these cases to get in touch with the poster? $\endgroup$
    – JKnecht
    Feb 1, 2016 at 22:31
  • $\begingroup$ The issue is sitewide. At Money.SE, we randomly get a flurry of scraping activity, coming to my attention from a link back to my own web site based on my site link in my answer. I've brought it to CM's attention, and that scraper usually stops after notification. When I personally copy anything, I attribute. $\endgroup$ Feb 2, 2016 at 14:20
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    $\begingroup$ @JKnecht You will likely have to contact such members by commenting on the relevant posts, or on chat if they frequent it. Moderators are likely completely unable to give you any user's contact information (as they cannot validate your intentions, to start with), and they will probably be at the very least very reluctant to contact them via email on your behalf (which will be definitely frowned upon by the SE team). You're not obliged to give authors a fee - the content is CC licensed - but if you're transparent about your identity and intentions they might be interested. $\endgroup$
    – E.P.
    Feb 2, 2016 at 22:00
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    $\begingroup$ Also, what's wrong with a company trying to protect it's business and income? They offer a great service, we all enjoy it (for free!), I don't see the point in chastising them because they want to protect that. $\endgroup$
    – Ant
    Feb 6, 2016 at 21:02

1 Answer 1


Is it really wrong to have sites copying ...

Depends on how they do it. The content is available under a license that permits redistribution: details are here. Not everyone complies with the terms of the license, though...

does stackexchange.com do anything to stop this

Yes, they do. See this answer by animuson, who holds the appropriately ominous job title of Operations Specialist.

What's the point?

Scrapers vary by nastiness. Some copy the site pixel-by-pixel, trademarks and all, effectively impersonating another company. Some inject questionable (potentially malicious) content while users think they are visiting a trustworthy site. And yes, traffic matters, as it does for any web-based company.


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