I have made it very explicit in the comments and in a direct statement in a (now deleted) comment that I rejected suggestions made to this answer.

A diamond moderator applied those changes anyway. This is an unlicensed use of content to which I have copyright. Such use is not permitted under CC license.

Please, take more care to not engage in unlicensed use of copyrighted content. Please, be more mindful of this issue, especially now that this site is no longer in beta.

To read up on some of the discussions surrounding this topic, you may look through the answers to this meta question.

There are also some suggestions proposed in, and around, this answer on how to make useful edit suggestions without being too heavy handed.

  • 12
    You're seriously throwing a tantrum about "copyright infringement" and "unsolicited edits" because you spelled a word wrong?
    – F1Krazy
    Feb 21, 2022 at 11:45
  • @F1Krazy I did not spell anything wrong. I stand by my original wording.
    – grovkin
    Feb 21, 2022 at 21:51
  • Please, retain this question as evidence in any possible future litigation.
    – grovkin
    Feb 22, 2022 at 0:03
  • 9
    You gave a non-revocable license under CC BY-SA 4.0 when posting the content, which included granting the right to everyone to make derivative ("Adapted") works. By posting on SE, you gave away the right to say "others may not edit". Your claim regarding "no endorsement" is specious. The license requires you be given attribution, which is done by displaying your user card as the original author and as the author of your edits. Your only recourse to not have that shown is to request the post be dissociated from your account (or delete your account, which is also a dissociation request).
    – Makyen
    Feb 22, 2022 at 1:46

3 Answers 3


Editing content of other users is a regular part of how Stack Exchange works. For more information, please read the help center article "Why can people edit my posts? How does editing work?".

All contributions are licensed under Creative Commons, and this site is collaboratively edited, like Wikipedia. If you see something that needs improvement, click edit!

Editing is important for keeping questions and answers clear, relevant, and up-to-date. If you are not comfortable with the idea of your contributions being collaboratively edited by other trusted users, this may not be the site for you.

  • You are not new. You are fully aware that editing of content is only permitted within the terms of the CC license. Which means that you may not create an impression that the original author endorses the modified content you distribute when you know that they do not endorse it. When changes are explicitly rejected by authors, ignoring such rejections creates content rejected by those whose by-line is attached to it.
    – grovkin
    Feb 21, 2022 at 9:25
  • 11
    @grovkin which part of the license says that [you may not edit if the author disagrees with the new version]? Are you suggesting the way SE attributes edits violates the No endorsement clause (2.a.6)? If so, then it's probably better to raise that on Main Meta because it would affect all edits by other users on the network. The way I see it, it's clear who made which edits so that no endorsement of later edits is implied on the part of the licensor.
    – JJJ Mod
    Feb 21, 2022 at 13:53
  • @JJJ no I am suggesting anything of the kind. I am suggesting, and it is commonly accepted, something entirely different. Such edits are a violation of No endoresement clause WHEN THE ORIGINAL AUTHORS DISAGREE WITH THE EDITS. Usually this is not an issue because OA can always revert the edits and because "substantially changes OA's intent" is a reason for rejecting an edit. However, when a diamond moderator misunderstands this issue, it has a potential to cause licensing problems down the line. Which is why I suggested this diamond moderator "CDJB" familiarize themselves with CC terms.
    – grovkin
    Feb 21, 2022 at 21:09
  • @JJJ further, I am not sure well you remember this site when it was in earlier stages, but before this discussion giving OA the power to effectively veto changes took place, it was very common for high reputation and moderators (on Politics.SE) to change questions almost in their entirety. This was done with the understanding better content was more important than respecting authors' intents. Not only did overlook the fact that it was a license violation, but it was also a source of a great deal of frustration, enmity and hostility.
    – grovkin
    Feb 21, 2022 at 21:17
  • @JJJ people who carefully weigh their words usually do that in order to be very precise about the points they wish to express. Sometimes those points have layers of meaning. Edits exist to clarify questions which are not understood as written. But it does on occasion happen that edits are performed as knee-jerk reactions to the editors' own triggers rather than due to lack of clarity of questions. When that happens, it is important for OA vetos on edits to remain in place. If a question, without an edit, is poor quality, you always have the option to post your own answer and dv oiriginal.
    – grovkin
    Feb 21, 2022 at 21:23
  • 6
    @grovkin What CDJB did to your post was to change "effected" to "affected". Don't you think you are taking this a bit too seriously?
    – Philipp Mod
    Feb 21, 2022 at 22:10
  • @Philipp you are mis-characterizing what happened. What they did was make this change after an extensive discussion about this change in the comments and after I rejected the change (in the comments) multiple times.
    – grovkin
    Feb 21, 2022 at 22:17
  • 5
    @grovkin In my understanding, edits by third parties (as presented on SE) do not constitute endorsements by the original author. It's clear from the review history who edited it. As such, I don't think there is an 'original author' veto. If you want such a veto then you probably should not post content under a CC license. Even if SE affords authors some leeway on ownership, others can republish the content elsewhere with those edits. As for the careful weighing of words, perhaps you can edit the meta question to explain what meaning 'effected' is supposed to convey?
    – JJJ Mod
    Feb 21, 2022 at 22:36
  • @JJJ your understanding is incorrect. Whoever has the byline has 2 vetos. (1) Hard veto. They can always rollback, even if/when posts are locked (at least that's how it used to be and I don't currently have a link to back that up, but I do remember reading it). (2) Soft veto. One of the reasons for rejecting a suggested edit is that it goes contrary to the OA's intents.
    – grovkin
    Feb 21, 2022 at 22:43
  • @JJJ I agree that the republishing is always available. But that only strengthens the view that the byline controls the perception of endorsement. If the byline agrees with your edits, then you have not violated the no-endorsement clause. If the byline disagrees with your edit, you have to repost (which would change the byline).
    – grovkin
    Feb 21, 2022 at 22:45
  • 2
    @grovkin The way I see it, those two vetoes you mention are additional niceties this network offers to our posters. Those vetoes are not required by the license. So when you say that these edits violate the license, I think you are wrong. Instead, they may be a less strict application of a non-codified rule which affords original authors a bit more say over their post. As for the byline, it's necessary because the license requires attribution. Even if republished elsewhere, it has to bear the poster's username to meet the attribution requirement. Attribution is not endorsement.
    – JJJ Mod
    Feb 21, 2022 at 22:54
  • @JJJ the license is structured the way it's structured. Its aim is to increase cooperation in creative efforts. What call "niceties" may just as well be the carefully thought-out consequences of the wording of the license. As I already mentioned, when this was ignored, it led to a lot of hostility on the site. Preemtying such uncooperative behavior could very well have been one of the aims of the license's author(s).
    – grovkin
    Feb 21, 2022 at 23:00

I have tried to familiarize myself with the Creative Commons license. I have come to the conclusion that the initial edit was not in violation of the license. By posting on our site, you have shared your content under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license. As Philipp points out in his answer, we commonly edit questions and answers on the site which are posted under CC license.

Having reviewed the CC license, it's clear that editing is allowed. Users may share and adapt provided that they attribute their work. In this case, the post was adapted and shared. As you can see in the answer timeline, it was again distributed under the same CC license. So that's a perfectly valid action from the CC point of view.

You then rolled it back to an earlier version which contained a mistake. It was explained in comments under the answer what that mistake was. Merriam Webster has a page on the difference between affect and effect. As I tried to explain in a comment, party A can take an action which has a certain effect on party B. That makes party A the effecting party while party B is the affected party.

As you know, we commonly use edits to improve posts on the site. Now that we have established that the edited version is better than the older version, it makes sense to roll it back the edited version. After all, we want to showcase the best version on the site.

The above seems to refute the misconception in your question, namely:

A diamond moderator applied those changes anyway. This is an unlicensed use of content to which I have copyright. Such use is not permitted under CC license.

It's not an unlicensed use because the edit complies with the conditions in the CC license you agreed to when posting on the site. Furthermore, the CC license cannot be revoked. As explained by creativecommonsusa.org:

CC licenses are not revocable. Once something has been published under a CC license, licensees may continue using it according to the license terms for the duration of applicable copyright and similar rights. As a licensor, you may stop distributing under the CC license at any time, but anyone who has access to a copy of the material may continue to redistribute it under the CC license terms. While you cannot revoke the license, CC licenses do provide a mechanism for licensors to ask that others using their material remove the attribution information. You should think carefully before choosing a Creative Commons license.

I guess that brings us back to the end of the quote in Philipp's answer. The Create Commons licenses are geared toward collaboration. If you're not comfortable with others editing your post, especially when you get upset about minor improvements, this type of site might not be for you.

To read up on some of the discussions surrounding this topic, you may look through the answers to this meta question.

I'm not sure what you are referring to specifically in those answers. The two top voted answers both mention mods locking the post to stop an edit war. That's also the action I've taken to prevent us from going back to the earlier version.

Then there's my own answer which mentions downvoting and eventually deletion. I don't think that applies here. The current version addresses the question sufficiently to constitute an answer.

Your own answer contains some more misconceptions about the CC license. Your main misunderstanding seems to be that edits by others imply endorsement by the original poster. That's just not true, each new revision relicenses the entire post under some CC license. Nowhere in the edit was it implied that you endorsed the editors or their use of your post. Doing so would violate the no endorsement clause of the license.

Then there's another misconception in your answer there:

While it may be tempting to argue that there is revision history and that the original author has the privilege of erasing their answers, do understand that when they created the content, they did license it to you under the assumption that you will not be, colloquially speaking, putting words in their mouth.

It's quite the paragraph, but I'm referring to the right to have your contributions removed. Again, that's not part of the license. You cannot withdraw the licensed content. You can ask for it to be removed, in which case it is up to the licensee to honor or refuse your request.

The license does mention requests to disassociate authors from their post(s). Stack Exchange's process for doing so may be found on Main Meta, for example in this question: How do I remove my name from a post, in accordance with CC BY-SA?

In any case, I hope you will find some time to refamiliarize yourself with the license contents. It seems that some of the interpretations put forward are non-standard. A broader discussion of how Stack Exchange licenses work may be better suited for Main Meta.


I have found this meta post made a bit over a week after Stack Exchange changed from Creative Commons v3.0 licensing to Creative Commons v4.0 licensing. This is news to me in 2022 of course, but regardless apparently in the post timeline you can see each iteration of the post (here, your answer) and a link to the exact and specific license version used for the post creation along with each subsequent edit.

This is the post in question's timeline: https://politics.stackexchange.com/posts/70829/timeline

We can clearly see the original post was granted a license. We also see a discussion in the comments about the proper use of grammar. We see a user make an update under the clear belief that the proper grammar ought to be a particular way. This is the important part in my mind for this discussion: The Update is granted a new license.

Stack Exchange is a piece of software. The content that we contribute (stored as data in their systems) is licensed by us to them. The website we use to interact with that content is how Stack Exchange implements the controls over the content that we own which are available for people to use. You, by the way, do not own that Edit. You do own the original post's content.

The controls implemented by Stack Exchange have certain, specific rules. Any user with enough reputation is able to take advantage of it. My grasp of the English language I believe is good enough to understand that the Edit created on your content was in fact done in good faith, your original protestations in the comments notwithstanding. The timeline of events as shown from the second link in this answer show a clear time separation where it seems an actual, correct interpretation of reality might have been settled upon by the community, and an edit made to content in order to help the site as a whole (and you in particular). It is the kind of behavior I would think we would want to encourage for all users of the site.

Those same controls created in the software by the way also allow you, as the post owner, to rollback unwanted revisions to your content to your heart's content, so good job there. Ultimately you are in fact correct, Creative Commons allows people to be just as wrong as they please. I've been corrected a time or two before when my carefully crafted content does, in fact, turn out to be wrong. Had any user (someone with a special looking username or not) then proceeded to force their will onto your content you would have a point here. So far, that's not happened, so in my mind at least good faith can still be assumed.

But I'm just a guy on the internet, so I do leave open the possibility that I'm wrong once again about everything and I'll leave this link right here and let other people fight it out in the comments somewhere.

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