What is the license on content here in OEG Connect?

This question has been asked of us a few times.

Here, in OEG Connect, the content you write as an author by default belongs to you. This is tucked away in the terms of service that are part of the Discourse software that runs this site, under Your Content:

Nothing in these terms gives the company any ownership rights in intellectual property that you share with the forum, such as your account information, posts, or other content you submit to the forum.

Content you submit to the forum belongs to you, and you decide what permission to give others for it. But at a minimum, you license the company to provide content that you submit to the forum to other users of the forum. That special license allows the company to copy, publish, and analyze content you submit to the forum.

When content you submit is removed from the forum, whether by you or by the company, the company’s special license ends when the last copy disappears from the company’s backups, caches, and other systems. Other licenses you apply to content you submit, such as Creative Commons licenses, may continue after your content is removed. Those licenses may give others, or the company itself, the right to share your content through the forum again.

Again, this means you own your content and also that OE Global cannot assign a specific license to that content. But it also means, be default it is copyright. It thus falls onto the author to add a license to anything they would like to share.

I have done some searching and have not found any kind of Discourse plugin that might add a license option to the editor. Maybe it’s not too hard to code this, but it’s outside my skill range.

To be honest, I am not sure of the context where a post in a community forum might be reused where it might need a license. Do you need a license to reuse a tweet? An example did show up for me this week, via an email from colleague @ifrank (a colleague I have known online a long time, way back to Second Life days, hi Ilene).

Apparently a colleague is developing a site and want to use this little post I had tossed off about the availability of open licensed vaccination photos

If it was me, I might just reference it with a link and an attribution, but just to make it easier, I modified it by pasting in a CC0 license.

That covers the situation, but I would not expect too many people to spend their time in a conversation space cutting and pasting license statements, even if you could do it more quickly with a menu tool.

I am curious to know from others:

  • Are licenses necessary in this kind of space?
  • What are the situations where they would apply?
  • Should / can a host of this site change the terms of service to say, "unless otherwise stated, all content here belongs to the author but is shared under a ______ license. This would require notifying all users and have them accept the new terms of service.
  • What else?