Why is this forum using a non commercial licence?

Hello. I was looking at the TOS, and saw that this forum is CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0, and was really surprised by the NC clause. This means that if I want to write a blog post that use monetization I can't directly re-use anything that someone wrote in this forum. Furthermore, the NC clause make it de facto non open.

NC licenses do not qualify as “open licenses” under the Open Definition, and works licensed under an NC license are not considered Free Cultural Works. This may be important if you want others to further distribute your work on Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, or other platforms requiring a license that meets the Open Definition or the Definition of Free Cultural Works.

This feels really contradictory with the general feeling I have of the Rust community. Most libraries are shared using BSD/MIT license and not GPL for maximum re-use. It feels surprising that – by default – comments on this forum don't follow the same philosophy.

IMHO, the rational should be added in the relevant section of the TOS or changed.

For my specific case, my blog isn't monetized, so I can just change the license for this specific post, or ask the people in the thread, but I am still concerned by this decision.


It seems to me that most valid “re-use anything that someone wrote in this forum” would fall under fair use, and so avoid the licensing question altogether. Only if you were to essentially just copy someone else’s post and republish it would you run into issues, which sounds like a good thing.

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Wait a minute...

Are you saying that a commercial entity cannot copy all of my post, or even all of my posts, and publish them in a work for money?

I guess I clicked through or implicitly agreed to whatever site terms when I signed up here. But I like to think that whatever I post here is as open as can be. Something I say may be of value to a commercial entity, well, good for them.

Not that even in my wildest dreams do I imagine such a situation occurring.

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Are you saying that a commercial entity cannot copy all of my post, or even all of my posts, and publish them in a work for money?

This is exactly what you do when when contribute to Wikipedia (or any other site of the Wikimedia foundation). The content is under CC-BY-SA licence

You are free to [...] remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially.

The BY clause require that the source is cited, and that's all. EDIT: and the SA clause means that the resulting work needs to be shared using the same clause. This means that most commercial entities will not re-use your work because they don't want to follow those clauses.

By the way the NC clause in this forum means that you can't copy-past the content on Wikipedia.


Hello everyone, just a quick update. We've changed the TOS to the following. In particular, as of 1 week from today, user contributors will now be licensed in the same way as Rust RFCs and the Rust repository itself:

User contributions made on or after 2020-07-17 are dual-licensed under the MIT and Apache 2.0 licenses unless otherwise stated. The licenses were explicitly chosen to ensure that text from comments on this forum may be included in RFCs, which are also licensed in the same fashion, per RFC 2044. This license also implies that content from the comments on this forum (including code snippets) can be incorporated into the rust-lang/rust repository (or other repositories using a similar license).

User contributions made before 2020-07-17 are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Without limiting any of those representations or warranties, Mozilla has the right (though not the obligation) to, in Mozilla’s sole discretion (i) refuse or remove any content that, in Mozilla’s reasonable opinion, violates any Mozilla policy or is in any way harmful or objectionable, or (ii) terminate or deny access to and use of the Website to any individual or entity for any reason, in Mozilla’s sole discretion. Mozilla will have no obligation to provide a refund of any amounts previously paid.


Great move!

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This sounds to me like Mozilla could unilaterally terminate whichever user accounts from urlo and irlo, and there would be no appeal possible.

Not that I believe it is currently in Mozilla's interests to do so, mind you. But especially with the software world becoming more politicized and political winds in general being subject to change, it does not sound like a good idea to me to ask people to freely contribute, and have Mozilla then be able to just arbitrarily cut them off from contributions and connections made.

If this clause was included to have the ability to protect the community from clearly harmful people and/or behavior, that concern is quite valid. But so is the one I outlined above.

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In practice, it's the moderation team that does this.

There are very few online platforms that exist that do not retain some power to exclude people. It seems bizarre to me to suggest otherwise.


Like I said, the ability to exclude toxicity is quite important.
But it seems just as bizarre to me to include such a power as currently worded.

There is no requirement of due diligence, there is no provision for accountability for decisions made, there aren't even any guidelines as to why that clause would be used in the first place.

It's a legally enforceable license. I'm not sure how else it could be worded other than bluntly? I don't think anyone wants Mozilla to be taken to court because someone doesn't like that they got banned.

I really don't think the justice system should be moderating forums. They've got enough to do.


My issue is not that the wording is blunt, that's perfectly fine.

My issue is that, should Mozilla (or apparently the moderation teams) ever decide on a whim to ban from either URLO or IRLO, that's legally the end of the story. Sorry, no recourse for you, not even the possibility of some sort of way forward.
This issue on its own is one thing, but then I take into account that the more one engages with either forum in good faith (as by far most people tend to, from what I've seen so far), the more one has an actual investment to lose. In time, in effort, and potentially in documented solutions to real-world problems people have had.
If financial investments are nothing to sneeze at, then neither are investments by other means.

Again, I'm not saying the moderation team / Mozilla would currently ban good faith members of either forum. I'm saying that the potential for abuse is more than clearly there, and just thinking about that made the hairs on my neck stand up.

This kind of verbiage is standard in terms of service. See reddit:

We reserve the right to modify, suspend, or discontinue the Services (in whole or in part) at any time, with or without notice to you. Any future release, update, or other addition to functionality of the Services will be subject to these Terms, which may be updated from time to time. You agree that we will not be liable to you or to any third party for any modification, suspension, or discontinuation of the Services or any part thereof.


We may suspend or terminate your account or cease providing you with all or part of the Services at any time for any or no reason, including, but not limited to, if we reasonably believe: ...


GitHub has the right to suspend or terminate your access to all or any part of the Website at any time, with or without cause, with or without notice, effective immediately. GitHub reserves the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason at any time.

It's a legal document, it's going to be blunt, and it's going to reserve a clear set of rights as opposed to something fuzzy that requires a legal definition of disruptive behavior.

I mean, yes, that's the point, it would be bad if every time someone was banned they could threaten to sue. There is no legal recourse. There is recourse, however: you can, of course, contact the moderation team and talk with them.


Even if law is not on your site for being banned for no reason, there is always the possibility of starting a public shitstorm (if all other options have been exhausted). I'm fairly confident in my opinion, that Mozilla does not want to have bad PR. Therefore, moderators will most likely not ban for no reason and get away with it.

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