Creating a QA site - Becoming a lot like SE


I wanted to create a new website that was a Question and Answer site in a specific niche (one that SE is not in right now). My problem is that the more I design and create the website, the closer it is becoming just like another SE site.

Are there any legal ramifications to this? The code is all my own, the design is all my own. The concept was inspired by SE, but I am trying to verge from them as much as possible, it just keeps coming back.

I almost feel like I am cheating SE as I am an avid member on a few of its sites.

Legal Website Copyright

asked Oct 26 '10 at 03:24
1,340 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll

3 Answers


You should read this post about creating Stack Exchange clones.

Basically it says:

  • Look and feel is not copyright
  • Code is copyright (so you can't make copies of their publicly available .css and .js files)
  • Names and logos could be trademarks

There's also a whole bunch of questions linked to that question on the same page which ask the same question.

Here is a question which lists all of the clones that have already been built. So basically you are not the first person to want to or who has already cloned Stack Exchange.

On another note I wish I had a dollar for everyone who had a "great business idea" based upon a Q&A site since this site became successful. As many people have pointed out on other sites, the success of Stack Overflow and other Stack Exchange sites is mainly about the community and only partly about the functionality.

If I had a Q & A site I would be more focused on how I could build a community and less about what my site looked like. These guys (Joel and Jeff) had tens of thousands of loyal readers that they were able to bring across to SE when it first started (myself one of them).

answered Oct 26 '10 at 07:17
1,257 points


SE is using proprietary code. As long as you write your own code and not rip it off theirs I think you should be OK. A lot of sites can look alike, and have similar functionality, but as long as there's something that differentiates your idea from theirs I think you should be OK.

Think about "Like" button introduced by facebook and "Follow" concept that came from Twitter. Have you seen similar implementations on other sites?

Just make sure you document somehow your site -- you don't want them to add something similar to your idea and then come after you (if you guys indeed are too close). The easy way to do it is to put your idea on paper and mail it to yourself as a certified letter to keep it unopened. Now sure if it is a bullet-proof solution but it'll certainly have a time reference when you started working on your unique idea.

answered Oct 26 '10 at 03:56
1,698 points
  • This is nonsense: Copy some one elses site, then add some new ideas, then send your own ideas to yourself in a sealed envelope. Because, you think the people you stole from originally might copy your ideas and then "come after you" for the ideas you didn't copy – Xiaohouzi79 12 years ago
  • He never said he is stealing anything. In fact, he said he has an original idea and was concerned that it could be perceived as getting too close. A possibility that "big boys" can come after your good idea is a legitimate concern, and taking a simple step, like time-stamping your idea with the help of US government service is not such a bad idea and is done more often than you might think. What you wrote in your comment is nonsense indeed -- not sure where you got that... Please read posts carefully before commenting. – Usabilitest 12 years ago


Creating a QA website - You may most your website requirements on any of the freelancing portal like,, to find 100s of IT companies to provide you the legal advise + website design work.

answered Oct 26 '10 at 17:13
99 Desk
11 points

Your Answer

  • Bold
  • Italic
  • • Bullets
  • 1. Numbers
  • Quote
Not the answer you're looking for? Ask your own question or browse other questions in these topics:

Legal Website Copyright