Guidelines for Use of our Logo and Name

Since the Stack Exchange API went into public beta, and we started our totally awesome API contest, we’ve run into a bit of self-inflicted confusion:

How can I use the Stack Overflow | Server Fault | Super User name and logo in my application?

While we had a general “we know proper usage when we see it” idea about this, we didn’t have a document describing the specific do’s and don’ts. But now we do!

Guidelines for the Use of the Stack Exchange Trademarks

(also available by clicking the legal link in the footer of any network site page)

While this is the most urgently needed info we didn’t have, we also took the opportunity to improve a few other legal documents for the brave new world of Stack Exchange 2.0:

We tried our best to avoid legalese in these documents:

Legalese is an English term first used in 1914 for legal writing that is designed to be difficult for laymen to read and understand, the implication being that this abstruseness is deliberate for excluding the legally untrained and to justify high fees. Legalese, as a term, has been adopted in other languages. Legalese is characterized by long sentences, many modifying clauses, complex vocabulary, high abstraction, and insensitivity to the layman’s need to understand the document’s gist. Legalese arises most commonly in legal drafting, yet appears in both types of legal analysis. Today, the Plain Language Movement in legal writing is progressing and experts are busy trying to demystify legalese.

If you’re unfamiliar, the legalese hall of shame is a great reminder of what we’re striving to avoid here.

Please review these documents and let us know if they are reasonably clear, and answer your main questions, particularly concerning usage of our logos, domains, and names in your own applications.

While you can always comment here on the blog as usual, I opened a meta topic if you have any specific, actionable feedback you’d like us to follow up on.


Jeff Atwood
Co-Founder (Emeritus)

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