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A user asked this question (question 1) about licensing, authorship and ownership relating to using code from StackOverflow and GitHub Gists/Issues in an R package to release on CRAN.

I suggested splitting the question up which resulted in this additional question (question 2) about authorship and the first question being narrowed to be about licensing only.

I've never used R or CRAN but it seemed to me that these questions could be quite generically answered, which I did so for each, in the hopes that they would be applicable to anyone else coming along with the same questions... no matter what they were developing.

So, I'm wondering whether it would be appropriate to edit these questions to also make them more generic and easy to find.

  • I'd propose question 1 is asking "Can I legally use code I found on a forum?", and
  • I'd propose question 2 is asking "How do I attribute authors if I don't know their real names?"

This is how I answered both the questions and these were both accepted by the asker.

Would it be ok for me to attempt to edit these questions? Or would that be potentially writing in to the question something which was not necessarily asked?

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If you have a good heart, and you make the edit in good faith that you believe that it will improve the question and make it more valuable for the community and the public, then please go ahead!

However, you also need to make sure that you respect the author's intentions. In some cases, the author wants to make sure that every detail of their problem is noted. And in other cases, it is crucial that details are kept as-is, and are not removed.

Remember also, that Stack Exchange sites thrives on individual and specific questions. The goal is not to become a generic help center, but rather a place where people can receive help on individual problems.

One more thing to remember is that generally, if you have edit privileges, you are more than welcome to edit questions and answers to improve them. If you are nervous about making an edit, you can always make the edit anyway. There are people in the community who do keep a watchful eye (wink! wink!) as well. Or you can come to meta as you did now. :)

Basically, what I'm saying, is go ahead and make the edit! If problems arise, there will always be solutions :)

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    Thanks Zizouz for clarifying. I must remember to balance the 'individual and specific' part of SE rather than emphasising the 'resource for Googlers' too much. Thanks too for the bounties you're setting - it's a very selfless way to grow the community! – Tim Malone Jun 19 '16 at 21:50
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    @TimMalone You're very welcome! Glad I could help :) – Zizouz212 Jun 20 '16 at 11:50

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