My question Does anyone curate a list of boilerplate terms-of-service? has been put on hold. I would like to counter the issues raised, and ask for it to be re-opened.

I am also open to suggestions to:

  • simplify the question (I front-loaded it in attempt to prevent it from being put on hold)
  • salvage the question (if the consensus is that adding something will put it back on topic)

My counterclaims:

ToS are off-topic (only copyright licenses are on-topic). ToS can and do interact with copyright (example: How does GitHub's "forking right" cope with an "All rights reserved" project? ) as do contributor-agreements and other legal mechanisms (DMCA, DRM...). Thus ToS (and my question in particular) affects "understanding, applying, and complying with Free & Open licenses".

ToS are off-topic (not relevant to the free/libre/open community). Networked services that require that a user agrees to ToS are ubiquitous. Members of our community use these services to to create, share, modify and sell collaborative works. Thus ToS (and my question in particular) affects "how communities collaborate together to produce, distribute, market and sometime monetize these projects".

OP needs a lawyer. I'm not asking for a legal evaluation, I'm asking if there is an organization that creates and/or comments on legal documents. Just like the FSF or Creative Commons create licenses, or the OSI or Definition of Free Cultural Works approve/comment on them. Thus I'm asking about an organization that draws on or has ties to "the history and philosophies of the FSF, OSI, CC etc". (Specifically the "etc" part ;)

The answer is "there is no such organization". That's a valid answer to (imho) a valid question. It's the answer I came to in my research. The reason I posted here was to get external input (did I miss something?) and/or provide my own well-researched answer.

Post script: Since posting, I have also followed some of my own advice and a) simplified the question and b) focused on the interaction between ToS and copyright/collaboration. On reflection this stack is limited to copyright/collaboration and not user rights in general.

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    I would really appreciate comments and/or answers
    – lofidevops
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 14:19
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    I have a useful answer, which I think demonstrates validity, but I'd rather wait for feedback before adding that to everything else I've said
    – lofidevops
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 14:21
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    "There is no such organization" is not really a good answer, even if the question were on topic. What if someone creates a Web site tomorrow that has example terms of service for you to use. Then the answer would no longer be valid. Also, questions and answers that are simply "could you help me find this or that resource" (such as a Web site which has example terms of service) are not good QAs either.
    – Brandin
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 14:40
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    Leaving a comment as you did is probably the best option. Suppose someone else has the same question (albeit off-topic) and comes across your question; now she can see your comment and, if that is satisfactory, she would at least have gained some value from the page. But to label the page as on-topic and to add an Answer which is simply "there is no such organization" would give a wrong impression.
    – Brandin
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 14:43
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    Your question was closed by a moderator, and four others - did you ask them? Also, your question is asking about some random legal topic - it's akin to asking what programmer's eat on Stack Overflow imo. It's difficult to see after reading your question how there is a connection to open source - how is the terms of service for a network app relevant? I see no relevance. And because of that, your question was closed.
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 16:20

2 Answers 2


I want to offer ToS that respect users' freedoms and rights...

...list of boilerplate "terms of service" documents?

IOW, it looks to me like you're asking for a pointer to a list of TOS documents from which you can choose your TOS. That's definitively off-topic, I'm afraid:

  • List-of-things (in this case list-of-links-to-other-lists) questions are off-topic. Their answers rarely do more than point to another external resource, which may be helpful for a short while but will go out of date quickly.
  • Terms of service are proprietary agreements intended to restrict users' rights, not to explicitly affirm or grant them as with FOSS licences. Regardless of whether that's your intended use or not, a list of TOS documents will inevitably be a majority of this.
  • Recommendation questions (except detailed FOSS licence recommendations, see ) are also off-topic: in general, SE is trying to build a library of Q&A that's useful to future readers, which recommendations don't tend to be. Your question is less recommendation than list-of-things, but I wanted to mention this too to be clear.

In terms of what you can do to bring the question on-topic... I don't see many available options, I'm afraid. You're asking for something that's fundamentally not about the same topic as this site is, which indicates that you're probably not in the right place to ask it. I'd suggest asking this in an alternative location - Quora is reasonable for lists-of-things, and some of the technical subreddits might also be an option.

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    other issues aside, that does seem to be a damning feature of this question :( -- I've posted a proposed answer to demonstrate what my thinking was, it still looks kinda listy, but maybe with helpful advice too?
    – lofidevops
    Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 11:37

Proposed answer:

There is currently no organization that creates or suggests Terms of Service, let alone with open source in mind. However, the following resources may help:

  • Wordpress.com is an example of a web service that have released the Wordpress ToS under CC BY-SA 4.0, so that others may re-use it. You may be able to find other examples of ToS that are licensed for re-use. (GitLab ToS may be similarly licensed?)

  • ToS;DR is a volunteer-driven site that provides human-readable summaries of ToS (for example: Wordpress.com). Their evaluations include good and bad points, including questions of licensing and copyright where applicable.

  • If you need legal counsel in the US, the Electronic Frontier Foundation have an interest in re-use and sharing and should be able to direct you to a lawyer. They may be able to point you to sister organisations in other territories.

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