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Who cares? "Steal what you love", right? They obviously couldn't use the English speaking site, and I doubt the real Stack Overflow has any plans to expand into the Chinese market.

I wouldn't be proud doing such a thing myself, but if such a site will help our Chinese friends learn to program better, good luck to it IMO.




That's a really good point about non-English content. Most popular community oriented sites out there, service one and only one language. As someone who grew up speaking Turkish, I can tell you that the quality of content in Turkish on the interwebs is quite sad compared to English. Most web sites service a global audience but there doesn't seem to be much i18n l18n going around. This creates a demand for stuff like this. There must be a way to service different languages better without having to clone websites though.

Still, I wouldn't be that nonchalant about stealing work. It's one thing to be inspired by Stack Overflow and build something similar, a 1-1 copy is different.

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i18n is a technical issue. What matters most in this case is not that StackOverflow does not have a Mandarin interface, but rather, it does not have a Mandarin community.

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Well, which comes first, chicken or the egg? The language support or the community?

Without the community there's no need to support the language. But without the language you cannot support the community.

Part of the problem is that localization can be expensive (especially for non-Western languages) and there is no easy way for community driven sites to gauge potential returns of investing in a new language. But the fact that someone took the trouble of cloning the whole site probably indicates that there's interest out there.

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The language argument is a red herring that appeals to an outdated, pre-communications revolution worldview and tries to ignore the central issue here.

Language support has absolutely nothing to do with anything in this situation. If someone produces something based on a concept already in the wild, it's OK no matter what the language situation is. But if someone outright clones a site's design, it's a dirty move no matter what the language situation is. In its worst forms it's fraudulent and deceptive, in its most innocent form it's confusing to users.

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I do not think this new site is fraudulent or confusing to its users. I'm sure the vast majority of Chinese users will know this new site is a clone of StackOverflow.

Here's your litmus test:

If both sites exist and users in China overwhelmingly chose the new China based one, doesn't it prove that this new site is providing something that the original did not or could not provide?

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So if I clone your ShellShadow software, design everything to look as identical as possible and the market overwhelmingly chooses my clone, that's OK with you? Somehow I doubt it.

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Its not a matter of "that's ok with me". There are many variables to success. If someone else's "Collaborative Shell Client" takes off and mine doesn't, or takes off in a market I haven't or couldn't service well, and I was on the internet first, I need to review many other variables besides just product design.

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If someone else's "Collaborative Shell Client" takes off and mine doesn't...

There's a massive difference between a competitor and a clone.

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ahhh...but you see the "software" as 100% of the product. There is so much more to it..especially in the case of community content sites.

In this case, they didn't copy the software. They rewrote it from the ground up with different tools. They did copy almost 100% the look and feel. But that is not 100% of the "product"...far from it.

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You clearly have missed everything since it's exactly the opposite. The internal software architecture is not the issue here, the cloned result presented to users/customers is.

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and StackOverflow was unabashedly a derivative of Digg or Reddit. The creators have said so themselves.

How closely to a pre-existing design or market space does a product need to be before it offends you? Do you have a methodology to measure this?

How much time have you spent trying to woo venture capital? In my experience, one of the first questions I get hit with is "is there anyone else doing something similar?" If the answer is no, this is a red flag.

A typical and expected elevator pitch is "its like X but for Y". Hybridization is the game here. It is common and quite acceptable to say "its like X but for China".

The creator of this new product did change something...something critical... "its like StackOverflow but for China".

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and StackOverflow was unabashedly a derivative of Digg or Reddit.

"Derivative", not clone.

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its all "derivative". You simply have a definition of "clone" which I do not share.

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What exactly is the problem? The original stack overflow is CC-SA. This website: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/ says what it is meant by that:

You are free:

- to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work

- to Remix — to adapt the work

Under the following conditions:

- Attribution ...

- Share Alike ...

The Chinese cite shows that it is CC-SA (right bottom corner). Furthermore it freely acknowledges that it is based on stackoverflow. You can look at the blog [here](http://translate.google.com/translate?prev=_t&hl=en&...)

Here is an [answer](http://209.85.229.132/translate_c?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&sl=...) to what the relationship is between cnprog.com and stackoverflow:

The creation of CNProg are stackoverflow inspiration comes from (see "Why CNProg.COM create?")

SO once made to us, but because of Jeff and his team are currently no plans for localization, so we have created to serve the Chinese programmers CNProg. And our platform is already open source code, welcome like-minded friends to join us, millions of programmers to provide a domestic major technical Q & A community.

I can not see that anything morally wrong was done by creating this site - and it serves a useful purpose (by helping those people who speak Chinese).

> The language argument is a red herring that appeals to an outdated, pre-communications revolution worldview

This is the typical view of an English centric person. There are billions of people for who English is not a first language and whose second language English is not up to the standard that they can communicate with.

But who cares? I am sure that there are enough Chinese -speaking people to make this site a success.

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What exactly is the problem? The original stack overflow is CC-SA.

I'm not addressing the license aspect of this particular case, I'm addressing the attempt to use language support as a justification for this practice.

Furthermore it freely acknowledges that it is based on stackoverflow... The creation of CNProg are stackoverflow inspiration

There is a huge difference between inspiration and outright cloning, and many additional consequences that result from the latter.

This is the typical view of an English centric person

Just the opposite. This is the view of someone currently in France, whose first company in my 20s was based in both Hong Kong and the US, makes web apps with labels in multiple languages and therefore recognizes the utter ignorance of claiming that language is sufficient justification for outright cloning a product or service.

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I still think your focusing too much on "language" rather than "community".

Jeff Atwood and co. could never "copy" the StackOverflow community into China. And that's what they would have to do..."copy it to China". I highly doubt they could have done it and maybe this new set of programmers can. What harm is there in providing a community for Chinese programmers to thrive?

Look at all Google's efforts...and they aren't the dominant search engine in China. There is too much belief that if a Western company creates a product that they have implicit rights to world domination with it. I think a fragmented world is interesting and more competitive. If it takes copying to bootstrap that fragmentation, so be it.

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And that's what they would have to do..."copy it to China"

Which is basically all the clone is at this point.

I still think your focusing too much on "language" rather than "community".

I'm focused on language because that's the justification being given for cloning web apps. No matter what language you want to deal with, claiming that you can't build a community without entirely cloning another team's web app is asinine.

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"Which is basically all the clone is at this point."

At this point its more than a clone. He published the source with a permissible license (Apache) on a well adopted platform (django).

StackOverflow gave something to the world with its licensing. The creator of this new product followed the rules and even added the bonus of immediately giving something back to the world.

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As I stated elsewhere, the internal software architecture (or licensing) is not the issue here, the cloned result presented to users/customers is.

Your argument was that someone can't take a web app and "copy it to China," yet this is exactly what it is at this point from the perspective of someone using the application. So, according to you now, apparently it can be done as long as the person who "cop[ies] it to China" happens to be on Chinese soil at the time and, unbeknownst to a regular user, builds it using a different web framework and open sources it.

No, in fact your origin implication was the right one: the hard part is building a community and delivering a service customized for market beyond simply changing the language, something that so far has not been done here with this application yet.

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My argument is that there is more to a "product" than the attributes that make it the clone you see now. Will this new author develop this into something more or will someone else take his open source and develop more with it but for India or Korea? Time will tell. I reserve judgment.

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No-one claimed that. And as pointed out elsewhere, an update to the sites' CSS is imminent; the copying of SO's CSS seems to have been a simple matter of expediency.

I'm not sure what your point is, actually. Cloning successful products is hardly new or even frowned upon. Indeed, the computer you are using is most likely a descendant of a cloned IBM PC. Why argue?

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