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Update: I've started pinning things to a Cooking board on the Stack Exchange Pinterest account. If you're on Pinterest (or if you're just curious what this is all about), check it out: http://pinterest.com/stackexchange/

Pinterest is an online bulletin board of sorts - users pin images, write notes about what they love, and organize them into different "boards."

I am putting together a plan for a Stack Exchange Pinterest account, with the idea being that Stack Exchange as a brand can start participating in the broader conversations about topics we have sites for. Subjects that are popular on Pinterest and have a corresponding SE site are:

  • Photography
  • DIY/Home Improvement
  • Gardening & Landscaping
  • Food & Cooking (corresponds to Seasoned Advice, though not an exact match of popular topics)
  • Fitness & Nutrition (less popular on Pinterest than the other topics)

The goal of trying out a Stack Exchange Pinterest account is to meet potential new users in a place where they are already congregating. Pinterest has had explosive growth in the past six months, and its primary demographic is different enough from most Stack Exchange sites' current demographics for it to be worth a shot.

Each of the above topics would be its own board on the Stack Exchange Pinterest account. Content ("pins") would include content from our own sites as well as interesting content from elsewhere around the Internet.

My question for you all is this:

Are you in favor of, or against, having your Stack Exchange content pinned on Pinterest? My plan is to write user names in the pin description for any content that comes from this site, but Pinterest does not require attribution for content that is re-pinned (meaning that my attribution to the OP might be lost if other people repost that content).

Everything that I would post to Pinterest would link back to the original source, and include some sort of author/photographer attribution in the description. The original source would be the actual Q&A page for any questions or answers shared, or the Seasoned Advice blog as it gets up and running.

Pinterest is still figuring out how to make their Terms of Service work for them as a business without infringing on/changing licensing or rights to other people's content, and there is a huge range in attitudes about the value of Pinterest. Therefore, I'd love to hear any and all thoughts you guys have on the matter before I get started.

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Personally, I don't mind if StackExchange shares my Seasoned Advice content there.

However, I should point out that:

  • Their licensing terms (1b) aren't compatible with CC-BY-SA. So legally, seems like you'd need to get permission from the author of each SE post you want to put there.
  • They only allow noncommercial use (2b, and also the acceptable use policy) of their service.
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Regarding FuzzyChef's comment about attorneys:

I had Stack Exchange's lawyer take a look. He told me that posting SE content to Pinterest with attribution does not violate or invalidate the CC-by-SA license.

We will never require any Stack Exchange user to get a Pinterest account. Ever. There's no need, and it also would be weird and unfair.

Regarding derobert's point about Pinterest's Terms of Service paragraph 1b:

The paragraph 1b is a standard license you grant any web-based application where you need to upload (transfer) content from your computer to the web app's central server. The web application requires the right to reproduce that content so that they can display it to your and every other visitor to their web page. If you look at the TOS for almost any site where you might upload something from your computer to the web site - Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, Adobe Photoshop Express, Slashdot and on and on - you'll notice that most of them have almost identical clauses. This does not mean that they are stealing your work or claiming ownership or exclusive rights.

It also does not mean that the CC-by-SA license doesn't apply.

Regarding the point about noncommercial use: Noncommercial means you can't use Pinterest to sell anything or otherwise make money through Pinterest. It does not mean that brands are prohibited from using it. In fact, there are already a large number of very large brands on Pinterest: GE, Virgin America, Peugeot, Kotex, Honda, Sephora - to name a few.

Conclusion: I hope this helps alleviate some of the concerns you all had. Since the consensus seems to be in favor of using Pinterest to get some fresh eyes on Seasoned Advice content despite these concerns, I will plan to go ahead and include Seasoned Advice content in the Stack Exchange Pinterest account but will continue to pay attention to any concerns raised here.

  • Laura, I wasn't thinking so much about CC-by-SA (I couldn't care less about the licensing on my answers), as I was about the various frightening liability and indemnity clauses in the Pinterest user agreement. If your attorneys think its OK, though, they would know. – FuzzyChef May 6 '12 at 18:38
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I personally don't have a problem with it.

It seems like most of the traffic to SeasonedAdvice has been from other SE sites- so we seem to have a large number of technology inclined, 20-30s, male contributors. Pinterest seems to have a significantly different core demographic and we could use some more variety.

I didn't know that you could repin something without attribution. That sounds like a problem to solve.

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    Maybe our users come from SE, but over 90% of our traffic comes from search engines. However, I agree in general. More users, more views, more questions, more answers, more awareness, all good things. – yossarian Apr 26 '12 at 13:42
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I think it's a great idea. I think the SE sites have given us a lot of users, views, and interest. Search engines give us loads of traffic. The idea of engaging new, interested users where they already congregate sounds like a great idea.

I appreciate that you guys at SE are very cognizant of keeping attribution up on our behalf. I personally am less concerned with that. As long the usage is in good faith (i.e. people really trying to share information, and not content farming), I'm more concerned with the overall growth for our community, and I think this would help.

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Have your legal staff looked at the user's agreement and licensing terms on Pinterest? I'd think that StackExchange's attorneys would veto this idea out of hand. If they haven't look at it, they should, first.

Personally, I don't care, as long as I'm not required to get a Pinterest account.

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