In the past 2 months, two new sites in the Stack Exchange network opened up and are now in Public Beta: Open Source and Law. A third, Software Recommendations, has been around for about 1.5 years. These are three topics that our Help Center's /help/on-topic page explicitly calls out that are well within scope of these sites, assuming the other quality measures for a question hold (emphasis mine):
If you have a question about...
- software requirements
- software architecture and design
- algorithm and data structure concepts
- quality assurance and testing
- development methodologies and processes
- software configuration management
- software engineering management
- software licensing
and it is not about...
- general workplace issues, office politics, and job hunting (check out The Workplace instead)
- implementation issues, such as code fixes (ask on Stack Overflow instead)
- how to use specific tools
- what language/technology you should learn next, including which technology is better
- what project you should do next
- where to find a software library, tool, book, research paper, blog, forum, or other resources
- product or service recommendations
- career or education advice, salary, or compensation
- personal lifestyle, including relationships and non-programming activities
- legal advice or aid
These topics appear to be well suited to these other sites, based on the questions that have been asked so far on them. It's likely that someone interested in any kind of intellectual property (copyright, copyleft, patents, trade secrets, infringement, and perhaps even closed-source licenses) or open source (philosophy of open source organizations, using or complying with open source licenses, working within the open source communities, choosing appropriate licenses) are on-topic on one of these sites.
Should Programmers make software licensing questions explicitly off-topic and redirect people to Open Source or Law, as appropriate, to be put in better hands to get answers to their questions?
- Open Source Help Center (especially: "What topics can I ask about here?")
- Open Source tags - popular tags include "licensing", "gpl", "copyleft", "license-compatibility", "derivative-works", "distribution", "attribution", and others that very clearly related to topics asked about on Programmers
- Law Help Center (especially: "What topics can I ask about here?")
- Law tags - popular tags include "copyright", "intellectual-property", "software", "licensing", "trademark", "patents", and "terms-of-service"
- OpenSource.SE: Discussing scope overhauls with Programmers SE