On June 24, 2013, MathOverflow signed an agreement with Stack Exchange, Inc., to migrate the original site to the newer Stack Exchange 2.0 platform and join the Stack Exchange network.
François G. Dorais ♦

Unfortunately, the document is hosted on Google Drive, which is blocked in China.

Question: What is MathOverflow's "agreement" with Stack Exchange?

In light on recent events at meta.SE, I'm interested in what it says, but I can't access it.

Relevant posts:

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ It's essentially a two plus page document that says that MathOverflow the organization is independent and owns the rights to the domain name. It is not clear to me who "owns" the content of the forum, but the agreement gives the organization the right to move it off Stack exchange with notice. The forum, while hosted by Stack exchange, also enjoys some autonomy (compared to the other fora) In what is presented. Gerhard "Maybe Agreement Can Be Emailed" Paseman, 2020.01.14. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 2:02
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ As a side note, it might be useful to have the text of the agreement here on meta - as opposed to the pdf file without OCR. Sometimes people quote parts of the agreement in posts on meta, they have to retype it manually. (This can sometimes lead to typos - that's how MathOvertlow got here and here.) $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 3:38
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @GerhardPaseman: the content on SE-related sites are always in some sort of CC license (though there have been some debate also about whether SE is allowed to unilaterally and retroactively demand license changes). $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 22:02
  • $\begingroup$ @Willie, yes. In my comment above, I was unclear about much, especially if MathOverflow could not just take the content from Stack Exchange, but also have Stack Exchange stop serving the content in some form. In any case, the agreement details have since been provided below. At present I do not advocate leaving the Stack Exchange platform; those who do should research the alternatives. Gerhard "It's Right To Be Concerned" Paseman, 2020.01.15. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 22:21
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @GerhardPaseman: agreed, but I do think it would still be a good idea for the MO Organization to have a more concrete exit plan just in case. Not necessarily the details of hosting and where the site would land, but just a list of actions that would need to be accomplished in order for MO to be split off from the SE network. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 14:05

1 Answer 1


Suggested in comments but I don't know if this is allowed. In any case: I've used an OCR program to copy the contents of the 2.5 pages below. I've used some minimal editing to keep the format vaguely similar, but as this was computerised there may be some errors, so this is community wiki; please fix them as you find them.

June 22, 2013

Anton Geraschenko

Dear Anton,

This letter is to confirm that, per our communications, that MathOverflow ("MathOverflow") agrees that the website, MathOverflow (located at www.mathoverflow.net, www.mathoverflow.com and www.mathoverflow. org (the "MathOverflow Domains"), the assets of which are owned and controlled by MathOverflow, will be upgraded to Stack Exchange, Inc.'s ("Stack Exchange") version 2.0 software model and, in conjunction with this upgrade, MathOverflow accepts Stack Exchange 2.0's Terms of Service (http://stackexchange.com/legal/tems-of-service, the "Terms"), Which shall be incorporated by reference into this letter agreement. In consideration for the foregoing, the parties agree as follows:

  1. StackExchange will upgrade MathOverflow to the Stack Exchange's latest software model, and will incorporate MathOverflow into the Stack Exchange network of websites ("MathOverflow 2.0").

  2. Current MathOverflow moderators will serve as the initial MathOverflow 2.0 moderators ("Moderators"). From time to time, and after consultation with existing Moderators, StackExchange will hold elections for additional Moderators as the need arises.

  3. Before finalization of the MathOverflow 2.0 migration, StackExchange shall create a test version of the website so MathOverflow may test the migration (“Test Site”). The Test Site shall be a fully-functioning, fully operational version of MathOverflow running under the latest Stack Exchange software, which MathOverflow may test "and otherwise use before the migration is complete. MathOverflow and you acknowledge and agree that any changes made by you or MathOverflow in the Test Site will be lost following the final migration to MathOverflow 2.0. The migration will be performed by StackExchange only after receiving written approval from MathOverflow, which approval may be communicated via email. After migration, MathOverflow will remain exclusively located at the MathOverflow Domains.

  4. Stack Exchange acknowledges that Moderators may wish to make reasonable adjustments to the operation of MathOverflow 2.0 by means of extra clientside JavaScript. Thus, Moderators shall be permitted to submit additional JavaScript to Stack Exchange which, if it does not compromise the technical integrity of the network, will be inserted into the footer, allowing some reasonable modification of the site that is specific to MathOverflow 2.0. MathOverflow and you acknowledge and agree that the Stack Exchange 2.0 HTML is changing all the time, and accordingly, such JavaScript will need to be actively maintained by the Moderators or it may stop working. It is understood that this script maintenance will be the sole responsibility of MathOverflow (including Moderators) and not of Stack Exchange.

  5. It is understood that MathOverflow shall consider in the future the placement of certain announcement services like job listings in the future. Stack Exchange shall not run advertisements, including internal advertisements, on MathOverflow 2.0 (or any subsequent version thereof), without specific and advance written consent of the MathOverflow.

  6. The DNS operation of the MathOverflow Domains will be delegated to Stack Exchange but the MathOverflow Domains and their registrations, as well as the trademarks and associated goodwill in "MathOverflow" shall be owned by and remain an asset exclusively of MathOverflow. MathOverflow hereby grants to StackExchange a license to use the trademark "MathOverflow" for the purposes of operating and promoting the MathOverflow forum as contemplated in this letter agreement. StackExchange will not use or register any trademark that is confusingly similar to "MathOverflow."

  7. Subject to Section 8, should MathOverflow wish to migrate its data outside of the Stack Exchange network, Stack Exchange shall, within thirty (30) days of receipt of a written request from MathOverflow, provide MathOverflow with a complete and current database that contains all the data necessary to recreate MathOverflow on MathOverflow's own servers and software. Following such transfer, StackExchange will cease all use of the MathOverflow database.

  8. Notwithstanding the foregoing, MathOverflow acknowledges that Stack Exchange's Privacy Policy (http://stackexchange.com/legal/privacy-policy) prohibits the sharing with third parties of any personally identifiable information (including without limitation users' email addresses, passwords, voting records, IP addresses, and authentication data) that is not already visible on Stack Exchange and its network of websites (collectively, "Personal Information"). Therefore, MathOverflow and you acknowledge and agree that should MathOverflow migrate to another server outside of the Stack Exchange network, Stack Exchange would not provide any Personal Information to MathOverflow. As a work-around solution, the parties agree that Stack Exchange will build an opt-in notification system, at no charge, that would allow MathOverflow 2.0 users to authorize Stack Exchange to transfer their Personal Information to the migrated MathOverflow website upon their first login to such new website.

  9. Each party hereto represents and warrants that: (i) it has sufficient rights to perform its duties and obligations under this letter agreement; and (ii) each party's duties and obligations hereunder shall not violate any agreement, arrangement, commitment or legal restriction to which either party may be bound. MathOverflow further represents and warrants that it owns the MathOverflow forum assets and has sufficient rights to enter into this agreement and to carry out or oversee the fulfillment of its duties and obligations hereunder.

  10. Each party to this letter agreement shall be responsible to perform its obligations at its sole expense, and without charge to or right of reimbursement from the other party. This letter agreement supersedes all proposals, oral or written, all negotiations, conversations, or discussions between or among parties relating to the subject matter of this letter agreement and all past dealing or industry custom. This letter agreement shall be integrated in and form part of the Terms upon execution. All terms and conditions of the Terms shall remain unchanged except as modified in this letter agreement; and the terms of the Terms, as modified by this letter agreement, are hereby ratified and confirmed. Where the terms of the Terms conflict with those of this letter agreement, however, the terms of this letter agreement shall control. This letter agreement may be executed in one or more counterparts, each of which shall be deemed an original, but all of which together shall constitute one and the same agreement. The parties hereto acknowledge that the foregoing services are provided free of charge by Stack Exchange and are provided "AS IS." Additionally, MathOverflow makes no warranties or representations regarding the content of the MathOverflow forum, and all such content is provided to StackExchange "AS IS." Any provisions of this letter agreement that, in order to fulfill the purposes of such provisions, need to survive the termination or expiration of this Agreement, shall be deemed to survive for as long as necessary to fulfill such purposes. StackExchange agrees to ensure that any successor in interest to StackExchange will be bound to the terms of this letter agreement.



Joel Spolsky CEO and Cofounder
Stack Exchange, Inc.

MathOverflow, through its owner and proprietor Anton Geraschenko, hereby confirms its agreement to the terms set forth above:
Signed: (Signature)
Name: Anton Geraschenko
Date: 06/24/2013

The last page is an "Audit trail" that looks pointless to copy here.


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