I was wondering whether one could take inspiration in how stackoverflow/stackexchange works, when implementing an online portal, or whether that could be a patent infringement.
Some examples of features I know from SO/SE but not elsewhere:
- Initial barrier for new users, such as to writing comments, or editing other posts
- Some highly active questions/answers have increased barriers
- Many pointers to checking existing questions, to prevent duplicates
- Flagging of duplicates
- References shown on the right to questions mentioned anywhere on the question page
- Community wikis
- Answer your own question
- The combination of features they have - some (many?) aren't unique to SE, for example voting on questions/answers, a reputation/points system, commenting on answers, a moderator system, accepting answers, ... but maybe the particular combination features that SO/SE has is patented in some way?
I'm not primarily asking about specific algorithms, such as the one that determines the order of answers, or their search engine internals. I'm asking about anything that a user of the website could know about and copy.
I'm sure many more aspects are what made stackoverflow et al popular, and running such a site doesn't seem simple. My question is about whether it would be legally possible to copy it. Since this site is about US law, I'm happy about answers about US law, but would also be interested in the situation in other countries.