I've asked a sister question at Law: Could the scope of law accommodate the full scope of Ask Patents?.

We have a wonderfully committed little community here, with a few regular contributors. But I fair that's not quite enough to guarantee our long-term stability. There have been many discussion over the years what could be done to fix our little corner of SE. However, so many of the changes are seemingly impossible, in view of the unique genesis of Ask Patents.

However, Robert Cartaino suggested a merger might be possible. While not a perfect outcome, in my view, this would at least solve part of the issues related to an overly small number of eyes on each question.

Would you be in favour?

As an aside, I do feel a little traitorous asking for annexation by a larger state. I'm envisioning more of a Newfoundland situation and less of a Tibet situation.

1 Answer 1


Please do a quick search on Law for patents. Some of the answers are horrible. (not Maca's) This is the top answer for the difference between provisional and nonprovisonal.

A provisional patent offers the same protection but for 1 year only and can never become a complete patent. However, as it is not assessed by the patent office it may be invalid and this could be a defence against your enforcement action.

Would patent questions on Law get better answers if we merged or would Ask Patents questioners get bad answers if we merged?

Another question was about the patentability of card games. The top answer was from someone who looked for the term "card game" in a patent database and said sure. Here they would have been given an answer to the question "can one patent card games now?"

  • 1
    I agree that there is a wide range of quality of answers at Law, and I think at present we do answer things better here (though I'm biased of course). But the difficulty I see especially here is that it's hard to tell a good answer from a bad if you're a naive reader, because the voting mechanism doesn't really work when there's only a handful of voters. More eyes (and voting clicks) is the only cure to this, as that's the SE model. Sure the questions will attract more answers, both good and bad. But because there'll be a bigger audience, the cream will be allowed to rise to the top.
    – Maca
    Mar 6, 2018 at 22:43
  • I agree in general. I've gone through a dozen of so patent questions on Law today and in the several cases where I upvoted an answer (un counted) the answer was at 2 or 3. The concern I have is that in a site with too wide a scope the people who do not know a good answer from a bad answer, in a narrow sub-field, may be large. I also agree that Ask Patents is way too small and that its original reason for being is now a very small part of our small site. Do I get to keep all my points?
    – George White Mod
    Mar 6, 2018 at 23:56
  • I'm reasonably sure you maintain your reputation, since the questions/answers are also migrated over (and the rep is directly calculated from where the answers are). But I'm not certain, and perhaps our mod would be willing to confirm. But that is certainly a concern (especially with that "k" in yours, I can only dream of getting there).
    – Maca
    Mar 7, 2018 at 0:13
  • I think comments and votes even from only a few patent people would up the quality on law.se, not drown ours.
    – user18033
    Mar 13, 2018 at 16:51
  • From the meta law I see that a request for help with prior art and help parsing the meaning of claims may not be within their scope. An alternative is to have an IP site with patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets.
    – George White Mod
    Mar 13, 2018 at 18:28
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    @GeorgeWhite that was rejected in the other Meta discussion. Broadening the scope of law.se would be a good solution imho.
    – user18033
    Mar 13, 2018 at 19:49

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