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Joel on Software

Linking, Quoting, Reprinting

by Joel Spolsky
Friday, April 19, 2002

Occasionally people ask to link, quote, or reprint portions of this site. Here are some general rules.

If you want link from your site to Joel on Software

Thank you! I'm flattered. Go ahead and link. It is acceptable to quote short excerpts - up to one paragraph - from my site when you make the link, as long as it is clear in the context of your site that these are my words, not yours.

If you want to quote from Joel on Software

You are welcome to use short quotes from Joel on Software as long as proper credit is given. The rules are:

  • Do not pass off my words or ideas as yours.
  • Provide a reference to Joel on Software and the original article where the quote is from. On the web, make the reference a hyperlink. In print, include the full URL.
  • Use quotation marks around my words.
  • Do not put words into my mouth.
  • Do not quote extensively. Anything more than about a paragraph of quoting is starting to cross the line.
  • Do not paraphrase. You can use your own words, without quotation marks, but if the idea is mine, give me credit.

Acceptable example:

As Joel Spolsky says, "The number of dumb things going on here exceeds my limited ability to grok all at once." (Joel on Software, Wasting Money on Cats)

If you are not familiar with the standard rules for quoting people without violating copyright or plagiarizing, please read one of the many guides on the web on this topic.

If you want to reprint my article on your web site or in your publication

Unfortunately I can't permit this. I wish to retain exclusive rights to my writing so that some day it can be published as a book or two.

Believe it or not, people have actually copied my articles word for word from the web and submitted them to be published in magazines and journals. If you are an editor and somebody submitted to you one of my articles, rest assured that they do not have my permission to do this and it is a copyright violation.

If you wish to translate my article or articles to another language

Great! But please give me a copy of the translation so that other people can benefit from it. Read this article, then check if the article is already being translated by someone else, then email me to tell me what you are going to translate and I will send you guidelines and sign you up.

If you wish to print out articles from Joel on Software and pass them around

This is fine for a small number of copies (up to 10) as long as you include complete credits and the original URL.

If you wish to use Joel on Software in the classroom

Permission is granted to reprint individual articles from Joel on Software for classroom use (including use in a course pack, etc.) under the following conditions:

  • you may reprint no more than 5 articles per semester/course
  • if you have more than 500 students you're starting to stretch the definition of what I call a classroom. Please contact me for permission.
  • you may not reprint more than 3 chapters of the "User Interface for Programmers" series. This is available as a printed book and if you want to assign the whole book please ask your students to purchase the printed edition.

If you want me to write an original article for your publication

I'll be happy to, although I would expect to be paid for this.

People frequently ask me to write articles for their magazines or websites but don't have any budget to pay me. I regret that I just don't have time to do this.

Any other questions? Please email me and I'll try to answer you as soon as I can.


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About the author.

I’m Joel Spolsky, co-founder of Fog Creek Software, a New York company that proves that you can treat programmers well and still be highly profitable. Programmers get private offices, free lunch, and work 40 hours a week. Customers only pay for software if they’re delighted. We make Trello, which lets you organize anything, together, FogBugz, enlightened issue tracking software for bug tracking, and Kiln, which provides distributed version control and code reviews. I’m also the co-founder and CEO of Stack Exchange. More about me.

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