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A question regarding policy matters for Facebook was asked on the Facebook Stack Overflow (and has since been removed).

At first glance, this question seems to be off-topic for Stack Overflow. However, reading through the information the OP refers to, users are indeed told to get written permission, which obviously leads one to want to contact Facebook.

When going to the Facebook Contact page with regards to policies it states:

For discussions or inquiries about technical issues, policy matters, or documentation, please go to Facebook Stack Overflow.

Emphasis is mine.

So my question is, are policy matters with regards to Facebook indeed on topic for the (Facebook) Stack Overflow? Or should this phrase perhaps be altered/clarified?

Update:

From the responses so far it seems quite clear (unsurprisingly) that such topics are indeed off-topic for Stack Overflow and as such the erroneous instructions on the mentioned Facebook page should be modified.

As a result two things have happened so far (see the comments as well):

  • A bug report has been filed by @phwd on Facebook's Developer site.
  • Alex Miller (Stack Exchange's Chief of Staff) responded with the following (encouraging) message:

    Thanks for bringing this issue up - we'll reach out to the Facebook team and have them change the page to reflect this.

Update 2:

It seems that a change has been made. The previously offending line now reads:

For discussions about technical issues, please go to Facebook Stack Overflow.

Great to see that's done.

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The question you linked to IMO is very much off topic. –  Lix Mar 19 '12 at 11:40
20  
The issue is the wording on the Facebook contact page. That needs changing. –  ChrisF Mar 19 '12 at 11:52
    
@ChrisF My thoughts exactly. –  Bart Mar 19 '12 at 12:09
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Hah! An MSO question referencing Facebook that's worth an upvote. That's a first... –  Yannis Mar 19 '12 at 13:48
    
@YannisRizos And they said it couldn't be done... ;) –  Bart Mar 19 '12 at 13:50
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I filed a bug (developers.facebook.com/bugs/317181018341186) [Ironically the bug page itself has a bug] But if this bug doesn't work, I'll file it again. Though then again, documentation bugs aren't really mission critical seeing that my last bug is still triaged to change the link for Stack Overflow from https to http that's a one character change. Anyway, I posted this on the Facebook Developers Group so most likely Igy would pick up on it though I don't think he is in a position in Facebook to establish any change (here's to hoping :) –  phwd Mar 20 '12 at 6:37
    
@phw - what application ID's did you atatch? :P In anycase - I've subscribed and and added my "repo" for the bug. I think we should try and get as many people to do the same... –  Lix Mar 20 '12 at 7:32
    
I used a dummy application that I have for testing various calls, ideally you are supposed to use the Documentation Bug Button on the page in question but those forms never go anywhere and there is no way to ensure that the bug was followed up on. There are many other bugs tagged documentation so I assume others are doing the same or using any application –  phwd Mar 20 '12 at 7:50
1  
@phwd Thanks a lot. At least we can try. –  Bart Mar 20 '12 at 8:13
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Where's the team? Someone page Joel and get him on the 'phone to Mark! –  Benjol Mar 20 '12 at 13:41
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Thanks for bringing this issue up - we'll reach out to the Facebook team and have them change the page to reflect this. –  Alex Miller Mar 20 '12 at 17:50
    
@AlexMiller Wonderful. Thanks a lot for your response. –  Bart Mar 20 '12 at 17:51
2  
YES WE CAN!​​​​​​ –  Lix Mar 21 '12 at 9:48
    
As far as i can see the page linked has been updated to fix the language - speaking as someone on the Facebook side, I don't believe there was any intention that people would ask policy questions here –  Igy Mar 21 '12 at 14:10
    
@Igy As I noted in the second update, that change has indeed taken place. I also don't assume there were any bad intentions. Just unfortunate wording which caused me to note 1 single isolated question being off-topic as a result of it. But glad to see it's fixed anyway. :) –  Bart Mar 21 '12 at 14:16

3 Answers 3

up vote 31 down vote accepted

The question you linked to IMO is very much off topic.
Issues dealing with policies such as Terms of Service is out of the scope of Stack Overflow.

We are not lawyers we are programmers.

If someone comes across a question like this you should flag it/ VTC and perhaps explain to the OP that there is no programming question in his post hence rendering it off topic.

The wording on the link that you posted to is very much misleading - I believe it should be re-worded.

Asking if something is possible or not would be acceptable - but questions to do with Facebook policy usually go along the lines of

Can you (Stack Overflow community) please explain your policy X to me.

It is a clear mistake that people continue to believe that Stack Overflow is the place to contact Facebook, and all the references to Stack Overflow from Facebook should state that this is not the place to contact Facebook themselves - rather a place to interact with other people that are also developing on their platform.

If you find yourself answering/commenting on a, post like this make sure to tell the OP that you have no affiliation with Facebook.

This, I believe is the big issue here -
It is not 100% understood that the community on Stack Overflow does NOT work for/as Facebook

  • We are independent.
  • We do not get paid to helping people.
  • We do it in our own time,
  • In our own way;
  • We will rock you.
  • With our own words,
  • out of
    • kindness,
    • generosity
    • and a general urge to better the programming community by spreading the wealth (of knowledge).

Possible re-wording of the problematic statement on Facebook's Contact Page :

For discussions or inquiries about technical issues or documentation, please go to Facebook Stack Overflow. Please note :

  • Stack Overflow is a community run site.
  • It is not a way to get in contact with Facebook.
  • Advice/help given on Stack Overflow is not endorsed by Facebook - the answers given are the opinions of the user[s] involved.

To get in contact with Facebook please visit here (link to methods of contacting Facebook - bug reports/ appeal forms/ give feedback/ etc...)


There has been some heated discussions about the Facebook Stack Overflow partnership - here is a link to some peoples thoughts on the issue -

  Is it time to re-evaluate the Facebook-Stack Overflow partnership?

For reference purposes - here is the official standpoint of Stack Exchange on the Facebook partnership
http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/08/facebook-stackoverflow/


TL;DR

Facebook needs to re-word the link to Stack Overflow to not include "inquiries about policy matters". A bug report has been submitted by @phwd to Facebook. If you support this - please subscribe and/or fill in a repo report.
http://developers.facebook.com/bugs/317181018341186

share|improve this answer
3  
I'd suggest that the page should be reworded to also not include the term "discussions" - SO is not a discussion site, and shouldn't be described as such ;) "For inquiries and assistance with technical issues and documentation, please go to Facebook Stack Overflow". –  Zhaph - Ben Duguid Mar 20 '12 at 12:09
    
Too true @Z!​​​​​​​​​ –  Lix Mar 20 '12 at 12:21
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Given the ongoing developments (filed bug-report and Alex Miller's comment) I think that from my end I can mark this question as answered. I've therefor accepted your answer. Thanks a lot for your input in this discussion. –  Bart Mar 20 '12 at 18:00

The phrase should be altered.

If the question is "does Facebook prohibit X?" then it's either

  1. Asking for legal advice, which is a whole can of worms
  2. Asking people to speculate on the intended meaning.

This can only reasonably be answered by Facebook themselves and may well be different within a year - too localised even if not OT.

If the question is "should this be permitted?" then it's chatty and only ever going to be soliciting opinions and "me toos".

share|improve this answer

Facebook developer policy questions should be directed at Facebook directly via the Facebook Developers Group, which they make hard to join and will probably ignore anyways. As discussed here, Facebook employee participation on facebook.stackoverflow.com is abysmal (besides from Igy) so you wouldn't likely get a response from them anyways if it were on topic.

share|improve this answer
    
I may have also borrowed your avatar... –  tombull89 Mar 20 '12 at 13:21

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