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I recently asked a question about implementing a license policy within the framework of Google's License Validation Library. It was closed with no comment or other indication as to why it's off topic for SO.

I'd be happy to follow the recommendations to edit the question and/or leave comments for improvement, but I have no idea what's wrong with the question to start with. Perhaps it's not clear that this is a programming/algorithm question?

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Hi Ted, I was thinking of editing your question so it asked "What can I do to improve this anti-piracy algorithm?" instead of "What piracy or other risks would this policy present?". What do you think? –  jmort253 Jul 29 '12 at 4:04
@jmort253 - I certainly don't mind you editing what I posted if it will help get an answer. I'm looking for an algorithm that will meet the objectives of providing the same anti-piracy protection that Google's default algorithm provides but will greatly reduce the communication required between the user's device and Google's license servers. –  Ted Hopp Jul 29 '12 at 4:23
Ted, I made an edit and voted to reopen. Please feel free to continue to improve upon that or rollback anything that loses the heart of your message. I think if you focus on using terms like "algorithm" then your question is less likely to be misinterpreted. Good luck! –  jmort253 Jul 29 '12 at 4:24
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1 Answer

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Your question appears to be off-topic because it appears to be about software licensing, which isn't a programming problem. (See update at the bottom).

From the FAQ:

We feel the best Stack Overflow questions have a bit of source code in them, but if your question generally covers …

  • a specific programming problem
  • a software algorithm
  • software tools commonly used by programmers
  • practical, answerable problems that are unique to the programming profession

then you’re in the right place to ask your question!

This seems more like a functionality question than an actual programming problem.

However, I looked through the Programmers SE FAQ to see if maybe your question could be asked there:

Programmers — Stack Exchange is a site for professional programmers who are interested in getting expert answers on conceptual questions about software development. If you have a question about...

  • algorithm and data structure concepts
  • design patterns
  • developer testing
  • development methodologies
  • freelancing and business concerns
  • quality assurance
  • software architecture
  • software engineering
  • software licensing

While the FAQ isn't 100% clear on whether your question would be on-topic there, I believe it has a better chance of being accepted since Programmers SE generally accepts questions that are on the softer side of the development of software.

It may be helpful to ask in their chat room to see if maybe your question could be migrated. (I did drop them a line and ask them to take a look). Hope this helps!

UPDATE: On second glance, your question could fall under the blanket of being a software algorithm problem, which would be on-topic. This could of course be debatable depending on the exact definition and interpretation of the word "algorithm". I'll look at the faq more and see if there is a way to perhaps edit and improve whatever the moderator felt was wrong with your post. I encourage others to do the same.

What piracy or other risks would this policy present?

I believe it's this part of your question that may make it off-topic for Stack Overflow. Perhaps this can be reworded somehow?

From Wikipedia on the definition of "Algorithm":

In computer systems, an algorithm is basically an instance of logic written in software by software developers to be effective for the intended "target" computer(s), in order for the target machines to produce output from given input (perhaps null).

I feel like, based on the fact that what you described in your question are steps that a software program take, which is essentially a description of an algorithm, there is a very strong argument for your question being on-topic. My vote is to reopen this question.

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Thanks for this explanation. Perhaps I worded my question poorly; it evidently is being read as a question about whether to use licensing for anti-piracy, which is not a question that interests me at all. –  Ted Hopp Jul 29 '12 at 4:25
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