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If I see an answer that involves some illegal activity, such as breaking license agreements, should I then mark this as Offensive or should I simply down-vote it?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Jul 23 '09 at 13:48

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3  
Got an example? –  tomjedrz Aug 27 '09 at 14:52
9  
Have we completely forgotten the distinction between criminal and civil law? If breaking a contract constitutes "illegal activity" as far as the rest of society is concerned, then who's to say breaking a serious promise (a verbal contract perhaps) isn't "illegal"? Leave it to the parties to the agreement. –  user144913 Mar 20 '10 at 21:39

8 Answers 8

up vote 72 down vote accepted

I would be very conservative with that, as not all people in SO are from the same country and laws can be very diverse. I would comment on the answer that it breaks these [laws] in [country].

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There are some perfectly legal things which people may rightly be offended by, and totally illegal things which offend very few.

It may sound trite, but I'd mark it as "offensive" if it offended me. If it didn't, I wouldn't.

It doesn't do any harm to let someone know that their post - even though not illegal - causes offense to others.

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Unless it's really, really, really blatant that what they're doing is illegal, I'd say no.

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You mean, like an answer that suggests downloading a piece of "abandonware" -- something that is copyrighted, but no longer legally available?

Or discussions of breaking DRM, conscientious objection, and the like?

There are grey areas.

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4  
Even breaking DRM isn't illegal everywhere. –  Georg Schölly Feb 21 '10 at 9:07
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Conscientious objection isn't illegal in most places, either. That was pretty much my point. –  Michael Paulukonis Jul 17 '10 at 19:32
    
wow. downvoted after 4 years.... Somebody doesn't like grey areas. Let me be more explicit: your illegal activity is not illegal everywhere. F'r instance, if you are reading SO in Iram [made-up country] and an answer talks about using Twitterm [made-up service] -- will you downvote because use of Twitterm is illegal in your local jurisdiction? –  Michael Paulukonis Dec 4 '13 at 20:32

Why would you want to mark it as something other than what it is? If it's a concern, add an option to mark it "Involves illegal activity".

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Good idea. I think a new level of granularity with report functions is the appropriate solution. –  Daddy Warbox Jan 14 '09 at 14:30

Mark as offensive and downvote I suggest?

And also users with more power should be able to "censor" or delete the post.

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People with greater than 10k rep can delete a closed topic. –  Jason Baker Jan 14 '09 at 14:12

Copyright circumvention is a grey area, as many nations' copyright laws are ridiculous and ineffective. However, DDoS attacks or breaches of privacy are not.

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Only if it offends you. That's really the test for offensive - does it offend you?

Marking something as offensive doesn't remove it instantly or anything, so there's no harm done if you mark something as offensive and you're the only one offended.

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