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Questions with nefarious intent?

Every so often, we get a question like this on SO:


I realize this will probably be voted-to-close by the time you read this, probably as off-topic or "not a real question."

But is it? I realize it's unpalatable -- there's usually not a good reason to do what the OP is asking. But "legitimate" software does this too (think: security software, anti-virus, etc.) So should it be closed? It is a programming question, and it's a slippery slope to get into the judgement of intentions behind the question. (Ok, in this case, he says it's for a keylogger, but what if he said it was for "parental control" software?)

  • 4
    You're seeing a first attempt or code that others aren't/can't see?
    – random
    Commented Dec 9, 2011 at 23:20
  • 5
    Why did you choose such a crap quality question and frame it like it was closed on the basis of ethics?
    – random
    Commented Dec 9, 2011 at 23:31
  • 2
    Interesting to contrast it with stackoverflow.com/questions/8434976/… from yesterday (and also closed). Any mods want to look at those profiles? Commented Dec 9, 2011 at 23:44
  • 4
    It's also a duplicate question many times over, but I really can't bring myself to help a keylogger-writer who can't be bothered to search.
    – Shog9
    Commented Dec 10, 2011 at 0:59

2 Answers 2


It's just not a good question - it shows no effort at all. A google will give you the answer instantly.

Additionally - you should include the version of operating system etc., as well as information around what the program is (does it run as a DLL or an exe etc)


Ignoring the fact that it's an excessively basic question, and focusing only on the ethics -

Strictly speaking, it should not be closed or downvoted because it mentions a keylogger. It's a perfectly valid question that could apply to any kind of program, including legit ones.

However, there is a strong sentiment against assisting with the writing of malware. Questions openly discussing malware (or appearing to do so) will be received badly.

Rewording the question will often help - for better (if it's an innocent purpose) or worse (if the OP is really writing malware).

  • I'd bet that if he hadn't mentioned anything about why he needed it, it'd get closed anyway for the same reason.
    – Joe
    Commented Dec 9, 2011 at 23:22
  • @Joe yeah, true - but rightly so, as I bet the answer can be Googled within a minute. Didn't think of that
    – Pekka
    Commented Dec 9, 2011 at 23:23
  • There's lots of answers here you could probably just Google. I guess I don't find the current close reasons to include ethical/moral objection, and I wonder if that's an area we should be delving into at all...
    – Joe
    Commented Dec 9, 2011 at 23:28
  • @Joe People dislike questions they deem unethical, I don't think there is much that can (nor should) be done about that.
    – Pekka
    Commented Dec 9, 2011 at 23:30
  • Dislike is fine -- vote it down, don't answer. But I'm specifically asking about close votes: why is this question voted to close? (Rory provides some good details below, but I think that's a nitpick -- if he provided that info, I don't think the result would be any different.)
    – Joe
    Commented Dec 9, 2011 at 23:31
  • 1
    @Joe I think it wasn't closed because of the ethics, but because it was a bad question.
    – Pekka
    Commented Dec 9, 2011 at 23:37

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