Periodically we see questions on SO where the question smells of evil intent: requests for keylogger code, hiding tasks from task manager, and today one for killing windows if the user's process is killed from the task manager.

When voting to close such a question, there's no good choice. Could we have one for "questioner wants to know how to harm others"?

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    We also desperately need facepalm as a close reason. (note: not my idea, seen it somewhere) Apr 6, 2012 at 15:03
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    Related: What flag to use for malicious code?
    – a cat
    Apr 6, 2012 at 15:06
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    I think this has been discussed quite a few times, but the gist of it is: Not our problem. If the question is close worthy, vote to close for one of the typical reasons, if you don't like the motive of the asker, down vote and don't answer it. If seen people questioning the motives of the asker in comments, and there was rarely a satisfactory response, so I'd say don't even bother.
    – yannis
    Apr 6, 2012 at 15:07
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    @Manishearth A facepalm close notification could be autogenerated in cases like this... I had half a mind of closing it as too localized just to confuse everyone ;P
    – yannis
    Apr 6, 2012 at 15:13
  • Just curious, I would dearly like to see that question about killing windows. Call it morbid curiosity if you like.
    – A.Grandt
    Apr 6, 2012 at 16:26
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    Never mind, I think I found it, and I agree with the OP, I see no other reason for that one but for malicious intent. stackoverflow.com/questions/10044464/…
    – A.Grandt
    Apr 6, 2012 at 16:35
  • @A.Grandt - perhaps it's a "kiosk" system where any termination of the kiosk software should cause the machine to power-cycle to return it to a "known good" state? One example of a reason for this, off the top of my head.
    – Rob
    Apr 6, 2012 at 16:56
  • @Rob: The problem is, you can't do this with a normal software application. This is something you need the operating system to be involved in, and it is therefore off-topic for Stack Overflow. Feel free to close it on that basis. Questions about group policy (for Windows) or other locking down of an operating system for security/corporate/kiosk use belong on Server Fault. Apr 6, 2012 at 16:59
  • @TheEstablishment, yes, you can. kiosk.exe can start watchdog.exe as soon as it starts and (1) delegate shutdown responsibility to watchdog.exe and (2) restart watchdog.exe if it's ever terminated. The robustness of such an approach is not germane to the meta question though. My main point was/is that the original stackoverflow question doesn't necessarily have to have "malicious intent" and is a perfectly valid programming question. It's certainly not "not a real question"! =)
    – Rob
    Apr 6, 2012 at 17:50
  • @random Thanks for the link. Thought-provoking discussion.
    – CPerkins
    Apr 9, 2012 at 14:48
  • @Rob Good point.
    – CPerkins
    Apr 9, 2012 at 14:48

4 Answers 4


Use "Too Localized" as the close reason. If the question truly has evil intent, it's unlikely that anyone else would need the information.

Note that it isn't always easy (or even feasible) to distinguish a black hat from a white hat.

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    That makes sense, as the question won't be helpful to anyone else but the asker and the very few like minded teenagers.
    – yannis
    Apr 6, 2012 at 15:10

When voting to close such a question, there's no good choice.

Take this as a hint: if none of the close reasons apply, don't close the question.

I have yet to see a question whose “only motive (…) is evil”. Link or it didn't happen.

Black hat is not the same as evil. I'll repeat what I wrote on IT Security Meta: as a white hat, I find black hat questions valuable, they teach me what I'm supposed to defend against. Not only are black hat pursuits not intrinsically evil, but the discussion of black hat topics helps white hats as well.

Incidentally, I notice that you are already falling on the slippery slope from “only motive (…) is evil”, passing on “question smells of evil intent” (so, it's up to the asker to apply air freshener liberally, in fear of smelling bad?), and well on your way to “I dislike this question”.

  • I'm not in agreement with your slippery slope argument. But thanks for your thoughts.
    – CPerkins
    Apr 9, 2012 at 14:38

Software by itself is not evil! It depends on how people use it. So I think its difficult to close such questions which will be very much valid, technically. In fact buffer/stack overrun was one of the very common exploitation methods in the past. Because of that, they improved and removed exec permissions from certain regions. So hacking helped to improve the system :)

So I feel, anything related to programming, irrespective of its intent, should be discussed in So!


Actually, if user is requesting a keylogger, I'd close it as not constructive.

If user is requesting something that may help him with creating keylogger, I wouldn't do anything.

I'm afraid that this feature would make user tend to close more such question which "looks like" they could be used for evil.

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