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Should moderators enforce NDAs for software vendors?

I came across a question on Stack Overflow today which discusses a subject currently under non-disclosure agreement with the vendor. However, on voting to close there isn't an option to give the reason as that the question is not suitable for public discussion. Could we have that added as a feature?

  • 4
    Haveing a close reason of "“subject under non-disclosure” would be great provided I could search for all questions it has been used on. Can you think of a better way of pointing me to the "intesting" questions? Commented Mar 10, 2011 at 16:43
  • @Ian: Questions tagged [Xcode4]
    – user102937
    Commented Mar 10, 2011 at 19:15

3 Answers 3


I understand where you might be under non-disclosure, but are you sure the questioner is? Unless you happen to work with the questioner, I can't understand how you'd know for sure they are covered by an NDA.

Companies aren't always properly consistent with their NDAs - they may be really good about keeping distributors under NDA, for instance, while not remembering to do the same for a contractor.

Also, it's not uncommon for sales team people to let things slip that they shouldn't.

All I'm saying is that there's lots of ways that someone could get certain information, even if the company didn't mean to release it. If you are under NDA, then you can't discuss it (in other words, you can't answer the question), but that might not mean THEY can't discuss it.

I'd say that no such reason should be listed because the number of times where the person voting can be sure of the questioner's NDA status is going to be vanishingly small.


There is no reason for anyone on Stack Overflow to act as the "NDA Police". If someone is violating their agreement with another party, the matter is between that someone and that other party.

It is possible that rampant discussion of confidential information could lead companies to scrutinize SO and try to take action against it, but unless and until that happens, I don't think we need to worry about it.


Yes, of course, provided that you are the copyright holder of the material being distributed. In that case, you can file a DMCA (Digital Millenial Copyright Act) infringement notice, and the material must be removed from the site.

However, under section 512(f) of the U.S. Copyright Code you are liable for damages and fees if you perform this action for materials where you are not the copyright holder.

  • 1
    The DMCA takedown for copyrighted material doesn't apply, because what would be asked in a Stack Overflow question is the ideas related to the materials under NDA. Since Stack Exchange is not distributing the copyrighted material itself, that's no basis for a takedown. Commented Jul 27, 2012 at 23:57