I saw this question which takes the moderator's perspective, but I'm often faced with ASKING a question that invovles proprietary data.

I try to genericize it as much as I can while leaving the "spirit" of the code intact, but understandably, the more that the code deviates from the original with which I'm working, or the farther my source dataset is dummied up from my real data, the less usable the answers get. Even worse, sometimes I get irreproducible results, since the issue is with some oddities in my source data...which I can't upload, but only approximate.

Does anyone have any suggestions for balancing the need to provide enough information for relevant answers with the need to keep a lot of it confidential?

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    My answer: meta.stackexchange.com/a/135128/153020 pretty much applies here I think.
    – Flexo
    Jul 23, 2012 at 15:55
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    IMHO, if a question's proprietary details can't be reduced down to foos and bars, there's a good chance it's not going to be a good fit here and you would be better off asking your colleagues.
    – smcg
    Jul 23, 2012 at 19:27

1 Answer 1


Your question recapitulates several of the virtues of the Short, Self Contained, Correct (Compilable), Example, typically abbreviated SSCCE. It's no panacea, but creating one is the ideal opportunity to focus on the problem while substituting synthetic data, images or constraining parameters. A problem that remains may now be narrower in scope. One that disappears may point the way forward. An irreproducible result suggests faulty synchronization. Etc. Even when fruitless, including the SSCCE may clarify what you've already tried.

The author retains the title for brevity in most categories, due in part to skillful use of the modal dialog.
In contrast, I have a penchant for incorporating literary references, as well as making up ad hoc categories.

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    We hashed out a new form of the document on a question here on Meta. It resulted in the MCVE. It is an improvement in a variety of ways: Community involvement, shorter, explicitly mentions proprietary code "..Also useful if you can't post the original code publicly for legal or ethical reasons.". I am very happy with it. :) Jan 9, 2014 at 18:10

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