So I asked a question pertaining to iOS 7 and was massively downvoted. I assumed it would be ok as there is an ios7 tag, but people downvoted it because of the NDA, even though I didn't mention anything new. Curious, I looked at the ios7 tag and found that all of the questions there were similar: no breaking of the NDA, but massively downvoted for that reason. If any question with the ios7 tag is going to be downvoted, why does it exist in the first place, and can it be deleted?

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    "why is there an iOS7 tag?" -- because someone with enough reputation (the limit's quite low) though it would be a good idea to include the tag in his question. Commented Jun 16, 2013 at 16:00
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    Even if your downvotes were NDA related (only the voters themselves can answer that point) the tag itself will be useful once the NDA is lifted.
    – Flexo
    Commented Jun 16, 2013 at 16:01
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    Not all questions in the tag are downvoted... Out of the 41 ios7 questions there are 4 with zero score, and 3 are upvoted. It must the tag with the worst record on SO though :-)
    – user000001
    Commented Jun 16, 2013 at 16:09
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    Downvoting a question because of NDA violation seems stupid. If you don't think it should belong on the site for reasons of law violation flag it for a mod. Commented Jun 16, 2013 at 16:36
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    Related: Should moderators enforce NDAs for software vendors? (cc @BenjaminGruenbaum)
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Jun 16, 2013 at 16:38
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    The downvotes might not be because of the NDA but might be as any answer will change during the beta phase.
    – mmmmmm
    Commented Jun 16, 2013 at 17:03
  • @AnnaLear Thanks I wasn't aware of that. I still stand by my suggestion though. If you think a question has a problem that does not relate to its usefulness to the sites but to its legal status downvoting it is wrong. I'd flag it if I thought it was problematic in another way and leave it to a mod or a community manager like yourself to decide since you're aware of the legal implications and I'm not. Commented Jun 16, 2013 at 17:18
  • @Ben as a mod I can safely say I haven't a clue about the legal implications of NDAs I'm not even a party to that cross international borders.
    – Flexo
    Commented Jun 16, 2013 at 17:25
  • @Flexo right, but you have much better access to people on SE who do. If you have a better solution to what one should do when they see something they suspect illegal and might get SE into trouble I'm all ears. Commented Jun 16, 2013 at 17:29
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    @Mark: Well, new answers can be posted, the accepted answer can be changed, and the question can be closed and deleted later if it turns out the problem is definitively fixed and will never be seen again. It's still a problem right now that needs an answer. On its own, beta software isn't a reason to prohibit a question. See also What to do with obsolete posts? from just a few hours ago.
    – jscs
    Commented Jun 16, 2013 at 18:35

2 Answers 2


Technically, the tag exists because someone with 1500 reputation created it and applied it to a new question (privilege description here). More than one question has been tagged with it, so it will most likely persist.

A tag existing on the site is not an endorsement of everything about that topic, so it can't be used as a metric to determine what is or is not on topic. In this case, programming questions involving developing for iOS 7 are on topic. Others are not, such as how to downgrade the OS on your iPhone after installing iOS 7, or questions about selling UDID slots to non-developers (yes, people were asking that).

That said, I think people are being a little too harsh when it comes to questions about prerelease OS versions like this. There seems to be a bit of a vigilante effect at work here, where people feel that they need to punish anyone attempting to break their NDA with Apple. I'm bound by the same NDA, but that only covers things that I disclose. I am not responsible for policing anything else that others may leak, nor is Stack Exchange. People need to stop flagging these things, because I'll keep declining them.

In general, my take has been that if someone is asking a question about a bug that is specific to a particular build of a beta OS, that's too localized for Stack Overflow. That may not apply with the new closing reasons coming down the pipe, but I don't see how questions which deal with something that may be fixed next week will help future visitors. If it's a bug you're dealing with, it does no good to report it here, and you should instead use Apple's bug reporter.

However, broader questions about the usage of a particular new API are viable here, and it's not up to us to close them. It's unfortunate that a good question like this asked now may be downvoted into oblivion, where the exact same question asked in a few months might get great answers and be highly upvoted.

At the worst, I would leave comments on these directing people to Apple's developer forums, which is where you can discuss these matters freely and where you'll actually get the engineers behind the technologies to respond directly. You can also help shape the direction of the OS that way.

As an aside, I'm not a huge fan of OS-version-specific tags, because people often use those and forget to apply the more generic [ios] to them as well. This significantly reduces the visibility of these questions, and whatever issue they're working with in iOS 7 may still be the case in iOS 8, etc., so you want people in the future to find this. That's a side issue, though.

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    We on Ask Different also deal with this on an annual basis (recent history of course) and find that having a short discussion each time helps people realize that tagging things as ios is almost always preferable to ios7 - even in cases where the feature is closely tied to one release. That being said, the tags are useful for finding and organizing things and can be changed by the normal edit process - especially when there is community discussion to get non-elected moderators on board with when to use one tag over the other.
    – bmike
    Commented Jun 16, 2013 at 17:32
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    I've also put my two cents in to this answer - meta.stackexchange.com/a/184639/165931 - the presence of an NDA means the site can't attract the people that are in the best place to answer iOS7 questions and asking is just a vehicle to get good answers.
    – bmike
    Commented Jun 16, 2013 at 18:02
  • Amen for your third paragraph! «I think people are being a little too harsh when it comes to questions about prerelease OS versions» This tag is a burned-out wasteland right now, even though a fair few of the questions would/will be considered perfectly decent SO citizens if it was November instead of the week after WWDC.
    – jscs
    Commented Jun 16, 2013 at 18:31
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    @JoshCaswell - Even things that are tangentially related get hit, like this question: stackoverflow.com/questions/17036655/ios-7-style-blur-view that was not asking about anything private (or this one that you commented on: stackoverflow.com/questions/17041669/… ), but how you might go about doing something that Apple has shown publicly. That's disappointing. Commented Jun 16, 2013 at 18:41
  • Very disappointing indeed, @BradLarson; I've been pondering whether there's anything that can be done to change the mood, but I think it may just have to run its course. I'm trying to keep an eye out for questions -- like 17041669 -- that can maybe be shielded with a little judicious editing.
    – jscs
    Commented Jun 16, 2013 at 18:46

Someone with the right amount of reputation (who's question was also probably downvoted) decided that his question could use that tag and he decided to make it.

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