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Out of curiosity (and also because I am coming across this for the first time on SO), is there a website "promoting" a website that features cracked Android apps (or any platform for that matter)? I say promoting little loosely perhaps, but it seems to be at the core of the question on SO.

This user here has asked 4 questions, 3 of which have links to websites featuring cracked Android apps. Perhaps the lack of solutions to his questions prompted the user to create a new user who then posted a question which has a link to his website that is similar in nature.

For clarity, there are two different websites by the same user (using two different SO ID's).

I saw the link after voting to close the question. But under the circumstances, should it be flagged as spam? Some clarity on this will be much appreciated.

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    I think those questions all have several major problems: they are in no way self-contained and there seems to be no attempt at fixing the problem by the OP itself, he pretty much just links to his page and says "fix it". So apart from spamming, they questions are also too localized, don't demonstrate basic understanding and are not self-contained. It's hard to decide how to close/flag them. Jul 12, 2013 at 8:31
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    Maybe there needs to an "all" close reason Jul 12, 2013 at 8:34
  • @JoachimSauer: Agreed. However, in this case (at least), it should have been spam. From a developers perspective (and almost everyone here is one) aspiring to earn money off their apps / websites, etc. it is disheartening to see a website that hosts cracked apps, being announced so blatantly. And not just in the questions but also on the OP's profile. Spam would be my choice (after reading APC's answer), going forward that is. If it weren't for the website's contents, it would have been the demonstrate a minimal understanding of the problem being solved Jul 12, 2013 at 10:19
  • @SiddharthLele Is it spam though? Its a devastatingly poor question; agreed. But I think they did have a real problem (that they didn't bother at all to explain even slightly). It wasn't "Come look at my terrible site, its got lots of stolen stuff on it", but "my terrible site is even more terrible because I broke it; fix it for me" Jul 12, 2013 at 10:24
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    That said, in this question stackoverflow.com/questions/17586434/… they seem to have tried to stuff a link to their website into every comment. Possibly under the mistaken belief it would help their google rankings Jul 12, 2013 at 10:25
  • @RichardTingle: Perhaps not spam entirely. But perhaps me the developer is weighing heavier on me the SO user. Jul 12, 2013 at 10:28
  • It seems like the problem has been mosly resolved, all but one of the questions (on both accounts) have been removed (and the remaining one has been closed) Jul 12, 2013 at 11:54

2 Answers 2

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Personally I always flag such things, as Spam.

SO disapproves of posts - questions or answers - whose primary purpose appears to be driving traffic to another site. It is irrelevant that the target site is a personal blog or a legitimate commercial site. Whatever applies for those kind of sites surely must apply in double for sites of dubious morality or outright criminality.


@Taskinoor quotes the SE position on this: they cannot have an official policy on warez. So it is down to us as individual members of the community to identify posts as spam, and to vote for their removal. But clearly this is a matter of personal responsibility: we don't want SE to incur any corporate liability.

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  • I both, agree and disagree with you. I agree with you that posts with links to sites of dubious morality or outright criminality should be treated as spam. However, I don't when it comes to treating all posts with links as spam. At times, a website may have something pertinent to the question/answer. Unless you meant something entirely different. ;-) Jul 12, 2013 at 9:38
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    @SiddharthLele - On SO answers which consist of a link or links to external sites without a decent amount of supporting text get down-voted and/or flagged as Low Quality. That is, even if the links are relevant to the topic. They shouldn't be flagged as Spam unless the link is obviously spurious.
    – APC
    Jul 12, 2013 at 9:48
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    Then I misunderstood your comment entirely. As to your edit. I completely agree on that one. And I do play my part when I can. But this was a new one and hence the post. Now I know. :-) Jul 12, 2013 at 9:59
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In addition to flagging them as spam whose primary purpose is to drive people as mentioned by APC, I think SO should always follow the copyright and anti-piracy laws. Any question, answer and even comment that contains a link which violates these laws (e.g. sites that promote sharing of cracked apps, key generators, links of pirated pdf books etc.) should be flagged and deleted.

EDIT: As pointed in the comments, my understanding about the laws was wrong. Basically,

once SEI starts policing the material posted for ANY IP violation, SEI potentially becomes liable for ALL IP violation.

This is already discussed in this question.

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    As I understand it if SO attempts to police the site in the way you suggest then they become responsible for policing the site, which is a dangerous move. Also who's laws are to be upheld; the US, the UK, China's (in practice I assume the US's as thats where the server is but still), is Stack exchange qualified to police the activities of all websites that may be linked to from and stack exchange site Jul 12, 2013 at 8:54
  • @RichardTingle, I'm not an expert of the law, but in my opinion it is not good to violate copyright laws. By law, I meant US law as SE is an US company(or am I wrong?). Can you please explain a bit more why it is a dangerous move?
    – taskinoor
    Jul 12, 2013 at 9:00
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    If Stack overflow complies with takedown notices in a timely fashion they can claim to be a "dumb provider", just posting what other people say. However if they actively police the site (for copywrite infringement) then they become responsible for the content (are no longer a "dumb provider") and can be directly sued (i'm far from an expert but this is my understanding). This content can be removed because it is bad content (not clear etc) but if its removed for copywrite infringement then we're in trouble Jul 12, 2013 at 9:03
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    Related: Should moderators enforce non disclosure agreements meta.stackexchange.com/questions/94465/… Jul 12, 2013 at 9:04
  • @RichardTingle, thanks. Things are much more complicated then my simple understanding. I never thought that "once SEI starts policing the material posted for ANY IP violation, SEI potentially becomes liable for ALL IP violation."
    – taskinoor
    Jul 12, 2013 at 9:15

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