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Should we have an option to hide question on stack overflow from google or any other search engines.Following are some of the reasons why I or someone might like to do so.

  1. The fact that my question can only be seen inside stack overflow community comes with the assurance that it's shown only to those people who are interested in answering it and thus preventing someone from stealing my code or idea.

  2. It so happens that when I submit the code for grading in my university my instructor or some software might search for same code on net to make sure it's not plagiarized. Even after the fact that it's my own code, I may be held accountable for cheating/copying it from internet.

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    Your number 2 amuses me. Like an educational institution that's trying to investigate plagiarism would only use Google. But no, there's no way to hide it from Google, nor should there be. Your question isn't just for you, it's for the entire community, particularly those whom it might help in the future. If you want private help that's not searchable on the Internet, you'll have to get a private tutor. – animuson Oct 12 '13 at 1:04
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    I think Stack Exchange's business model is based on questions being visible to Google searches. – Keith Thompson Oct 12 '13 at 1:05
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    I'm the one who downvoted this, because it is such a fundamentally wrong-headed idea. Downvotes can have a different meaning on Meta – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Oct 12 '13 at 1:08
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    @nitinsh99 Voting works a bit different on Meta. For feature requests like this, it essentially means "I agree / disagree this would be a good feature to add" – p.s.w.g Oct 12 '13 at 1:09
  • @animuson sorry my bad. Well, I am not targeting anyone, all I am saying is, It doesn't make any sense to down vote a suggestion. Definition of down vote - "The question doesn't show any research effort or it is unclear and non useful" – nitinsh99 Oct 12 '13 at 1:11
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    I am down voting because I vehemently disagree with this suggestion. – Andrew Barber Oct 12 '13 at 1:11
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    It's not rage - it's nothing personal. It's just disagreement with the idea. It's fine to have made the suggestion (no one is mad at you or anything) and I think it's worth keeping around next time somebody has the same idea. Don't worry about the votes. – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Oct 12 '13 at 1:30
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    @nitinsh99 - Life is tough. – Adel Oct 12 '13 at 1:34
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    It's not rage. It's just robust discussion of your suggestion. It should stay for others to learn from. – andy256 Oct 12 '13 at 1:37
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    One upvote will make up five downvotes. If one in five people thinks your suggestion is worthwhile, that will offset all rep loss. The system works. – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Oct 12 '13 at 1:38
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    @nitinsh99: people disagreeing is just constructive criticism. Votes are just people agreeing with your idea or not. It's a feature request so people vote heavily as you're asking "should Stack implement this feature". Tho if you disagree do so, but be prepared for more comments ;) – James Oct 12 '13 at 1:41
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    Also, don't mistake someone simply being "direct to the point and factual" as a "cold, blunt answer". Stack is mostly about directly to the point answers as it's full or professional people without much time for pleasantries. People can be sarcastic here too (cough animuson) and other people vote their sarcasm up cos they found it funny, yeah, at your expense, on this occasion... ;) – James Oct 12 '13 at 1:42
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    Technicallly, it would not really work, because Google crawls a whole page, and on a SO page might be your question's title. Anyway, StackOverflow is meant to be a community of learners. If you want to keep code private, start by avoiding a keyboard and the net. Print it and discuss with people. – Adel Oct 12 '13 at 1:45
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    @perhapsPekka: I thought it was two upvotes. Anyway, your point stands. – Qantas 94 Heavy Oct 12 '13 at 1:52
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    There are some people here with massive reputation who have some very low voted posts. – Andrew Barber Oct 12 '13 at 1:55
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thus preventing someone from stealing my code or idea.

You're on a public Q&A site asking for ideas and code from others, who you want to share willingly with you, so sharing your ideas of which the answers help others is how we all learn, and is fair.

If you're learning, it's likely it's not anything new, or certainly not something not already on a million blogs/tutorials or all over Stack already.

If you have specific code, you can make it generic before posting it, as long as it remains relevant to the issue and still describes your issue accurately.

This world and most things in it have advanced due to the sharing of ideas, in science, humanity, business, government, etc.
If you expect others to share with you, surely it's only fair to share with others? The answers you receive are for others to use, as I'm sure you have (or certainly will) use other questions and answers already here on Stack, and other sites.

It so happens that when I submit the code for grading in my university my instructor or some software might search for same code on net to make sure it's not plagiarized.

Simply don't ask for your work to be done for you, instead ask in the way Stack is designed, that is help with parts of your code, bits you are stuck with, specific scenarios or functions etc.

The fact you are showing knowledge in your code and workings and are asking for help is not going to go against you.
Any uni instructor who is against this is stupid. You cannot magically know everything about the course you are doing, so learning, asking, reading, researching is all part of it.

The issue would be if you said "write me code that does XYZ" and then you submitted it as your own.

Even after the fact that it's my own code, I may be held accountable for cheating/copying it from internet.

See above. Just don't copy full code, ask for help on the code you are writing, which is what Stack is about anyway, you shouldn't ask for full code, and many of the better experts and professionals wont give you it, so better ask for help in something specific than your work done for you.
This way you learn better anyway as you understand what answers people are giving you.

I have this code XYZ, it doesn't do ABC, why
The answer will be pointing out a flaw in your code, and not doing your work for you.

If you're still worried, ask your instructor what is acceptable :)

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    Fantastic answer! – Andrew Barber Oct 12 '13 at 1:26
  • I agree with most of your answer and I now feel I should have worked more while structuring my question. Thank you. – nitinsh99 Oct 12 '13 at 2:11
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It's not possible, nor is it feasible, or a good idea.

and thus preventing someone from stealing my code or idea.

Anything you post on Stack Overflow, you post under the CC-Wiki license. While attribution is required at all times, everyone can use your contributions - even commercially.

The bottom line here is: if you don't want your idea or code stolen, don't reveal it in public - neither on Stack Overflow, nor anywhere else.

It so happens that when I submit the code for grading in my university my instructor or some software might search for same code on net to make sure it's not plagiarized.

If you submit code that you received from a Stack Overflow answer without attributing it to the original author, that would amount to plagiarism and might very rightly be punished as such.

If you are referring to code in your question, that is really something you would have to sort out with your instructor! I guess the safe thing to do here is also not to post it in the first place.

  • Agreed completely, except, is 'prosecuted' the right word? – Andrew Barber Oct 12 '13 at 1:12
  • @Andrew I figured it's applicable, seeing as you can be thrown out of University for it and (in theory) even get into legal trouble (because you broke an agreement with your Uni)... but "punished" might work as well. – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Oct 12 '13 at 1:14
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    Agreed. Again. I think punished is a great word for it. 'Prosecution' feels like a criminal thing to many folks, I think. – Andrew Barber Oct 12 '13 at 1:18
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    @AndrewBarber Plagiarism should feel like much more of a criminal thing to a lot of people than it really does. – p.s.w.g Oct 12 '13 at 1:24
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    I love how they made a wiki to per-secute (and bring down) that German minister: de.guttenplag.wikia.com/wiki/Plagiate A nice snapshot of his plagiarized thesis. – brasofilo Oct 12 '13 at 2:32

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