There are number of issue with this post https://stackoverflow.com/questions/19404338/write-bytes-to-a-text-files.

  1. Why would you want to hide hidden bytes to a text file?
  2. He's asked virtually the same question 3 times
  3. The other question he's asked is wondering how to upload an entire folder via FTP.

I think this has malicious intent.

So based on this answer https://meta.stackexchange.com/a/3534/217110 I have a number of options. I've confronted the user but no answer. I've flagged the duplicates.

Does this warrant a moderator flag?

  • 7
    So? What if there is no malicious intent, or whatever he's doing is legal in his country? We cannot make ethical calls, and certainly not based on a vague hunch. Oct 16, 2013 at 13:43
  • 1
    It's best not to try to police the intent of knowledge, maybe they're a black hat hacker, maybe they're grey hat, maybe its for a completely different reason. However knowledge about these exploits existing can only offer an oppertunity for then to be fixed Oct 16, 2013 at 13:43
  • 5
    There is no flag for immoral use. More, hiding data have many legitimate uses. And uploading folders is normal need, even if asking it here might be stupid.
    – Mołot
    Oct 16, 2013 at 13:44
  • 1
    On the other hand, vote/flag two as a duplicate of the third Oct 16, 2013 at 13:44
  • I've done that @RichardTingle
    – user217110
    Oct 16, 2013 at 13:45
  • 1
    TBF, @TimeTravelingBobby, that question says I could flag it for moderators. My question was, should I.
    – user217110
    Oct 16, 2013 at 13:47
  • 3
    Well the link simply says "use your judgement, don't automatically flag". If you're looking for an opinion i'd say no, I'm sure this has many uses, some bad some good (such as hiding your own data). Even if its bad its good that its discussed publicly rather than on closed hacker forums where "the good guys" will never see it Oct 16, 2013 at 13:50
  • 1
    Steganography is not inherently malicious. I remember being assigned several steganography projects back in college. Beyond it's entirely appropriate uses, keep in mind that there is lots of publicly available information on the subject out there, so it's not like a hacker needs another SO question about it to understand how it works.
    – Servy
    Oct 16, 2013 at 14:06
  • FWIW, doesn't even look like steganography; just seems to be trying to write a UTF-16 BOM to a file without understanding what it's for.
    – Wooble
    Oct 16, 2013 at 14:23
  • 1
    frosty, the snowman, had a very shiny nose ...
    – Rosinante
    Oct 16, 2013 at 18:57

1 Answer 1


As alluded to in comments, you should usually not flag for moderators for this sort of thing. There are a few main reasons why:

  1. Moderators can not possibly judge the legality of doing certain things, especially when it comes to laws in many different countries.

  2. No one can completely guess as to the intent of the activity in question, even if we do think it's something illegal. (Hacking is legal, for instance, when it is being done with consent - often for penetration testing)

  3. Ultimately, we judge questions based on their quality as questions, not anything else. This applies to 'shady' things like you suspect here, as well as homework, coding challenges, etc.

That said, questions like this have a tendency to be of low quality to begin with, in my experience. The question you link to here seems a bit weak to me. I'd consider voting to close it on that principle.