I asked this Q at SO and it's being upvoted and downvoted. It's about validating if the Windows version is genuine or not, which I want to do to prevent people from using my software on pirated Windows version. And with good reasons, since people who pirate Windows are likely to pirate my own products.

Now, I can understand that people disagree with me, but I don't understand why they downvote this Q simply because I want to use this check in my code. No one is forcing them to use Windows, nor will anyone force them to use my software. Several answers are nothing more than noise, basically telling me to bugger off and ignoring the fact that all I want is to stop piracy.

But for some reason, several members think it's better to use pirated software instead of using an alternative, free product. This is bad in my opinion since pirated software tends to include some unwanted extra's like spyware and botnet-plugs. It also harms the market for Free products since people will just continue to use the pirated products instead of supporting the free alternatives.

Anyway, I understand that people disagree with me asking this question and thus hinting others about how to do the same. I can understand that some members really hate the Windows Genuine Validation. But would this be a reason to just downvote a question, hoping it disappears?

5 Answers 5


You should be pleased. The question's gained you 58 rep so far. It's a perfect example of a reputation generator; a controversial question or answer that causes emotional, polarised voting, both on your question, and on the responses.

In any event, there's nothing you can 'do' about it. It's not really surprising you got reactions like this after writing up a detailed opinion in your question. If you were only interested in the answer, you could have phrased the question much more concisely and theoretically, e.g.

  • "Is it possible to tell whether the underlying operating system has a valid licence?"
  • "Is it possible for a userspace program to access the Windows piracy validation API?"

But that wouldn't have gotten nearly as much traffic or rep...

  • True, it did generate a lot of rep. Maybe I should turn it into a Wiki, though. I do realize it's a hot topic. I also expected the downvotes but wonder if it's okay to downvote simply because people don't like the Q. Am not worried about the negative rep though. And I already have the popular question and nice question badges. :-) I could get disciplined by deleting the Q now, though... Hmmm.... No, the Q is good. It's an example where people downvote simply because they dislike the topic. Commented Sep 22, 2009 at 10:27
  • And 40 more rep since I wrote this... amazing. Commented Sep 22, 2009 at 10:30
  • 3
    I think the upvotes since writing are unsurprising; they come specifically (probably) from this posting here. Discussion of downvoting almost always leads to upvoting.
    – please delete me
    Commented Sep 22, 2009 at 10:38
  • Since I can only get up to 200 rep per day, it's not that effective as a rep generator if it gains all rep in one day. :-) Answering Q's with bounties is much more effective. Commented Sep 22, 2009 at 11:37
  • Yeah, but bounties require actual work. Only 200 rep for giving your opinion on Windows piracy? Poor you! Commented Sep 22, 2009 at 12:15
  • Well, earned 15 points for answering a Q today, and 90 points for answering a Q yesterday and a few more. Doesn't really matter to me, since I like to learn from answering/asking questions. Also earned another "Nice question" badge. I rather answer Q's than ask Q's myself, but sometimes I want to know a few things too. Commented Sep 22, 2009 at 13:00

Try not to take the actions of anonymous (or not) people on the internet too seriously. It's so easy to be critical; it takes no effort really, and much harder to actually engage in a legitimate discussion with the poster.

I wouldn't let it get to you. You got your answer; I support your right to ask the question, and the question is solved.

The fact is that, in life, people may take offense at what you do; just ignore them and do what you think is best. If it comes down to actually affecting the results of your SO question, then maybe it's worth some more thought, but given that it was all solved, I'd just ignore the haters and move on.

-- Edit

Though I will add, to some degree, people who comment and downvote, may be worth engaging, just to see if they have some useful opinions. It is likely that the people are quite passionate about what they are saying, and may (or may not) have good reasons for it. Can't hurt to try and find out what they are, and judge for yourself their appropriateness to your case.

  • Well, I've engaged a lot of answers and comments already. It works, am back at +5, where I was downvoted back to 0 before. :-) Yes, people are passionate and I'm aware of that. It's a hot issue that I'm asking about, something that a few really hate. Still, I wanted to know the answer and also explained why. (And not to help MS but to make my own apps more secure.) Commented Sep 22, 2009 at 10:22

I wouldn't downvote it because I disagree with it; I'd downvote it because of the excessive amount of opinion in the question. Asking a technical question is one thing, and I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt without motive. Asking for opinions is iffier, and I'd want that to be CW. Giving opinions on potentially controversial subjects in a question is, I think, outside the scope of SO.


You didn't just ask a technical question. If you had, it might have generated some controversy, but I doubt it would have garnered anywhere near the amount of attention and subsequent discussion that it did.

No, the technical part of your question was brief and to the point, and pretty much fit entirely within the title. The rest of your question - six paragraphs worth after the last edit - appeared to seek out opinions as to whether you should be doing what you wanted to do.

And you got 'em, in spades!

As for the down-votes: ask an opinionated question, and you'll get folks expressing their opinions via the voting buttons. If you don't like it, stick to asking straight technical questions and leave the discussion to another site.


I reckon an individual question should not contribute more than X percent of a user's points. That is, if a person just happens to post a question that is controversial, they shouldn't suddenly get a huge boost in rep.

Likewise with down-voting: you shouldn't lose more than X number of points off a down-voted question.

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