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Like so many people around the world, we are watching the tragic and unlawful invasion of Ukraine unfold. Several of the discussions on Meta and in conversations with us have raised the question of whether we will block access to Stack Exchange sites from IPs associated with Russia. Unless compelled to do so by law, we do not have plans to do this. We want to briefly explain why.

It’s important to recognize that Geo-targeted restrictions on access to Stack Overflow are unlikely to effectively block bad actors from using our site, and are technically difficult to maintain. The users impacted would more likely be students and practitioners, who would suddenly find themselves removed from one of the world’s largest and most consistently high-quality reference sources. The people who would be most inconvenienced would not be policy makers or members of the military – those people have access to tools to evade our IP based blocks. IP ranges also vary regularly, so these blocks would need to be continuously policed, yielding imperfect results and creating a substantial risk of impacting everyday citizens the most.

Stack Exchange is founded on the principle that open information access helps keep the world safe, and we will continue to ensure our policies and stances support this.

In pursuit of keeping our platform safe, content on the site that is off-topic or malicious will be immediately closed by the community, as always. If you have concerns that any specific information hosted on Stack Overflow poses a material risk of harm, we urge you to send an email using the “Contact” link at the bottom of this page as soon as possible. If you have personal concerns about the way your knowledge contributions may be used, we would encourage you to make an individual decision about your willingness to contribute to Stack Overflow’s knowledge base, and we empathize with your uncertainty.

Finally, while we don’t have employees in Ukraine, there are many Ukrainians in our community and many Stack Overflow employees that have family members in Ukraine. We are thinking of them, and want to support the humanitarian organizations that are on the ground helping the civilians who are most impacted by this war. As such, we are making donations to Doctors Without Borders, the International Rescue Committee, and UNICEF. All of these global nonprofits are providing aid directly to Ukraine, and we have supported each of these organizations for years through Stack Gives Back.

Please consider this our official update on this topic. If the situation substantially changes, we will communicate proactively to reflect any updates as appropriate. We wish all people a swift return to freedom and safety.

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  • 531
    As horrible as what Russia is doing is, this is the right stance. Russian citizens should not be penalized when trying to do their job or their hobby simply because their leader is insane. Mar 2 at 17:31
  • 45
    Relevant (and important) post for some; also, remember: Focus on the content, not the author/user.
    – Ollie
    Mar 2 at 17:34
  • 394
    Speaking as a Russian citizen and a seasoned contributor - I am extremely glad to see this and express gratitude to the company for taking a reasonable stance in times when actions of my country cause so much sensless suffering and death. I hope here, on the network, we can all stand united against the spread of hatred towards people of any nationality, race, gender, or any other attribute. Mar 2 at 18:32
  • 84
    Thank you. It seems like a lot of companies have taken this as an opportunity to make themselves look good, ignoring the impacts that their actions would have on Russia's ordinary citizens vs. the people actual responsible for the invasion. Mar 2 at 19:52
  • 22
    Awesome, thanks for making this clear. Hindering users from Russia would achieve nothing except cause even more suffering to innocent people. Even the majority of those who support his actions are victims of the same insane and evil regime. Mar 2 at 20:20
  • 31
    Can't fault this stance. Well done SO.
    – Rob Grant
    Mar 2 at 20:23
  • 71
    I find it a little sad that you have explain why you're not blocking Russia. Aside from the fact that "block Russia" is basically impossible because VPNs (among other things), what would it achieve? The Russian people didn't decide to invade Ukraine; they're just going about their normal daily business. Imagine if your government did a bad thing and then you got blocked from SE because of it. It just makes no sense, so +1 to SE for making the common sense decision.
    – Clonkex
    Mar 2 at 22:22
  • 155
    @Clonkex most of the sanctions against Russia hurt the innocent citizens. The idea is that hopefully the leader will change what they are doing to stop their people from suffering (good one, right?), or the situation becomes bad enough for the citizens that they overthrow the government themselves. In this framework "[action] will hurt innocent Russians" is not a reason to a priori dismiss the action. Of course one has to weigh the impact of the action against the chance of the action actually changing anything in the grand scheme of things. SE "sanctions" would be pointless harm. Mar 2 at 22:32
  • 46
    This is by far the best single act Stack Exchange took in a long long time. Perfectly explained. Well done. :) Mar 3 at 7:28
  • 10
    "open information access helps keep the world safe" That's an interesting point. I think that open information is a value by itself but it may not be a mean to always increase safety by itself. You can probably also exploit it and misuse open information. The logic of sanctions is also to keep the world safe and still the recommended action is completely opposite. So who is right in the end? Or is it more difficult. The really important thing for me here is the financial support of civilians. That is very much appreciated. Many, many thanks for that.
    – Trilarion
    Mar 3 at 12:19
  • 58
    I don't think its particularly surprising to see this announcement since it is a current topic. What surprises me more is the surprise from Russian citizens that anything would be disrupted for their normal day, while at the same time their countrymen bomb schools, hospitals, and businesses; kill women, children, and tear families apart. Should that be rewarded? You want a medal? Same ~70M Russians been voting this whole time, mostly in favor of Putin, even before he was consolidating power. The propaganda machine is strong there, and it is very involved in tech.
    – Travis J
    Mar 3 at 19:42
  • 20
    Well - SE was kinda asked in multiple places if they would and this is a response for that. I know of a few users who changed their avas to reflect a cause, and nicknames too. You're free to support the end of war in Yeman, Syria or wherever the heck else people are waging war. Its not a zero sum game where feeling for one group of people dosen't mean we care about no one else
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Mar 7 at 12:31
  • 47
    @Riwen's complaint is 100% legit, there's a lot of commentary in media (not "Western" media, obviously) how racist the coverage of this war is. All too many people tend to say "but these are white people just like us, driving their cars to escape" with the implication that those people, far away, with different ethnicity and religion are somehow more deserving of the same devastation. It's tragic. Western perception is grossly biased here. But the losses here are tragic none the less and we should do something about this, now. And then consider if we should make a change elsewhere (yes). Mar 7 at 12:44
  • 18
    I think this is the right judgment call. From my understanding the majority of Russian SO users are strongly against the invasion. I'm also aware of some people (myself included) who have participated in anti war protests in Russia despite the threat of a 15 year jail sentence for speaking out against the war. It is misleading to think that everyone in Russia "just sits by idly in comfort" though there are certainly people like that as well. Showing a banner in support of Ukraine, that links to unbiased news sources and charities might be a good alternative — more inclusive and more impactful.
    – undercat
    Mar 15 at 17:24
  • 9
    Personally, I would not want SO to be in that position. That type of endeavor seems more targeted to those with expertise in journalism and - I can tell you from my time at Wikipedia - writing balanced summaries of ongoing events is HARD and requires the development of a set of policies and guidelines that we haven't got, nor do we have the expertise to write them. It's pretty far outside the mandates of any team in the company.
    – Philippe StaffMod
    Mar 18 at 13:45

27 Answers 27

315
+100

Seeing how Russia plans to block Wikipedia because it calls Putin's "special operation" an invasion, I wouldn't underestimate the effect a banner with the Ukrainian flag and a clear message such as "Stop the war!" might have. If Russian government chooses to block SO as a result, it will be much more clear to the Russian SO users who their real enemy is. If the blocking comes as an SE decision, it will be just used by the Putin's propaganda as yet another proof of the US being the enemy to all Russians.

And, to reiterate my comment, blocking Russian-speaking SO communities based solely on the language would be even worse. This move would hit, among others, Russian-speaking Ukrainians, the very people it is intended to protect.

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  • 41
    But, if a person in Russia tries to connect to SO and it fails, how will they know who did what? Especially if Putin is controlling the news that Russians see? Mar 5 at 5:03
  • 43
    @Scott You get HTTP 451, that's how. Here's a collection of banners different Russian providers show. Mar 5 at 21:15
  • Any dev seeing this can easily use a vpn or tor to circumvent
    – jjxtra
    Mar 10 at 21:36
  • 20
    @DmitryGrigoryev That implies Moscow will respect the HTTP spec, which is a pretty wild assumption
    – Ian Newson
    Mar 11 at 9:13
  • 6
    @sco With Stack Overflow being by far the largest Stack Exchange site, it's somewhat reasonable to assume above average tech savvy-ness amongst its user base. Let's not underestimate the ability of the average Stack Exchange user to diagnose connectivity issues.
    – Tim
    Mar 11 at 10:39
  • 28
    @IanNewson Sorry if I didn't make myself clear: I'm not referring to provisions in the HTTP spec, I'm saying you actually see those pages when you try to access FB or Twitter via a Russian provider. It's not an assumption. Mar 12 at 8:08
  • @jjxtra It only makes sense if finding your answers elsewhere takes more time than setting up Tor/VPN, and keep them running. As far as I know, it takes to try several VPN providers before you find one that still works, and Tor bridges are being regularly banned so you'll have to configure new ones each week. It's a hearsay from my side though, I don't live in Russia. Mar 12 at 8:27
  • 1
    I'm not here to advocate whether it should be blocked but I would like to point out that the Russian citizens are responsible for this and only the Russian citizens can stop it.
    – Ya.
    Mar 20 at 23:12
  • 1
    @KyeRussell I disagree it's the same way. Maybe Russia won't bother to block SO and there will be more anti-war messages for developers (and their bosses) to see. And if SO is banned by the Russian government, I don't see how a reasonable Russian dev could hold grudges against SO or US in general for cutting them off. Mar 22 at 9:23
  • 3
    @Dmitry Grigoryev It would really surprise me if Russian SO users did not support Putin. I don't see what makes them any different from the rest of the Russians.
    – Ya.
    Mar 23 at 21:04
  • 3
    @Scott Mar At least, it will be russia, banning it's own citizens from using SO, not vice versa. The moral clause, so to speak, would not be on the company. Mar 24 at 13:59
  • 1
    How about requiring that IPs from VPN or Russia pass a short test about the war, otherwise they hit a HTTP 451 as @DmitryGrigoryev suggested?
    – geneorama
    Mar 24 at 18:34
  • 1
    @dcsan It sounds like something that is easily dismissed as Western propaganda, that's what it sounds like. See also: the concept of making voters take a test before voting.
    – user253751
    Mar 31 at 17:24
  • 1
    " it will be much more clear to the Russian SO users who their real enemy is." <<- { can't beat, can't join them } = enemy ? | imho, we CAN get peace, we HAD one. Whose earth is it anyway? (I just know we only have 1 home.. no planet B, n I plan to stay put.. together..)
    – p._phidot_
    Mar 31 at 21:40
  • 2
    @Ya., "I don't see what makes [SO users] any different from the rest of the Russians." - Education level. Apr 1 at 13:38
185

As per Sklivvz's suggestion, how about showing solidarity in the Stack Exchange and Stack Overflow logos, including for the Russian SO:

Ukraine-themed SE logo
Ukraine-themed SO logo

Other sites could join in too, e.g. Aviation:

Ukrain-themed Aviation logo

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  • 59
    This might even be too subtle. But I agree with the the general idea of showing support in some way, such as adding a banner with an anti-war message on ru.so. Might get SO blocked by Roskomnadzor but that would be on Russia then.
    – l4mpi
    Mar 3 at 10:48
  • 134
    This is pure symbolism. The logo already is but coloring it doesn't really change anything in the world. I think it might even have negative consequences but looking as if something can be done, where nothing is achieved.
    – Trilarion
    Mar 3 at 11:55
  • 6
    @Trilarion I think it's about awareness. It won't have a direct impact on the RL, but imagine if no one would have said anything this past week. Mar 4 at 8:23
  • 10
    @Trilarion I love the symbolism. Show them the finger. Mar 4 at 9:36
  • 28
    @Peter-ReinstateMonica That's how different people can be. I personally hate symbolism. This coloring puts political convictions on the same level as for example Winter bash hats in my eyes.
    – Trilarion
    Mar 4 at 9:44
  • 5
    @Trilarion "Winter bash" getting a whole new meaning... but I think people can distinguish the playful from the serious, even if it appears on the same internet ;-). Mar 4 at 10:18
  • 6
    @Peter-ReinstateMonica Yes, and I do not want to spoil the issue for those that like it, but it's nothing for me. Changing colors for logos is not serious enough for me. The impact would be too low.
    – Trilarion
    Mar 4 at 10:26
  • 5
    @Trilarion Isn't it similar to people expressing support through various rainbow flags and black fists?
    – Adám
    Mar 4 at 10:29
  • 5
    @Adám Yes, quite the same, although I do not know much about black fists, which might be a bit more serious. The difference to here is that coloring logos is quite non-commital. It's very soft, not even clear what it would mean. The graphical equivalent of "We allow you to continue to use the site, but we want to make the experience just a little bit embarrassing for you." I personally do not need this - it is too superficial. Could even be bad, by looking like something can done, where nothing is achieved really.
    – Trilarion
    Mar 4 at 11:14
  • 58
    What would probably be better are banners with links to charities and humanitarian aid organizations shown to worldwide audience - this at least has potential to do some real good in these times. Mar 4 at 12:26
  • 11
    Rainbow colors and black fists are intended to raise awareness of an issue, which is not necessary for Ukraine. Symbols of Ukraine are instead to show to Putin and Russia that the world is against the war. They're only meaningful if many people are responsible for them. Since the logo of SO isn't chosen democractically, it shows little more than the conviction of a few mods, and hence is pretty meaningless. It feels like you're nudging people towards caring, almost condescendingly, as @CodedMonkey said, virtue signalling. Doesn't feel right with me.
    – Nearoo
    Mar 5 at 15:19
  • 18
    🕊️ I'm old enough to remember all the US flag bumper stickers and t-shirts and various other meaningless junk that was bought and sold after 9/11. This was part of an explosive emotional reaction to those events that grew from and amplified the natural surge of US sympathy and nationalism after that event. Can anyone honestly say that cultivating nationalism in that way resulted in a more peaceful and stable world? I can't. If you insist on an icon to express your solidarity and hope for the people of Ukraine and the world, why not choose an icon of peace over a de-facto battle flag? 🕊️
    – Stew
    Mar 10 at 22:04
  • 29
    Nah, just keep Stack neutral (even though it's already too political in my opinion). I'm tired of companies getting involved with stuff like this and not focusing on their purpose. Let individuals take action or join/form/support organizations to do so.
    – Jacob
    Mar 11 at 14:23
  • 3
    @Stew A country's flag is not a battle flag, and waving a flag is not nationalism. Nationalism is the concept that one's country is superior to all others. There was nationalism after 9/11, but that led to using the flag, not the other way around. Showing a flag is just showing support, and I would argue it was helpful when, on 9/11, other countries showed support for the US. A generic peace symbol says nothing about how you want peace to be achieved: it could mean Russia stops the war. or that Ukraine gives up. Both are peace, but one is a negative peace, the kind that enables oppression.
    – trlkly
    Mar 11 at 22:32
  • 4
    This is pure virtue signalling, and if SO didn't do it for any other conflict in the history so far, there's really no reason to do it now. Just my 2 cents...
    – errata
    Mar 22 at 16:07
178

As @TravisJ pointed out in a comment, Stack Exchange is owned by Prosus/Naspers, the same company that is the largest shareholder of VK, the biggest player on the Russian internet market.

Stack Exchange may want to address whether this has influenced their decision to not condemn Russia or show support for Ukraine in any way that is visible to people who visit the site.


UPDATE:

Prosus has announced on March 7th that it is selling its share in VK, after VK's CEO Vladimir Kiriyenko was placed on the sanctions list. Naspers still owns Avito, Russia's largest online marketplace, valued at $6 billion before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Prosus and Naspers are twin companies with a "cross-ownership" structure, both run by the same people.)

(Thanks to αλεχολυτ for providing a link to this information.)


RE: COMMENTS

Owning Avito and 27% of VK is not a tenuous link to someone who knows someone who knows someone, but a huge business interest. Asking whether this has influenced Stack Exchange's decision-making is not a "conspiracy theory", but a request for clarification.

(I'm replying here because my comments keep getting deleted.)

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    They have 27%, not full ownership: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosus
    – Smitop
    Mar 4 at 17:15
  • 30
    I don't like conspiracy theories. One can find something, always, then rally others saying "LOOK! GOLDEN PROOF FOR [whatever you want here]!!!". Sadly it works because people love to cling to anything. Mar 5 at 16:15
  • 4
    "not condemn Russia or show support for Ukraine" To be fair they do show support, just not the one you would like to see. My guess is that if the war should be prolonged and the number of casualties should increase, the stance of company here will be seen more and more critical, even if potential measures might be seen as rather ineffective. At some point one might ask if it wouldn't have been better to do even the little stuff. The "open information makes the world safer" argument might be too simplified in the end. The world obviously isn't safe.
    – Trilarion
    Mar 7 at 11:55
  • 23
    @Trilarion The reason it bothers me is that they never shied away from being political in the past, even if it meant getting into huge rows with moderators. They've temporarily changed their logo to make political statements before. Right now they seem primarily concerned with not stepping on any Russian toes. Mar 7 at 15:09
  • 9
  • 5
    It's true that it was a little on the edge as far as theory goes, but I had mostly just wanted them to address whether it presented a conflict of interest with my original comment. Thank you for highlighting that here in this answer, I am both surprised and a little happy that they wound down their VK stake. It always seemed like an odd pairing, and overall the decision makes me a little hopeful for the naspers group in general.
    – Travis J
    Mar 8 at 6:17
  • 7
    @TravisJ With the CEO of VK on the sanctions list, I don't think they had much choice. There remains the fact that Avito is an even larger investment in financial terms, but on the other hand it seems less problematic, both in terms of its history and leadership, and of its content. Mar 8 at 6:27
  • 33
    @ShadowWizardSaysNoMoreWar Uh, what?! Pointing out an actual monetary conflict of interests (and the fact that this manifest COI wasn’t addressed by SO) isn’t a “conspiracy theory”. Mar 13 at 9:40
  • 3
    I'm opposed to the sanctions regime and I'm not sure the enforced severing economic ties is going to increase chances for peace, but as an anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist I think it's always important for people to know where a given institution or person fits into the graph of money and power, so I appreciate this post for bringing this relationship to my attention. We need to apply a "follow the money" analysis to every act of war, aggression and subjugation. It can never tell us the whole story, but the whole story is never told without it.
    – Stew
    Mar 23 at 18:49
  • 4
    SO has ability to add some pressure on Russia, but doesn't. Could donate to some charities focused on supporting Ukraine civilians, instead only donates to generic global NGOs [some good ones, but still...]. Seems SO has made its choice, a choice to avoid doing anything that might directly help Ukraine. Follow the money... Mar 26 at 14:04
  • 2
    note that Naspers is also wechat's original backer, so they're perfectly comfortable with banning media when it's good for business
    – dcsan
    Mar 30 at 15:42
137

As such, we are making donations to Doctors Without Borders, the International Rescue Committee, and UNICEF. All of these global nonprofits are providing aid directly to Ukraine, and we have supported each of these organizations for years through Stack Gives Back.

While I hope that the war won't last that long, could we have charities specifically and directly helping Ukraine included in this year's Stack Overflow Gives back, especially if they're in a period of rebuilding?

Considering their sheer grit in the face of overwhelming odds, I can't imagine there's too many not moved by their plight.

0
121

A simple solution would be to have a pro-Ukrainian statement in an interstitial appear to Russian IPs. This would be relatively simple to implement and maintain and it would feel—if properly worded—like an encouragement for those Russians that do not support the war and a warning for those that unfortunately do.

We have had a logo change to support gay marriage, why not a similar action to make Ukrainians feel our support and encourage Russians to take responsibility for their country's actions?

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  • 85
    Why only Russian IPs? That adds a lot of hassle monitoring IP ranges (as described in the announcement), just so non-Russians can't see the statement? Nah, just globally show it!
    – Cerbrus
    Mar 3 at 11:15
  • 5
    Any particular "a pro-Ukrainian statement" in mind? Maybe "only use our website to overcome your government" or so?
    – Trilarion
    Mar 3 at 11:58
  • 40
    It's a dangerous path when private companies are expected to do politics. If you actually, honestly want to hurt the Russian government, military and oligarchy, freeze their foreign accounts, don't triangulate by hurting their citizens who likely had no say in the invasion.
    – ASalazar
    Mar 3 at 16:36
  • 47
    The message should tell Russians that their government has invaded Ukraine and is currently launching rockets at civilian homes, hospitals, and kindergartens, alongside links to more information. This is meaningful. The invasion is barely talked about on Russian state media. To the greatest extent possible, Putin does not want his people to know about the extent of his war. SE should make sure they know. Mar 3 at 17:22
  • 4
    @ASalazar "freeze their foreign accounts" And that won't hurt the citizens? Of course, all the sanctions will all hurt Russian citizens most. Putin will feel them as the last one. But compared to the suffering of Ukrainians ...
    – Trilarion
    Mar 3 at 23:11
  • 11
    @Wowfunhappy "The message should tell Russians that their government has invaded Ukraine and is currently launching rockets at civilian homes, hospitals, and kindergartens, alongside links to more information." Fully supported, but then we won't need to talk about SO being available in Russia anymore. The company won't do that, even though that would just be telling the truth. In Russia you are not allowed to say it aloud.
    – Trilarion
    Mar 3 at 23:14
  • 9
    @Trilarion If Russia is the one to block SE, that's Russia's problem. And SE would have done a lot of good in the meantime. Mar 4 at 16:19
  • 15
    @Wowfunhappy Just write "Russia attacked Ukraine and launched a full-scale invasion of it" That should be enough. The truth is kind of illegal in Russia.
    – Trilarion
    Mar 4 at 16:33
  • 7
    More votes for this! Stack Exchange has incredible power as a platform to break through the propaganda machine. If would be a terrible shame if they fail to make use of it. Why are we not doing this already?? It's been weeks. Seems like the stack just doesn't care...
    – J...
    Mar 15 at 15:07
  • @ASalazar In fact, foreign accounts have been frozen. Net result: Balances are swapped between the government and citizens, so that citizens hold all the frozen foreign accounts, and the government gets to use the unfrozen foreign accounts. Obviously. They live in a dictatorship - the government is going to redirect things so every single sanction hurts the citizens as much as possible. So we just have to sanction so many things that the government runs out of capacity to redirect them.
    – user253751
    Mar 22 at 13:55
  • The edit by @Troll should be reversed. The spaces should not have been removed: they are not hyphenated words, the dashes are for punctuation. Mar 30 at 20:22
  • 3
    @Greenonline those are m-dashes which, typographically, should go without spaces. Hyphenation needs, well, an hyphen. Perhaps you'd prefer n-dashes, which go with spaces, but that is controversial since n-dashes should be used for ranges, without spaces. smashingmagazine.com/2011/08/…
    – Sklivvz
    Apr 1 at 6:14
104

Stack Exchange is to be commended on its position which is absolutely right in principle, though perhaps not right in practice, I greatly fear.

Thoughts and best wishes to all the Russians who Putin has, so callously, thrown under the bus in his imperialistic madness.


My thoughts in comments elsewhere on this page: (Reprinted below after a request from @Vickel)

The stance is right in principle but wrong in practice. I have every sympathy with Russians, but the world needs to be doing everything within its power to make every facet of normal life in Russia impossible - and make it clear that normal service will not resume until the people of Russia successfully depose their insane president. For as long as he remains in power, Ukrainians will continue to lose their lives. For his part Putin gambles that life for most Russian citizens will continue as normally as possible; that he may continue his invasion with impunity. We do well to call his bluff.


My great fear is that - and I fully accept what a moral dilemma this is - unless Russians in Russia have their professional lives disrupted beyond recognition they will not be inclined to speak out against Putin, who, not least, is not an easy person to speak out against. As long as the Russian people have a choice to continue their professional lives on an broadly normal basis, they will. And Putin will continue to act abroad - destroying Ukrainian cities, murdering Ukrainian civilians - with impunity. The invasion of Ukraine is not the fault of Russians. But it is their responsibility.


A non-exhaustive list of the companies and organisations withdrawing services from the Russian Federation:

  • Accenture has discontinued all its Russian business (See: Wikipedia)

  • Adidas has suspended its partnership with the Russian Football Union (See: The Independent)

  • Apple has stopped selling all products in Russia (See: Wikipedia)

  • Apple’s Maps and Weather apps have resumed showing Crimea as part of Ukraine in all regions outside Russia (See: TechCrunch)

  • airBaltic has left the Russian market (See: Wikipedia)

  • Airbnb has suspended all operations in Russia and Belarus (See: Wikipedia)

  • Airbus has suspended support for Russian airlines, and suspended services provided by the Airbus Engineering Centre in Russia (See: Wikipedia)

  • Bloober Team has pulled sales of their games in Russia and Belarus (See: NicheGamer)

  • Boeing has suspended support for Russian airlines (See: Wikipedia)

  • Booking.com has suspended all operations in Russia and travel services in Belarus (See: Wikipedia)

  • BP and Equinor have announced they are pulling back from Russian developments. Shell has paused its support of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project (See: Wikipedia)

  • Canada Goose has stopped all sales in Russia (See: The Independent)

  • CD Projekt has halted all sales of its games in Russia and Belarus (See: CNBC)

  • Centrica has announced it will exit gas supply agreements with Russia (See: Wikipedia)

  • The Church of England announced on 25 February that it will sell £20m in Russian holdings and has banned any further investment in Russia (See: Wikipedia)

  • Cisco has suspended all deliveries to Russia and Belarus (See: Wikipedia)

  • Deloitte has suspended all deliveries to Russia (See: Reuters)

  • Delta Air Lines has suspended its code sharing partnership with Russian airliner Aeroflot (See: Wikipedia)

  • DuckDuckGo has paused its partnership with Yandex Search (See: Wikipedia)

  • Electronic Arts has halted all sales in Russia and Belarus (See: PC Gamer)

  • Embraer has announced the halting of supply of parts and aircraft to Russia (See: Wikipedia)

  • Epic Games has suspended sales in Russia (See: Eurogamer)

  • Ericsson has suspended all deliveries to Russia (See: Wikipedia)

  • The European Commission has suspended all payments to Russian institutions involved in EU-funded research projects on 2 March (See: Wikipedia)

  • The European Union, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States have closed their airspace to all Russian airlines and Russian-registered private jets (See: Wikipedia)

  • The European Space Agency (ESA) has delayed ExoMars, a joint Europe-Russian mission to send a rover to Mars (See: Wikipedia)

  • Eurovision has banned Russia from entering its annual competition this year (See: The Independent)

  • ExxonMobil has cut business ties with Russia and announced that they will not be investing in new developments in the country (See: Wikipedia)

  • FedEx and UPS have announced that they would halt shipments to Russia and Ukraine (See: Wikipedia)

  • FIFA, football’s global governing body, has announced that it has suspended all Russian teams (See: Washington Post)

  • The carmaker Ford has suspended its commercial van joint venture in Russia “until further notice” (See: The Guardian)

  • General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover and Renault have all stopped sales and operations in Russia (See: The Guardian)

  • The German Research Foundation has suspended all scientific collaboration with Russia on 2 March, including the sharing of data, samples, research and equipment (See: Wikipedia)

  • GoDaddy has stopped supporting new registrations for the .ru extension (See: Wikipedia)

  • Google has suspended its ad business in Russia (See: Wikipedia)

  • Google Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay no longer work in Russia due to sanctions against numerous Russian banks (See: Wikipedia)

  • Google Play and the App Store have both banned the RT and Sputnik apps (See: TechCrunch)

  • H&M has stopped all sales in Russia and will keep its stores closed (See: Washington Post)

  • IKEA will stop production in Russia, close down its stores in the country and stop exporting goods to and from there (See: Washington Post)

  • The International Automobile Federation has cancelled the Russian Formula 1 Grand Prix in September (See: Washington Post)

  • The International Cat Federation has banned Russian cats from entering any of its international competitions (See: Washington Post)

  • The International Chess Federation will no longer hold the 44th Chess Olympiad in Moscow (See: Washington Post)

  • The International Ice Hockey Federation and the National Hockey League have disallowed Russian competitors (See: The Independent)

  • The International Paralympic Committee has banned Russian and Belarusian from competing at the Beijing Paralympic Games (See: Washington Post)

  • The International Skating Union has banned athletes from Russia or Belarus from participating in events until further notice (See: The Independent)

  • The Journal of Molecular Structure has stopped considering manuscripts submitted by scientists at Russian institutions (See: Wikipedia)

  • Legal & General and Abrdn have sold all their Russian stocks and bonds (See: Wikipedia)

  • Lego has suspended deliveries of products to 81 Russian stores (See: The Independent)

  • Louis Tomlinson is among the solo artists who have removed Moscow from their world tours, along with artists Yungblud and Nick Cave (See: The Independent)

  • Maersk, MSC, CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd and Ocean Network Express have halted all container shipping to Russia, except for basic food products, medicine and humanitarian aid (See: Wikipedia)

  • Manchester United football team has ended a commercial partnership with Russian state airline Aeroflot (See: Philadelphia Inquirer)

  • Mango has closed its stores in Russia as well as its sales website and stopping the delivery of goods in the country (See: Washington Post)

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has ended its relationship with the Skolkovo Foundation on 25 February (See: Wikipedia)

  • Mastercard, Visa and American Express have blocked transactions linked to multiple Russian institutions on 1 March. (See: Wikipedia)

  • The Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics has switched off the eROSITA black hole telescope aboard the Russian Spektr-RG satellite on February 26 (See: Wikipedia)

  • The Mercedes-Benz Group will stop exporting its vehicles to Russia and stop producing them locally (See: Washington Post)

  • Microsoft has suspended new sales of its products and services in Russia (See: Wikipedia)

  • Microsoft Windows App Store has banned the RT app (See: TechCrunch)

  • Minecraft removed from the Google Play and Apple App Store in Russia by developer Mojang (See: Indian Express)

  • Namecheap has terminated its service to all Russian customers, allowing exceptions for "all anti-regime media, protest resources, and any type of websites that are helping to end this war and regime" (See: Wikipedia)

  • Nintendo has suspended eShop sales in Russia (See: GameRant)

  • Nvidia has suspended all Russian-facing business activities (See: Tom's Hardware)

  • Space agency NASA is exploring ways to keep the International Space Station in orbit without Russia (See: Wikipedia)

  • Netflix will no longer air any Russian channels on its platform in Russia (See: Washington Post)

  • Nike, Asos and Boohoo will no longer sell their products in Russia (See: Washington Post)

  • Oracle has suspended all operations in Russia (See: Wikipedia)

  • Panasonic has suspended shipments and ended operations in Russia (See: Wikipedia)

  • PayPal has shut down its services in Russia on 5 March (See: Wikipedia)

  • The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has directed the Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores and its website to stop buying and selling Russian-sourced products (See: Philadelphia Inquirer)

  • Rakuten has removed Russian ads from its messaging app Viber (See: Wikipedia)

  • Reddit has prohibited links to Russian state media and rejected any advertisement from any Russian-based entity, government or private (See: Wikipedia)

  • Rockstar Games and parent company Take-Two Interactive have suspended games, merchandise and other content on sale in Russia and Belarus (See: Rockstar Intel)

  • Sabre Corporation has terminated its booking agreement with Aeroflot (See: Wikipedia)

  • Sainsbury's supermarket has relabelled its Chicken Kiev as Chicken Kyiv (See: The Guardian)

  • Samsung has suspended shipments to Russia (See: Wikipedia)

  • German football team Schalke has ended a longtime commercial sponsorship deal with Gazprom (See: Philadelphia Inquirer)

  • Snapchat has stopped running ads and halts ad sales in Belarus and Russia (See: Wikipedia)

  • Spotify has closed its office in Russia indefinitely (See: TechCrunch)

  • The Killers, Green Day, Bring Me to the Horizon and Franz Ferdinand have all withdrawn from planned live events in Moscow and St Petersburg (See: The Independent)

  • TikTok said Russian users of its popular social media app would no longer be able to post new videos or livestreams and they also wouldn’t be able to see videos shared from elsewhere in the world

  • UEFA has ended a longtime commercial sponsorship deal with Gazprom, the Russian state-owned oil company and has moved the Champions League final on May 28th from St. Petersburg to Paris (See: Philadelphia Inquirer)

  • The University of Colorado announced on March 3rd that it will liquidate its investment in publicly traded Russian companies and mutual funds with holdings in Russia (See: Wikipedia)

  • The Volkswagen Group will no longer export its cars to Russia and has halted production at its Russian plants in Kaluga and Nizhny Novgorod (See: Washington Post)

  • The Walt Disney Co., Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures have cancelled the upcoming releases of their films in Russia, including “The Batman” and “Turning Red” (See: Washington Post)

  • Wetherspoons has stopped selling bottles of Baltika Lager (See: Daily Record)

  • The World Bank announced it had stopped all activities in Russia and Belarus as of March 2nd (See: Wikipedia)

  • YouTube has banned Russian state media outlets in the EU and UK (See: TechCrunch)

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  • 48
    I think your comment above - "....normal service will not resume until the people of Russia successfully depose their insane president" - is spot on in identifying what's special about this situation: The guy is NUTS (or something functionally equivalent, e.g. desperately misled) and there is a race against time to stop him before he does something more nuts than he has done already. None of us should be carrying on as normal; each of us should be thinking what we can reasonably do to stop this or help those affected. Mar 3 at 0:43
  • 38
    Numerous high profile Russians critical of Putin have been imprisoned, or wound up dead. What hope do the ordinary citizens have of opposing him?
    – PM 2Ring
    Mar 3 at 4:49
  • 27
    Well, there's protests in cities in Russia - so.. apparently enough hope to try
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Mar 3 at 4:54
  • 28
    I think you're enormously overestimating the power the people have in Russia, and you're severely overestimating what SE can do to block Russia. As explained in the announcement, geo-targeted blocks are rarely effective, prohibitively time consuming to keep accurate, and not nearly as effective as we'd like.
    – Cerbrus
    Mar 3 at 8:46
  • 57
    Making "every facet of normal life in Russia impossible" is not going to magically change the minds of people that do support this war, or even the ones that do not support the war but can not do much because it is already too dangerous to do so. For those that support the war, they will just have yet another reason to say 'see, they're bad'. For those that don't support the war, giving them reasons to hold grudges is also not a good idea.
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Mar 3 at 12:28
  • 8
    @Tinkeringbell it's a moral dilemma. If you do nothing, Ukrainians continue to suffer, if you do something Russians suffer also a bit but Ukrainians maybe less. Everyone of us chooses (even by doing nothing) and nobody knows what's really right in the end.
    – Trilarion
    Mar 3 at 12:46
  • 23
    @Trilarion if you do this "something", you're not achieving the objective of stopping (or easing) the war, just making yourself feel better because you punish the offending country. To the supporters of the regime this will only make them think more about "import substitution", increasing patriotic feelings, rather than that their position should be questioned. Besides, to everyone this would just be an annoyance that is trivially solved by a VPN.
    – Ruslan
    Mar 3 at 14:12
  • 3
    @JDB "overthrowing a ruler like Putin will result in more turmoil" If Putin cannot be overthrown then Ukraine will get occupied and the sanctions would probably stay and everyone might suffer everywhere for a long time. A revolution like Maidan might be possible in Russia and might be the much better outcome actually. But I have not much hope that this can be achieved.
    – Trilarion
    Mar 3 at 16:58
  • 18
    In regards to that list of examples you added: Every single one of those is a physical or financial restriction (No more goods or transactions to Russia, or cancelling Russian clients). Those are tangible examples that actually affect Russian economy. None of them are IP blocks. None of them restrict access to neutral media. None of them are similar to a western website manually having to keep an list of Russian IPs up to date to block Russian access...
    – Cerbrus
    Mar 5 at 20:16
  • 4
    Adding to what @Cerbrus just said, the decisions of these companies, although struck some businesses hard, in general only made people more angrier. Some start to believe that Putin's propaganda wasn't all that wrong on the subject of "western russophobia". So the effect is somewhat the opposite among common folks.
    – anemyte
    Mar 5 at 20:24
  • 53
    Don't be fooled by a long list of capitalists no longer doing business in a country where they can't easily get supplies in and revenues out. If you think any of these are doing this because of ideological stand taking, you're probably wrong.
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Mar 6 at 10:30
  • 21
    Adding to @Tinkeringbell comment, with which I 100% agree, I also believe that once the dust settles down, in 6-8 months, all those companies will crawl back to Russia, under the radar, and everything will be back to exactly how it was before. It's the same as with COVID: all the experts said it's going to "change the world", and "the world will never be the same", and guess what? They were all wrong. Mar 6 at 12:28
  • 4
    @ShadowWizardHatesOmicron Not it's fine. I believed that we as human kind are on the way to a better future without wars because we are so economically interdependent that the price of wars just keeps climbing and climbing and nobody would dare anymore to attack anyone else, but of course that is naive and equally naive to believe that capital has moral attached. Of course they will sneak back as soon as they can if it's not forbidden and also the message here by the company reads much more idealistic (poor students) than it might be in truth.
    – Trilarion
    Mar 8 at 7:54
  • 6
    @Trilarion: TikTok: Russian users (Accounts). NetFlix: Russian channels. YouTube: Russian state media outlets. BBC: Dunno, no info yet? Again, that's all account / client-based, and incomparable to blocking access to a website from an entire country.
    – Cerbrus
    Mar 8 at 13:15
  • 4
    @Telion "like Russians basically sit there and watch this hoping there would be no effect to them personally " —OK, then it should have been stated up front: it's just a revenge, without real power of change. People won't overthrow the dictator even in the event of catastrophic widespread hunger—holodomor didn't remove Stalin. Only death of the dictator (case of Stalin) or total military failure (case of Hitler) can dismantle the regime or make it any better. Well, another possible option is a revolution due to a civil war, but it seems unlikely in modern Russia, even if completely isolated.
    – Ruslan
    Mar 25 at 22:55
84

The people who would be most inconvenienced would not be policy makers or members of the military

Namecheap has a different reasoning:

Unfortunately, due to the Russian regime's war crimes and human rights violations in Ukraine, we will no longer be providing services to users registered in Russia. While we sympathize that this war may not affect your own views or opinion on the matter, the fact is, your authoritarian government is committing human rights abuses and engaging in war crimes so this is a policy decision we have made and will stand by.

The reasoning of Namecheap is that the people should be exposed. They could join the opposition and join strike. They can have an impact too.

The Namecheap's CEO continues:

[They] sympathize with people that are not pro regime but ultimately even those tax dollars they may generate go to the regime.[...] People that are getting angry need to point that at the cause, their own government.

source

Note that I don't share my own opinion on the matter, but I think this stance should be considered (even if it isn't adopted).

8
  • 21
    A key difference here is: "to users registered in Russia". That's not IP-based. That's account-based.
    – Cerbrus
    Mar 3 at 11:18
  • 18
    And that's vaguely a different question - and a messy one, over doing business in russia or with russian entities.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Mar 3 at 12:47
  • 35
    Note that services like Namecheap restored access to several Russian sites which are opposing the government, or humanitarian organisations. Unlike an IP ban, this is a case where you have a chance to appeal. Mar 3 at 13:29
  • Curiously, most of the spam and phishing emails we get ask the recipient to click on domains which are registered with Namecheap. It will be interesting to see if this makes any difference.
    – EML
    Mar 9 at 10:07
  • 5
    by doing this, namecheap helped Putin with millions of dollars and took away potential help for Ukrainians. linkedin.com/pulse/…
    – lebed2045
    Mar 12 at 5:23
  • 9
    "the fact is, your authoritarian government is committing human rights abuses and engaging in war crimes so this is a policy decision we have made and will stand by" That's definitely not a precedent to imitate given how frequently this COULD be applied to citizens of other nations (USA, China, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Israel, Sudan, Ethiopia, and so many other nations...) which if applied consistently and broadly could be absurdly inconvenient for lots of people. Mar 17 at 12:14
  • 1
    @MichelRouzic hey if enough people fight for it, maybe we will reach world peace finally ^^
    – aloisdg
    Mar 17 at 18:26
  • @MichelRouzic Yes, let's start doing it for all those places.
    – user253751
    Mar 24 at 13:59
72

The point here is under what circumstances should SE take a PoV.

Let's say we ban Russian users this time.

On a purely hypothetical context, what if the following situations happen:

  • India uses military forces to "solve" the disputed border problem with its neighbors.
  • China uses military forces to do the same
  • NATO invades Belarus or any other pro-Russian country (Hey, it may happen! We didn't think Russia would invade Ukraine before, so everything is possible now)
  • The US bombs yet another Middle East / North Africa country (Libya, Iran, etc.) .

From the answers above we can say that the community has a red line drawn somewhere. Above it action should be taken, below it not.

The problem then resolves to

  • Who gets to draw that red line?
  • Why?

I am Chinese myself, which may trigger sinophobic people here but let's set that aside.

Though I would not hesitate to provide humanitarian aids for Ukrainian civilians, I do not feel that sympathetic for its government. That's my view. It is by no means majority, but it should be taken into account. If the situation is the other way around and suddenly bombs are raining on Moscow, I would not hesitate to provide humanitarian aid for Russian civilians either.

So my opinion, SE, as a purely Q&A side, need not make political stand here. Or we'd run into trouble if any one of the hypothetical situations occur.

On the other hand, a handful of SEs can put banners on them though, such as Politics SE, etc. They are, to their roots, deeply related to politics after all.

11
  • 28
    I would like to thank you for your perspective. Unfortunately, our western view is deeply rooted in arrogance and ignorance towards the "rest" of the world. Mar 13 at 16:27
  • 20
    A politically related banner on politics SE would be just about the worst thing that could happen to the site. Politics SE tries not to be biased, but a Ukrainian flag during this war is practically the textbook definition of bias. Mar 15 at 19:46
  • 4
    The banners does not have to be Ukrainian flags. May everyone live in peace, may everyone free from war or something is okay.
    – Lily White
    Mar 17 at 15:40
  • 5
    Is one country invading another not a good red line? (and yes, Taiwan is a country)
    – user253751
    Mar 22 at 13:57
  • 1
    Taking stances is the only way progress happens my friend. Remaining neutral only leads to status quo and empowers those who will take a stance for you.
    – joelr
    Mar 22 at 20:27
  • Clear lines and predictability are a dangerous and silly idea. Evil people should not be able to guess the consequences of their action. When someone believes in supporting murderers that shoulid be taken into account and people should try to avoid working with them.
    – Michael
    Mar 24 at 1:06
  • 4
    Heh, talking bout drawing the line reminds me of stuff that I had seen on SO long back. A user with a profile insulting Trump was immediately taken down, but users who had profile pictures insulting Xi weren't... Mar 24 at 23:25
  • 5
    > Is one country invading another not a good red line? What about US-led "interventions" in Syria, Afghanistan and other countries? Some would define that as an invasion. You see, we have civilians killed, we have military running about on other countries land, that's invasion to me
    – Lily White
    Mar 26 at 15:46
  • 1
    As the current situation holds, Taiwan's international status is somewhat like the two regions in Eastern Ukraine. But I do not wish to discuss this further here because my nationality, naturally, gives me a position that won't lead to meaningful outcome in discussion
    – Lily White
    Mar 26 at 15:49
  • 2
    "Taking stances is the only way progress happens my friend. ": The whole point of my post is that *why some people get to take the stance on behalf of a diverse platform like SE *. Taking stances personally is probably beneficial, but on such a community, it will only lead to polarization and unnecessary quarrels.
    – Lily White
    Mar 26 at 15:54
  • 4
    War is not "just politics". Making assumptions that "NATO may invade Russia, therefore let's invade Ukraine now" is exactly how Putin's regime justifies starting this war. There were no "disputed borders" in Ukraine. US didn't invade other countries.
    – Leon V
    Mar 29 at 22:49
53

Geo-targeted restrictions on access to Stack Overflow are unlikely to effectively block bad actors from using our site, and are technically difficult to maintain.

That's not the relevant argument. SO has not blocked access from the US when it decimated Libya, or bombed Syria then sorta-invaded to "take the oil" to quote President Trump; is not blocking access from Saudi Arabia as it bombs and starves out Yemen through a siege; did not block access from Russia when it invaded Georgia etc. It therefore makes no sense IMO to decide that this invasion merits a block. In fact, it is difficult to see any circumstances which would merit blocking access to SO from a state/country.

23
  • 13
    Well, no one asked then. It's something that's a concern to many members of the community right now.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Mar 3 at 9:26
  • 47
    @JourneymanGeek: Perhaps no one asked then because it makes no sense to ask, but the US and EU decision to place sanction Russia now make people perceive this as legitimate.
    – einpoklum
    Mar 3 at 10:22
  • 7
    I'm not that familiar with history, but wasn't Libya already at war before Nato intervened? Wasn't the Georgian invasion much less aggressive? I'm not sure the examples you mentioned can be so easily equated to what's currently going on.
    – Cerbrus
    Mar 3 at 11:00
  • 34
    @Cerbrus: Well, one could argue that Ukraine was already in an 8-year-old civil war when Russia intervened... naturally, different examples are not trivial to equate, but dead civilians and dead civilians, so you could compare based on that.
    – einpoklum
    Mar 3 at 11:05
  • 8
    I just checked for Georgia, looks like Ukraine's casualties are already an order of magnitude larger... It's all horrible, but imo, you can't compare them...
    – Cerbrus
    Mar 3 at 11:07
  • 7
    @Cerbrus: I didn't say these were all of the same magnitude, just that you have a basis for comparison.
    – einpoklum
    Mar 3 at 11:10
  • 3
    @JourneymanGeek No one asked? It was literally a question posted on a question and answer site. Just because you disagree with someone's opinion is no reason to be rude. Especially from a mod. wow. Mar 3 at 17:02
  • 12
    @iCodeSometime I mean, literally no one has asked about SE's position on any conflict mentioned there. I'm not disagreeing or agreeing. I am saying it has never come up so far
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Mar 7 at 11:49
  • 3
    @iCodeSometime "It was literally a question posted on a question and answer site" - which question do you mean? Mar 7 at 14:46
  • 11
    Not just is Yemen orders of magnitude worse than Ukraine, the Ukraine situation is deteriorating the Yemen horror even further trtworld.com/middle-east/…
    – Rusi
    Mar 17 at 13:27
  • 7
    The largest country in the world has invaded the largest country in Europe. In response, the aggressor nation has been rapidly de-globalized in a way that doesn't really have a modern parallel. Engaging in what-about-ism among past conflicts obscures this. Furthermore, there may be users who base their continued interaction with Stack Exchange on the company's response to these events. Compare to the acquisition of Stack Overflow by a multinational company last year. I know of some users who left after that transition for ethical reasons, and others who left for legal reasons.
    – rob
    Mar 18 at 23:08
  • 5
    @rob: 1. Please re-read the definition of "whataboutism", and you will realize that this answer is not "whataboutism". 2. I do not see how Russia's or Ukraine's land area are relevant to this matter. 3. SE inc. has not shown interest in avoiding significant contributors leaving in scenarios in which such action was more pertinent; but ignoring this fact - are you seriously arguing for preventing access from Russia to placate users who will not tolerate it otherwise?
    – einpoklum
    Mar 18 at 23:18
  • 2
    I haven't decided yet whether I agree with your conclusion (about preventing access) or not. But the argument you make in this answer, that the Russia-Ukraine conflict is comparable to a number of other conflicts, is specious.
    – rob
    Mar 19 at 2:42
  • 4
    @einpoklum I don't see why it's relevant that the US and EU sanctioned Russia. Journeyman Geek is saying that nobody was asking SE to block access during those conflicts, so SE never addressed it. It makes no sense to respond to that by complaining about the reasons nobody did so. This question was posted because some people were asking SE to block Russian traffic, and so they responded by saying they would not do so. They didn't do that for, e.g., Saudi Arabia and Yemen because the community did not ask SE to block traffic to the site. Who "perceives this as legitimate" is totally irrelevant. Mar 21 at 17:53
  • 4
    @RadvylfPrograms: What's relevant is that now, the US, UK and some European governments are pumping out anti-Russian propaganda (and note: Not just anti-Russian-government or even anti-Russian regime), including implicit and explicit calls to boycott, and cut off anything and everything Russian. This, IMO, is what makes people ignore the unreasonable nature of a request to block access for certain countries, and go ahead and make that request.
    – einpoklum
    Mar 21 at 20:30
53

It would be good if the sites could add some pro-Ukraine banners and information. Russia may then decide to ban the sites itself making the idea of a geo-block moot, but if not, hopefully some people will have an extra piece of evidence that they are being lied to.

3
  • 3
    "We don't support the war, but we want you to have free access to us?" or something else. What shall be the message on these pro-Ukrainian banners?
    – Trilarion
    Mar 3 at 11:56
  • 6
    @Trilarion "Stop the war" or something? Mar 3 at 13:23
  • 3
    I was thinking have a page that mirrors the content here: bbc.com/russian And banners that link to it.
    – rjmunro
    Mar 4 at 2:00
40

I carefully read this article, as well as all the answers and comments of the SO community on this topic.

I definitely express my gratitude to this community for a sober decision. Now the situation in Ukraine is being discussed everywhere, it's terrible, these actions cannot be justified, it's true.

There may be errors in this message, because English is not my native language, but I hope I can convey my thoughts clearly enough.

For people who support this political decision on the part of Russia - Imposed sanctions, and even more so the restriction of SO - is not a problem, they are ready to live without a roof over their heads, and still continue to support what is happening. It seems to me that it is almost impossible to change the views of such people.

But what about those people who oppose such a decision? What about those people who are trying to do something?

Maybe they don't write about it in the Western media, I want to try to tell a little about what is happening with who are in Russia and oppose it.

Recently, a new law was adopted in the Russian Federation, now the dissemination of false information about the military actions of the Russian Federation will be punished by criminal liability (3 years in prison) or a huge fine. As I understand it, false information is information not from Russian official sources. At the moment, the authorities of the Russian Federation are discussing a law on conscription for military service (to the Donbass) of people who participate in rallies, they write about this in the news of the Russian Federation.

Some Russians are ready to burn their houses in order to stop fire houses in Ukraine ( This is a literal translation from Russian. Means that Ready to sacrifice themselves to stop the suffering of others ). And even despite the fact that almost no one will support them, even in their own country.

The decisions of companies to stop their activities in the territory of the Russian Federation aggravated the situation only for those people who are just against everything that is happening, and those who support the situation are once again happy about this, discussing only import substitution and support for their production. I cannot say that such a decision is correct, but I am ready to admit that it may make sense in the minds of those who made it.

For several years I was preparing to legally move to another country in order to develop my skills in the IT field and improve the quality of life for my family, now it's all gone to the furnace. It's sad to realize this. This is also my fault, maybe I did not work enough to earn at least a year of living in another country, but still, I, and millions of others who wanted to live in another country for many reasons, almost completely lost this opportunity.

I studied development for iOS for several years, developed and worked in this direction, and Apple announced its withdrawal from the Russian market. Ironic. I was wiping sweat on my forehead and watching GitHub, GitLab, StackOverflow, Microsoft decide if they would block access.

Therefore, I think the right decision is not to block the Russian participants. Many are discussing putting up a banner on the homepage in favor of a cessation of hostilities or as support for Ukraine, to be honest, there is nothing wrong with this, but I don’t think it will help those who have suffered

As for donations, I would like to give special thanks to the SO community for that. Of course, this will not return the lives of the dead, but this is the best thing that can be done, and it must be done! This is a wonderful solution.

35
  • 29
    The decisions of companies to stop their activities in the territory of the Russian Federation aggravated the situation only for those people who are just against everything that is happening. That is the most astute observation I've seen in almost two weeks. For some reason, the world wants to pressure the people least likely to have power to act - Russian citizens. Let's face it, if the rest of the world tried the same thing to the U.S., we'd howl - not at our government, but at the world (OK, we'd howl at our government, too... but we always howl at our government.)
    – JBH
    Mar 7 at 4:10
  • 11
    @JoinJBHonCodidact To play devils advocate: When a nuclear power is threatening other countries, its own citizens are the one group who can take a stand without the threat of nuclear retaliation (Though obviously it is still very risky for the individuals)
    – DBS
    Mar 9 at 11:57
  • 4
    I suppose none of you are familiar with the Cold War then? You know... when the U.S.S.R ran out of money and split up into the 15 post soviet states. That didn't happen by making their people more comfortable, regardless of which side they were internally (polling suggests the Putin supporters are also a vast majority of the population due to corruption and censorship).
    – Travis J
    Mar 11 at 8:29
  • 6
    @TravisJ Few people know what is really happening with Russians in Russia. If the migration Europe and the USA were more loyal to this country, I am 100 percent sure that all promising specialists would have left Russia long ago, but in reality, the banal requirement to have $30,000 in the account is simply impossible for a Russian. Almost no one even held such money in their hands. (the average monthly salary of a Russian is $300) And this is only 1 out of a dozen points
    – Vladislav
    Mar 11 at 9:21
  • 4
    @TravisJ I heard about him, I can’t say how well he knows the situation, because in Russia any statistical data other than official ones is prohibited. "We are against the persecution of everyone without exception, but against the Russians - you can" [twitter.com/andymstone/status/1502048035458719746] This is a position that corners millions of people on a national basis. The consequences of this are much worse than the situation in Ukraine. That is why I touched on the topic of migration
    – Vladislav
    Mar 11 at 9:49
  • 6
    @TravisJ I do not support what is happening in Ukraine, in general, I already wrote about this in my post. But the fact that all over the world, the persecution of the Russian people begins, without the possibility of giving them any choice - this is not better! Western media also cover everything very selectively, but they are believed, although they are not much better than Russian ones.
    – Vladislav
    Mar 11 at 10:43
  • 3
    "Western media" is such a bigoted phrase. For a long time, in Russia, the phrase "Western" as an identifier is an invitation for attack, and it was done so intentionally. Russia has no media aside from a mouthpiece for the Kremlin, it is literally illegal to tell the truth. Also, when you say you "support the Ukrainian people", just out of curiosity, do you also support the Ukrainian government, the sovereignty of Ukraine, and their status as an independent nation?
    – Travis J
    Mar 11 at 21:00
  • 2
    @Trilarion Zelensky expressed a desire to join the NATO bloc, and also wanted to withdraw from the Budapest agreement, which would allow Ukraine to have nuclear weapons, I think these statements, as well as the anti-Russian policy in Ukraine in general, led to terrible consequences. Ukraine could not attack Russia, but Putin is afraid that NATO can do this, and if Ukraine is part of NATO, then it will pose a threat, believe me, I, like you, consider this complete nonsense, but I think the whole escalation took place on this reason
    – Vladislav
    Mar 15 at 19:39
  • 3
    @Trilarion Yes, I understand what Ukrainians feel, just as I understand what Russians feel, but to say that Ukraine is true good, and Russia and Russians are absolute evil is stupid, only those who cannot think rationally can think so. The world is never divided into black and white, and yes, there is a tragedy in Ukraine, but instead of depriving Russia of smart guys, stop buying resources, try to prevent rapprochement with China, everyone decided to please the insane crowd, and now, the world is divided into 2 warring blocks, and this will lead to even more terrible consequences, I think
    – Vladislav
    Mar 15 at 19:49
  • 2
    "to say that Ukraine is true good, and Russia and Russians are absolute evil is stupid" Sure, there is no black and white only. Still, in my opinion, this is one of the more clear cases. As you said yourself, Ukraine is no threat for Russia. Russia's army is simply willing to kill lots of Ukrainian civilians who clearly simply don't want to be conquered and rather would live in peace. This is as black and white as it gets currently. Putin simply has to go one way or another. Would love to discuss more and more nuanced but not in comments. Not enough space, can only say the most important stuff
    – Trilarion
    Mar 16 at 9:41
  • 2
    @Trilarion That's right, the limit on the number of characters does not please me. Ukraine is not dangerous, but for Putin, danger = NATO, and if Ukraine entered, then it would no longer be the "country of Ukraine" in Putin's eyes, but would be considered only as an Enemy, close to Russia with missiles and nuclear weapons. As for civilians, I am 100 percent sure that there is no goal to kill civilians, but it happens by itself anyway, because there is a war going on.
    – Vladislav
    Mar 16 at 12:56
  • 2
    Why is it that bordering a NATO member Ukraine would be an issue when Russia already borders NATO member states such as Latvia and Estonia. Moreover, if Russia takes possession of Ukraine it will then border even more NATO members, such as Poland, Slovakia, Romania, and Hungary. I find the argument that bordering a NATO state is behind this invasion to be nonsense. Russia knew they could invade Ukraine and they did it will full disregard to the people living there. Now the Russian population will unfortunately experience the same economic cold war their previous generations did.
    – Travis J
    Mar 17 at 7:09
  • 2
    Ukraine being a part of the NATO is a tactical disadvantage for Russia, because geographically, Ukraine represents a wide, difficult to defend flat spot in the east, that flatness is much narrower in the west of Ukraine.
    – Cerbrus
    Mar 17 at 7:45
  • 2
    With your own eyes, @Vladislav? Your profile says you live in Turkey...
    – Cerbrus
    Mar 17 at 15:13
  • 6
    There are countless videos of civillian casualties, @Vladislav... People waiting in line for some food. Buildings getting shelled just as cars are driving by. Civillian cars fired upon by Russian tanks. Civillians gunned down after getting out of their car, raised arms to show they're unarmed... I mean, just the sole fact that hospitals are getting bombed is bad enough.
    – Cerbrus
    Mar 17 at 15:42
31

The badminton federation, chess organization FIDE, neutral Switzerland and even the 500k citizen islands of Cabo Verde took a stand against the war.

And the biggest, worldwide community driven software developer platform is issuing a statement that it is too hard and useless...

As a person living in Poland, and supporting Stack Overflow almost since the beginning 13 years ago, being in 2% of SO users, I can not express how heartbroken and disappointed I am, reading it knowing the tragedy of Ukrainians from the first hand. It is not fake news. It is not complicated. Regular people are killed in their homes in front yards. People like me and you.

We all as developers from around the world should know better, not being ignorant. We all cooperate, without any discrimination, making the world a better place. Currently, the war brings tragedy and pain to people, shredding the work we all put into the peaceful cooperation.

The whole world is doing what they can.

As a SO user and contributor, I expect the Stack Overflow group to take a stand against the war!

March 6, 2022 update: Putin is preparing to disconnect Russian citizens from the internet. The time window to make the right decision seems to be closing soon...

March 24, 2022 Update: Stack Overflow didn't imply any consequences, neither did it join the informative campaign. It looks like Stack Overflow owners made the decision already.

6
  • 24
    The announcement is staying it's not blocking access from Russia, but SE is making a statement / stand, by donating to the listed organizations. You're accusing SE of "ignorance", whilst misrepresenting this announcement...
    – Cerbrus
    Mar 4 at 11:32
  • 9
    @Cerbrus Making donations commands respect. Of course. But StackOverflow can do more, and it should Mar 4 at 12:07
  • 10
    Tom, this announcement isn't stating that they're not gonna do more. Nor is it promising they are. It's only announcing it's not going to block access to the entirety of Russia.
    – Cerbrus
    Mar 4 at 12:09
  • 11
    "Putin is preparing to disconnect Russian citizens from the internet" Citation needed. Mar 6 at 21:44
  • Well - the internet, not quite. There have been quite a few "selective" blocks of big social media sites like facebook and others tho
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Mar 7 at 11:34
  • 3
    Donating is the bare minimum. SE should also take a stand by displaying some banner. That counts as direct action, since it counters propaganda. It is arguably even better than a geo-block.
    – user253751
    Mar 22 at 14:03
27

All best wishes to ordinary people who had no wish to get caught up in these events, and a humble plea to those who may be close by:

Should you see an evil it is a duty upon you to stop it with your hands,
If you cannot then you should stop it by speaking out,
If you cannot then at the very least you should hate it with your heart.

May peace be upon you all.

1
  • 5
    and jumping directly to option 3 without seriously attempt 1 and 2 is a cop-out
    – user253751
    Mar 22 at 14:04
22

Geo-targeted restrictions on access to Stack Overflow are unlikely to effectively block bad actors from using our site

This seems to largely be missing the point.

The idea is to go beyond the sanctions imposed by various governments to send a clear message that we won't just ignore atrocious actions, to punish Russia for its actions and to attempt to get Russia to change its decision (without creating a high risk of nuclear war).

Many sanctions will likely, first and foremost, affect the average Russians, who may not support the government. This is not really avoidable. But, aside from military action, that's also the only real way to punish a government for its actions.

So really it's a trade-off between avoiding collateral damage and just sitting by and letting other powerful countries commit whatever atrocious acts they want.


Of course you may feel that avoiding the collateral damage is more important, and it's your right to hold that opinion.

I just felt it's important to point out why people are actually imposing such restrictions.

13
  • 7
    I always thought the sanctions were intended to cripple the economy so that Russia doesn't have enough money to continue the war, not to "punish the government". I bet most people in the Russian government don't even know what SO is. Mar 7 at 9:30
  • 2
    @DmitryGrigoryev Crippling the economy is punishing the government. The government relies on taxes being collected. Every working Russian indirectly supports the war efforts willingly or unwillingly.
    – Trilarion
    Mar 7 at 10:27
  • 1
    @Trilarion And if that working Russian spends their time looking for a C++ manual (while blaming the US for taking the SO away from them) instead of reading about the crisis in Ukraine (and maybe deciding to go on a protest as a result), that just might be a net increase in collected taxes, right? Mar 7 at 10:39
  • 1
    @Trilarion And I still disagree with the term "punishment". It's just like speed bumps or chicanes on the road: you can see them as "punishment" for speeding drivers, but their actual purpose is to make speeding difficult physically. Mar 7 at 10:50
  • 3
    @DmitryGrigoryev If SO is a great resource, then not having SO as a resource is a loss. Turning SO off for Russia, even if it can be circumvented, would reduce economic capacity of Russia, at least in the short run, which would also influence their militaric capacities in turn. Sure, it's all relatively inefficient, but if the number of casualties increases, more and more people might come back and ask how that actually helped here. I don't insist on punishment. Let's call it involvement instead. Side note: I think that Russia should be blamed more here.
    – Trilarion
    Mar 7 at 12:10
  • 1
    @Trilarion Unfortunately it seems that we'll get no pro-Ukraine banners/messages on SO pages, at which point I agree: no matter how small, a block would still be an impact on the military capacity. IMO the pro/contra balance would've been different if SO decided to have such banners, but alas, I seem to be counting chicken which are not going to hatch. So you're right. Mar 7 at 12:54
  • @DmitryGrigoryev I think anti-propaganda is at least as good as a block. Russia may even block the site for displaying anti-propaganda, and if the site is blocked by Russia, that's a clear small victory against Russia.
    – user253751
    Mar 22 at 14:06
  • @user253751 People can just ignore anti-propaganda and carry on with their lives as usual. If the goal is to punish Russia, as per this answer, then writing some words on a website simply doesn't serve that purpose. Educating the Russian population might be useful, but that's a different goal, and plenty of people in Russia (and I'm guessing especially those who frequent Western sites like this one) know exactly what's up, but can't do all that much about it because they'll be arrested if they do (or at least they already know what the West says about Russia's actions).
    – NotThatGuy
    Mar 22 at 17:54
  • @NotThatGuy People may ask themselves why they are swallowing propaganda but ignoring anti-propaganda. Writing some words on a website is educating the Russian population, at least a little. It also encourages the Russian government to block Stack Overflow, which is a lose for the Russian government.
    – user253751
    Mar 23 at 9:54
  • 3
    I don't get how blocking StackOverflow is punishing the government in any way at all. As a Russian StackOverflow user and contributor it seems like it would punish me, not the government. Can you elaborate in which ways the government would be punished? Especially considering: plenty of people in Russia (and I'm guessing especially those who frequent Western sites like this one) know exactly what's up, but can't do all that much about it because they'll be arrested if they do
    – stepan
    Apr 1 at 23:16
  • @stepan Preventing people in Russia from accessing various global resources makes it more difficult for them to productively contribute to Russia's economy and may help contribute to getting people fed up enough for an eventual revolution. That may not be super effective, but like I said above, that's also the only real way to punish a government for its actions.
    – NotThatGuy
    Apr 2 at 0:35
  • @NotThatGuy that's also the only real way to punish a government for its actions. - what about cutting oil and gas money? That's where the government is getting money for military and police. Excluding Russian users is just a step towards mutual hate. And it's not helping overthrow the government. Spreading hate between the west and Russia is what Russian propaganda is doing, please don't help them do it.
    – stepan
    Apr 2 at 12:46
  • @stepan "what about cutting oil and gas money" - I expect the government will increase taxes, print more money, decrease spending on e.g. welfare, prevent currency exchange and/or force people to join or remain in the military or police (I know Russia did the last 2, at least), so that will mostly just affect the general population rather than directly hurting the government's ability to control its citizens. And whether it would hurt their ability to keep a war going would depend on whether other countries are willing to sell them military equipment (money is useless if you can't spend it).
    – NotThatGuy
    Apr 2 at 14:32
22
+25

Whatever the reason that this war was started and whatever the reason that this war is still going on, one important thing is never to forget that one injustice does not justify another injustice and that one wrong does not justify another wrong.


Discrimination against and exclusion of ordinary normal Russian citizens, who have no influence on the decisions of those in power, will make them feel they have no one to turn to.

This may make them feel that their own regime is the only thing left to them.

This effect can strengthen this regime.


I don't usually spend much time on fictional fantasy literature, but now I'm making an exception: The following words are loosely based on the words of the fictional Star Wars character Yoda. As that is a fictional character, I actually use the words of those who thought up Yoda's words. Those were/are real people who intended to reach real people with their real message through a piece of fiction:

I think not restricting access for anyone is a good thing:

Discrimination and exclusion lead to distrust. Distrust leads to fear. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.

Discrimination and exclusion are not means to unite humanity in good.


In 1972, the Council of Europe adopted Ludwig van Beethoven's 9th Symphony theme as its anthem. In 1985, it was adopted by EU leaders as the official anthem of the European Union. The later version of Friedrich Schiller's ode "To Joy" often accompanies this melody as a song text. The later version of Friedrich Schiller's ode "To Joy" pays homage to the idea that all humans become brothers.

We all need to understand that all humans becoming brothers is sort of obsolete because we all already are sisters and brothers, and that whatever we do to another, we do to a sister or to a brother.1

We are born as sisters and brothers. Our mechanisms of perception and awareness and consciousness, our thinking, our reference to reality are based on the same categories - e.g., categorization, conceptualization, space, time, implication, reality, fiction, the virtual.
Better than with all other forms of life, we humans can communicate with each other by conceiving objects of cognition as concepts and by representing these concepts in communication by means that affect the sense organs, e.g., by audible sound waves or by visible images or characters or, e.g., by tactile Braille. The sensory impressions are "reported" to the brain and interpreted and reach - in apperception-related processes - the awareness and thus the self of the communication participants.
A person can communicate with other people to reach the self of other people. A human being cannot reach the self of a tree or a fish in this way. All human beings are born as sisters and brothers.

In one of his lectures, the nuclear and quantum physicist Hans Peter Dürr mentioned that the orbitals of an atom extend over the entire universe and that therefore the orbitals of all atoms overlap and that in this sense the hearts of all living beings, built of atoms, are intertwined and connected.

Even those people who cheat and betray and lie and and wage war and bring suffering to others are sisters and brothers.

They are sisters and brothers who have lost their way. In a devastating and tragic way.


They must be made to stop doing what they are doing and they must be prevented from doing it again. When intervening, the attitude is to be taken that one has when intervening because a sister/brother has lost perspective and is going down a reprehensible path.

One needs to be careful not to lump innocent people in with these people. Because otherwise one declares people to be a war party who do not want to be.

Declaring others belligerents at will and at one's own arbitrariness and without being authorized/entitled to do so by the state whose citizenship one has is, among other things, presumption against all the citizens of the state whose citizenship one has.


The only good way wars can be reliably ended and prevented is by all mankind striving to give priority to respect for humans, individuals, fellow beings and life in general in the regulation of their affairs, and therefore to keep improving their sense of these aspects.

The Völuspá, one of the most important poems of the Nordic Middle Ages, is about Ragnarök. Ragnarök is a saga of the creation of the world and the end of the world, and the re-creation. The focus of this saga is on what is to come, the end of the world.

In this poem there is a verse "all evils get better"/"all ills grow better". This verse is not about martial, merciless elimination. This verse is about evil being defeated by causing it to change and to mend and to transform into something that is not evil.

Humanity faces a difficult and fearsome task that it must overcome for the sake of salvation of life.


1Those who have committed and are committing atrocities have done and are doing so to fellow human beings and thus to sisters and brothers. Every human being is responsible for her/his own actions and omissions according to the degree of insight into her/his own actions and omissions—the argument of being a recipient of orders or being a mere tool of those in power does not count when one has control of the trigger of the weapon oneself. Humans have conscience not to lay it down on command, but to listen to it in critical situations.
Regarding the keywords "insight" and "restricting access" - anyone who censors and/or restricts access and/or spreads false news restricts the possibilities for correct insight and thus also the possibility of assessing the extent to which one's actions are in line with the standards of those ethics for which one advocates.


The Great Dictator, starring Charlie Chaplin and Paulette Goddard, 1940 - Ending Speech

Reinhard Mey, Johannes Wagner, Konstantin Wecker - Es ist an der Zeit
(Attempt of a translation into English language.)

Chris Simmance - If I Lose

19
  • 15
    +1 just for one wrong does not justify another. Mar 16 at 14:21
  • 9
    Finally some voice of reason, and not hateful people bashing anyone who dares not hate the same people they hate. Well done. Mar 16 at 14:28
  • 2
    ... Did you really just quote Yoda?
    – Cerbrus
    Mar 16 at 14:39
  • 3
    @Cerbrus In a way, yes.:-) But Yoda is a fictional character, so I ended up quoting those who thought up Yoda's words. They were real people who wanted to reach real people with their real message through a piece of fiction. ;-) Mar 16 at 14:44
  • 3
    Fair enough, that explanation is! :D
    – Cerbrus
    Mar 16 at 14:47
  • 2
    @Cerbrus "Academically" it was not correct of me not to mention that not all these words are mine. So I edited my posting to clarify this and thus to avoid plagiarism ;-) Thank you for making me aware of this. Mar 16 at 14:56
  • 2
    Yoda real is not? Much fiction there is to ponder.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Mar 18 at 13:41
  • 1
    "This ... can strengthen this regime" ... but this can also weaken the regime. You basically just spent 22 paragraphs writing a motivational speech, but... what's your actual counter-suggestion? To just ask the evil dictator very nicely if he'd be kind to other people, while he's firing missiles at people? Because that's pretty much what your answer seems to come down to. Or are you happy with the government sanctions? Although you do know that sanctions are going to affect the general population first and foremost, right? So then please explain how that belief is in any way consistent. 1/2
    – NotThatGuy
    Mar 23 at 18:25
  • 2
    Invading Russia is another (terrible) option, but I get the impression that you don't support that, so ... what's left then? An internal overthrow is pretty much the only way to stop a dictator leading a nuclear power, but that's not going to happen if we just sit back and let Russia do whatever it wants because we're afraid of causing any collateral damage. 2/2
    – NotThatGuy
    Mar 23 at 18:25
  • 3
    Why do Russia and NATO and Ukraine at all care about issues such as NATO's expansion to the East? In my estimation, this war is a consequence of the fact that the power blocs of this world forecast future wars, which will be about the increasingly scarce resources of this planet, and want to divide the world strategically favorable for themselves. These wars will cause the planet's scarce resources to be wasted even faster. Humanity must understand that it will only overcome the difficulties ahead if it unites and works together to sort out the mess, instead of working against each other. Mar 23 at 21:29
  • 3
    @NotThatGuy Considering the range of topics Meta StackExchange covers, I've already gone out on a limb with what I've written. Your questions are important. They should be urgently discussed by as many as possible, as wise as possible, in appropriate/provided places. My opinion in a nutshell: As a short-term solution, Ukraine needs to get a status as an independent neutral zone as soon as possible, which will not belong to any alliance, which will not be courted or attacked militarily by any alliance, but can benefit from both relations with Russia and relations with the EU. Mar 23 at 21:44
  • 3
    @UlrichDiez "Why do Russia and NATO and Ukraine at all care..." - nice job lumping in people who simply wanted security and safety for themselves and others (i.e. the exact goal of NATO) with a madman who decided to murder a bunch of people for his own vanity/paranoia. I hardly think NATO is perfect, but if you really believe that Ukraine joining NATO is a significant existential threat to Russia (as Russia claimed), or that making more alliances is "working against each other" and would increase division, rather than decrease it, then you've been listening to too much Russian propaganda. 1/2
    – NotThatGuy
    Mar 23 at 23:44
  • "My opinion in a nutshell: ... Ukraine needs to ..." - you're missing the point of what I've said. We have a maniacal dictator doing whatever he wants. My question to you is not what solution you'd propose to him to resolve the situation (which he could just say no to). My question is what do you propose we do to deal with him freely murdering a bunch of people, after all attempts to resolve things amicably has failed. 2/2
    – NotThatGuy
    Mar 23 at 23:44
  • 4
    @UlrichDiez Russia likely invaded Ukraine now because if they waited until after they joined NATO, attacking them without significant resistance would've been much less plausible for Russia. And NATO invading Russia will probably never be a serious consideration for NATO, possibly even without Russia's nukes (which is a significant deterrent). And you know what you call it when countries don't attack one another? Peace. I find it strange that you seem to oppose war, yet you also oppose this solution that would avoid it.
    – NotThatGuy
    Mar 24 at 0:19
  • 1
    @Mari-LouAСлаваУкраїні First of all, unraveling exactly who all belongs to "Putin's people" and actually likes what this regime is doing is needed. Secondly, in order to have insight into one' s actions and the ethical dimension of one' s actions, one needs correct information. If sources of information are closed, people can conveniently say that they did not know anything. Those who press to withhold information, for example via censorship, are morally questionable because they distort people's insight and thus their ability to assess the ethical dimension, and fool people's conscience. Apr 4 at 12:14
17

While I largely agree that the punitive step of blocking access to Russia would be ineffective against those most at fault, and really only cause collateral harm (let us not forget the many innocent Russians who are protesting against their government's actions), what proactive steps has Stack Overflow considered to draw attention to the conflict and denounce it?

DWB, IRC and UNICEF are great organizations that help the victims of all kinds of crises. As organizations, they are intentionally and courageously neutral (which opens many doors to them); but the Ukrainian crisis is not an unfortunate inevitability like an earthquake or drought. It would end immediately if Russia decided to end it. Supporting humanitarian organizations is a great first step (and I applaud SO for doing so), but it's also a neutral, milquetoast response to a conflict; it doesn't distinguish between aggressor and victim.

We know that unsavory characters have used Stack Overflow, and there is little we can do to stop them. If software developers working for the Russian military use the site to help them build tools of warfare, it would at least be cathartic to know they had to look at a banner, or logo, or something, calling for an end to the war. And maybe, just maybe, something that piques their conscience a bit (again) will cause them to rethink what they are doing (and maybe even sabotage their own equipment).

For example, changing the logo to mimic the colors of the Ukrainian flag, showing a discreet banner to state that Stack Overflow stands for the cause of peace, or just incorporating a peace symbol (☮) in the header, would be a more active show of solidarity against those that advocate for, or support the means of, human suffering.

Aiding victims doesn't mean much without also calling out their victimizers.

0
9

Though I do understand the reasoning, as a Ukrainian citizen who is now divided with his family I feel betrayed. For years Stack Overflow helped me to solve my IT-related issues and I'm deeply grateful. I hope my tiny contribution was helpful for others as well. But now cyber war is in full swing and having this resource fully available for the enemy is a big mistake. It's like helping them to repair their tanks and rockets. But who knows what is more harmful nowadays: conventional weapons or cyber warfare. Guys, you are helping to kill my family members, my colleagues and friends.

17
  • 44
    On the other hand, access to sites like SO will also help Russian people see an outside view of events, it helps them develop VPN software and the like. I'm sure you'd want every single Russian to read politics stack exchange right now, right? A block like this won't really affect those that work in cyber warfare, they've got the know-how to get around these restrictions.
    – Cerbrus
    Mar 3 at 8:52
  • 8
    One of the moves the authoritarian government of Russia has done is information control. That includes blocking websites. Blocking them might play inti that .Pretty sure at some point they'll get so desperate they will block out the outside internet to try to keep things in line anyway.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Mar 3 at 9:04
  • 14
    Guys, you are very naive if you think that somebody needs this resource as a news source. No offense Mar 3 at 9:10
  • 34
    "I feel betrayed" - SE the company, and SE the network, did not ask for your trust, so I don't understand in what sense you can be betrayed. This is just a network of Q&A sites.
    – einpoklum
    Mar 3 at 9:17
  • 31
    @YevhenNedashkivskiy: Do you think someone needs this resource to "repair their tanks and rockets"? As described in the announcement, any block you could place would be ineffective against those that need to be blocked most, and would harm anyone that could use it for a good cause.
    – Cerbrus
    Mar 3 at 10:51
  • 9
    @YevhenNedashkivskiy don't forget that blocking SO would likely affect the whole SE network. And that includes e.g. Politics.SE and History.SE, where the discussions can give quite a bit of information different from the official propaganda. A lot of Russians sincerely believe what they are told by the TV and newspapers. And such TV programs are showed on a TV on a wall even when you're e.g. waiting for your turn in a clinic. When relevant questions get into HNQ here, they can help an interested reader to see an alternative point of view.
    – Ruslan
    Mar 3 at 13:56
  • 1
    @Cerbrus although you are right regarding the practical consequences (or no consequences), I think there is also another perspective worth to mention, quite different (in terms of paradigm if I can name it like that): closing something is not because this specific thing (like website) will have some specific consequences, but to show that if some country starts a war, people in this country won't have their normal lives anymore. And we can ask: is it fair? Rather not. Is it effective? Well, maybe yes, it probably depends on how many businesses will be closed there.
    – gss
    Mar 3 at 14:24
  • 13
    @gss: So you're just saying we should punish the Russian people by all means necessary... Do you think Putin gives two hoots about his people no longer having access to some website? Don't you realize there are a bazillion other resources like SE out there? All that block would do, in inconvenience innocent civilians, and cut them off from yet another resource that isn't state-controlled.
    – Cerbrus
    Mar 3 at 14:30
  • 1
    @Cerbrus yes, I'm saying there is another perspective (but I'm not saying if is better in terms of ethic) - the perspective to make others live so unnormal that it will change something. Here you can find an example of this (it affected a lot more people than only those responsible, right?:) - Organizers of the sex strike say they want to bring about the release of prisoners, and they want to motivate the men to take action against Gnassingbe (peacewomen.org/content/togo-nations-sex-strike-democracy)
    – gss
    Mar 3 at 14:47
  • 14
    @gss: I believe you're completely missing the point of these sanctions. The sanctions are meant to hurt Russian leadership directly. Punishing the Russian people to get to Putin is extremely ineffective, and frankly, an insulting suggestion. What you are commenting here isn't "some perspective" You are literally suggesting doing anything so that will result in citizens "not having their normal lives anymore".
    – Cerbrus
    Mar 3 at 14:52
  • 3
    @gss This whole announcement is about how SE is not going to be taking a political stance... Also, my comments specifically say "Stack Overflow". Don't put words in my mouth.
    – Cerbrus
    Mar 3 at 15:31
  • 16
    I just want to say that I can not, in any shape or form, relate to what you're going through right now. I hope everyone you love, like and know (and many more) survives this, and comes out as unscathed as possible. While we may not agree upon whether these sites should be blocked (I think cyber war people don't need stackoverflow to make cyber war, and as such cutting access will only have innocent victims), I am sincere when I express that hope.
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Mar 3 at 18:35
  • 9
    Guys, do what you want. You are rational. You are not being bombed, you are not living with all your relatives in a village house sleeping on the floor. You can fuel your car and you can buy any groceries whenever you want. All I want now is just to meet my baby boy again... He's just five months old 😔 Mar 5 at 0:28
  • 5
    Understand that this situation is unfortunate and you have my most hearfelt condolences. It is a very grave situation that we find ourselves in; not one that I could wish on anyone else, and one I surely hope can reach a resolution. But I do want to say that while I absolutely condemn what Russia has done, please don't lump me on that side simply because I concur with not blocking the Stack Exchange network there. I personally am not responsible for that, nor am I aiding in it, nor do I champion it.
    – Makoto
    Mar 10 at 23:11
  • 7
    Seems like a strange position to take. This is just a programming Q&A site, not a website that the Russian military look up to work out how to wage a war. However, I feel your pain, and I hope things work out for you. Mar 15 at 23:56
8

I understand that targeting IPs is both impractical and inefficient but a low tech solution could simply involve taking down https://ru.stackoverflow.com/.

Having said that I don't want that to happen because I make a clear distinction between the Russian regime and the Russian people who I believe only aspire to live in peace.

However it would be nice if that Stack Exchange community could display a token of solidarity on their main page.

10
  • 11
    meta.stackexchange.com/a/376647/135565 I got some thoughts on that here. Fundamentally unlike the Russian military in Ukraine, we might actually want to think about the collateral damage of our actions
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Mar 3 at 7:31
  • 10
    "Stack Exchange community could display a token of solidarity on their main page." Yes. An excellent suggestion. Mar 3 at 9:09
  • 21
    You'll be totally punishing the wrong people. Just consider that two of the top-10 users of SO-RU are from Kiev according to their profile, and another one has an Ukrainian flag for their profile picture. Mar 3 at 13:16
  • 8
    Russian is widely spoken in Ukraine. See: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukraine#Language. So what war has to do anything with the language spoken?
    – kenorb
    Mar 3 at 17:27
  • 3
    @kenorb It does, in a way. The fact that Ukraine removed the official status of the Russian language in 2019 was used as one of the excuses to start the war. Mar 4 at 8:19
  • @dmytry [citation needed] en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_language_in_Ukraine
    – Yakk
    Mar 7 at 19:21
  • Can you explain even a little bit how there is solidarity with Ukraine in making stack overflow less accessible to all people who understand Russian better than other languages? The idea seems absurd to me. Is there a particular reason you offered this course of action as a "solution"?
    – Ruzihm
    Mar 21 at 18:21
  • 2
    @Ruzihm As you probably noticed I also said I didn't want the Russian Stack Exchange to be taken down… I was simply making a statement that taking down a website is not effective and perhaps wrong. However as an other answer pointed out, displaying token of solidarity with Ukraine and denouncing the war is a much more powerful action. If the Kremlin doesn't like it, it will be on them to restrict the website (or even attack the whole network to the detriment of everybody). In which case, it's clear who's got to lose letting free speech loose in their countries. Mar 21 at 18:32
  • 1
    Thanks for the clarification - but then it sounds like you agree with me that such an action would not constitute a solution at all, which is not what the first sentence suggests. Just commenting on the lack of clarity in this answer.
    – Ruzihm
    Mar 21 at 18:36
  • 1
    @Ruzihm I agree that it is confusing. In the first sentence I'm only suggesting another option in case the company wanted to take some drastic action. But then in the second sentence I went on to explain that I wouldn't support that. I think most people got stuck with the first sentence… 🤷‍♂️ Mar 21 at 18:41
7

Politics.SE and probably History.SE already contain information that is against new Russian laws, calling the invasion an invasion and the war a war. Although Stack Exchange does not contain a Russian language site focussing on politics, it is conceivable that the Russian censors will clamp down not only on Russian language sources (see the threat to block the Russian language Wikipedia), but perhaps also English language sources. This is speculative, but perhaps Russia will end up blocking Politics and perhaps History Stack Exchange for these reasons.

In this light, it's possible that the headline of the announcement promises a little too much. Stack Exchange will not block access in Russia, but considering the contents of Politics and History Stack Exchange, perhaps Russia will.

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    For the record, Russia already arrested top Wikipedia editor, so it's much worse than blocking Wikipedia. Poor guy probably dead by now, but that's off topic. (Just commenting on the "threat to block the Russian language Wikipedia" part) Mar 21 at 14:39
  • 4
    Not that I want to involve myself in the debate regarding this issue, but your statement isn't completely correct @ShadowWizardSaysNoMoreWar. He was arrested in Belarus by a Belarusian organisation, whether that's better or worse then being arrested in Russia is to be seen.
    – Luuklag
    Mar 21 at 14:47
  • 4
    @ShadowWizardSaysNoMoreWar I hope the brave heroes who still edit the Russian language Wikipedia with relevant information from within Russia will have the tools to protect their privacy and know how to use them. Otherwise there is fortunately a large Russian diaspora in countries where they are mostly safe (but not perfectly, as evidenced by Russians murdered abroad by the FSB, so probably anyone editing those articles from anywhere should protect their privacy).
    – gerrit
    Mar 21 at 14:54
  • 2
    @Luuklag it's the same, they're allies and he's most likely in Russia by now, if they decided to let him live. Mar 21 at 19:12
  • "it's possible that the headline of the announcement promises a little too much" - I agree, a better title would be "Stack Exchange Q&A will not restrict access to Russia". Mar 22 at 14:40
  • 5
    FWIW, I will say that from my experience working Trust and Safety and Community Advocacy at Wikipedia.... Wikipedia's Community Sustainability and Resiliance team (run by my old #2 there, the brilliant Maggie Dennis) is top notch. They no doubt that reached out to editors at risk to discuss their options, and the Russian wikipedia has always operated fairly carefully.
    – Philippe StaffMod
    Mar 23 at 16:47
5

As such, we are making donations... is way too ambiguous.

If SE is neither showing solidarity (in any notable way beyond this post), nor withdrawing from the market, but instead they say they are donating money I do hope that this is an honest donation rather than "we were doing this already so we can just say that we do". Their previous donations are wonderful, but if they keep donating the same amount this does not help the current victims of the war, nor is it a substitute for other actions they could take.

How much is donated to each cause, and is this on top of what SE normally donates, yearly?

3
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    The donations will likely be detailed in their blog (2019 example). I really don’t know what you’re complaining about. “it does look like a PR trick” — Mind explaining what specifically made you assume that? Mar 6 at 16:00
  • 16
    @krassowski, thanks for the question. Perhaps I could have been more clear initially when mentioning the donations, and said clearly that the donations made this week were IN ADDITION TO our usual Stack Gives Back contributions, which went out in January. This is a second, supplementary donation to support humanitarian relief efforts on the ground.
    – Philippe StaffMod
    Mar 6 at 19:31
  • When you say "other actions they could take" which actions exactly are you referring to here? Can you list an example or two?
    – Ruzihm
    Mar 22 at 14:17
3

Many, many thanks for the financial humanitarian help.

I understand the arguments about the proposed restricted access to be easily circumvented and I also think there are currently quite a lot of sanctions present and Stack Overflow is not so significant either way, but let me shortly reiterate the logic of sanctions.

The Russian army is killing Ukrainians in the war which they started by invading Ukraine over one week ago and short of sending in other armed men, the only way to do something against it is to suppress the economy. Economic sanctions increase the price of a war and have direct and indirect impacts. But these sanctions will never be possible to be targeted and effective at the same time, Putin will always be shielded best from them and he will continue dining greatly. Sanctions will always be felt by everyone and that is even their aim to some extent.

Russian citizen not supporting Putin and the war will be collateral damage in the sanctions, as are all Ukrainians but the damage here is not comparable. The danger to the lives of Ukrainian citizens justifies the sanctions in my eyes.

Can we really shoot at each other but then also say, hey let's all collaborate on open information, because that "helps keep the world safe". What about open societies like the one of Ukraine (in comparison to Russia) that just get crushed. A temporary restriction of Stack Overflow in Russia could be seen as an attack on open information, but also as a plea for keeping societies open and free. What do you think is more important.

Nobody knows in the end how effective a restriction would be or how much the public opinion in Russia would be affected or how much collateral damage would be taken. Everyone has to decide for himself about that and compare with the company's decision.

The idea with pro-Ukrainian banners as mentioned in other answers won't happen. A meaningful banner would have to be at least as strong as "FXXX Putin" from the content, but then we probably could restrict access in Russia by ourselves as well. The company will not do that.

The thing that rather disappointed me is that the answer by Yevhen Nedashkivskiy got so many downvotes and ended up with a negative score. As far as I can tell, it looks like an authentic, reasonable opinion to me for someone being directly affected by a war. Let's me wonder how many Putin supporters might actually be present here. Maybe voting just isn't the right thing for every topic.

All in all, I think that in this Q&A a lot of consideration is shown for Russians that would be affected by possible restrictions and that is justified, but my mind is on the fate of Ukrainians.


Update after three weeks of the war: The Russian army is currently kind of besieging major Ukrainian cities like Kharkiv, Kyiv and Mariupol and is shelling these cities accepting that many Civilians will die. The casualty count is increasing and millions of Ukrainians are fleeing. Many international enterprises have ceased activities in Russia. Tech companies like Apple or Microsoft have partly pulled out as well as digital services like Netflix, Twitter or Instagram (or have been blocked). Russia has enacted a law that forbids publishing information about the war that are not official information (and the official information overlaps only to a small extent with the truth). ~14 thousand protesters have been arrested in Russia.

My gut feeling is that spring 2022 will not be known in the future as the point where we defended open information, but rather as the point where StackOverflow may not have been doing all it can to take a stance for open societies and against wars.

I know the impact of a temporary closure of SO to Russia would have been only small, but also small things can add up to something significant. And even the banners that many here requested have not been implemented. Maybe more could have been done to end this war earlier. That's the question that people should be asking themselves in my opinion.


Just as an example how different things can be, look at Coursera's response to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine

Coursera believes learning is the source of human progress and we are committed to ensuring learners everywhere have access to the highest quality education. However, we will not support the financial or reputational benefit of Russian instructors or institutions on Coursera while this tragedy is taking place, nor will we look to profit from doing business in the region amid this humanitarian crisis. As a result we are suspending all business in Russia.

Both, StackOverflow here as well as Coursera there argue from idealistic points of view, but arrive at rather orthogonal outcomes. And both are very similar in that they are dealing with offering educational resources.

Admittedly, stopping to do business with Russia as a whole is easier for Coursera because they offer paid services, but still even that could probably be circumvented somehow, so not a 100% efficient either.


And six months later the war in Ukraine is still going on and humans are still dying every day in significant numbers. I know that SE is just a small platform but I cannot help the feeling that a more, stronger push to stop Russia right at the beginning in February including possible actions like excluding Russia from SE might have made a difference and ended this war earlier, saving lives in the end. As it looks it will likely go on for a long time. Even in Russia the consequences are felt more and more now. Ordinary Ukrainian or Russian citizens probably have other problems right now than accessing StackOverflow. That's why I think that a simple statement like "open information access helps keep the world safe" is flawed (not deep enough) in many ways. In Russia there is no open information, the world isn't safe and everyone has at least some responsibility for what happens somewhere else because we all could act differently if we wanted to.

Doesn't mean that I think a boycott of Russia by SE would have made a big difference (banners might have made a small but significant one I think) but that in general I think that the World didn't do enough to deter Russia from invading Ukraine or from continuing with the fighting. That's just my personal opinion. Everyone can simply for him/herself think what maybe could be done in order to avoid more killing. Going on with business as usual may not be the best solution in that regard.

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    On SE we vote on content, not users. The answer you mentioned is literally stating "Guys, you are helping to kill my family members, my colleagues and friends.". While I can (somewhat) comprehend why he would feel that way, a statement like that is just not right, incorrect, and in any other context would absolutely qualify for a R/A flag. I mean, the overwhelming majority of contributors here thinks Putin should go eff himself, nobody is arguing that, but let's stay rational here.
    – Cerbrus
    Mar 4 at 8:28
  • 12
    @Cerbrus "On SE we vote on content, not users." Yes we do normally, but this is an exception and is inherently personal. To me this looks like voters here value the Russian side a tiny bit more than the Ukrainian side. I might be completely mistaken, just my impression. Still I wanted to write it down. Maybe we shouldn't have voted here.
    – Trilarion
    Mar 4 at 9:26
  • 12
    I don't think we should be assuming what intentions downvoters on there have. But I agree that that answer is of such nature that it might be better to not have votes on there at all... Maybe even wipe'm, and lock it at 0. I dunno, none of the options sound good to me.
    – Cerbrus
    Mar 4 at 9:39
  • Orthogonal? How so? StackOverflow doesn't do business in Russia either. Meanwhile, the free content of both platforms remains available to Russians.
    – nobody
    Mar 28 at 17:15
  • Not exactly 6 months (as you say in your last edit) but 224 days which is closer to 7 and a half months.
    – bad_coder
    Oct 5 at 8:34
-3

There are many comments here saying that "Russian citizens should not be penalized when trying to do their job or their hobby simply because their leader is insane."

It's indeed a very reasonable point of view. But let me offer a different one:

Penalizing ordinary people in Russia could make them realize that the situation is really critical (I mean REALLY CRITICAL) and their 'democratically' elected government is every day committing brutal war crimes in Ukraine. As a nation, they are responsible for this. It should make them loudly express their disagreement with this unlawful war. Putin must realize that people in Russia know what he is doing - and that they are strongly against it. It seems that nothing else can stop him. Look how hard he is trying to prevent this!

Personally, I see both of these points of view relevant. Yes, the first one doesn't impact ordinary people, it helps spread the information to intelligent people who can further work with it. But on the other hand, pressure and discomfort usually helps people to really act, rather than talk.

Hard choice, indeed.

P.S. It's quite possible that Putin will cut the internet soon, making the choice himself. Degrading Russia to North Korea level.

1
  • 1
    The situation is indeed very fatal, but maybe SE has not much influence on it either way. And yes, it's a choice.
    – Trilarion
    Mar 12 at 13:28
-6

Given the words of Martin Niemöller:

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

It makes sense to take some action and take it soon. Taking too long to respond can put this site's capabilities or sites like it in jeopardy.

It can be said that any additional signaling (turning off SE sites for everyone, a stylized logo, direct message, etc.) is probably of less immediate effect than the donation that’s already been offered. Even with that view in mind, doing both offers value to the dialogue. It both communicates that not only does the SE community support Ukraine in its current plight, but that we need people to be active in this online forum and also involved in their offline forums too: because the offline forum is the one that makes this and other online exchanges possible.

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    Is this post in favour of restricting access in Russia or against it? I honestly can't tell.
    – F1Krazy
    Mar 5 at 20:03
  • 2
    I think the first paragraph is suggesting the block should be applied?
    – Cerbrus
    Mar 5 at 20:08
  • 1
    Sorry if it’s not obvious. A better question is which part of the arguments made are you for or against? I kind of expected to get downvoted given current votes being given. That’s why I’d appreciate the counter to the points being made.
    – Marc
    Mar 6 at 1:29
  • 26
    @Marc answers that are unclear also tend to be downvoted for being unclear, regardless of if the voter would agree or disagree with what you're trying to say.
    – Cerbrus
    Mar 6 at 15:33
-7

Dreadful decision.

You cannot politically influence the awful Putin regime if you do not punish the grassroots that support him and it. If you expect or want to attack that evil regime you must attack the support base.

You cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs.

It is worse.

You are choosing to continue to support a people who back a regime that has started an unprovoked invasion and is actively using any and all resources available to it to wipe out cities for the "crime" of not being willing to let themselves be forced into domination by a dictatorial regime.

If even one sentence of one answer on this site helped one Russian citizen who supports this vile regime shave a second of their work, then it is more than they deserve.

You are engaged in "business as usual" with a country than has chosen the same path as Nazi Germany. And like Nazi Germany you are fools if you think this regime will stop at one. What of the Baltic states? What of former Soviet countries now free? Will you stand by and wait and see and continue business as usual?

Geo-targeted restrictions on access to Stack Overflow are unlikely to effectively block bad actors from using our site, and are technically difficult to maintain.

It would an inconvenience so you won't bother at all.

Pathetic.

The users impacted would more likely be students and practitioners, who would suddenly find themselves removed from one of the world’s largest and most consistently high-quality reference sources.

You mean it definitely would inconvenience and annoy the very people who underpin that evil regime and it's fascism?

That's a reason to do it. It is the exact reason why you must block them.

The people who would be most inconvenienced would not be policy makers or members of the military – those people have access to tools to evade our IP based blocks. IP ranges also vary regularly, so these blocks would need to be continuously policed, yielding imperfect results and creating a substantial risk of impacting everyday citizens the most.

You mean it would impact the people whose sons are now shelling Ukrainian cities and killing Ukrainian men, women and children?

So, again, a reason to block them, not to continue helping them.

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    "Them". It's always "them". You must attack the support base, yeah, but the ones you want to "attack" have not shown "support" with the "base", quite the contrary as far as I can tell. I believe anger is clouding your judgement, and nothing good can emerge from that unless people, especially us scientists, start taking hard facts into account instead of useless propaganda (from both sides). Mar 4 at 3:16
  • 7
    @FrédéricHamidi I have no idea why so many people cannot see this for what it is - the first bloody (very, very bloody) step in a campaign by a madman leading madmen who have twisted a country. Sanctions, even the small bit SE could do, help by making it clear that the lies being fed to people in Russia are exactly that and that no one else supports them and in fact resist them. Doing nothing achieves exactly that - nothing. I know where this ends - flattened cities in Eastern and possibly Western Europe that will look like Alleppo and Grozny. Mar 4 at 4:53
  • 32
    I highly doubt any military personnel is using Stack Exchange (it not being sanctioned state media...) so no, the people directly responsible for this invasion wouldn't be hurt whatsoever by such a block. You're also severely overestimating the support Putin has from within his country, just as you're overestimating the impact a block like this would have on the Russian people. Stack Exchange just isn't that big of a deal. Furthermore you're downplaying the technical difficulty of applying a fair IP block without side effects. If it's that easy, build a service that identifies Russian IPs.
    – Cerbrus
    Mar 4 at 8:20
  • 12
    I am sure there are PLENTY of Russian citizens that are actively using the internet to help the Ukranians, by pulling their access to SE (which would barely work anyway) would hurt them too. I get it - I am 100% behind the Ukraine right now too and feel deeply for them right now, but you are letting your emotions take over common sense with this stance. Again, I understand it, but you need to think critically here, not emotionally. Mar 4 at 16:39
  • 3
    And unfortunately, there are those Russian citizens that are actively using the internet to harm the Ukranians... BBC News: Russian vigilante hacker: 'I want to help beat Ukraine from my computer' :'( @patricksweeney
    – MrWhite
    Mar 7 at 18:23
  • 5
    @MrWhite oh course there is, which is horrible, but you can't cut off your nose to spite your face. There are many many more Russian civilians that don't engage in that behavior than ones that do. Mar 7 at 18:30
  • 2
    @patricksweeney Wasn't it General Grant who said that (in effect) war was Hell and you had to do anything possible to shorten it - including targetting civillians indirectly supporting that war. He did and it did stop the war. If a Russian is involved in the distribution of food in Russia, they are, de facto, helping the Russian's kill Ukranians. It's dirty and it's immoral, but war is a dirty and immoral affair. Business as usual did not stop Hitler and it won't stop Putin, it will just encourage hom to see the West as weak. Mar 7 at 19:08
  • 2
    @Ruslan Your logic suggests that the only people left to access SE from Russia will in fact be those willing to comply with the dictatorship and not those who oppose it. We can only help those who oppose by removing all support of any kind from the regime. The only way to stop it is to unseat Putin and supporters. Your fantasy (from St Petersberg) that we can help by doing nothing is just the work I would expect from a Putin supporter. No sale. And the fact that pro-Ikrainian posts are being heavily voted down suggests an active campaign by Russia or Russians. Mar 7 at 23:38
  • 3
    @Ruslan The Russian government does not just attack sites which are popular in Russia, but those which are popular in the West in order to spread doubt. This tactic has been practiced in war for centuries. There's no doubt at all they have been (successfully) interfering in elections using similar tactics. Are you really so naive. But I do agree with you : we should all be giving active military support to Ukraine. Fight this war now or a much bigger and worse one later, IMO. Mar 8 at 0:57
  • 3
    "You cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs" - just FYI, this is exactly the catchphrase the Russian media use when talking about civilian victims in Ukraine. I'm not trying to compare the amount of suffering, of course. Just trying to show how if feels to be punished for being born in the wrong country. Mar 15 at 15:07
  • 2
    @DmitryGrigoryev Russians are entitled to break their own eggs to make their own omelette. They're breaking Ukrainian eggs instead. Russians have allowed (and many support) a vicious dictator to come to power and yield that power. Those that stand by and say they cannot do anything are making the Ukrainian people and brave Russians who do act (with little help) suffer. Putin is a Russian creation and problem and, whatever it costs, it is Russian's who have to take responsibility and suffer what is necessary to fix the problem they made. Mar 15 at 16:57
  • 2
    @StephenG-HelpUkraine Unless you are a Russian citizen yourself, advocating to block Russian SO users is anything but "breaking your own eggs to make your own omelette". As for me, as a Russian who now lives in Europe, I really struggle to understand what makes me a fine lad who doesn't deserve to be punished, while my friends who still live in Russia are monsters supporting a bloody dictator who must suffer. Mar 15 at 20:19
  • 2
    @DmitryGrigoryev I did not raise you to a pedastal of "fine lad" :-) , and I know nothing about you. I have stated that in order to drive Russians who are in Russia and/or support Putin to see how far down the path of evil Russia has gone it is necessary to deprive them of access to the things the rest of world provides. Yes, "good" Russians who can see the evil of the regime would oppose it are also being "punished" but in an ethical problem like this I would say that Russians must suffer if it in any way drives an end to that war and that regime. Not nice, not ideal, but war never is. Mar 15 at 20:32
  • 3
    @StephenG-HelpUkraine By "fine lad" I simply meant that the collective punishment for Putin's deeds aimed at Russian citizens wouldn't apply to me, even if I were actually a pro-war dickhead. And I'm not against sanctions in principle (e.g. stopping petrol/gas trade would be very effective), just against sanctions which according to me would hit an entirely wrong demographic, like blocking SO. Mar 15 at 21:11
  • 2
    @DmitryGrigoryev I don't personally think there is a way to fine tune the sanctions to only affect the right demographic. Again, war in all it's misery at work. I support all sanctions to date and given my very personal low income (by local standard) it's does hurt me too as all prices are rising as a result. We are all at war with Russia now, we're just not firing bullets or being hit by them. If this type of war stops the real one (which could well involve nukes) then it must be pursued to it's logical conclusion IMO. Maxium sanctions could minimize deaths IMO. Mar 15 at 22:12
-9

The users impacted would more likely be students and practitioners, who would suddenly find themselves removed from one of the world’s largest and most consistently high-quality reference sources.

The users impacted are citizens of the offending country. Period. The only reason that any country can invade another is because the citizens of the offending nation allow it to happen. Leaders of nations or armies only have power because the people give them that power.

In this case it is even simpler than that. Stack Exchange is headquartered in New York, it is an American company under the jurisdiction of the Unites States. As such it must be aligned with the direction set by the federal government...

Summary: Sanctions against Russian persons may include blocking of assets subject to U.S. jurisdiction; limits on access to the U.S. financial system, including limiting or prohibiting transactions involving U.S. individuals and businesses; and denial of entry into the United States. The United States also tightly controls exports to Russia’s energy and defense sectors.

Information is an asset. SE provides information. And the part that SE seems to be glossing over is that many of the practitioners would include people in the service of government or an oligarch.

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  • 14
    "The only reason that any country can invade another is because the citizens of the offending nation allow it to happen" - yeah, when you have democracy maybe. Mar 14 at 1:13
  • 9
    Unless the USA has required private companies to block all Russian access, this is just another version of "you should block Russian access!" in response to an explanation of why blocking Russian access is neither feasible nor constructive. It's as if the original post was not even read.
    – Nij
    Mar 14 at 1:34
  • 9
    The 1st amendment means that SE does not have to "be aligned" with the US government. Not one iota. However, you are clearly misreading the "sanctions against Russian persons" phrase. That refers to specific named Russian individuals that have been sanctioned for their alleged roles. Mar 15 at 2:35
  • 5
    I find it funny that I find this on your personal page: »Don't make people into victims of policy. People come looking for help. Don't deny them all assistance because you find the question does not perfectly match with the rules«
    – Rusi
    Mar 17 at 5:34
  • @Rusi - Dont deny them if the question does not perfectly match with the guidelines of a good question. Deny them if they are invading another sovereign nation for the purpose of installing a puppet government. I dont see what you think is possibly ironic or "funny" in that. In this case its not even about my personal opinion. The federal govt (of the People, by the People) makes laws. The People are expected to follow them. They are not required to do so blindly or quietly, that would be the 1st amendment, fake Polk, but they are expected to follow them or face penalty.
    – StingyJack
    Mar 21 at 0:30
-11

The list of Russian atrocities as a result of Putin's War are piling up.

Russia bombed a maternity hospital full of mothers and children. There is a mass grave site for it due to the difficulty in identifying the bodies. Several prominent journalists are dead. Mariupol has been decimated, it is unclear how many people made it out. The attack on Bucha is being called a genocide, and Borodyanka is even worse.

The world is increasingly making it difficult for anyone participating or associating with any companies active in Russia.

Stack Exchange stands to do better by blocking Russian IP's. We all must do what we can, and this is something Stack Exchange can do.

0
-17

All the content here on SE is created by the users. The users make this community thrive. In my opinion SE should ask the users if they want their collective knowledge to be available in Russia. It should not be a decision taken by the SE management.

Please let us vote and follow the decision taken by the people.

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    I'm not sure how you would practically do that. Meta is a small cross section of users. Short of nagging users (over what period of time? What if you don't log in?) - its practically impossible.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Mar 5 at 15:40
  • 25
    Why should other users get to decide who can see my content?
    – Cerbrus
    Mar 5 at 20:09
  • 31
    The votes on this announcement are currently at +318 / −29. What else do you need? Mar 5 at 20:28
  • 3
    @SebastianSimon One could argue that there are many more active users the platform and the number of visitors here is not representative. Maybe here the idea is something like a moderator election with thousands of voters. Of course the collective knowledge is under the CC license, so available to Russia anyway. It's just the platform usage that may or may not be restricted and that is owned by the company. If people are not okay with the stance they can only decide not to contribute to the platform during the war.
    – Trilarion
    Mar 7 at 11:59
  • @SebastianSimon The vote on this post mark it as useful. It's good to know the official position of SE, even if you don't share their position. Following your argument: Almost all top-rated answers request SE to set some statement. What else do you need then?
    – Philippos
    Mar 11 at 13:50
  • 5
    @Philippos What do you think my supposed “argument” is? This answer says “SE should ask the users if they want their collective knowledge to be available in Russia”, implying that some kind of survey should be conducted. However, it’s unlikely that the majority would be in favor of blocking access in Russia given the votes, the context, and the rationale in this announcement. Even if there was a majority in favor, the announcement explains why blocking access is not feasible. So there needs to be something more than a plain “Yes, I want access to be blocked in Russia!” vote. Mar 12 at 0:53

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