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What should I do if a user posts sensitive information as part of a question or answer?


I have been notified that I cannot post this information anywhere online and I need this question to be taken down. I have edited the specific information out of it, but the revisions would hold the information.

  • This has been asked before; while I look for the source, the quick answer is to edit it (as you have done) and e-mail team@stackoverflow.com with basically the same information you've written here to ask for a hard delete. – Pops Aug 24 '10 at 14:13
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    I'm seeing if I can raise any of the devs on chat to do a hard delete. In the meantime, I've soft-deleted it so only 10k users can see it. – mmyers Aug 24 '10 at 14:15
  • Surprisingly (to me, anyways), there's no official answer at either of the two questions I was thinking of: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/21938/… and meta.stackexchange.com/questions/21938/… – Pops Aug 24 '10 at 14:19
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    @Pop You messed up your copy-paste. – Grace Note Aug 24 '10 at 14:27
  • How long has the question been online? If you're lucky, google has not yet crawled it. If not, you'll probably have a hard time de-publishing it. – Tobias Kienzler Aug 24 '10 at 14:33
  • @Grace, thanks, I'm not having a good morning; meta.stackexchange.com/questions/48364/… – Pops Aug 24 '10 at 14:35
  • @Tobias, too late. – Pops Aug 24 '10 at 14:36
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    Google has cached it, I've been able to see it through its cache. Be careful next time, once something is published on the internet it can't be unpublished – Thomas Bonini Aug 24 '10 at 14:36
  • @Pop: That's bad then, I guess even asking them to remove it there is no control where it will already have landed – Tobias Kienzler Aug 24 '10 at 14:53
  • Google's cache isn't so bad. I just needed all direct references to go away. It might not be as bad as I made it out to be, but I couldn't just leave those numbers sit. – Corey Ogburn Aug 24 '10 at 14:59
  • @Tobias Google seems to index SO questions pretty much instantly – Michael Mrozek Aug 24 '10 at 15:26
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    @corey - launch codes? :) – Kev Aug 24 '10 at 15:28
  • @Kev I wish... Student IDs. – Corey Ogburn Aug 24 '10 at 15:33
  • @Corey - looks totally meaningless to me. Could've been worse, like your SQL server connection string :/ – Kev Aug 24 '10 at 15:35
  • @Corey, hey, look at the bright side; you got 20 valuable Meta rep out of it. – Pops Aug 24 '10 at 15:41

Use the "Request Moderation Attention" flag option and explain your situation. (I have done this for you already.)

  • Thank you. I really appreciate it. – Corey Ogburn Aug 24 '10 at 14:15

After reading Remove a page or site from Google's search results I saw that it was possible to ask google to delete a page from its index faster than usual:

The URL removal tool is designed for URLs that urgently need to be removed, such as URLs that accidentally expose confidential data. If you recently made changes to your site, Google’s crawlers will see this when recrawling URLs, and any outdated pages will naturally drop out of our search results over time. There’s no need to request an urgent removal.

I then went to the URL removal tool and filled a request on your behalf. Since the page has already been taken down (returns a 404 code) anyone can request an urgent removal. Its status is currently "Pending".

EDIT: I checked it and it shows up as "Removed".

  • +1 I didn't know about that tool. – Pops Aug 24 '10 at 15:19
  • try not to post any private content but if you do so then just email to legal@stackoverflow.com and be patient for one day indeed they will help you but don't forget to flag your question with your reason also that's all. – Muhammad Nouman Feb 1 at 8:17

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