Questions tagged [ethics]

Questions that involve systematizing, suggesting, defending and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct on Stack Exchange

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106
votes
7answers
3k views

Dealing with questions of nefarious intent

How should we treat questions that are, or have seeds of, evil or malicious purposes and actions, such as writing spambots and malware? Should they be answered like regular "everybody keeps their ...
71
votes
13answers
2k views

When is it appropriate to link to your own paywalled website from your answers? [duplicate]

I've encountered this answer on SO. At the end of the answer the user has placed a link to his article on a 3rd party site that requires paid subscription before reading articles. This makes the link ...
48
votes
4answers
613 views

How to deal with rep beggars?

Sometimes I read annoying comments asking for, and eventually demanding upvotes or acceptance of some answer. While for the demanding tone I have a clear position (flag!), the usual case is a user ...
46
votes
2answers
1k views

Company is cheating in its Joel Test [closed]

On Careers I found a job listing for a company I know. Its Joel test claims to provide quiet working conditions, but this is not true. The developers share one desk in a huge co-working room (40+ ...
34
votes
3answers
418 views

Helping a Phisher? [closed]

I'm commenting on this question about parsing data in a BrowserField on Blackberry. I was suspicious about why someone would do this, and tried to persuade the questioner to use other methods of ...
33
votes
11answers
3k views

Should sarcasm be acceptable?

Branching from the lmgtfy-question, I'm curious if sarcastic responses in general should be tolerated on Stack Overflow. This is the nasty cousin of the LMGTFY responses. I'm afraid these types ...
32
votes
2answers
425 views

Is my Chrome extension unethically circumventing SE privileges?

I built a Google Chrome extension that queries the SE API for the up/down vote count for a question or answer and then plugs that information into the appropriate vote score. Really, it looks and ...
30
votes
1answer
2k views

Does Stack Exchange prevent cheating with "fake" accounts?

I've been thinking how easily a user could create a fake account to upvote all his own questions/answers. I didn't think of doing it myself; I like to win my reputation the right way, but I'm sure ...
29
votes
7answers
583 views

Is rep discrimination OK or not?

Many times when I'm reading a very poorly written question, I look at the asker's rep. If it is low, I usually go on with my day because "they are new and haven't gotten the hang of things." However, ...
28
votes
19answers
749 views

Is Tactical Down-Voting ever valid?

Has anyone noticed any tactical downvoting of their, or other people, answers? For example, in a recent answer to a question, my answer described a possible solution. Shortly afterwards, another ...
28
votes
4answers
620 views

User asking to remove upvote so he would get the "Unsung Hero" badge

I got this unusual request today after up-voting someone's answer in a sportsmanship spirit. How to use Validation Control Properly in Webpage If you were the one who gave me the vote, would you ...
27
votes
1answer
633 views

Is it OK for me to track visits to my Stack Exchange profile, questions, & answers?

I would like to track visits to my Stack Overflow profile. Is it acceptable to use a transparent GIF image (or other means) to get a request to my host and record visitors' IP address, time, ...
25
votes
5answers
210 views

Voting and high rep users

I mostly like to browse the Stack Exchange sites, flagging, down/upvoting, and commenting. Sometimes, when I am looking at a question, I find an answer that is code-only or is just a link with one ...
24
votes
3answers
298 views

Is it OK/legal/ethical to replace a broken link with a cached version from web archive?

Whenever I spot a broken link in a question or an answer in StackOverflow (an other sites on StackExchange), I search for the latest version available in The Wayback Machine and replace the link. ...
23
votes
4answers
470 views

How do we evaluate an editor stealing an answer?

I was looking at the unapproved edits when I came across Javascript in Wicket 1.5. The editor describes it as "moved the self-answer to a real answer." Basically, the OP had edited their question ...
23
votes
1answer
231 views

Should I be using content from deleted posts on the Stack Exchange network?

If someone makes a post on any site on the Stack Exchange Network, they grant Stack Exchange a license to (among other things) display and store the work. This license is irrevocable, even if the ...
22
votes
5answers
294 views

Should SO get the proceeds from iPhone apps coded by answers?

I couldn't sleep last night, so I started browsing posts on SO, including older ones. I noticed a pattern from a certain user. So I clicked on that user's profile, just to browse his questions. He has ...
22
votes
3answers
479 views

Is there a less in-your-face version of whathaveyoutried.com?

The problem of course is that many questions really do warrant a pretty canned response saying "you need to think about this more," and ideally, with some suggestions on how to think about this more, ...
22
votes
2answers
2k views

Web Scraping, Intellectual Property and the Ethics of Answering

Twice today I have come across questions requesting assistance scraping data from copyrighted web pages. Both questions listed the site in question which, after a quick visit, shows the site content ...
21
votes
3answers
873 views

Zero answer, zero questions, only edits, and a stupid tag wiki

Some user comes into the C++ chat room and starts to talk as if he knows us, which makes me look at his profile. So the guy, at 105rep, has not asked or answered a single question, made all of his rep ...
21
votes
3answers
190 views

Anonymous users editing questions as if they are the author - what should we do?

Now that I see the pending edits, I come across such suggested edit - since I can't know for sure that anonymous user is the author "pat1234" I've rejected the edit - what if it's just some troll? ...
19
votes
4answers
873 views

A question from an online programming exam I was partly responsible for conducting was asked here

This question was asked, which is identical to this problem from an online exam, the (Indian) Zonal Computing Olympiad 2013. This exam is one of the preliminary rounds which leads to the selection of ...
18
votes
3answers
394 views

Can badges be “automated”?

It seems to me that badges like “fanatic” can be automated, i.e. someone could put a script together to “earn” that badge. Is there any safeguard against such practice? Or is it regarded as fair-...
18
votes
2answers
145 views

Is it acceptable to upvote one answer and downvote several/all of others?

I have just run across a question that had several (4 or 5) answers, of which 1 was correct, and 3 incorrect (for different reasons). I upvoted and downvoted accordingly. Is there any moral reason ...
17
votes
7answers
6k views

Technically valid answers that raise questions of morality

Similar to Questions with nefarious intent?, but different, and more about voting than “Is it possible?”, versus “Is it a good idea to try?”. If someone posts an answer to a perfectly normal question,...
17
votes
2answers
121 views

Is mass-accepting answers from the same user to drive up rep acceptable?

Similar questions have been asked, for instance: Is there some mechanism for preventing a two-person team from farming rep? This situation, however, is a little different: I ran this query for "...
15
votes
3answers
690 views

What precautions does Stack Overflow take to stop the cheaters?

What is to stop circles of friends and cliques from synchronizing their upvoting and downvoting activities? Does Stack Overflow analyze the voting data to look for collusion and conspiracy patterns? ...
15
votes
5answers
3k views

Teachers/Graders: How do you handle students asking homework questions on SO

I was a TA for an undergraduate programming course and I've been considering doing it again. Since I'm sure some of my students would be requesting solutions to their homework here, I've been thinking ...
13
votes
6answers
492 views

Should we and how can we report suspected vote rigging?

An example: I noticed a user who received 90 points of votes in the space of 5 mins on 9 different answers. This looked suspicious as the user hasn't been very active and usually gets votes every few ...
13
votes
5answers
2k views

Is answering homework question considered cheating? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: Is [homework] an exception? How to ask and answer homework questions? It's bothering me if someone was asked to do report or has a homework question and asks for help here ...
13
votes
3answers
182 views

Is it ethical to ask people to downvote

I see the accepted answer here is definitely wrong- What is the difference between %d and %*d in c language? Should I encourage people (who might come across my blog) to downvote this answer? I think ...
13
votes
7answers
709 views

Is it okay to discuss poor security practices?

I have experienced people actively hindering or flaming people who want to make public or discuss techniques that can break good security habits or schemes of languages, software or operating systems. ...
13
votes
3answers
209 views

Is it inappropriate to give users you admire gold badges?

It is very easy in some SE sites to obtain a gold Publicist badge by sharing a link on popular sites such as reddit. Such links contains your user number; by changing the user number, you can ...
13
votes
4answers
307 views

Is it unethical to post code in answers without citing sources?

Sometimes, when answering SO questions, I am using in my answers the code which strictly speaking is not mine. I mean I have used this code in my applications, and often I have altered it more or less ...
13
votes
7answers
290 views

Is it wrong to ask questions "for someone else"?

Hello, I read quite a few forums and well, some of these forums are not all that alive(topics get answered in a day or two usually) and while these questions are perfectly suitable for SO/SU/SF, the ...
13
votes
3answers
195 views

Is it OK to make a bounty to draw attention to my answer?

I posted a late answer to a featured Meta.SE question last week, and was really interested in getting feedback on it. Because it was posted late, and the question was featured on SO before I posted, ...
13
votes
1answer
415 views

What is the best way to contact a moderator about a user?

I suspect a user is cheating. He's cheated in the past but I don't want to get into it here. Instead I want to contact a moderator about this. What is the best way to go about this? Should I send an ...
12
votes
3answers
934 views

Be extra helpful to new users

I generally don't participate much on SO or Meta. This is not a new case but I can't just prevent myself from posting this. Let's look at this question: PHP CURL not loading in WAMP after upgrading ...
11
votes
5answers
496 views

Is there some mechanism for preventing a two-person team from farming rep?

Does Stack Overflow have any mechanism to guard against "mutual" cheats? I noticed that sometimes, when someone asks a stupid and easy-to-answer question, almostly instantly, a full, good answer from ...
11
votes
2answers
603 views

Should unethical questions be answered?

A question (now migrated to Super User) has been asked that I originally thought was a simple problem, and posted a simple solution. Then on the comments to my answer I had to force some details from ...
11
votes
3answers
298 views

Is it okay to mark an answer as 'Accepted' when I can't test it?

I asked a technical question on dba.stackexchange.com. I got a very good answer, but because I made many technical changes to my environment before I read the answer, I'm no longer in a position where ...
10
votes
5answers
865 views

Ethics for SQL insert queries vulnerable to SQL injection [closed]

I've come across and helped lots of people with SQL INSERT queries, where nothing about the values being from the user and form input is being mentioned. The main point of the questions vary from ...
10
votes
3answers
266 views

What's the rule regarding scripting which violates a program's EULA

In the main SO site, I have seen a few questions about botting for various games - something that is generally frowned upon by members of the online communities surrounding these games. For example, ...
10
votes
2answers
161 views

Using "answer your own question" to advertise completed open source project?

I'm pretty sure using the "answer your own question" feature of stackexchange is considered spam/abuse, but wanted to doublecheck. My situation: I had a problem I couldn't find a solution I wrote a ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

How should we deal with Coursera homework related questions?

After the post about removing the homework tag I have a kind of related question. I am active in the Scala category and its creator, Martin Odersky is giving a class on Coursera with something like ...
10
votes
2answers
108 views

Is it OK to retag questions which you are answering?

If you answer a question, then do we have ethics regarding adding tags to it after the fact, or is that considered a form of "reputation boosting"? I just noticed I was doing this today, and realized ...
10
votes
1answer
125 views

Is this ethical? Copying unvoted answer into upvoted deleted answer after question merge

Earlier today, I wrote a quick answer on a question, and received an upvote. I then saw a comment on the question identifying it as an exact duplicate (the asker had asked the same question twice ...
9
votes
4answers
406 views

Is it OK to use a hidden HTML hack to circumvent minimum answer length?

I've followed the advice of this possible duplicate so far: Is it ok to flog people for circumventing the minimum answer size? There may be other similar questions asked, but I've seen none that ...
9
votes
1answer
835 views

Has there been an uptick in spam votes against established questions? [closed]

The last few days seem to have seen the resurgence of some old conflicts on Stack Overflow. In particular there have been attempts to delete some old and popular but non-technical questions(*) and a ...
9
votes
3answers
266 views

How do I tell a user that they are out of their depth?

I came across this question today, in which the asker was clearly out of their depth. What bothers me more than anything is that they said "I have to give a presentation to client that wants such a ...