I have an idea for a question and am wondering if it would be classed as off-topic here. It is a programming puzzle/challenge but doesn't require anyone to submit a program and it's not the program that wins the competition. Is this off-topic? I have written out my question below as if I had actually asked it.

Your task is to figure out my password for my PPCG account. I have created a new "sock puppet" account for this challenge that will be deleted as soon as someone finishes the challnge. You must code a program that will hack into my account and will give you the password.

You shouldn't take input and your output should be the account's password.

In order to win, you must answer this question with the account. It should have a spoiler

containing the password

like for Puzzling questions and can optionally have your code

import hacker
hacker.hack_account('sock puppet')

The first person to answer the question with the correct password will be declared the winner!

This is the question and I'm worried that either it could be off-topic or be closed as it gives users a way to hack into PPCG accounts (obviously bad). I know about the Sandbox but wanted to post this as a separate question as it is a little unusual.

  • 9
    \$\begingroup\$ I think the site consensus is not to allow contest that ask for malicious code. \$\endgroup\$
    – plannapus
    Commented Apr 19, 2017 at 14:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ First of all, I doubt this is possible, but I agree with plannapus; I don't think this sort of challenge is allowed because asking for malicious code is strongly discouraged. \$\endgroup\$
    – user42649
    Commented Apr 19, 2017 at 14:27
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Site scope aside, trying to break into a Stack Exchange account without Stack Exchange's consent is probably illegal in a number of jurisdictions. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dennis
    Commented Apr 19, 2017 at 18:34
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Even if it's not illegal in your jurisdiction as Dennis said, it's clearly against the site Terms of Service section #4 -- Use of the Network or Services to violate the security of any computer network, crack passwords or security encryption codes, transfer or store illegal material including that are deemed threatening or obscene, or engage in any kind of illegal activity is expressly prohibited. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 12:46

1 Answer 1


is a pretty terrible win condition. I guess it's objective, but it rather goes against the spirit of competition on PPCG (you'll see that that tag is empty); when we have something we want to do like that, we typically do it as (the "robbers" half of the challenge is effectively a set of mini first-solution competitions). So I don't think this site is very well set up for this type of challenge. (Puzzling handles the general nature of this challenge much better.)

As for the specific challenge mentioned, it's much more problematic because it breaks both Stack Exchange rules (thanks @AdmBorkBork for the link) and PPCG rules (thanks @plannapus for the link), and (even if that weren't the case) requires placing a lot of load on servers that the answerer doesn't own as part of the challenge. I tend to be wary of challenges as it is (partly because they're often uncreative, but partly because a mistake in testing your code can cause more wide-reaching issues), and this seems like a particularly bad use for them.


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