We're occasionally getting questions which ask people to write harmful code. This used to be big when code trolling was a thing, but it's not limited to that. Every now and then there are challenges or which ask participants to write malicious code (which may or may not be disguised as harmless code). And in principle, there's nothing stopping someone from posting a to wreck the PC the submission is run on.

I tend to downvote these, because I think it's generally not a good idea to produce this kind of code here. Furthermore, no one can even really test the answers, because you'd have to properly sandbox the environment which can be either near impossible or just way too much effort.

But should these actually be on topic to begin with? Do we want questions like that? And if not, could we get a new close vote reason?


2 Answers 2


I don't think this is a frequent enough issue to warrant using one of the custom close reason slots. But I do think it's a big enough issue to warrant not only a downvote and a close vote but also a delete vote. Having questions which ask for malicious code can only be detrimental to the reputation of this community, so they should be expunged as quickly as possible.

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    \$\begingroup\$ We actually have a malware tag. Maybe we should get rid of that so as not to suggest that those question are a good fit? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 15:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd be in favour of deleting the one which asks for malware and removing the tag from the other one - but ideally without causing it to sit on the front page for days again. Protect it first, do you think? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 16:29

As I said in the question, I'm not a fan of these, and would prefer if they were simply off-topic.

That being said, I think they violate 3(e) of Stack Exchange's Terms of Service. But even if you could throw that hammer at every such question, it would still be nice to have an explicit close vote reason, since we do get these at least every other month (I think), and there are enough people who find it funny and reopen such questions if they are closed as too broad or something else. If the close vote was a big banner saying "asking for malware is off topic and answers would violate the ToS" that might be more convincing to keep such questions off the site.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I wouldn't worry about the TOS. As for questions being incorrectly reopened - why are they? Do you have any examples? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 27, 2015 at 15:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JanDvorak The current one, linked to in the question. I can't tell you "why" since there are no reopen reasons. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 27, 2015 at 15:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ There's one vote. I'm not afraid that it will get reopened. Any chance the vote comes from the OP? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 27, 2015 at 15:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JanDvorak No he doesn't have the necessary rep. I'm not saying this one in particular will be reopened, but my point is that if we don't want challenges asking for malware then having that as a close vote reason would be better than "too broad" since the latter is a lot more subjective. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 27, 2015 at 15:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree with that, but do we not want those challenges? I don't mind them, but if you present a case against, I may be swayed. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 27, 2015 at 15:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ The primary case against code trolling is the lack of originality. Does that apply here? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 27, 2015 at 15:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JanDvorak Not necessarily. This doesn't have anything to do with code trolling. I only mentioned it because it was quite a big thing and happened to also elicit answers with malicious code. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 27, 2015 at 15:37

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