We've had several questions that border on ethical issues. But we've only really addressed the issue of questions that are ethically ambiguous ... not answers that offer potentially unethical advice.

Case in point is a code snippet allowing developers to "externally nuke" a website they've built. The code was offered up as a "best practice" for functions.php.

Personally, my gut reaction would be to delete this. Suggesting people add killswitches to their code is very similar to suggesting they bas64 encode vital functions to prevent tampering. The question here isn't so much can you do this, but should you do this and should WordPress Answers support that kind of practice.

If we were voting, I'd scream "no" as loudly as I can. I don't think developers should ever place back doors, killswitches, or other kinds of vulnerabilities in their code under the guise of self-protection.

In case you dont get paid properly after you complete the job

Thoughts? Other arguments one way or the other?

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    For the record my question was referring to answers as well and that snippet was one of such answers I had in mind (I didn't want to drag specifics into it and keep it at more general policy level).
    – Rarst
    Jan 18, 2011 at 18:34
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    Newbie's opinion: I joined this site not only for a great quality of questions and answers but also because I felt really good about community and culture here. We all - but especially you moderators - should try to keep it like this. It's important. This site is all about education and education should never be limited to sharing knowledge only but also related values and attitudes.
    – Michal Mau
    Jan 18, 2011 at 20:41
  • @maugly - Thanks for telling us that. I know the other moderators and top users from interactions here on the site and I think it can say we all really want to have a great culture here, one that doesn't penalize people for "stupid" questions but instead tries to be respectful of everyone. Again, thanks for saying so. Jan 22, 2011 at 23:12

1 Answer 1


If there is evidence to believe the activity is being asked about in bad faith, for ethically questionable reasons, I think it is fair to:

  1. Ask the person what their intentions are, and why they would wish to do this, before answering.

  2. If you do not receive a reasonable explanation, close the question.

Certainly questions like this receive a very, very chilly reception on Stack Overflow.

  • See, with a question that makes sense. But since the example I linked to was an answer that I feel is on shaky grounds. It's one thing to ask for a blackhat solution ... it's something else to offer one up in response to a question that doesn't warrant one.
    – EAMann
    Jan 19, 2011 at 4:47

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