I was going through the edit queue and I found this question from a user who is concerned that he/she is being scammed.

Is this foreign job offer via an online agency without any interview legit?

Within the edit I was looking at, the user was changing the question to include specifics. The edit (which I approved) names the company, as well as the website where the job posting was found.

Are we OK with the practice of naming and shaming? Should there be a rule to prevent the naming and shaming of companies or individuals who may or may not be guilty?

  • 2
    In addition to the answers here, I think sometimes people don't really know they are "naming/shaming" as they are innocently asking a question. There definitely have been cases here of intentional naming/shaming, but this one feels a bit innocent. Given that the company in question appears to be aware of this I'm less concerned with this remaining in the edit history, too, but ultimately it's a dup anyways.
    – enderland
    Commented Dec 3, 2016 at 0:11
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    We don't ever want to be in the position where a company catches wind of it and sues. SE is too big of a target Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 15:15

4 Answers 4


Absolutely not. Aside from the ethical (and potentially legal) implications, it's simply off topic.

The Stack Exchange sites are Q&A sites and the questions need to be relevant to the general reader. There's nothing general about naming a certain party. One the identifying information is removed, it may then be on topic still and if so should be treated like everything else.

In cases where there is identifying information it should be removed (as was the case you cited) but then I would flag the question for a moderator attention (type other, I think) to determine if the identifying information needs to be permanently removed from the edit history as well.

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    I can understand the argument to remove company names, but why sanitize the edit history? I've only heard that being done to protect individual's information that was shared without their permission, not to protect companies whose information is publicly available.
    – David K
    Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 18:58
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    @DavidK I would say that it would be on a case-by-case basis. Depending on what the OP would be trying to shame, it could be warranted. I did choose my words carefully and intentionally when I said "to determine IF" it needs to be removed. For instance, they may want to remove a company's name if the "naming" was particularly libelous like accusing the company of a heinous crime.
    – Chris E
    Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 19:35
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    And an example off the top of my head would be a question asking how to best handle that they found ABC International was selling secrets to the Chinese. SE might want to remove something that libelous from being viewed anywhere publicly.
    – Chris E
    Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 19:48
  • @DavidK That's something only mods can do and as Christopher says the right course of action will depend on the situation. I'd like a mod to chime in here to confirm that it's good to flag but I think bringing it to their attention is warranted in most of these cases.
    – Lilienthal Mod
    Commented Dec 4, 2016 at 23:52

Are we OK with the practice of naming and shaming?

I'm not okay with that practice at all.

As you can see, even the well-intentioned edits got it wrong - making it sound like the company was at fault, rather than the agency. Not okay at all.

We don't want to turn into Yelp, where anyone can post an anonymous attack against any company with no evidence.

Should there be a rule to prevent the naming and shaming of companies or individuals who may or may not be guilty?

I flag questions/answers when I notice specific companies being named.

  • Why not edit them?
    – Lilienthal Mod
    Commented Dec 4, 2016 at 23:52
  • @Lilienthal it's better to flag them so a mod can edit it and remove it even from the history.
    – Walfrat
    Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 8:17
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    @Walfrat Well yes, but why not do both? Get it off the site asap and leave it to the mods to determine if the history should be sanitised as well.
    – Lilienthal Mod
    Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 8:34
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    @Lilienthal - I thought we were asked not to edit such posts? Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 11:41
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    @JoeStrazzere Really? Never heard of that. As far as I know that only applies to spam posts where editing out the link would make it less obvious to tell that it's a spam post and would invalidate the automatic delete. I guess we'll need a mod to confirm the best practice here.
    – Lilienthal Mod
    Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 11:49
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    @Lilienthal - I might have conflated "how to handle spam" with something else. I thought if we were flagging a question/answer for removal (for any reason) we were asked not to edit it so that the Moderator could make a properly-informed decision more easily. Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 21:14

Naming a company immediately makes the question company specific and therefore off-topic.

In any case it shouldn't be done, it's wide open to abuse from many angles.

  • Only in the case where it is genuinely unlikely that the question would help anyone else. Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 16:06
  • @IDrinkandIKnowThings In that case the post would benefit from being edited to be more generally applicable.
    – user30031
    Commented Jan 1, 2017 at 14:36

In this particular case, naming the company is not shaming, if the right information is included. Their home page, http://www.hfweb.co.uk/klpharm/, says:

If you have received an e-mail offering you a position in our company or the offer of help with your immigration to the UK, please be aware that these offers are fraudulent and we suggest that you contact Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or on 0300 123 2040 using Crime Ref: NFRC161201652124. Do not send personal details or money to these scammers.

They are trying to make people aware that their name has been misused by scammers.

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    I respectfully disagree with the thought that they would want this fact advertised on this site.
    – Lumberjack
    Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 19:54
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    I agree with this answer. Shaming is, by definition, speaking negatively about a company. Sharing this information says nothing about the company other than that someone else is pretending to be them. The fact that they post this information on the front page of their own webpage (and not hidden on the careers page) should tell you they don't mind spreading that information.
    – David K
    Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 20:33
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    You are bringing attention to their plight without their permission. Particularly with the way the question contents morphed, many people may think it was the company, rather than the scam agency that was at fault. This answer should be deleted. Commented Dec 3, 2016 at 0:46

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