Recently, this question was asked: https://workplace.stackexchange.com/q/115230/73791

Which basically asks:

I am looking for ideas, how to sabotage this coworker.

What are the best ways to sabotage a programmer?

What should we do with this question?

Asking for this is obviously unethical and unprofessional, but is it off-topic (i.e.: is this part of navigating the Workplace)? Is it answerable (perhaps deep down there is a real question waiting to be addressed)?

I suppose that many people will not like to answer and contribute to such negative goal, but I want to know what the Community thinks about these sort of questions.

Update: As mentioned by Snow on comments, the general Mod consensus for these sort of questions (which advocate harm to others) is to kill them with fire Close and Delete.

2 Answers 2


Personally, I'd delete it. You could sort of understand something asked in humour, but even then, it would probably be off topic and not generally encouraged.

This is just vindictive and goes against the "Be nice" policy (even when the injured party isn't here).

There's far more appropriate and moral ways dealing with the core issue here.

And there's other websites who would be glad to pander to this kind of question.

Discussion with site-wide moderators has confirmed that this not acceptable. It has accordingly been killed by fire. Advocating harm to others is the big red flag here. We shouldn't be allowing answers encouraging harm to others and we sure shouldn't be allowing questions like this that explicitly request such answers.

  • I agree, but should it be deleted? Seems that suggesting more appropriate and moral ways as answers could be valuable professional advice to give there... the most evident answer is "don't do it", and that has value IMHO
    – DarkCygnus Mod
    Commented Jul 4, 2018 at 18:51
  • 2
    I agree, but everything about this post and the user's name points toward a single, vindictive, intent. He seems to have no interest in seeking a resolution to his problem, he just wants to cause someone pain. "I am not looking for moral advice" means he's not interested in alternative resolution paths.
    – user44108
    Commented Jul 4, 2018 at 18:52
  • 1
    yeah, it seems like so, but how about future readers/users? In case someone ever wondered about doing this (I really hope not) this post will remind them that the professional course of action is not to do that... I also strongly think this could be deleted, but not completely sure right now.
    – DarkCygnus Mod
    Commented Jul 4, 2018 at 18:54
  • 1
    Hence this discussion. The post is closed and has enough downvotes for it not to be casually visible.
    – user44108
    Commented Jul 4, 2018 at 18:55
  • :) yes, it's currently at -6... I think we can let it be, but be aware of any possible future similar posts from this and other new users...
    – DarkCygnus Mod
    Commented Jul 4, 2018 at 18:58
  • 4
    Discussion with site-wide moderators has judged this not to be acceptable. It has accordingly been killed by fire. Advocating harm to others is the big red flag here.
    – user44108
    Commented Jul 4, 2018 at 19:05
  • 4
    See also: How should answers that advocate violence be handled
    – Lilienthal Mod
    Commented Jul 4, 2018 at 19:57

Why didn't you leave it?
If this is something we don't suport, why not say so?

Close it to answers, delete existing answers which may be helpful to the OP.

Or maybe have only one answer and mention that you deleted the others:

"From the moderators: We don't advocate harm to others."

Please note that I didn't see the original question.

The question I'm asking here (yes, in this answer, but it seemed the best place) is why not leave this post as a this isn't acceptable here marker/flag/signpost?

  • «Why didn't you leave it?» - I did not delete it, it was a mod who did it. I posted here to see what the Community thinks, so proper action could be taken.
    – DarkCygnus Mod
    Commented Jul 6, 2018 at 19:37
  • Besides, I'm sure that if you saw the original post you would agree on its deletion
    – DarkCygnus Mod
    Commented Jul 6, 2018 at 19:39
  • So, I translate that as, "To bad to leave up, no matter our opportunity to show we are against it." Thanks for answering. Commented Jul 9, 2018 at 13:02
  • 1
    A couple of reasons. There's always going to be people who upvote this kind of thing because they think it's cool to see dangerous stuff. And there's HNQ. Questions titled with titillating titles attract attention and clicks and therefore get entered into HNQ. Although we don't mind decent quality questions hitting HNQ, we don't want to encourage acts like this. We also don't want to see many other similar kinds of unacceptable questions being allowed to be visible ("How do I kill my boss?", "How can I get away with having an affair with a co-worker?", etc., etc.
    – user44108
    Commented Jul 9, 2018 at 14:36
  • @J.ChrisCompton I'd translate what Snow said to "This is the way we show we are against it"
    – DarkCygnus Mod
    Commented Jul 9, 2018 at 15:31
  • @DarkCygnus + Snow: I understood that deleting it shows that we are against it. My attempted point/question is that you only show it to one or a few people and it is gone - the rest don't know. It doesn't stay as an example for anyone else. And, to be clear, I am okay with this. You mentioned that we'd never want "How do I kill my boss" to be left as a posted question... and I understand and agree with it. I just didn't realize how horrible the original post must have been. Thanks again for your answers! Commented Jul 9, 2018 at 16:31
  • 1
    It’s also basic common sense not to leave them up. We get very few of these kinds of questions, so removing prevents anyone else from thinking of the same kind of thing and getting their five minutes of fame. Deleting also prevents from being searchable.
    – user44108
    Commented Jul 9, 2018 at 16:42
  • @J.ChrisCompton seems that, although you posted a quesiton as an answer, that you have an interesting point if you wish to ask a Meta Post with those concerns and questions, so it can be further discussed by the Community
    – DarkCygnus Mod
    Commented Jul 9, 2018 at 16:43

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