You have to remember this site is called "superuser" not "idiotuser". You said "it's useful to have such a warning". I don't think it's useful to you at all. It's useful to somebody that perhaps doesn't know that one shouldn't just download any old file and execute it. You shouldn't be writing advice about what is recommended or isn't recommended, what is useful or is not useful, when you only have in mind a non-technical user and wouldn't follow your own advice. – barlop 7 mins ago

I have downvoted you, I believe justifiably.If you amend your note sufficiently then I will remove the downvote just so that you don't have the -1 that you currently have, which I believe you thoroughly deserve with that note of yours. Refer to my comment above this one for an explanation.

My response:

I will remove it, but to defend it, there are many files that I have downloaded that are still on my drives years later. Some of them are utilities that may be harmful in certain circumstances. Knowing that they came from the web as opposed to something that I wrote is useful. In addition, there have been a few times when I loaded a web page and a file started to download. While I removed it right afterwards, this is a risk, albeit small. Your problem with my note is really a problem with microsoft. They thought this would be a useful feature. You think that for non "idiotusers" its worthless.

It seems rather arbitrary to me, one way or another. And with regard to "idiotusers" there have times where I have posted an answer with something like "go to device manager" and gotten a response of "where is that." You or I may think that is trivial, but to some people its not. My note was not insulting (at least I don't think so) and it could have been helpful. I don't see things like this as an issue.

This was posted after I included a statement that a warning might not be needed but it could be helpful.

How valid is the point of view that answers should speak to a technical audience, as opposed to the average person? Are both OK? Is there a middle ground that should be sought?

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As a quick reference, the faq says, "Be nice. Treat others with the same respect you’d want them to treat you. We’re all here to learn together. Be tolerant of others who may not know everything you know." –  nhinkle Aug 16 '11 at 20:35
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I did not think I was being disrespectful, as mentioned in my response to him (updating post to show that). –  soandos Aug 16 '11 at 20:38
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@soandos I totally agree with you, barlop is way out of line there. We don't want to promote bad security practices here on SuperUser, but we should equally embrace how to overcome these security features if need be. At the end of the day, while it is the end user's responsibility, but they should at least be informed about the potential risks. I rolled back the post to include your warning, because I feel it is very valid and should definitely be included in the answer. –  Breakthrough Aug 16 '11 at 21:22
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@soandos I meant that would be a reference to pass on to Barlop - he was the one being disrespectful. –  nhinkle Aug 16 '11 at 22:07
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@nhinkle, sorry, I didn't realize. –  soandos Aug 16 '11 at 22:08
    
I think this note is useful and I would rather it not be removed. "Now that all the comments explaining the note have gone.. It should be noted that that note was put there for users that aren't aware that executable files can contain malicious code. That is why one user that said it was a bad security practice to disable it, when asked, said he had himself disabled it. And that's why soandos had said it is useful but when asked, said it's not useful to him. I point that out now so people better understand the note soandos made" I don't think anybody disagrees with it. –  barlop Aug 16 '11 at 22:55
    
I think that responding to both audiences is quite good, but not required. Basically, the choice is yours, but I don't see any reason to limit to just one audience if you have the time to address more since this will make your Answer or Question more useful to a wider audience. Keep up the great work, @soandos! –  Randolf Richardson Aug 17 '11 at 9:45

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

TL;DR: Target your question to the worldwide audience too. 90% of our traffic is coming from search engines (reference). You can't know who these visitors are.


Why I think you should have left the note

I believe you had a fair point in adding this note. Why? Because it doesn't hurt. A non-technical user might read it and take something from it. A technical user might skip and ignore it. Having it there, in every case, is better than having it not there.

Let's take a look at your note:

Note: This will disable it for all files regardless of location. I would not recommend doing it in general, but it seems to be what you want to do.

So what would a non-technical person think? "Oh, maybe I shouldn't do it unless I know what I'm doing". In this case however I guess that you meant, "For you, the OP, it seems okay".

It's useful to somebody that perhaps doesn't know that one shouldn't just download any old file and execute it. -- @barlop

Yes. But it's not, per se, useless for a user who knows what they are doing (and it doesn't justify downvoting, see below).

My note was not insulting (at least I don't think so) and it could have been helpful. -- @soandos

Absolutely right. Your note was not insulting at all. It wasn't even personal. You added it as a precaution and a gentle reminder. You did it for the right reasons.


Why we shouldn't divide between "idiot user" and "super user"

You shouldn't be writing advice about what is recommended or isn't recommended, what is useful or is not useful, when you only have in mind a non-technical user and wouldn't follow your own advice. -- @barlop

I don't support this at all. We as a Question and Answer site should target any audience. The active users of Super User only make up a tiny part of the traffic the site gets from search engines. Are those people who come from a search engine and read our content all "Super Users"? Certainly not. Are some of those non-technical? Most probably!

And what defines a "Super User" anyway?

It would be way too arbitrary to define a borderline like this. When you write an answer,

  • target it towards the OP's problem
  • target it to the general audience of the internet (because in the long run, this is what it's all about)

Why I think there's no reason for a downvote

I have downvoted you, I believe justifiably.If you amend your note sufficiently then I will remove the downvote just so that you don't have the -1 that you currently have, which I believe you thoroughly deserve with that note of yours. Refer to my comment above this one for an explanation.

Downvoting somebody because they added a safety note to one of their posts is just plain wrong. If the OP personally felt insulted by it, they probably didn't understand your intentions. I'd like to stress again that a note that is "useful" to part of the audience doesn't necessarily have to be "useless" to the OP. And it certainly doesn't justify a downvote.

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I absolutely agree with slhck here - you make good points. Barlop overreacted, and it's always better to error on the side of safety and include the note. I will be going in to clean up the nasty comments a bit shortly. –  nhinkle Aug 16 '11 at 22:08
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Note is now included, thank you all. –  soandos Aug 16 '11 at 22:21
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these sort of notes, if absolutely necessary (and I'm not fully convinced, but...) should ALWAYS go at the BOTTOM of the post. Not the top. –  Jeff Atwood Aug 18 '11 at 2:08

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