Am I right to flag a question as off-topic if the questioner is asking for a method of circumventing the Terms of Service of a web service even if the service provider does not rigorously enforce the clause that specifically prevents?

  • 4
    Web services are off topic anyway.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Nov 26, 2015 at 11:23

1 Answer 1


Possible piracy is one of many considerations within the sphere of what I would call 'License Management'. Not OT from my point of view.

  • A question about "License Management" is a lot different than "How to I steal this?" ;) Nov 26, 2015 at 17:33
  • Absolutely agree! But a question on using a mass deployed script to audit licenses to find differences against what was paid would be legitimate. And possible piracy related. And license management! Nov 26, 2015 at 17:41
  • Auditing for piracy is auditing, not piracy. ;) In this question specifically the OP is saying that the "questioner is asking for a method of circumventing the Terms of Service of a web service". You shouldn't have to circumvent a ToS to perform an audit or do license management, and asking how to circumvent the ToS is (essentially/similar to) asking for help in stealing/pirating. Nov 26, 2015 at 17:46
  • Perhaps "related to piracy" is too broad/general of a way to think of it. Sure, you can mention piracy in passing, and it can by involved in why you're asking your question, but as soon as the question becomes "How do I pirate" then it's bad news. :) Nov 26, 2015 at 17:47
  • Not necessarily Techie007. You would need to clarify and be careful but it's entirely possible they are asking how to circumvent a security control in order to build a reporting mechanism re. Licensing or application usage monitoring. Or they might need assistance pushing the limits of a said control for QA purpose. Not everybody examining the limits of a security control is looking to steal. The primary evidence we have is thin and I don't think we can assume some is trying to pirate. Nov 26, 2015 at 17:56
  • Pardon my phone typos! Nov 26, 2015 at 17:56
  • So if I was to say "I stole your car to test your security", you'd be ok with me stealing your car? ;) Anyhow I'm sure you'll agree it's too broad/vague/gray a topic to really nail down, and really needs specific context. In the case of a ToS on a web service, if you're trying to circumvent it, you're being bad. If you're hired by said web service to test the security of it, then you're not an end-user/customer, and not beholden to the ToS. Again we'd need more specific context. Nov 26, 2015 at 21:50
  • In general, here on SU, people asking to circumvent security put in place by others is generally (if not always) frowned upon (i.e.: we get a butt-load of "How can I circumvent my school's/country's/company's network policies/filter?"). Nov 26, 2015 at 21:51
  • See Handling questions clearly trying to break some kind of policy, TOS, etc, where the accepted answer is "yes, flag it!" :) Nov 26, 2015 at 21:57

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