Recently ImLostPleaseHelpThx asked a question about implementing Deterministic DSA by Thomas Pornin (Java Errors)

Nicely, once warned the OP read the What topics can I ask about here? from the help page.

According to our close reason in flagging

Programming questions are off-topic even if you are writing or debugging cryptographic code. Unless your question is specifically about how the cryptographic algorithm, protocol or side-channel (mitigation) works, you should look into asking on Stack Overflow instead.

This question is clearly off-topic. However according to help page

If your question is about using a cryptographic library (e.g. Crypto++, OpenSSL etc) and using it in your application, you probably need Stack Overflow. (A good indicator is the existence of source code in your question or most good answers).

This question passes the logic filter. The filter needs to be fixed.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Note: This is about what if someone tries to write a cryptographic code. The OP actually asking how to use it. $\endgroup$
    – kelalaka
    Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 23:06
  • $\begingroup$ "Deterministic DSA by Thomas Pornin (Java Errors)" does not work, it show "Page not found". $\endgroup$
    – R1w
    Commented Jul 19, 2020 at 19:19
  • $\begingroup$ @R1w you can see that if you have 10K reputation since it is deleted by the OP. The OP deleted at least 4 times its question, this one was the first. $\endgroup$
    – kelalaka
    Commented Jul 19, 2020 at 19:38
  • $\begingroup$ Did this question and related discussion lead to a conclusion? $\endgroup$
    – R1w
    Commented Jul 19, 2020 at 19:47
  • $\begingroup$ @R1w yes. Did you see the answer? There was only one answer, so no opposition. The request is accepted by the moderators and the community as you can see the high vote +6. Also, you can visit the updated help/on-topic. $\endgroup$
    – kelalaka
    Commented Jul 19, 2020 at 19:51
  • $\begingroup$ I did also upvote, maybe I mixed up some topics. I did compare this post with SEPM's post [crypto.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1398/… and this one [chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/784/the-side-channel] by Maarten Bodewes. $\endgroup$
    – R1w
    Commented Jul 19, 2020 at 19:59
  • $\begingroup$ The first one is a help page for moderation. It is a canonical question to be updated over time if needed. I poked SEJPM about that. The second one was a talk on the chat during the update of the help page. So the post is not updated totoally. $\endgroup$
    – kelalaka
    Commented Jul 19, 2020 at 20:03

1 Answer 1


I agree that the help page was a bit out-dated in that regard.

Anyways, that section wasn't intended to give authoritative ruling on whether a question was on-topic or not, meta is the only place where this is decided.

Because of the above I have just gone ahead and edited the page to link to our canonical question and answer about dealing with questions involving source code.

It might be a good idea to make it more clear that Meta is the main authority on on-topicness and the /help/on-topic site is more of a quick-reference. I'll schedule it to be done.


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