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Is it on-topic to ask whether a given cryptographic function I’m describing in my question already exists (and how such a process would be called)?

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Yes

The currently most-upvoted, related question seems to be “Time Capsule cryptography?” with a total of 111 upvotes at the time of writing this.

Notice

As you can see when searching the site accordingly, such questions tend to be on-topic… assuming you keep in mind that Crypto.SE is not a replacement for your favorite search engine, and assuming you do your research.

It might help to check some related questions to get a feel for “how to formulate such questions”. Especially, since such questions really tend to attract a lot of comments along the lines of “What research have you done?” with according down-votes. To avoid such pitfalls, you should definitely describe research efforts, etc. Doing so also adds more quality to the question – which never hurts.

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    $\begingroup$ "keep in mind that Crypto.SE is not a replacement for your favorite search" Of course! $\endgroup$ – idmean Sep 4 '16 at 17:47
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    $\begingroup$ @idmean You wouldn’t believe the things I‘ve seen… ;) $\endgroup$ – e-sushi Sep 4 '16 at 17:48
  • $\begingroup$ Hi @Crypto.SE =) -- Absolutely, you (and I!) want this to be an on-topic question. Low-quality questions are always, just, low-quality questions (and I can imagine some that fall vaguely in this topic). Yet, I can certainly picture excellent questions that fall into this category.. $\endgroup$ – Daniel Apon Sep 13 '16 at 3:19

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