Should we allow question about the developers? Where do we draw the line?

  • Fine line though. The question "Who wrote the Linux kernel?" can be found on the Linux site. The answer includes info about Linus, that he was a student and that he started writing it because he was unhappy with the current ones. "Who is Satoshi?", "He is the one who wrote the Bitcoin paper and implemented the first versions of the Bitcoin client. His name is a pseudonym". That's pretty much the same thing. But I agree that we shouldn't start digging into people's personal lifes.
    – D.H.
    Commented Sep 2, 2011 at 19:10
  • @Dori Could you elaborate what the advantages of disallowing bitcoin developer related questions are? I'd really like to hear some arguments from the other side.
    – Flow
    Commented Sep 2, 2011 at 19:43

5 Answers 5


In my opinion, a security relevant and trust demanding software like bitcoin, justifies that questions about the developers are allowed.. So I'm in favor to allow questions about the developers, if they


I certainly agree that questions about the devs should be allowed, but only to a point. If someone really wants to don the tinfoil hat that is their prerogative, provided they do their own research somewhere other than this site.

The question you cited in your question was closed not because it is irrelevant or because questions about the devs shouldn't/can't be asked but because it was a duplicate. Perhaps not an exact duplicate, but this specific question is a subset of another question requestiong Satoshi's bio. This question should have been posed in the comments on the original.

Per Robert Cartaino (one of our SE-supplied mods, until we elect our own):

It's off topic. This site is about Bitcoin. It doens't need to become fodder for Who-is-Satoshi-Nakamoto trivia. Any biographical information you feel the need to expound on can easily be contained in the other thread. No need to perpetuate this this content of dubious value through the site.

  • I get your point. But how can something be off topic if it's allowed in another question? So the question would be, do we wan't to merge everything, for example, satoshi related in one big question? I don't see how having a few separate questions about satoshi around is any worse than having one big one. In fact, I think it's the better and clear solution.
    – Flow
    Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 22:09
  • 4
    The problem is that we won't have a few Satoshi questions. When you have a "mysterious figure" like this involved in anything so potentially disruptive as Bitcoin, we are going to get a constant influx of Satoshi questions. If we consider "Is Satoshi involved with CIA" to be different than "Is Satoshi involed with FBI" (which it technically is) this will quickly cease to be bitcoin.stackexchange.com and become satoshi.stackexchange.com. We MUST have stronger moderation than the forums. No tinfoil hats, no politics, no chitchat. Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 22:13
  • 2
    How is "Is Satoshi involved with the CIA" any better or worse than "Are Bitcoins poisonous"? They're both stupid questions, but it's because they're asking if made up nonsense is true, not because questions about Satoshi Nakamoto are off-topic. Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 11:00
  • 1
    If only there were a "this question is stupid" option to close. Would that qualify better as "not a question" or "not constructive"? Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 18:49

Questions about the developers are some of the most frequently asked when I talk about Bitcoin. Closing threads of this nature only prolongs the amount of time it takes for people to find answers...

It's counter-productive to obscure this information when it is one of the most commonly asked questions!

  • Yes. The crappy part about that question was the CIA speculation, but that has been removed. Let's reopen it.
    – D.H.
    Commented Sep 2, 2011 at 16:33

Flow is right. Bitcoin is highly dependent on the skills and ethics of the developers. Questions that are otherwise on topic but also relate to people like developers who have significant influence over bitcoin should not be arbitrarily ruled out. Linus arguably has less influence over the Linux kernel than some of the bitcoin committers do over bitcoin, since only a small percentage of Linux users directly run the actual "mainline kernel".

But of course we should be careful about how such questions are worded.

  • one hopes that changes as bitcoin grows though. Linus certainly had a lot of control over the kernal when he was the primary developer. Commented Sep 9, 2011 at 20:24

Re: David's recent question - https://bitcoin.stackexchange.com/questions/1274/is-this-google-account-the-real-satoshi-nakamoto - I voted to close, I think this is getting a little close to speculation and irrelevance. Especially when it is clearly just a troll account.

  • This is a good example of a question that is clearly off-topic, because it is very unlikely to be answered with comprehensible facts. But other questions about satoshi, for example mine, where the answers can be backed by references, links etc. should be on-topic
    – Flow
    Commented Oct 1, 2011 at 17:37

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