Recently the question https://bitcoin.stackexchange.com/q/12007/2355 was asked. It is about using Silk Road.

Should we really tolerate questions about buying illegal drugs or similar stuff? This is justly illegal and already giving Bitcoin a bit of a bad name. I think it's a very bad idea to help people to abuse Bitcoin in ways like this.


4 Answers 4


I think you guys are looking too hard at the legal angle. Hell, Amazon sells a book called "Practical LSD Manufacture". StackExchange is unlikely to get a call from the US government unless it links to Silk Road directly.

The more important angle is the cultural one: the kind of content you have on your site affects who you attract and what kinds of questions get asked. I think that the Silk Road questions should be removed, because it's likely to attract bad contributors and content.

  • I was not really worried about StackExchange being seen as illegal. I am worried about that we just shouldn't help people doing crimes. Especially now that these crimes are already giving Bitcoin a bit of a bad name. Glad to see I'm not the only one thinking we shouldn't allow these questions.
    – jobukkit
    Jul 13, 2013 at 8:15
  • Well said, this is about culture. The grandstanding in most of the responses is stupid: this is a Q/A site about the underlying tech, not on particular product or use-case. Tor goes out of it's way to only talk about the positive side of Tor because the bad image can ruin the positive image quickly!
    – Indolering
    Sep 25, 2013 at 5:32

I'm not a lawyer. I'm not your lawyer. I'm not StackExchange's lawyer. That said, so long as there is even one legitimate product that someone could feasibly purchase without violating state or federal law anywhere on the entirety of Silk Road (which there is) then it's possible for someone to be asking a perfectly legitimate question with no legal implications. Unlikely, sure, but possible. This limits our liability and should always be the guideline when deciding if a question or topic should be closed/banned.

Similarly, recall that while Bitcoin is a massive multi-national distributed network, StackExchange is not. Their servers, offices and staff are located in New York and this modifies a number of legalities. See this question about growing marijuana over on gardening.SE, for example.

Given the precedent set by other sites I would say that Silk Road questions would be both allowable as long as they do not contain explicit references to illegal activity (i.e. "How much BTC should an ounce of heroin cost"). If you would consider the question on-topic if it were about, say, BitcoinStore or Blockchain.info then it should be on-topic for Silk Road as well.

Of course this could be tainted by my own personal viewpoints on the subject, so feel free to vote your conscience.

  • Can you give me an example of a legimate product on Silk Road?
    – jobukkit
    Aug 14, 2013 at 20:51
  • Legitimate regarding which jurisdiction? I think the point of David is, that it is very likely that there exists a product on Silk Road which can be perfectly legal acquired in at least one of the hundreds jurisdictions of the world.
    – Flow
    Sep 1, 2013 at 9:23

OP is asking about a typical bitcoin withdrawal process that is nearly identical on most bitcoin related sites. I fail to see why this shouldn't get handled here.

Also keep in mind that your jurisdiction may not be the same as the on of somebody else: What could be illegal (e.g. to buy, posses) in your jurisdiction may be legal in another.

  • 1
    "What could be illegal (e.g. to buy, posses) in your jurisdiction may be legal in another." Also, people should be protected against theirselves; consuming drugs is extremely unhealthy, illegal or not.
    – jobukkit
    Jul 19, 2013 at 10:39
  • 3
    "Yeah, well, that's just, like, your opinion, man."
    – Flow
    Jul 19, 2013 at 10:41

This Q&A site should not (and can't) be judge of what are the good uses or bad uses of money (and this goes far beyond the matter of buying drugs).

It should however comply with common restrictions that apply when publishing content on the internet.

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