I have noticed several questions about DNS or hosting that would benefit from the asker including the affected domain name. At the same time, I saw one comment that people might not want an SF question to show up in a Google search for their domain name.

It would be great if people were provided with a way to easily obfuscate (and reveal) this information, so that it would be accessible by readers of the question, but not indexed by search engines. Something like ROT13 should be sufficient, although it might not play well with internationalized domain names.

This has already been done on other sites. For example, geocaching.com provides additional hints for caches with ROT13 applied so that you don't accidentally read hints you might not want to know.

My preference would be to implement this in the formatting syntax, using a notation similar to the other block styles. For example:

? My domain name is contoso.com.
  • Interesting point... A lot of reasons why you might not want to have searches for your domain returning a Q&A site!
    – Rob Moir
    Feb 13, 2011 at 8:57

1 Answer 1


I quite like this idea but feel it would be better if the obfuscation (what was the person smoking when that word was invented?) was handled by the parser automatically, rather than needing separate markup. Same for anything that looks like an email address.

  • +1 How about something special to not obfuscate the domain/email/IP. For instance prefix it with a "?" or similar. Also ignore example.com, the internal IP ranges, etc.
    – Chris S
    Feb 16, 2011 at 2:06
  • @Chris, There's no need for the obfuscation to be obvious or the actual URLs to be modified. It's quite simple to obfuscate any text so that it won't get indexed (or harvested) but still look "normal" to humans. For an example have a look at my web page and then look at the source. Feb 16, 2011 at 2:26
  • I think that would work perfectly. I'd still include some character to 'not obfuscate' it in the source code. It might also be nice if it caught strings that match (\w{5}-){4}\w{5} and changed a few random characters (or warned the user, or something...).
    – Chris S
    Feb 16, 2011 at 13:39

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