Gray Area (Restricted) Topics - When to help and when not to

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by elec_mech, Aug 17, 2011.

  1. elec_mech

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Nov 12, 2008

    Okay, I am relatively new, have received a bunch of help from many of you and like to give back when I can. There is currently a person asking for help designing a telephone device that decodes digits pressed on the other end of the line.

    ErnieM mentioned this would make an excellent IED trigger, which never crossed my mind, and asked the moderators to step in. I don't want to get booted off for helping someone on a prohibited topic nor do I want to inadvertedly help someone make a bomb, trigger or otherwise.

    Looking at the restricted topics list:

    I see no mention of telephone devices or remote controls, so I assume I haven't unwittingly crossed a line, on forum policy anyway, by offering help. My question is when do you not help for fear someone may be asking for assistance to do something illegal, especially when it did not appear to be for malicious intent?

    Naturally, almost anything here could be asked innocently enough and used for nefarious purposes (timer circuits as an example), but where do you draw the line?
  2. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
    Hey elec mech,

    mech I don't think you have anything to worry about in answering that thread. My 2 cents, I'm just a poster here.

    I truly hope I didn't pull the trigger too soon on that other thread, I did message the mods. While I have no opinion as to the OP's intention (so I assume them to be honorable) this is an international arena, and I just don't want to become an inadvertent al qaida training site.

    Cell phones have been used in the past as trigger devices so I may be over reacting, and trust me I hate any form of censorship. This is one of those special cases where the needs of the many outweigh the rights of the few.

    It only took 20 idiots armed with box cutters to cause 9/11. We can't stop everything. It's just some things don't need to become common knowedge.
  3. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
    For what it's worth, it's my opinion that some take it too far. I haven't seen the post you're alluding to, but I have witnessed the same thing here. Sure a cell phone could be used to trigger a bomb. it could also be used to open a cattle gate. there are infinite ways to trigger a bomb; you would do it with a LDR circuit or have it respond to music. or a timer. Someone determined to blow something/someone up is not going to give up just because you wouldn't show them how to use a cell phone to do it. if you don't want to help someone because you suspect foul play, then good on you. But, I sure hope it doesn't become part of the TOS.
  4. Wendy


    Mar 24, 2008
    Amen to that. We have been getting some very cryptic messages lately from new users that I have flagged. I'm not going to worry about phone decoders, because that is pretty easy. The cryptic messages bother me because you simply can't tell what the motives are.
  5. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
    I'd hate to see a forum ban on remote control devices, it's such a popular and useful field. And re that DTMF thread, DTMF home controllers are very popular and accepted and there are a lot of kits and commercial products already available.

    And really, if someone was a terrorist etc why would they use DTMF on a landline? Surely they'd just get a cellphone and attach a couple wires to it's vibrator motor or something?? And it's most unlikely they would be drawing attention to themselves on a public forum first before doing their evil deeds.

    And where would it end? You'd have to ban every remote project, every RF project, any light beam projects, wired comms projects or timer projects etc. That's 3/4 of the forum gone.
  6. elec_mech

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Nov 12, 2008
    Thanks all.

    ErnieM, I understand where you're coming from and the fact that the OP of the post in question seems very short with wanting the perfect answer and already knows how to do other things like have the other line pick up does make me wonder. Not that someone wanting an immediate or complete answer with no effort on their part is new here . . .

    Wayneh responded to said post with this:

    I think that is the best we can do, ask why and decide from there. Not to say someone won't lie, but at least this gives us something to try to check instead of offering full blind support or complete denial of help because of suspicion.

    Any other thoughts are welcome. Thanks guys.

    Post in question if anyone is curious:
  7. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
    That specific thread I believe to be safe. After all the OP seemed to be interested in utilizing all the number instead of just one. How many options would you need on an IED?