My question here Hiding emails from Google was closed as not constructive.

I am not sure that I understand why the question isn't constructive. I was trying to ask of the best simple way to hide emails specifically on Gmail from the automated scanners.

I don't understand why this question "is not a good fit for our Q&A format". Doesn't the question have an answer?

It sounded like people thought that I want to hide the emails from other people, but I just want to hide the emails from the automated scanners.

Also, it sounds like poeple are interested in the reason for asking, but can't I just ask the question as is?

Are questions only allowed if one specifies why one is asking?

I had hoped that someone with a bit of knowledge into these automated scanners might be able to tell me that for example a ROT13 substitution would hide the content. Or maybe the scanners actually can see though such a simple "encryption".

1 Answer 1


As I stated in my comment there:

If you dont want to see ads from Google, don't use Google's free email service. This is a free service, funded by ads, not by the goodness of Google's hearts. The "scanning" that Google does is for the sole purpose of serving you ads. That is the price for using this free service.

In other words, your question, as you posed it, does not make any real sense. (You use a free service, in exchange for agreeing to receive targeted ads. Your emails are "scanned" for the sole purpose of targeting these ads, and preventing this has no apparent security purpose.) You explicitly state that you are not interested in real encryption, and that you don't care if a Google employee manually accesses your email... Those would be legitimate security requirements.

Perhaps if you explained your purpose, if it is not apparent, it would make more sense.
More likely, you are a victim of FUD - and are needlessly worried about this "scanning" you believe Google does to victimize it's free users.

  • So just to make sure that I understand: you are saying that my question isn't good because I haven't explained my purpose? If that is the case, then fair enough. I wasn't aware that one has to give a purpose or reason behind asking a question. I just thought that asking about how one can hide emails from automated scanners was fine in itself without having to explain why I would want to do that.
    – Thomas
    Mar 17, 2013 at 17:52
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    Thomas, in this case it would help if you could explain a purpose. While this might not be necessary in most cases, in this case your request is explicitly not a security requirement, nor does it seem to have any constructive purpose. If you do have a constructive purpose, or if your requirements are security-related, please, I enjoy being shown when I'm wrong - that's why we asked for an explanation. :-)
    – AviD Mod
    Mar 17, 2013 at 18:04
  • Again, to clarify, this "automated scanner" only works to target ads. It is not like the contents of the emails are leaked elsewhere.
    – AviD Mod
    Mar 17, 2013 at 18:05
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    There's also an issue around the whole "I want to do <X> but I don't want to use <thing that is almost always used to do <X>" type of question - it usually means you're approaching the whole problem from the wrong direction. We suggested PGP, which a) solves the problem and b) provides additional security, but you rejected that answer. The problem there is that encryption is the answer, so rejecting it amounts to asking a question and ignoring the advice given. Questions like that almost always descend into arguments, and are therefore not constructive.
    – Polynomial
    Mar 17, 2013 at 18:11
  • @AviD : Ok, I accept that the question doesn't fit with this site. I just thought that someone might know if the scanners might not be able to read things "encrypted" with for example ROT13.
    – Thomas
    Mar 17, 2013 at 18:16

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