Not everyone using this site would recognise this command as extremely destructive, and a small but non-zero percentage of those people will probably run it just to see, under the assumption that the community is not out to sabotage them. This example is easy for an experienced *nix user to understand, but people will be posting more convoluted commands, whether as trolls or innocently. Next time might be a simple virus piped to Bash or a command to send your ~/.ssh/id_rsa or browser history to a chat channel, who knows.

I have added a comment to the question, but I feel like the command should instead be rendered harmless by replacing rm with echo and explaining why in the question itself, with a warning to not try this at home.

  • three comments, one in bold, and you own edition of OP gave warning. looks more than enough for me.
    – Archemar
    Sep 4, 2015 at 13:18
  • @jasonwryan The Darwin awards are funny, but to base community guidelines on survival of the fittest sounds like the worst features of Usenet - elitism and bullying.
    – l0b0
    Sep 5, 2015 at 11:19
  • 2
    @l0b0 Dude: lighten up, it was (semi-) humorous... As others have pointed out, the question contains sufficient caution; anyone ignoring it qualifies for ridicule.
    – jasonwryan
    Sep 5, 2015 at 20:52

1 Answer 1


Replacing rm with echo would change what the command does and invalidate existing answers. If people are seriously copying any command they don't understand on the internet and pasting it into a shell to see what happens, they probably aren't going to last very long. Particularly if the command says "Do not run this command! It will break your installation" right above it


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .