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I've heard in casual speak some people say "Oh, that's too useful, no wonder they don't want that out there!" or something similar along those lines (several unrelated people in independent events). For example, in reference to homebrew/unofficial documentation about a piece of software.

What does this saying really mean? How did it come to be?

It seems counter intuitive and/or Yogi Berra-esque.

This may be a US-only thing and/or may be just a technology thing.

closed as off-topic by FumbleFingers, NVZ, Scott, jimm101, user66974 Oct 28 '16 at 11:20

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    It is used ironically: This is good (useful). They don't want good things to be out there (e.g. known about). So it is no wonder that they don't advertise this. – Drew Oct 27 '16 at 14:29
  • I picked up on the irony, and brushed off the first person saying it. However, it's happened multiple times. Maybe it's kind of like a back handed compliment? – YetAnotherRandomUser Oct 27 '16 at 14:31
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's about conspiracy theorist culture, not the use of English – FumbleFingers Oct 27 '16 at 14:36
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    I think you mean Yogi Berra---or were you referring to the the cartoon character Yogi Bear? – David Handelman Oct 28 '16 at 2:40
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    Compare to the expression "too obvious". The meaning is that something is so obvious that it's overlooked. "Too useful" has something of the same sense, though it's often used, eg, to describe something that a big corporation overlooks (either intentionally or through incompetence). – Hot Licks Oct 28 '16 at 2:54
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Drew's comment points in the general direction, and your response is also apt, so I'll use that context for the following example.

In code/IT, as well as other technical pursuits, it can be the case that the people who develop or sell some item (let's call them ABC) also service (or support) that item. For various reasons, ABC may not want end users (also endusers in US) to actually try to service the item themselves. (Reasons may include

  • ABC wants to be paid to service the item.
  • ABC fears getting sued by end users who injure themselves attempting to service the item.

and may be multiply applicable.) If so, ABC will not want information that could assist (or be useful for) some enduser to reach them. More generally, when person P says that something is "too useful," typically

  1. that something is information
  2. P means that the information would actually be useful to some person/group Q to perform some activity A
  3. P means that some person/group R does not anyone else (at least, not Q) to perform A, and therefore does not want that information to reach Q
  4. P might more exactly/tediously say that "R fears that information would allow Q to do A," but as noted above, persons who use "too useful" typically intend to be droll.
  • Idk why you got negs. Pretty sure this is spot on and at least part of what's going on. – YetAnotherRandomUser Oct 28 '16 at 10:53
  • +1 for your answer. Well, probably you can add some external sources to back up your claim. And just a trivia, I thought you write 'endusers' wrongly (I read it 'endorsers' initially, but it's not) - end-users probably or end users to make it more readable a bit. – Flonne Jul 6 '18 at 9:53

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