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Community just deleted this harmless answer. Has it gone all Skynet on us?

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@Brandon - thanks. The title on its user page must've confused me when entering the title. – Richard Szalay Jul 28 '11 at 17:51
This is the second time we've had this problem this morning. – Robert Harvey Jul 28 '11 at 17:52
Ah ... This explains why I got a message from a moderator and 800 reputation points subtracted earlier today. I am a bit annoyed about that really! Replied to the moderator but nothing back yet, but was only five hours ago. The way I see it is, I am a prolific blogger, posting technical blogs once a week. It is not surprising that I reference solutions I have blogged about reasonably frequently. I have not had a single complaint about it before, so feel this is all a bit harsh! – ColinE Jul 28 '11 at 18:52
@ColinE: Are you affiliated with Visiblox, or just a fan? – Robert Harvey Jul 28 '11 at 19:02
Visiblox is a sister company to the one I work for, so there is a link. However, I have blogged about other charting products, and the blog post I referenced on that answer was praised by David Anson of Microsoft who wrote their Silverlight charts for being an honest comparison. In future I will mention this affiliation. However considering my numerous posts that are not at all related to this topic, I still feel moderator action without warning is a bit harsh. – ColinE Jul 28 '11 at 19:29
@ColinE: It wasn't moderator action; it was the community flagging your answers as spam. When any given post receives six spam flags, it is automatically deleted, and a 100 rep penalty is assessed. The original moderator message you received was just a warning message. – Robert Harvey Jul 28 '11 at 19:32
Ah .. Thanks for explaining that. I will ensure that in any future answers that I add a footnote about any affiliation. – ColinE Jul 28 '11 at 19:50

The answer seems reasonable to me, and it complies with How can I link to an external resource in a community-friendly way?. In addition, it has upvotes and is the accepted answer.

I cleared the spam flags on it.

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Thanks. If anyone needs me, I'll be in my bomb shelter until this whole thing blows over. – Richard Szalay Jul 28 '11 at 17:53
I did another one of his earlier today. Not sure why people were flagging him so aggressively. – mmyers Jul 28 '11 at 18:00
@mmyers: I suspect some people are still confused about what the word "spam" actually means. – Robert Harvey Jul 28 '11 at 18:02
This sort of thing is why I put a big public service announcement about misusing spam flags at the top of my spam-hunting post the other day. For the record, I went through all the URL-spam queries resulting from that, and I couldn't find this user in any of them. So I don't know where this is coming from. – McCannot Jul 28 '11 at 18:03
It only takes one spam flag to get visibility in the flags queue. It's like a scarlet letter. After that, users just hammer the post mercilessly. – Robert Harvey Jul 28 '11 at 18:06
True. I guess it probably happened multiple times because of someone going to his profile to find other posts to flag. Sigh. Seems kind of abusive of the flagging system to me, but what can you do. – McCannot Jul 28 '11 at 18:12
I would be aggressive back - all those who flagged valid post as spam will not be able to flag any more posts (at least as Spam) for 24 hours. Or maybe even harder hit - instant reduction of 10% in their flag weight. – Shadow Wizard Jul 28 '11 at 18:28
the guy does mention his blog in a few of his recent answers, but seems relevant – Spooks Jul 28 '11 at 18:58
to be fair, (and I've just upvoted the post so this is only a minor nit to me) it doesn't identify the author of the blog. While it's true that "colin" is in the middle of the URL, I would prefer to change "See the worked example here" to "I blogged a worked example here". That said, there's no way this is spam. – Kate Gregory Jul 28 '11 at 19:13
If it were something, it would be self-promotion; it would be spam, if the link was for something not even far related with the question. – kiamlaluno Jul 28 '11 at 19:59
Thanks Kate, I will make it more clear when I reference my own work in future. – ColinE Jul 28 '11 at 19:59
Robert, just to play devil's advocate here: what part of "you must disclose your affiliation in your answers" does this follow? If many of your posts reference your blog, and nowhere is it mentioned that it's your blog, well, that sounds precisely like what the self-promotion policy is out to stop. Doubly so when the same user adds specific tags to the question to make it better fit his answer. Triply so when the OP asks a question in a comment and is just told "go read the article." – Dori Jul 29 '11 at 8:37
stackoverflow is a site that should be used in conjunction with other sources of research. I gave a detailed answer and referenced an article where they could get more details. If they ask a further question that indicates they have not read the article I felt it entirely appropriate that I simply tell them to go and do a bit of homework! Regarding adding tags to fit my answer, that is nothing but coincidence, you really are trying to find problems with my activities aren't you? Why not look at my hundreds of other answers to give you a bit more balance in your judgment of my motives? – ColinE Jul 29 '11 at 8:56
@dori just out of interest, what tags did I add? I can't see a way of looking at the edit history! – ColinE Jul 29 '11 at 9:41
@Dori: In retrospect, I think my undeleting the community-deleted answers was a mistake. Because the answers were upvoted (some of them were even accepted answers), I believed the community saw value in them. But the cross-voting by the other Visiblox posters has cast that into doubt. – Robert Harvey Jul 29 '11 at 15:01

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