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Limits for self-promotion in answers

Currently, I have a few answers that link to my blog posts. I do this because the answers and concepts are pretty long-winded. Recently a moderator deleted the answers I did this with.

  1. I didn't know a short sentence or two and a blog link was against the rules
  2. My answers were silently deleted without warning
  3. Seems really g0ddam lazy that you can't just send me an email that says "We noticed your answers were short and linked to an external site, please correct this or the answer in question will be deleted in 3 days"

There, now you don't have to have a wrecked a$$ moderation flow that pisses people off that are just trying to help people by answering their questions. You like the idea?

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marked as duplicate by Al E., Shog9 Nov 18 '11 at 3:47

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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If you're looking to get a positive reaction here, swearing is probably not going to help. –  Nightfirecat Nov 18 '11 at 2:25
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Since these answers were so short, how about giving us a link to one of the questions, then "write the answer" here for us to see what you're talking about? Because right now, I'm thinking this may be a RTFAQ problem, but maybe you can prove me wrong. –  John Saunders Nov 18 '11 at 2:27
    
Look at my answer on programmatically converting named CSS colors to hex using the browser's computed styles, that is a great example. I resurrected that question because the answer was terrible, and got 2x the up votes on the new answer as the chosen answer had. –  csuwldcat Nov 18 '11 at 7:43
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Its seems pretty gd lazy that you can't stop a minute and check whether or not posting crappy answers pimping your website might be considered not acceptable. Also, moderators here are volunteers and we handle over a thousand flags a day. We don't have the time to hand hold you. We expect "professionals and enthusiasts" to care a bit more than your average internet user; that includes knowing what is and is not considered unacceptable practically everywhere on the internets--spam. –  Won't Nov 18 '11 at 13:20
    
I wasn't trying to spam, the answer posted was true, correct, and far better. than the others in this circumstance. This is about not enough content on the site and using a link to answer people's question, not spam. I am willing to add more of the content from the blog to it, I have yet to see someone tell me that if I do, they'll reactivate my answers. –  csuwldcat Nov 18 '11 at 15:15
    
Bill says to flag answers that have been improved -- the examples I've seen so far are significant improvements. Thank you. –  sarnold Nov 18 '11 at 23:36

5 Answers 5

Here's one of the questions, and your answer:

This should do everything you need, no crazy, constant JavaScript computation required, enjoy: http://www.backalleycoder.com/2011/11/16/best-damn-modal-method-period%E2%84%A2/

The problem is that you posted the exact same link to your blog seven times in five minutes. That raised several automatic flags and struck me as kind of spammy. When I looked at your account history I saw that the majority of your posts were to promote your blog. I deleted the posts and notified you immediately of our policies. You replied back several times, so I'm not sure where your shock and surprise are coming from.

The content on your blog is fine, as near as I can tell, so as I already explained in private, you just need to provide a complete answer to each question with a link for reference.

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+1 - I applaud you for trying to educate him after he has been on what is blatantly a rep fishing expedition. –  slugster Nov 18 '11 at 3:35
    
Yeah Bill, but instead of letting me go and paste the huge answers from my blog you just deleted them. And don't lie, you never said anything about deleting them buddy. –  csuwldcat Nov 18 '11 at 7:36
    
Another falsehood is your claim that the majority of my answers were to promote my blog. I used short answers on a few, when the blog post was huge (again, didn't know that was bad) but added more content where I thought I could answer it without writing a book in the textarea. –  csuwldcat Nov 18 '11 at 8:00
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@csuwldcat 13 of your 19 "answers" were only there to promote your blog. I'm not the one trying to mislead people here. –  Bill the Lizard Nov 18 '11 at 11:37
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"And nothing of value was lost" –  Won't Nov 18 '11 at 13:21
    
So why can't/couldn't I have the opportunity to just paste in more to those answers. If you all want the firehose on these so to speak, then that is fine. As I have said ad nauseum, I just didn't want to write a novella in the textarea (if you saw the size of that blog post, you'd understand my apprehension). Please let me correct the instances and reactivate my answers, in many past instance, my answer was the most highly voted one. –  csuwldcat Nov 18 '11 at 14:19
    
I have updated this answer with content from my blog Bill, please correct this deleted state, as it is the best answer on the thread: stackoverflow.com/questions/1573053/… –  csuwldcat Nov 18 '11 at 15:40
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@csuwldcat Much better! Flag any others that you update for moderator attention and any of us can undelete them. –  Bill the Lizard Nov 18 '11 at 16:52
    
@BilltheLizard - I have converted a few more answers, but I used the same answer for each, as there was no clear method for marking these as duplicates in the UI controls: - stackoverflow.com/questions/7645372/formula-to-center-a-modal - stackoverflow.com/questions/5877010/… - stackoverflow.com/questions/3235397/… - stackoverflow.com/questions/569149/… –  csuwldcat Dec 10 '11 at 22:38

If you're linking to blog posts you wrote, then how are you answering the specific question? It's like asking "What is x in the equation 3x+6 = 9?", and instead of answering "1" and why the answer is 1, you're handing them a book on algebra and saying "Go read all of that". That's not exactly a helpful answer.

Seems really g0ddam lazy that you can't just send me an email that says "We noticed your answers were short and linked to an external site, please correct this or the answer in question will be deleted in 3 days"

Do you know how much crap the mods have to deal with every single day? They're volunteers, and they already spend hours moderating the site each day; they don't have to email you, because if they emailed everyone, they wouldn't have any time left for themselves as well.

What would be the benefit, in any case, completely editing your own answer instead of you writing a new answer? It's still the same amount of work.

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"Do you know how much crap the mods have to deal with every single day?" -- ftw –  Adam Rackis Nov 18 '11 at 2:30
    
The example you gave is intentionally simplistic and that wasn't the case. Did anyone here actually read the question type and look at my blog answer? The blog post covers a lot, a ton! I'm sorry I didn't just blast 2000 words in the answer, I thought I was doing the right thing. –  csuwldcat Nov 18 '11 at 7:34

I had a scan through the answers that were deleted. They were mostly nothing more than a boilerplate copy and paste response (or a slight variation) comprised of:

This should do everything you need, no crazy, constant JavaScript computation required, enjoy: http://www.backalleycoder.com/2011/11/16/best-damn-modal-method-period%E2%84%A2/

These answers aren't helpful because:

  • There is no attempt to answer the specifics of the OP's question
  • The large volume of these answers in such a short time (eleven in twentyfour hours) caused a a fair number of flags to be raised by the community
  • We discourage link only answers; links can rot and when that happens your answer provides no clue or signpost as to what the solution was.
  • Quite a few of the questions you "answered" were old and already had accepted answers; your copy and paste posts didn't add any value.

There's nothing wrong with linking to your own blog posts as part of an answer, however the links need context, yours had none.

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Please reactivate this answer for me, I have pasted in a significant chunk from my blog to add more content: stackoverflow.com/questions/1573053/… –  csuwldcat Nov 18 '11 at 16:00
    
Regarding why I answered old questions with already accepted answers, here is a great example, the other answers were basically cop-outs: stackoverflow.com/questions/2635814/… There are often way better answers, in the example above the solution chosen is a terrible "pound it with a loop until you detect X changes state", the answer I submitted is actually event based and is far superior. I wanted them to know there was a better way than a moronic loop. –  csuwldcat Nov 18 '11 at 16:02
    
Now that this is resolved, I would like to point out to you Kev that your statement about "There is no attempt to answer the specifics of the OP's question" was completely wrong. I may have posted links, but they were always directly addressing the OP's question. I have no idea why you think otherwise, but I'd love an example. (other than the single joking one about jQuery, but everyone was joking on that thread) –  csuwldcat Nov 30 '11 at 17:16
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@csuwldcat - you seem to be missing the point. If, for whatever unfortunate reason, you were unable to keep running your blog i.e. the link goes dead, exactly which part of the original answer helps anyone? There is nothing to explain what was there. All we have is "This should do everything you need, no crazy, constant JavaScript computation required, enjoy:" and a dead link. –  Kev Nov 30 '11 at 17:23

Its not always the mods who close your answers, its also users. On the other hand, if you read the appropriate part of the FAQ, you might notice that ...

Answers that do not fundamentally answer the question may be removed. This includes answers that are … .... barely more than a link to an external site

It seems really lazy that you didn't read the FAQ, and unlike the mods, there's only one faq to read, as opposed to hundreds of questions.

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This reminds me of a SouthPark about the Apple terms of service. Yeah FAQs totally. Anyway, I never knew to do this because I see it done all the time. One sentence answers, links offsite, etc. Using the site and seeing exactly this sort of thing is why I thought it was kosher. Thanks for deleting and asking questions later though, no opportunity to fix things really is a great policy. –  csuwldcat Nov 18 '11 at 7:40
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@csuwldcat: "But officer, I've seen other people speeding down the highway just today! Why do I get the ticket?" "Because I caught you." If you see crappy answers that consist of nothing but linkwhorage, please flag them so they may also be deleted. –  Won't Nov 18 '11 at 13:26
    
The problem is that I had seen it done, and got value from others posts who just linked to great content in the past, so I didn't know that was a no-no. I'd be happy to correct my answers if you all would reactivate them, but I'm not going to invest the time if it does nothing to change their presently deleted state. –  csuwldcat Nov 18 '11 at 15:18

We (users and mods alike) vote to delete dozens of questions and answers each day that don't meet our idea of quality questions or answers.

Since you appear to do this often enough to complain about them being deleted, I'm really surprised you haven't yet seen my auto-comment-contraption asking you to incorporate actual useful content into your answers. Here it is, just to save the hassle of trying to find one:

While your article may in fact answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference. Stack Overflow is only as useful as its questions and answers, and if your blog host goes down or your URLs get moved around, this answer becomes useless. Thanks!

I assume everyone means well enough and might just be familiar with "web forums" -- the soul-sucking uselessness that tends to thrive in usual "web forums" is typically thrilled to have a link, even if it goes stale in a month or two, even if it goes to some cargo cult posting that completely misses the point.

Stack Overflow is here to be better than that. All our content is subjected to voting so mindless cruft can be removed, wrong answers filter to the bottom of the pile, and clarity and correctness are rewarded.

Answers with just a link are hard to rebut and impossible to improve upon.

You would benefit from giving better answers, too. I have no incentive to read your blog postings if all I have is a link. If I can see some amount of care, effort, and thought, put into your answers here, maybe I'd go read your blog to learn more pearls of wisdom.

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"I have no incentive to read your blog post if all I have is a link" - Gosh how does Twitter accomplish just that? I have gotten tons of value from tweets that post solutions to dev issues, just saying. –  csuwldcat Nov 18 '11 at 15:21
    
Funny thing, I ask myself that very same question every time I hear "news" outlets covering Twitter as if it is the zenith of human achievement in a desperate attempt to stay vaguely relevant amidst oceans of mediocrity. –  sarnold Nov 18 '11 at 23:31
    
Twitter is not a solution for all things by any means, but I do see a lot of devs using Twitter to ask a dev question with a code-related hash tag attached, seems to work for them most of the time. I guess not including content on Stack means things could technically disappear. In that case, Stack should offer a UI that does some simple DOM scraping from links you include, thus allowing you to easily import blocks of content from external resources. –  csuwldcat Nov 30 '11 at 17:12

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