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I would consider answers that are just shameless self-promotion "spam" but here's an example that I think is a little tougher.

This user has posted basically the same answer for several questions. While the questions are related to what said user is promoting, I don't see much value in the answers.

I guess I consider all of this user's answers "light" spam (related, but don't add any value).

Should I start flagging?

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closed as too localized by ɹǝʞɐʇıɥʍ ʍǝɹpuɐ, kiamlaluno, BalusC, Diago, ChrisF Nov 20 '11 at 18:49

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Well, that was quick. Someone just destroyed that user, which I guess answers your question. –  lunboks Nov 20 '11 at 14:09
    
@lunboks: Right... I guess this question can be closed since the link doesn't work anymore :) –  ɹǝʞɐʇıɥʍ ʍǝɹpuɐ Nov 20 '11 at 14:21
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While the user account the question is referring has been blocked, I think the question is still valid, independently from the user that writes such posts. –  kiamlaluno Nov 20 '11 at 14:38
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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Writing the same answer to different questions is not welcome on Stack Exchange sites. The FAQ, then, clearly states:

May I promote products or websites I am affiliated with here?

Be careful, because the community frowns on overt self-promotion and tends to vote it down and flag it as spam. Post good, relevant answers, and if some (but not all) happen to be about your product or website, so be it. However, you must disclose your affiliation in your answers.

If a huge percentage of your posts include a mention of your product or website, you're probably here for the wrong reasons. Our advertising rates are quite reasonable; contact our ad sales team for details. We also offer free community promotion ads for open source projects and non-profit organizations.

While the FAQ is referring to products the OP is affiliated to, I think that repeating the same answer to make a reference to the same product/website is considered promotion.

I would flag those posts, when I see them.

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Good point, I should have checked the FAQ. –  ɹǝʞɐʇıɥʍ ʍǝɹpuɐ Nov 20 '11 at 14:35
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Ultimately, you can't really know for sure whether it's self-promotion or an avid user, unless they admit it somehow. Most of the time, it's a judgment call. Personally, what I look for is:

  • Does the user's activity largely, or solely consist of posting that link? (Which seems to have been the case here.)
  • Would someone stand to gain from the spam? Is it a paid product, does it have advertisements on its site, or bundled with the product?
  • Is the site in question listed as the user's website in their profile?

The last one is usually a dead giveaway, though spammers often just can't resist.

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Hm, to your last one, its generally considered good form to mention affiliations in your profile when posting non-spam links. That is, the same answer (Product X may help for this, it handles A, B and C and there's a free version, learn more at link) may be considered non-spam if the post and profile reveal the association but spam if they don't. So seeing you say having the link in your profile makes it spam concerns me a little. The other two bullets are right on. –  Kate Gregory Nov 20 '11 at 16:34
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