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For several days I see users include the URL of their site in one or more of their questions.

Sometimes it's necessary to ask how to fix something on their site (although a screenshot would be enough).

But often the site adds nothing to the question itself, and is only a pretext to indirectly advertise their site.

  • Do you think this practice affects the quality of questions?
  • Can it be a cause for downvote?
  • If the user refuses to remove the URL of the site, should flag the question?
  • If the user continues to give the URL of the site to other questions, what to do?
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Somewhat related: Questions linking to external web sites instead of showing code –  Pëkka Nov 27 '11 at 19:07
1  
Possibly related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/86717/… –  Jason Plank Nov 27 '11 at 22:51
    
In terms of answers, possibly related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/94022/… –  Jason Plank Nov 28 '11 at 12:07

2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted
  • Do you think this practice affects the quality of questions?

It could, and in the blatant cases of self promotions, it certainly does.

  • Can it be a cause for downvote?

Most certainly. When people don't fully disclose that the site is theirs and are found out... the community tends to downvote and/or flag as spam. And of course, if the post is just an irrelevant link or the link has nothing to do with the answer the answer will tend to get downvoted (and commented upon) regardless.

  • If the user refuses to remove the URL of the site, should flag the question?

You can and should flag it if you think it is spam. You can also edit the post and remove the link if you believe it is not relevant.

  • If the user continues to give the URL of the site to other questions, what to do?

Keep flagging, but not as spam - flag for moderator attention and explain that this is a serial offender.

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Usually if it's just a link attached to the end (such as a signature), I just edit it out and attach a "Removed signature" message for the reason. –  animuson Nov 27 '11 at 20:04

On Security Stack Exchange, where I am a mod:

if it is appropriate, the association is declared, and only on those occasions where it helps the answer, I don't have a problem.

If it is the core content of an answer or gratuitous self promotion the community rapidly flags as spam and we burninate it. If the user has other questions/answers of value we will give a strong warning, otherwise deletion of account if unregistered, or suspension if registered.

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