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A few days ago I made two posts re. various problems my users were having installing beta apps from a particular service asking for help or suggestions. I did not receive any answers. After a couple of days, I tried another service which worked fine for all my testers. I posted these results as answers to my own questions.

Today I see that both questions mentioning the two services have been deleted. Did I violate a stackoverflow guideline? Seems useful to pass this kind of information along. I have NO affiliation in any way with either service.

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Link please? :) –  George Stocker Jun 21 '12 at 0:21
    
    
    
I found them after some searching. Mobile browsing takes a while to get used to. –  George Stocker Jun 21 '12 at 0:30
    
@GeorgeStocker remember you can now use the deleted:1 search term on SO as a mod –  Ben Brocka Jun 21 '12 at 0:37
    
@GeorgeStocker or click through his user name to his meta profile, then click on network profile then accounts to see his account on the main site, and you'll see his activity there –  Joel Spolsky Jun 21 '12 at 0:56

3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Now that the questions are undeleted, there are some red flags, two identical very short self answers that point to a third party service smell a lot like spam. Which explains the speedy deletion, as Joel already mentioned questions are normally closed and not deleted, but spam is an obvious exception.

However I don't feel your answers are actually spam, and I'd suggest:

  1. Editing both your questions to let us know that you've tried the service's forum to no avail,
  2. Editing both answers to tell us how you know it's a bug in Testflight,
  3. Editing one or both answers to point to the other, letting us know it's the same bug that's causing the issue.

We can't know what the moderator thoughts were when he saw your questions, however I can certainly say that if I saw them on Programmers where I'm a moderator my first thought would be that there's something fishy going on.

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MonkeyBusiness, to summarize what Yannis is saying here, when you answer your own question with a link, make sure you add lots of details to support the answer. Spammers don't usually put thought into their work, while real people solving real problems do. The moderators go through hundreds of flags per day, and this did look a lot like spam, especially when you start seeing double from looking at too many flags. I can definitely understand why the mistake was made here. Good luck ;) –  jmort253 Jun 21 '12 at 2:01
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Thanks for the advice. I added a clarifying answer to the first question and a pointer back to it from the second question, as suggested. –  MonkeyBusiness Jun 21 '12 at 18:32

A moderator closed and deleted your questions. As written, they appeared to be very localized to users of that specific software at a specific version. Those questions looked like they'd be a better fit for the company's software support forum than they would Stack Overflow. This is my opinion, but I would have closed and deleted them or the reasons I gave above.

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I posted requests for help on the service's support forum as well as sent several emails to them with no real response. I turned to stackoverflow in the hope someone might be able to help. I did not want to switch services unless there was no alternative. –  MonkeyBusiness Jun 21 '12 at 0:33
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@MonkeyBusiness: Yeah, see that's what we don't want to become... A customer support proxy for all these companies that have crappy customer support because they're too cheap to hire enough people. That said, we do appreciate you taking the time to post an actual solution to the problem. –  Robert Harvey Jun 21 '12 at 1:42

The moderator erred in deleting the post. Normally posts are closed, not deleted, so that everyone can still see the explanation of why it was closed (and people have a chance to edit it into better condition).

In these cases I can see why the moderator might have thought it was too localized, but I disagree and can imagine someone else having the same problem. Therefore I have reopened the posts.

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I have a weird feeling this is actually Jeff trolling with Joel's account... –  Yannis Jun 21 '12 at 1:01
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I'd imagine these were initially flagged because both the answers are exactly the same. –  animuson Jun 21 '12 at 1:07
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@animuson Yes, you are correct. It was the system (aka Community ♦) that initially raised a flag. It looks like the moderator mistook benign behavior for astroturfing, where the linked company was hoping to drum up business as frustrated users of a competing product found the posts. –  Tim Post Jun 21 '12 at 2:17

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