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How do I mention my own products in answers?

Suppose I am the developer of a free software project, and I write a note in my profile about being the maintainer, or co-maintainer, of that project. Is that enough to be considered disclosure?

The site I am more active is Drupal Answers. In that site it is easy to find users who answer questions, and who are maintainers/co-maintainers of a Drupal project. (Both Drupal, and any project hosted on Drupal.org are licensed under GPL v2.)
Those users could be answering to a question asking for a module to use, and suggest the module they are maintaining.

Is the disclaimer in the user profile enough, or should the disclaimer be repeated for each answer? Does it matter, if the user is well know in the Drupal.org community?

PS I am talking of well written answers, not to those short "You could use the X module." answers.

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marked as duplicate by Pops, Martijn Pieters, animuson, Jim, Toon Krijthe Dec 5 '12 at 22:04

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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Adding the same text to the end of an answer sounds to me more like a signature... –  Lix Dec 5 '12 at 15:37
    
What do you mean, why does this matter? Are you afraid of being accused of spamming? –  Emil Vikström Dec 5 '12 at 15:37
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@EmilVikström I am not interested for me personally: I don't maintain modules that are so popular. It matters as I want to know what should be suggested to those users. I also need to know in which cases it is acceptable not to add a disclosure in an answer. –  kiamlaluno Dec 5 '12 at 15:46
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@Lix It is what I thought, but still I am not sure if what written in the user profile is enough. Apparently, that is the last place users look for. (See Emil's comment, which would not be probably written, if Emil checked my user profile.) –  kiamlaluno Dec 5 '12 at 15:49
    
@PopularDemand In the other question, the most accepted answer doesn't explain what full disclosure means. In my case, there isn't a company behind the module, but users who contribute to an open source project. –  kiamlaluno Dec 5 '12 at 16:11
    
In my opinion, translating "You absolutely need to say, in that post, that you work for the company that sells this product." to your case is simple and unambiguous. But if you want it to be more explicit, okay, fine. –  Pops Dec 5 '12 at 16:16
    
@PopularDemand In my case, there isn't any sold product, nor a company that sells it. :) –  kiamlaluno Dec 5 '12 at 16:18
    
I'm aware of that, and I stand by everything I said. –  Pops Dec 5 '12 at 16:25
    
Related: meta.stackexchange.com/q/145583/162102 –  Monica Cellio Dec 5 '12 at 17:57
    
I have recently seen an answer where someone wrote "my project". This looked really good. Disclaimer was there, clear and simple and in the same time absolutely inobtrusive. One word, two letters, mission accomplished –  gnat Dec 5 '12 at 18:27

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

If you are, in your answer, promoting your own package, just add a short disclaimer.

A statement in your profile is not enough, as most people will not see that note.

If you feel the need to promote your own package in such a large number of answers that you are actually contemplating using a form text, you are promoting your package too much and are spamming regardless of the disclaimer added.

For questions that are directly about a package you maintain, there is no need to mention it. You are then not promoting your package, you are only providing support (and are possibly the best person to answer the question in the first place). It sometimes can help to state it anyway, but it can hardly be construed spamming.

share|improve this answer
    
Suppose that the module I am talking of is largely used from the community, and it is considered the Drupal Swiss Knife. In which cases is the maintainer crossing the border between promoting/spamming, and answering? –  kiamlaluno Dec 5 '12 at 15:54
    
@kiamlaluno: The moment you link to it, I'd say. "For that, use the FrobNars module (disclaimer: I am the maintainer of that module).". –  Martijn Pieters Dec 5 '12 at 15:56
    
I apologize. What I mean is: Does the fact the module is very popular change in how much answers the maintainer/co-maintainer can suggest to use that module? The module I am referring to is so popular that every time there is a command line operation to do for a Drupal site, that module is the first thing users think of. Clearly, it requires a person who knows it well, to give a very good answer that is not just "use X module," or "X module is normally used in such situations." –  kiamlaluno Dec 5 '12 at 16:04
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@kiamlaluno: I don't think popularity makes it easier to justify posting it a little more often. But perhaps you could leave the easy answers to others and so avoid posting the about your projects too often? –  Martijn Pieters Dec 5 '12 at 16:09
    
kiamlalumo is a mod at Drupal Answers (as am I). We are working through some scenarios about how to handle somewhat common occurrences. Often times, answers involve "Use the FooBaz" module and sometimes it comes from the module's author. However, there are some modules that are so common, that everyone uses them. For example, if someone asked a JS question, and John Resig answered "jQuery can do this. Just do $(...)", would you expect him to say that he is the original author of jQuery? –  MPD Dec 5 '12 at 16:38
    
@MPD: Perhaps, yes. Even a If you were using my project, jQuery (perhaps you've heard of it?), you can do this easily. You cannot assume everyone will know who John is. –  Martijn Pieters Dec 5 '12 at 16:40
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If it's extremely popular already, why the urge to promote it? It is totally different if you explain how the product works for someone who actually asked about that. The spammy version is recommending your own product to everyone asking something just remotely related. There is a huge grey zone here! –  Bo Persson Dec 5 '12 at 16:41
    
@BoPersson It's not a matter of promoting it; it's a matter of answering the question, and the module is a possible answer to the question. The answer is not just "use the X module"; it explains exactly how to use it. If it were promotion, the answer would just say "use the X module," without saying exactly how to use it. IMO, promotion just describes the features of a product; it doesn't say how to use it. The module is popular, but not between beginners. –  kiamlaluno Dec 5 '12 at 17:25
    
@kiamlaluno: even how to use the module can be seen as promotion. Is stating you are a maintainer that much text? –  Martijn Pieters Dec 5 '12 at 17:29
    
@MartijnPieters I am not asking for myself. How to use the module is surely not promotion, if the question is about how to use the module. It is surely not promotion if using that module is the answer to the question. It would be promotion if somebody says something about the module for a question where the module is not the answer. For example, if somebody would ask something about the Y module, and somebody would answer to all those questions saying "use the X module," that would be promotion. –  kiamlaluno Dec 5 '12 at 17:37
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It can also be promotion if someone "happens" to only answer questions where the particular products might be useful. If it is "once in a while" that might be ok, but not "most of the time". You won't get an answer like 42% promotion is ok, it also depends on the intent of the posts. Some "spammers" have tried to hide the promotion by saying "This other product is quite ok, or you could use mine". That doesn't work if you do it ten times in a row. –  Bo Persson Dec 5 '12 at 17:50
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Another reason to put it in the answer: profiles can change or get deleted. An answer should contain all the necessary information to evaluate it, including this. –  Monica Cellio Dec 5 '12 at 17:58
    
@MonicaCellio That is a good point: If the user gets his account deleted, the notice would not be anymore visible, while in an answer would be visible until the answer is not deleted. When it is deleted, it doesn't matter if the affiliation is still visible. –  kiamlaluno Dec 5 '12 at 18:26
    
@BoPersson That's right: The intent matters. If somebody just promotes something, it is probable that starts suggesting the same thing even for questions about a completely different topic. –  kiamlaluno Dec 5 '12 at 18:34

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