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How can I link to an external resource in a community-friendly way?

Twice now I've seen questions on Stack Overflow where one of my company's products might provide an answer to the question.

One was a slightly vague connection about object-relational mapping, but the other was a specific question about workshop/event management where we have a product which is almost an exact match for the questioner's needs.

Of course the questioner should take a pinch of salt with anything I say about it, but it might be useful to have the product brought to his attention as one possible solution.

What are the rules and guidelines about answering with something I worked on?

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marked as duplicate by Anna Lear Dec 6 '12 at 0:39

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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See also Pekka's proposal for some policy on disclosure. –  Arjan Jul 17 '10 at 11:49

11 Answers 11

I wouldn't have a problem with you mentioning it, but I think full disclosure is important. You absolutely need to say, in that post, that you work for the company that sells this product.

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Would you expect the full disclosure in the post or do you feel that mentioning relation to the compnent in the profile is enough? –  Martin Vobr from Rebex Sep 18 '09 at 20:40
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I would expect full disclosure in the post. No one is going to read the profile of everyone they see recommending a product or service. –  Chris Upchurch Sep 19 '09 at 1:59
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So should someone working for Microsoft disclose that they work for Microsoft every time they mention something to do with, say, their Java-like language? –  Tom Hawtin - tackline Jul 19 '10 at 13:41
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@Tom, It doesn't have to do with a mention, it has to do with a purchase. If someone asks about Oracle and Tom Kyte answers it by explaining how to do it Oracle, then there's no conflict because he's not pushing a product. If someone asks a question about something in SQL Server and Tom Kyte says to the poster it would be much easier in Oracle and the poster should bag SQL Server and buy Oracle licenses then he should stipulate he works for Oracle. A time bombed demo is equivalent to recommending a purchase unless a poster says they have a one time project that fits in the trial. –  Stephanie Page Dec 15 '10 at 18:46

If it's a reasonable answer to someone else's question, then yes. Being a shill should see the crowd reward you appropriately ...

If you do mention your own product or site, I would suggest you cite your own affiliation clearly.

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What would reasonable be :) –  David Robbins Oct 10 '08 at 11:48

It's not but I do have a seminar on web-etiquette that should be perfect for you!

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I do find it funny that this sarcastic remark gets just about as many up and down votes over time. Some get it, some don't I guess –  hometoast Feb 19 '09 at 16:55
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@hometoast: A smiley might help :) –  Mark Seemann Oct 26 '09 at 19:27
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Ugh, emoticons ruin a lot more things than they help. –  Pops Jul 19 '10 at 18:31
    
@Pops, why do you say that? –  Pacerier May 15 at 1:05
    
@Pacerier oh, I just don't like emoticons in general. –  Pops May 15 at 14:06

As long as your answer is informative and has a disclosure about your affiliation, I think it would be appropriate to mention your product.

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I wouldn't think that it should be a problem. If you have a product that you believe in you should be able to mention it regardless of the company that it came from (yours or someone elses). Now creating questions and then using it to promote your product I would say that is an entirely different story. :)

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If you wanted to demonstrate your objectivity then you would mention how your product solves the problem and also mention your competitors' products that may also solve the problem.

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Wish I could give a plus 2 –  Stephanie Page Dec 15 '10 at 18:48
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+1, Finally a different answer. –  Pacerier May 15 at 1:04

If it will help answer the question why would it be bad etiquette to mention your own product?

You could make note of it to be polite, but in the end the question's author will take the best advice provided, if that happens to be a product you shepherd/produce, then all the better.

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As long as you aren't spamming your own product and only mention it where it's appropriate, I don't see a problem. However, you might want to say that it's your product in the answer.

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If your product is helpful your answer should get voted up and/or accepted, if not, it will be voted down. I don't see this as being an issue.

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What are the rules and guidelines about answering with something I worked on?

If you just worked on a product for a company you don't have shares in then I think you should be able to write whatever you like about it. In my experience, employees are often more negative about products they work on than the general public so I would personally rate an employee saying positive things very highly.

If you own your own company and cite your own products (as I do) then I think you must provide some relevant and useful information in your answer and state your affiliation.

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But currently, negative employees wouldn't dare post unless SE implements a anonymous option to answers. This is the problem with mandatory non-anonymity. –  Pacerier May 15 at 1:06

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