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This user has an unusually large amount of answers where he seems to almost always point to WPF Application Framework (WAF) -

The questions have around a long time so I'm curious if this sort of "advertising" is somehow different than what I have seen discouraged.

A number of examples (not even the tip of the iceberg):

Firing a double click event from a WPF ListView item using MVVM

What framework for MVVM should I use?

Using the WPF Dispatcher in unit tests

Keybinding a RelayCommand

Model View ViewModel in WPF with WebBrowser

How to preserve control state within tab items in a TabControl

MVVM Focus To Textbox

Good examples of WPF applications

Essentially the website is a collection of samples. And the format for his answers is something to the tune of "see more samples here", or "go here to see examples". Maybe his answer is on-topic. But with a large database of samples it essentially allows for a "closing sentence" where you can promote your website without repercussions, since the samples are relevant to the question. My comment in Razlebe's answer attempts to make this more clear.

EDIT: Found a great thread dealing with this: Limits for self-promotion in answers

Pekka, I think your heart is in the right place, but... This should not be necessary. You're effectively setting up guidelines for targeted advertising on SO - and there's already a system in place for that. One or two self-promoting answers out of 100 might be called a misunderstanding; 400+ is a blatant attempt to get around paying for your ads, and deserves neither sympathy nor "clarification".

– Shog9♦

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marked as duplicate by gnat, Richard Tingle, Hugo Dozois, Martijn Pieters, Undo Oct 18 '13 at 23:24

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.

Usually these things are brought up in a private email with SE, not in a public meta post, for the integrity of the party in question. – Richard J. Ross III Oct 18 '13 at 5:14
Did you also notice that all the posts you linked to were posted in '09 and '10? This user has only even posted one more answer since 2011... – animuson Oct 18 '13 at 5:17
@Animuson I don't see your point. If it's in violation of the rules, does it matter how old they are? – Shoe Oct 18 '13 at 5:20
@Shoe And many of the questions are poor questions which are off-topic by today's standards and encourage crappy answers like that. It's really hard to say someone is advertising when some of the questions basically ask for advertisements. – animuson Oct 18 '13 at 5:24
@Anumuson Some are many arent, either way, You are essentially lowering the answering standard for OT questions by saying "Well it wasnt a good question anyway". That's setting a new standard of "I can answer with just about anything and be safe". – Shoe Oct 18 '13 at 5:28
@Shoe Actually I'm going through a lot of them and just deleting some of the bad questions. Many of his answers look fine to me, to be honest. I've only edited a few of them. – animuson Oct 18 '13 at 5:31
@Richard see…,… I'm not calling him out, my question specifically mentions the posts in question – Shoe Oct 18 '13 at 5:42
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Whenever I see that - and it does pop up frequently in the late answer review queue - I always check three things:

  • Does this seem to be a repeated thing?

If this occurence appears to be a single issue with a new user, I flag as NAA if the answer is nothing more than the link.

  • Does the answer show any other effort?

If there is a real effort to answer the question, and the link is included in a manner like for further detail, check this link, I don't usually do anything.

  • Is there disclosure?

Ie. if the user has the link in his profile, but doesn't mention this in his answer - or if he has multiple answers linking to the same site so there is a suspected affiliation and he still doesn't mention this. Suspicion and no disclosure almost always end up in a Moderator -> Other flag with an explanation like: Link only answer - but still flagged for mod because this new user currently has x answers that link only to his own blog

If there is disclosure it becomes a matter of effort, probably with a slightly higher bar: I think if you are pushing your product or your site, you should work a little harder to persuade us to leave it in.

I only looked at a couple of the examples you provided, but I think I would have probably flagged one of them for moderator attention, explaining that the user seem to have a lot of answers pushing a site he seems affiliated with without disclosure, but that they all seem to have some effort behind them, making it a borderline case. (The presumed reaction from the mods would then be that they looked at it and contacted the user directly, if they agreed that this was an issue.)

If relevant, particularly for new users, I try to remember to write them a comment stating either that link only answers are discouraged and/or that they should remember to state their affiliation. Something to the effect of:

While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Please see this for more information. Also, if you are affiliated with the link you provide, you must make sure to disclose that.

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The user has 8 pages of answers that are all this way. Unfortunately I don't have the time to flag at a volume such as that – Shoe Oct 18 '13 at 13:30
@Shoe You don't flag them all. You flag one and state the pattern you have noticed. I have updated my answer to reflect that. – user213634 Oct 18 '13 at 13:31
Accepting this answer as it falls in line with the previous discussion I found. – Shoe Oct 18 '13 at 17:42
If someone: 1) Writes Open Source Software 2) Comes to Stack Overflow and explains how that software solves someone's problem 3) Gets their answer upvoted, there's no reason to flag them. Their activity is not hurting anyone at all. The Community would be better off if you copied their behavior. StackExchange has tags for Open Source projects: – dcaswell Oct 18 '13 at 18:23

The user's profile page includes the URL as his/her homepage, so it's reasonable to assume he is associated with the project in some way.

That shouldn't stop him from suggesting using that framework when answering questions, though I believe the preferred behaviour is to also add a disclaimer to ones answers pointing out that association with the project, so that the reader is aware of the potential conflict of interest.

TL;DR - no big deal, but it would have been better if he'd called out his association to the project explicitly.

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It looks like the website is a collection of tons of samples and such. Wouldn't that sort of site apply nearly to any question asked here? Take a generic question "I can't accomplish x", and anyone with a website of samples can go "I have samples that accomplish x". Repeat with "x" being "y", "z" etc... and you end up with someone who manages to always stay on topic but never actually answer a question. – Shoe Oct 18 '13 at 5:48

The FAQ covers this quite well, I think. I also answered this for the specific case of referencing your own blog. Say it's yours, provide enough information to enable a decision about following the link, and be a good answer even without the link, and you're fine.

If you feel there is not enough information in the answer, then flag it as a not an answer without considering the link. Please reserve spam flags for Gucci handbags and streaming sports events, not for on-topic (even if weak) answers to on-topic questions.

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The FAQ states. If a huge percentage of your posts include a mention of your product or website, you're probably here for the wrong reasons. Theres a huge volume of this particular website so it falls under these conditions. Given Animuson's comments, however, it seems to tell a different story of what's okay to do. – Shoe Oct 18 '13 at 13:40
sure, but "probably here for the wrong reasons" is not the same as "we have proven your answers should all be deleted." If the user was still active I would just nudge them to participate more fully. Since this user has wandered away there are less options but if the answers have any value, why delete them? We can always edit to have fuller disclosure. – Kate Gregory Oct 18 '13 at 13:43
That gives me the impression that as long as your answer is "answerish", including the self-promotion, you are allowed to get a little advertising off on a blog or your website in your answers. To me, this seems like a special case of self-promotion because if you are the owner of a large number of materials that cover a topic, it gives you free reign over the SO rules because technically you are "answering" and the large volume allows you to do it frequently. – Shoe Oct 18 '13 at 13:51
Everyone who posts under their real name is "getting a little advertising" for themselves. It's one of the reasons people post here. Letting you link to a blog or a codeplex project (nobody makes money from an open source library, and few if any people make money from blogs) isn't "free rein" when it comes to the SO rules, but it can save you time - instead of writing article length answers, you can write answers (still complete and useful, but might eg not have screenshots) and link to your articles and samples. As long as the answers are useful on their own, I see nothing wrong with that. – Kate Gregory Oct 18 '13 at 16:11
Take a look at the strategy and format of the answers I posted. The answer will provide a general strategy to accomplish "x", then tell the asker to go to "his" website for the implementation of "x". It fits the general answerer guideline for SO, but to me at least, it seems it could be abusing "the spirit of SO" with such a large volume of self-promotions, even if they fit the model. – Shoe Oct 18 '13 at 17:15
@shoe It is not "his site". It's Microsoft's site. Microsoft uses it host free Open Source Software. – dcaswell Oct 18 '13 at 18:57
@dcaswell I think that's irrelevant. It's still his software and he still self-promoted on a large scale. – Shoe Oct 18 '13 at 19:00

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