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I noticed that there are a bunch of questions asked on how to advertise or link to open-source contributions in the Meta section, but they all seemed to be geared towards actual advertising of open-source projects.

Out of all the StackExchange sites, I have the most reputation in the SharePoint site. While working on SharePoint projects I have compiled a library of SharePoint object extensions and helper classes that I would like to contribute to the public. Since I've found the best source of answers to my questions at the SharePoint StackExchange site I would love to contribute back by posting a link to my libraries there.

I'm looking to specifically target the SharePoint StackExchange so that users going to it may stumble across this library that may help them not duplicate efforts that are already done. What is, if there is, the Best Practice to provide a link to this library I've built?

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Add it to your profile. –  ThisSuitIsBlackNot Apr 10 at 22:07

1 Answer 1

up vote 12 down vote accepted

This is a common problem for people who have open source libraries that they want to share. The line between helping to solve problems by linking to your library and that becoming excessive self-promotion can be hard to see. The Stack Exchange community can have an allergic response to anything that's seen as self-promotion, which can lead to problems when library authors are a little overzealous with the links to their projects.

I speak from experience, as I have a rather popular open source project that I built specifically to answer many common questions that I saw being asked on Stack Overflow. I always struggle with whether my answers could be seen as pushing my framework a little too hard.

Don't just blindly seek out any question your library might apply to. If you genuinely think that your library will help solve a given problem, make sure you write a detailed answer that addresses the specific question asked. Don't copy and paste the same answer across multiple similar questions.

A simple, blind link to your project isn't acceptable as an answer. Explain what your library is and why it would be a particularly good solution for the problem at hand. Provide sample code of it solving that problem, if applicable.

Always disclose that it is your project. This avoids any accusations of astroturfing, and lets anyone who visits know exactly where you're coming from when you recommend a library. It also helps if you make it clear that your library is free and open source.

If you follow these general guidelines and write detailed, relevant answers that show why your project is a good, targeted solution for a given question, I think you'll find that people respond well to that. I'd say that most of the people who now use my framework found out about it through one of my answers here. I did my best to follow the suggestions above when writing these answers, and only left them on questions where I thought my project contributed something genuinely useful when compared to other answers.

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Excellent advice. Thanks a bunch. –  EHorodyski Apr 14 at 18:59

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