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I don't think this guy deserved to get his answer deleted as spam. Martin'Vobr vas Rebex linked to a product he makes as an example of a library to accomplish the task the OP sought, and did so in a way that made it clear that he is the creator of the library and therefore his word should be taken understanding that he is biased.

Do you think he did anything underhanded in his answer? Here's the "spammy" part, for those without ten thousand arbitrary numbers:

I would try the code from the codeproject and if it suits your needs stick with it. In case of too many parsing problem the commercial email component with decent support could be a wise move. I would recommend our Rebex Mail ($149 single dev) but I'm biased. Feel free to browse for you own favorite ;-). At least it will be (in case of any problem) someone who is paid for solving your mail parsing problem.

Ordinarily I would flag this for moderator attention but unfortunately I am not permitted to flag locked answers. Also, I'd like to know if I'm completely wrong about my understanding of what is and is not spam.

To me, this isn't spam. To six other people, it is. One of us has to be wrong, by the pigeonholing convention of '57. Can we figure this out? There are a lot of similar users to Martin who post their products, and a lot of them do it in a very spammy way. But in the specific instance of Martin I think he does it well. We can't outright outlaw all users who advocate their own libraries, can we? Those might be the only libraries that do what the asker wants, after all.

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Wel'Bog vas Stack Overflow has created a dupe! :( –  Maxim Zaslavsky Apr 27 '10 at 13:48
    
What, really? There's another thread about Martin, specifically? –  XMLbog Apr 27 '10 at 13:51
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The answer has been locked by the Community user so only a diamond mod can resurrect it now. –  ChrisF Apr 27 '10 at 14:00
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What's really crazy is that his answer was ACCEPTED by the OP, even though the OP asked for a free solution. That's about as un-spammy as you can get. –  user27414 Apr 27 '10 at 15:41
    
maybe it was flagged for use of you instead of your, or smiley perpetration –  Rich Seller Apr 27 '10 at 21:17
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I don't see any harm in the answer either. Some people are just over sanctimonious regarding pixels on their screen. It was a helpful answer, and the OP did say he just wanted something that worked. Sometimes, there simply are no free tools that do what you need. –  Tim Post Apr 29 '10 at 12:15
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5 Answers

up vote 24 down vote accepted

It doesn't look terribly out of place, is open and honest, on-topic, and relates to the question rather than being just a tired copy/paste over and over. I have no problem with it.

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Marc'Gravell vas United Kingdom, you have done a great service to the quarian race. –  XMLbog Apr 27 '10 at 15:44
    
There are other games @wel –  jmfsg Apr 27 '10 at 19:40
    
@Downvoter: Yeah but until May my name is Mass Effect themed, so I might as well use it. –  XMLbog Apr 27 '10 at 20:00
    
@wel, point taken, next consider "Subject Delta" or "Ezio Auditore"... very cool also –  jmfsg Apr 27 '10 at 20:05
    
I'm just glad @welbog didn't go with an asari name. They're hot. @Downvoter - isn't a new Hitman due out soon? Agent 47 would be a classic choice. –  user27414 Apr 27 '10 at 20:52
    
Beware of the Ardat-Yakshi @jon –  jmfsg Apr 27 '10 at 20:54
    
@Jon B: you're crazy. Asari? Whatever. Quarians are the bomb. @Wel'Bog: Stay away from my Tali. –  beska Apr 30 '10 at 15:29
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+1. Some Microsoft bloke called Jared Par keeps posting about some Microsoft product he works on called VB.Net. Are we going to get those posts deleted too? –  MarkJ May 24 '10 at 15:17
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Hi,

Martin Vobr (who posted the answer we are talking about). First of all - thanks for taking this topic to the table. This would let us all to refine to rules.

Let me add some background facts to the debate:

Full disclosure since the beginning

  • I have clearly stated my connection to Rebex in my profile since the beginning more than year ago.

  • Soon after that I've changed my screen name from 'Martin Vobr' to 'Martin Vobr from Rebex' to serve as kind of 'signature with disclaimer'. I don't recall if it was week after the registration or three weeks after it. Someone with an access to the database might correct me if I'm wrong. It's in place for months now.

Adhering to the community rules

  • I've read posts on meta about mentioning own products and did my best to adhere to them. Most notably:

    Using SO / SF / SU to promote your products?

    I think your examples are acceptable as long as you declare your bias

    and

    http://meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/13295

    I say that if it is a relevant answer, then post it. You might want to put a disclaimer, but I don't see anything wrong with it. And f others don't like it, it won't get voted up.

    and this answer from John Skeet:

    If it's relevant and will help, I think that's fine. I've referred people on SO to C# in Depth before, and others on SU to Google Sync. ...

    Basically it's about the answer rather than the person.

Intentions

  • I don't hide the fact that I'm posting mostly on topic related to the products Rebex is developing. Of course - It's because it's my area of expertize. I'm only offering one of possible solutions. It is (used to be?) welcome in past on SO. If the commercial solution is a good match it would help the OP and other SO users as well.

It may be that interpretation of rules changed since 2008/2009. Let's try to find a consensus about mentioning own products on SO again. I will adhere to it.

P.S. I've found about this post accidentally. It would be nice if someone has let me about it. If the good behaviour should be enforced it would be nice to clearly state what it is. And maybe to let it know to the offender clearly so he is not leaved to guessing from the reputation changes ;-)

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I think we're all pretty much on your side here. Your answer was helpful (not to mention actually accepted by the poster), and was not blatant spam. Some SO users are a little trigger happy on the flag button and will flag just about anything with a link in it. If this happens again, you can email team@stackoverflow.com and ask for help, or just post here on MSO. Speaking of which - it will take you a bit to get used to the odd personalities here, so don't take anything too seriously (including the title of this question). –  user27414 Apr 27 '10 at 19:46
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And to add to @Jon's point: PONIES WAFFLES EVERYWHERE!!! AHHHHH !H QDFSASFSDF Sdf asfw fawscvsd –  jmfsg Apr 27 '10 at 19:48
    
For further reading on looneybin.stackoverflow.com: meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/44188/… –  user27414 Apr 27 '10 at 19:49
    
I'm ok with the title, no problem ;-). –  Martin Vobr from Rebex Apr 27 '10 at 19:59
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The person asking a question did specify that they wanted something that 'just worked' .. and apparently, you have a product that 'just works'. I see no SPAM here, just a helpful link. By this logic, a user suggesting someone purchase a proprietary compiler would also be a spammer. Quite the slippery slope, indeed. It should not matter who promotes something, the effect is still the same. Your answer was on topic, helpful and clearly in line with accepted guidelines. –  Tim Post Apr 29 '10 at 12:03
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Just mentioning a product should not qualify a post as spam. If I was a 10k on SO I'd vote to undelete.

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Only a mod can help him now. Even 10k+ can't undelete it. –  Randolpho Apr 27 '10 at 15:12
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I think the issue was mentioning the price, which made it sound like a sales pitch, regardless of intent.

There's no issue linking to someone's own product, it's just the way it was done in this instance.

That being said, I probably would have edited out the price bit instead of flagging as spam.

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Mentioning the price shouldn't be an issue. You can't say that the price of a product isn't an important issue when considering using it! Then again, it did ask for free products - I believe it is up to the question asker to decide to either allow suggestions outside the scope of the question or to request answers to limit their replies to the question that was actually asked. –  Casebash Apr 27 '10 at 23:31
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I'd rather someone mention the price next to the link, it would save me from clicking it if the price was out of what I thought was acceptable to pay :) –  Tim Post Apr 29 '10 at 12:04
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Then again, prices change –  Casebash Jul 5 '10 at 10:58
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In this other answer by the same author, however, he forgets to mention that he is the owner of the advertised product. Interestingly, he is selling a product very similar to the (in)famous Pawel, who happens to have an answer right next to this one with an "I own this stuff" disclaimer.

I am not sure where I am getting with this, but if Pawel's answers (before the disclaimer) where considered spam, surely Martin's should be as well.

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I also think thats the case. –  YOU Apr 27 '10 at 14:10
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Still, he is clearly identifying himself in his user name (I don't know since when, though). People should be able to mention their own libraries. Otherwise some of them will do so through sock puppet accounts, and the honest ones lose. –  Pëkka Apr 27 '10 at 14:26
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The infamous Pawel! Looks like we've got a "buy my email library" spam war brewing! –  Randolpho Apr 27 '10 at 15:15
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