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Most of the answers of user424257 are to questions about FTP. This user almost always recommends the WebDAV products of this company: http://www.webdavsystem.com/server/.

I have suggested in comments that the user tell us why he should not be considered a spammer. Today he replied:

@John Saunders: It is obvious that WebDAV and FTP are related technologies. If you need an explanation why "WebDAV is much more modern and feature-rich" here is it: stackoverflow.com/questions/3714363/webdav-vs-ftp-sftp-ftps – user424257

I do not consider this to be an adequate defense. What does everyone else think?

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I love it. He answered your accusation of spamming with a marketing message. Spam is as spam does. –  user27414 Sep 15 '10 at 16:40
Spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaam! –  Shog9 Sep 15 '10 at 16:42
Perhaps unrelated: I got three downvotes within a minute of each other; four within ten minutes, About the number of times I downvoted this user. –  John Saunders Sep 15 '10 at 17:52
Link to the answer : stackoverflow.com/questions/3626597/how-to-build-a-ftp-server/… –  HoLyVieR Sep 15 '10 at 18:09
At the current moment, in the 10k rep Tools, Flags section on SO, 15 of this user's answers are flagged as spam, several by multiple people. That's out of the 30 currently flagged answers. –  Powerlord Sep 15 '10 at 18:15
Nuke him from orbit, it's the only way to be sure. –  Ether Sep 15 '10 at 19:08
Just hardcode any request to post containing webdav with impossible captcha puzzles and make his downvotes work in reverse. –  jacknad Sep 15 '10 at 19:18

5 Answers 5

up vote 13 down vote accepted

I'm fairly sure this is a meat puppet for Eugene Mayevski, a notorious spammer for Eldos. You can see them both at work in this fake question. The connection is a bit complicated, but Eldos seems to be a US marketing front for a company from the Ukraine, called SoftPanorama++. This webdavsystem.com URL is also owned by a company from the Ukraine. My Cyrillic isn't quite good enough to decode the web page, but both look to be based in Kiev and offers the same products. Heck of a coincidence.

Mayevski has been featured prominently in moderator tools "flags" section for the past year. That this pita hasn't been banned yet is one of my life's little mysteries. I gave up flagging the mods on him a while ago.

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There's some conflicting evidence; his answer to Cross-platform solution for mounting a custom filesystem recommends (obviously) the same product, but it's in response to a question that actually suggests an Eldos product as a possible solution. If he is a spammer for Eldos, why wouldn't he pick that one? –  Aarobot Sep 15 '10 at 19:01
@Aarobot: I'm only really sure that Mayevski is a spammer for Eldos. For all I know, this is a Ukranian maffia operation headquartered in Kiev. What's the term for a sock puppet on the left hand? Meat puppet or something? –  Uphill Luge Sep 15 '10 at 19:13
Oops, no, that would be right hand. Ahem, hated that image flash there. –  Uphill Luge Sep 15 '10 at 19:16
My "Cyrillic" (if that's how you call everything that looks like Russian) is good enough to tell that SoftPanorama and webdavsystem are located at different places in Kiev (which is a big city) and look like they're different companies. –  Pavel Shved Sep 15 '10 at 21:48
It doesn't seem to be a sock puppet, from what I can tell. –  mmyers Sep 15 '10 at 21:56
@mmyers: I guess that's why he suggested a meat puppet after I posted my comment. Might be a different person but recruited as a shill. Or might not be. I don't think it really matters who he's spamming for; spam is spam. –  Aarobot Sep 16 '10 at 0:47

I think it's pretty clear that he's a spammer. 40 answers and every single one of them has that link. (OK, I just did a spot check, but I was 10 for 10).

Even if he was just throwing this link into every single WebDAV question, I would still consider him a spammer; the fact that he's also spamming it in FTP questions should eliminate any reasonable doubt.

He's even posting that link in questions about virtual drives. Hey, our miracle product will also cook your bacon and waffles in the morning for you!

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Will a unicorn be serving me the bacon and waffles? –  Rebecca Chernoff Sep 15 '10 at 17:19
@rchern: are you implying that there are circumstances under which one should decline bacon and waffles? –  ЯegDwight Sep 15 '10 at 20:17
@rchern: Unicorns aren't actually real, but if you like, I can tape an ice cream cone to a pony's head for you. –  Aarobot Sep 15 '10 at 20:35
@Aarobot - If unicorns aren't real, then neither are rainbows, glitter and happy thoughts. –  user27414 Sep 15 '10 at 21:32
There are quite allot of different links, and most are relevant to the question answered. Majority of the links extend the answer or give more information about solution. Many links has nothing to do with a particular product, but describe how to solve an issue. Here is an example: stackoverflow.com/questions/3543000/… –  user151320 Sep 15 '10 at 22:20
@Jon: None of those are real to me. Especially happy thoughts. –  Aarobot Sep 16 '10 at 0:45
@user: And even that one somehow manages to link to your software, even if it's just a support page. Have you posted even one single answer that didn't link to that site? –  Aarobot Sep 16 '10 at 0:45
@Aarobot, Unicorns aren't real?!?! Is the sky falling too? ): –  Rebecca Chernoff Sep 16 '10 at 2:28
@user151320: Sorry, that's not a particularly good answer. A commercial link is not an answer to a general question about security implications. –  David Thornley Sep 16 '10 at 13:50

Having many links on SO to his website will increase its search engine popularity a lot.

We should set a limit, for exemple maximum 10% of the answer of a user should contains a link that contains the same domain name, and that is not a domain popular on SO (for exemple MSDN, Google, Microsoft, etc).

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Links on SO are automatically nofollowed, so no search engine juice for him. –  mmyers Sep 15 '10 at 17:21
@mmyers, does this apply to MSO as well? Jeff has advised us to not link to clones; for an example, see the comments to this answer. –  Pops Sep 15 '10 at 19:04
@Popular Demand: Yes, I'm not sure if Jeff was actually referring to linking from MSO in that comment (and I'm assuming here that I know exactly what rel="nofollow" does, which is not necessarily true). View source on this page and you'll see that the webdav link in the question is nofollowed. –  mmyers Sep 15 '10 at 19:56
@mmyers, correct you are. Regarding nofollow, see this: webmasterworld.com/google/3183070.htm –  Pops Sep 15 '10 at 20:08
Clever......... –  user150926 Sep 16 '10 at 6:26

I don't think it is 'spam' per se. I think you all are being too quick to judge.

None of the answers seem wrong. I would recommend just telling him to slow down a bit, and to make sure to disclose any affiliation that he has with the product he is advertising.

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@jinguy: i asked him to explain. His response is above, in my question. I also pointed him to this discussion. –  John Saunders Sep 15 '10 at 17:48
Actually, several of his answers do seem wrong and have nothing to do with the question at hand. Take, for example, his answer to Show a DB as a directory (Like Sharepoint Does). And most of his answers are blatant copy-paste; compare this answer to this answer - notice any similarities? –  Aarobot Sep 15 '10 at 18:55
Many of his answers to questions like "how do I [x] with FTP" are "Use webdav instead". Those are bad answers. That's like saying "How do I connect to MS SQL in C#"... "Use MySQL instead". –  user27414 Sep 15 '10 at 19:21
@Jon B: I disagree that that form of answer is always bad, but it certainly can be. –  David Thornley Sep 15 '10 at 19:59
@Aarobot: actually all 3 answers that you mention are correct and relevant. The last 2 represent an alternative approach to achieving same result. For example in the second post the user asked about "easy way", the solution recommended is really easier comparing to driver development. –  user151320 Sep 15 '10 at 20:03
@David - if the question boils down to "How do I do what jquery is good at by writing code from scratch" and the answer is "use jquery", that's one thing. But suggesting a different technology when the question is about how to do something using FTP is crossing the line. –  user27414 Sep 15 '10 at 20:29
@user151320 - um yeah, first of all he didn't ask for an "alternative approach" and secondly you give no information whatsoever about how it would actually be accomplished (you just say "buy our stuff"). That's spam. Don't even try to pretend that you did anything other than search for "webdav" and a few other keywords and blindly copy-paste your crap into every hit you thought might conceivably be related. –  Aarobot Sep 15 '10 at 20:30
I see everyone's point. However, I still don't think we have enough to condemn him. –  jjnguy Sep 15 '10 at 20:40
If 40 nearly-identical copy-pasted answers pointing to the same product/web site and zero other activity on the site isn't enough to condemn him then what is!? –  Aarobot Sep 15 '10 at 20:48
@Aarobot, well, I fail to see the harm that has been caused. This isn't link spam, the user is following every other rule on the site. I just think that they need to be sent an email explaining why they should be more careful. –  jjnguy Sep 15 '10 at 20:51
How is this not spam? He never actually answers any of the questions, he just says "Yeah, our crapware does that, go buy it." It's mind-boggling that you're defending this. What "harm" do you expect to be caused by spam, other than, y'know, spam? –  Aarobot Sep 15 '10 at 20:57
@jjnguy: from the FAQ: "Post good, relevant answers, and if they happen to be about your product, so be it. However, you must disclose your affiliation with the product in your answers. Also, if a huge percentage of your posts include a mention of your product, you're clearly here for the wrong reasons." –  Shog9 Sep 15 '10 at 20:57
@user151320: if a question specifically notes that Unix/Linux support is a requirement, and you post an answer that admittedly won't support *nix, then you have no business claiming to have answered the question. –  Shog9 Sep 15 '10 at 21:00
@Aarobot: to be fair, he never says " our crapware". For all we know, he's just such a huge fan of said crapware that he feels compelled to crawl the site, looking for any excuse to promote it. –  Shog9 Sep 15 '10 at 21:04
@jinguy: I understand what you're doing, but I think SO does have an interest in keeping commercial spam off the site, and this is a pretty egregious case. If we don't suspend repeat spammers on this much evidence, we may as well give up on it. Are you suggesting that we accept accounts that do nothing except make canned spam answers wherever they might be vaguely relevant and a few other places? (Anybody but me remember Hasan Mutlu/Serdar Argic/other aliases on Usenet?) –  David Thornley Sep 16 '10 at 13:47

Shog9: If you about this question, you are totally wrong. Literally the "data" the user refers to will become a "part of the machine's file system" on almost any OS, including Linux/Unix and Mac.

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@user151320: the client software you link to is, by your own admission, Windows-only. If you have or know of solutions for *nix, you've omitted that information - the only information that would give it a snowball's chance in hell of being on-topic - from the answer. –  Shog9 Sep 15 '10 at 22:18
The answer could conceivably be on topic, if it were explained better. Right now, it's a recommendation to buy certain products and what look like a few generic comments, not addressing the OP's issues. Links to useful commercial products are fine, provided that they're relevant answers and full disclosure is made. That answer wasn't. –  David Thornley Sep 16 '10 at 13:43

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