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I just randomly sampled this guys answers. Every single one I looked at (4 or 5) plugged his own company/products. The answers did seem to somewhat try to resolve the problem being raised but they all worked in a plug for the website or its products.

Is this appropriate?

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3  
Spam? Not quite. Unwanted self-promotion? Probably. Also see meta.stackexchange.com/questions/86717/… and another recent case on Meta.SU meta.superuser.com/questions/2352/recommending-own-products –  DMA57361 Apr 19 '11 at 15:06

2 Answers 2

up vote 14 down vote accepted

It is not generally appropriate. In this case, imho, it is borderline acceptable.

I've got a 6 point test to determine if the account is a dirty spammer who needs bannination:

  1. Is the user posting from an unregistered account?
  2. Does the user have a fully-fleshed profile with full disclosure in the "About Me"?
  3. Is the user a hit-and-run answerer?
  4. Has the user added new answers to old questions in order to pimp their product?
  5. Has the user added answers to questions with an accepted answer in order to pimp?
  6. Do the answers contain no information except a link to the product or blog?

As for Mark:

  1. No, he is registered and has been a member over a year
  2. His profile is fully fleshed, with full disclosure
  3. Slightly. No questions, averages one answer per month, and has only cast two votes.
  4. Only once.
  5. Possibly 1-3 times, but they are close
  6. No, in fact his answers are particularly detailed and long

While it would be nice if he were more active in other respects, his answers are on topic, are detailed and not rubber stamped across all possible matching questions. He is very clear about disclosing his relationship with the product, both in his answers and in his profile. So, I would not consider him a dirty spammer worthy of the ban. Not the best member of the community, no. But nowhere near the bottom of the heap.

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This was my ultimate conclusion too - borderline. Thanks for the detailed response. –  Jeff Yates Apr 19 '11 at 15:24

In my eyes, no. But, he has some positive points which do not qualify him as flag-and-forget spammer:

  • His answers are good looking.
  • He has reputation which he assembled via this answers (similar to Michael (not you Mrozek ;) )).
  • Not all of his answers are linking against or are about his product.
  • He has a disclaimer on some of his promotional answers.
  • His profile is neatly filled with information including the fact the he's working for the company which he partly advertises.

Warn him in a comment and point him to the FAQ about self-promotion, and keep a close eye on him. Otherwise there's not much to do here. You could flag him for moderator attention, but chances are very high that the flag will be dismissed as invalid. Also, the Moderator will most likely only warn him in the first instance, too, or maybe send his account into timed suspension.

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That was pretty much my conclusion too - it's a borderline case worthy of a little attention but certainly not a scourge to be driven out of the kingdom. –  Jeff Yates Apr 19 '11 at 15:26
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@JeffYates: maybe a little scourging. A little is good for everybody. –  Won't Apr 19 '11 at 15:36

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