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A particular user that I don't want to link to* has been talking a lot about Agile Toolkit. Just about every question tagged with PHP and framework has a link to the Agile Toolkit website.

The problem is that the answers themselves are often of good quality, just with the link in there, so it's more bacn than spam.

For example, in What are some PHP object-oriented framework initialization techniques?, the user lists a lot of useful information and then a link to Agile Toolkit saying "All of those suggestions I have used in the PHP UI framework - Agile Toolkit where I am a contributor.".

Is this acceptable? Perhaps I'm just oversensitive to it, because I spend a lot of time on PHP framework questions, but I do keep reading about how great Agile Toolkit is.

I read the article about Jimmy Zhang and VTD-XML, and I don't think this user is quite so flagrant. His answers are usually much longer and more constructive than that. Hence, I don't want to flag the whole answer as spam, just raise that the FAQ says "Also, if a huge percentage of your posts include a mention of your product or website, you're probably here for the wrong reasons.".

*Because of advice I read the other day about calling out the behaviour but not the user.

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Looks like a shill enough –  random Apr 27 '11 at 22:07
@random I don't know about being a "shill" but he definitely has an agenda of promoting that product on here. However he does have what appear to be genuinely helpful answers that don't promote his software as well. It's definitely less clear-cut than the linked question. –  Daniel DiPaolo Apr 27 '11 at 22:28
Hmm... but the FAQ does also require people to identify a connection to a product. It could be a misunderstanding... or wanting SO backlinks (or is that bacn's meaning here?) –  Phil Lello Apr 27 '11 at 22:40
@Phil I meant bacn in the sense that he's doing advertising in the form of useful information - kind of like an infomercial. He does occasionally mention that he works on the project. –  Blowski Apr 27 '11 at 22:52
What is a "bacn"? –  Cody Gray Apr 28 '11 at 8:37
@CodyGray This? I have no idea either –  Yi Jiang Apr 28 '11 at 8:41
@Cody In email, it's "better than spam, but not as good as a personal email". So I guess that's what I thought of these posts - better than spam, but not as good as if the user had just left out the links to the framework. –  Blowski Apr 28 '11 at 8:43
Fascinating. Now people are spamming the English language with new words to refer to undesirable email. From the Wikipedia article, this appears to be a new word to refer to what we used to call "bulk email", which has a long history of referring to bulk mail (minus the "e"). Not sure why it needs to be named after another food product, and I definitely don't understand what happened to the "O". –  Cody Gray Apr 28 '11 at 8:45
Its time to introduce Pork (Pretty Obvious Ridiculous Translation). –  Toon Krijthe Apr 28 '11 at 12:28
@Pan I just searched for 'hotdogging', so thanks for that image... –  Blowski Apr 28 '11 at 14:08
@Blowski: Sorry, I didn't realize that everything and anything probably has some horribly NSFW connotation nowadays. –  Piskvor Apr 28 '11 at 14:18
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2 Answers

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Thanks for not pointing me out, but it's ok. I'll clarify my intention and the reason of doing this.

First of all - I honestly believe that after putting a lot of time and effort into what I have been doing and giving it away without asking anything in return, I deserve a bit of consideration. It is not my intention to profit from my answers and mentions of Agile Toolkit, but I would like to let people know about it. I am receiving a lot of feedback even though it's very new tool out there. People who tried it say it's simple, easy to use and helped many people. Therefore I see no reason why to consider suggesting it as spam.

My knowledge is limited and that's why I try to answer the questions which I know answer to. I can't comment on other toolkits due to my limited knowledge, but if I see a question where a person is looking for the solution I answer to it.

I have gone through questions asked earlier about Frameworks in general and made sure that Agile Toolkit is also listed there as an option. Whether to vote it up or down it is decision of the users. I might have done a few mistakes where I would suggest Agile Toolkit inaccurately, but after that was pointed out I am trying to be very careful.

Final thing is that I got a note here on meta to specify my relation to the project. I always do that saying that I'm' contributor unless the question is about Agile Toolkit itself (tagged with atk4).

If anything in my actions is incorrect, violates codex or rules, I'll be happy to change that. I am glad that you can understand my motivation and I am trying to help people discover this new technology and while other users are still learning it, I'm doing most of the talking and answering.

Hopefully new users will join in and will participate more. If I see anyone whom I know misuse Stack Overflow, I always point it out. I recommend new users to use stack overflow only to ask questions here, and since the project in question is open-sourced and available to anyone that should be a right decision.

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+1, but i was disappointed not to have a link to the toolkit :p –  davidsleeps Apr 28 '11 at 13:45
i don't want to be banned so I'm not adding it myself :) you can google if you are interested. –  romaninsh Apr 28 '11 at 13:48
@romaninsh: You can, and are encouraged, to put this kind of information in your profile. –  Won't Apr 28 '11 at 13:56
+infinite reps for responding to these accusations honestly and candidly. It's nice to see the Meta site working so well here. Sorry if anyone offended you, but we do try hard to keep the site clean. We appreciate your input on the questions you are knowledgeable about. –  Cody Gray Apr 28 '11 at 14:00
@romaninsh +1 From me as well. Your answers are good quality and relevant, which is why I didn't just flag it as spam. Would be good to see you mention your affiliation on your profile as well though. –  Blowski Apr 28 '11 at 14:06
I updated my profile now. Thanks for pointing this out. @Blowski, sorry for the reply to your FuelPHP related question. I agree that it wasn't very appropriate. –  romaninsh Apr 28 '11 at 14:08
@romaninsh No problem, the system worked as it's meant to, no harm done and we have all made SO a better place. I am actually taking a look at Agile Toolkit now... –  Blowski Apr 28 '11 at 14:11
And i got 100 rep on meta. :) –  romaninsh Apr 28 '11 at 14:15
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If you feel uncomfortable about a user's behavior, you can mod flag it with some words of explanation. The mods are pretty good at discerning "spam" from "bacn."

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