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I'm wondering if there's ever a reason or time when a company should have its own user (like say, Stack Overflow), instead of users that make it up (like, Jeff Atwood).

I figure this is kind of a bad idea as someone with access to multiple accounts could upvote himself over and over.... but is there any point this is okay and/or a good idea?

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Related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/82509/… –  Brandon May 4 '11 at 18:32
    
so is there any specific instance that prompted this, or are you just kind of thinking out loud? –  Kip May 4 '11 at 19:30
    
Thinking out loud, mostly. and thinking ahead. But i don't think i'll need to, now. thanks all. –  Thomas Shields May 4 '11 at 19:32
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My company has "convenient" group email addresses, like benefits@company.com. Well, guess what. They respond from that email address. Now, it's all confusing - am I writing back to a person, or posting a notice on a wall to a bunch of people? Will the same person see my new comment as my original one? I think it's a bad idea. –  NickC May 4 '11 at 20:36
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I wonder if something along these lines would have specific use on meta. Perhaps Joel, Jeff, Jarrod et al should possibly have some icon or whatever displayed beside their name so that we know they are speaking officially for the site. For people new to the site, it's probably difficult for them to figure out who the "official" people are who can give "official" answers. –  Kibbee Oct 12 '11 at 23:56

3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Personally, I say no. It is pretty rare for an answer to be intended to be an "official" answer, since stackoverflow answers are community answers and are publicly editable. That is really the only justification I could think of for doing this. More common is to just link to a more official source of information.

In terms of someone having access to multiple accounts and voting themselves up, the system has its own protection against that; I don't think that issue is really relevant to whether a company should have its own user.

Further, I it would definitely not be appropriate unless the user was intended as an official representative of the company...and even in that case attribution to the specific person, via real name or nickname, is still better.

Having your username be a company name strikes me as being a form of advertising, which is really not the right place to do it. And in general, it is considered poor form to create an account specifically to talk about your company's product, unless you're using that account to answer questions specifically about your company's product.

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I think it's a good idea in a specific scenario, much like DevExpress has done. Because they're from the DevExpress team, they can be seen as canonical answers -- and they only answer questions about DevExpress.

It would be cooler to for each DevExpress developer to have their own account, but for whatever reason they've chosen to go the other route. I don't see a problem with it in this instance -- it even lowers the temptation for each of them to upvote other people that work at DevExpress.

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Seconded. I think it's fine if the purpose is to provide canonical answers "from the source" so to speak. If the account is being used for advertising, or as a sockpuppet account for upvoting, then that's a different case. –  Kip May 4 '11 at 19:27
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It seems analogous to corporate Twitter accounts that search for questions about that company and provide feedback. –  Kip May 4 '11 at 19:29
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Surely Canonical answers are about Ubuntu? –  Phil Lello May 4 '11 at 23:55

I thinks it's an interesting idea. I would want to know if a certain company is helping a lot to the community. I think it would attract companies that need a good reputation.

For instance, a company could decide to take one hour a week, so that employeers could dedicate to Stackoverflow and answer questions, so they can build a reputation.

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