I recently asked a question on Programmers.SE, How should one effectively use time at software conferences?.
I included links personalized to my Microsoft TechEd account. If you get some number -- I believe the number is 10 but I'm not sure -- of clicks on the account, you get a 3/4 inch button saying that you did so that you can pin to your lanyard. My assumption was that
- The link was not commercial in nature (which excludes NewEgg/Amazon promotions which Stack Exchange reserves for itself).
- The link was relevant to the original question (which excludes spam and link farming).
- The fact that getting people to click on the link being beneficial for me was explicitly disclosed (which excludes people being ***holes).
A moderator quickly edited out the affiliate parts of the links (replacing them with generic TechEd links) and removed my disclaimer.
Given that answerers are perfectly allowed to do far more than use a link with a certain affiliate code -- they're allowed to go as far as putting in entire plugs for their product so long as it's reasonably disclosed -- in my view posting of these kind of links is reasonable.
However, a moderator obviously thought otherwise. I'm not saying the moderator was incorrect in removing the links -- it is the prerogative of moderators to set policy like this -- that's why they're moderators. I'm curious if this is a community wide thing, or if it is specific to Programmers.SE, etc.
- So... what does the community (in particular the moderators) think on this?
- If the answer is "that's a no-no" then how far does a link have to go to be considered affiliate? (for example, would linking to a personal blog for some reason also be bad?)
- How/do the rules change for profile blurbs? Obviously personal links seem to be fair game in there.
I just don't want to do something bad in the future without intending to. :)
And just to be clear -- I'm not bitter about the original situation at all -- I've got enough hits just from my personal blog, so I'm not trying to get the original links reinstated -- I just don't want to mess up in the future.