Some of my answers were deleted because of inappropriate promoting. However, I need to clarify something. For example here

The answer above (not mine) contains also alternative solution with the link to other product and web-site and it was accepted. But my answer with other solution for it was deleted. Can somebody explain me, please?

  • Did you post a link to a tool that you wrote and not specify that it is your product? – Lix Jul 30 '12 at 8:54
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    Also, keep in mind that it's people flagging and moderating content. Just because some content does not get deleted when it should be, does not necessarily imply that you can post something similar. It might simply have slipped through the cracks. Not saying that is the case here, but it's good to keep in mind. – Bart Jul 30 '12 at 8:59
  • @Lix - yes I posted the link, however, the person who answered it above posted pretty much the same comment, but it is approved – Maria Jul 30 '12 at 9:54
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    I don't much like the other answer personally. The other answer lacks details, but is a sf.net link at least which implies it's not a commercial thing in quite the same way. (Although even that can be spammy). The other user also has significant other contributions and doesn't appear to be affiliated with the link. It seems they're sharing what they found (and don't stand to gain from it). Either way "I saw something else bad" can't be used to justify your answer. – Flexo Jul 30 '12 at 9:58

Please review Limits for self-promotion in answers; I think your answer leaned too far to the lack-of-disclosure side.

Your answer was one of two answers ever made by you, both of which link to the same product. It does look a little too much like promotion of that product is your sole purpose on SO. I am not saying that is the case, but we'd need to see more answers from you on different subjects.

The other answer linked to an Open Source product, from a user that has also posted on other subjects. His answer also did not include information on a free 14-day trial, making your answer look quite commercial.

Linking to commercial products is a fine line to walk. If you are associated with the company that sells the product you link to, you need to disclose that ("our company makes a product called Frobnar, which you should look at"). If you are not associated, stating that explicitly also helps ("BTW, I don't work at Acme, but their Frobnar product solved this problem for me in the past").

  • "I am not saying that is the case, but we'd need to see more answers from you on different subjects." Actually, I represent the company which develops solutions for shopping carts and at the market for almost 10 years. My answers are related only to the posts where our product can actually help as primary or alternative solution. Let's say, if for the same post I will mention that I'm representative of the company and remove the link for free trial, will it be accepted and suitable? – Maria Jul 30 '12 at 9:23
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    @Maria if 100% of a user's answers (or close) just promote things it looks like they're not really interested in anything other than self-promotion and is likely to get flagged as such. The only person who definitely benefits from such answers is the person posting them. I personally expect users to be genuinely interested in Q&A, not just looking for some cheap advertising on the side. – Flexo Jul 30 '12 at 9:25
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    @Maria: It would help, certainly, but for the SO community to trust you and not flag your posts, you need to prove you are here to help people out, not just promote your own company. Answers to questions that do not (directly) relate to your own products would help tremendously with that. – Martijn Pieters Jul 30 '12 at 9:28
  • I see, but if I answer only to the questions where our product can actually be the solution. Will it also be a promotion in this case? I do not answer posts, where person is asking about one thing and I offer to try the product has no any relations to it and won't be helpful. We would like to contribute by helping people for which our product can be real solution for the issues they face. – Maria Jul 30 '12 at 9:34
  • You should become a general active user. That is, we want to see a significant number of contributions from you that don't promote your product (I would say, the majority should be so). If you then occasionally say "Hey, this product I am affiliated to perfectly fits your situation. You might want to check it out", then I would have no problem with it. That's no guarantee you won't get flagged, but it might help. – Bart Jul 30 '12 at 9:35
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    @Maria: In that case Stack Overflow would flag your posts as self-promotion, and you should perhaps instead consider a tag sponsorship. See the link in my answer for more information. – Martijn Pieters Jul 30 '12 at 9:35
  • "You should become a general active user" - but we do not want to port replies where we are not experienced and cannot guarantee that our answer helps. The posts I reply, to are only for the issues that can be solved by our software. – Maria Jul 30 '12 at 9:40
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    The posts I reply to are only for the issues that can be solved by our software. If you want to do advertisement, I suggest you contact the Stack Exchange team about advertisement, they have affordable rates (at least, that's what they tell us). If you only answer with links against your product, you'll clash with nearly everyone in here. We have a very active Anti-Spam-League, which is taking such things not lightly. – Time Traveling Bobby Jul 30 '12 at 9:41
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    I can hardly imagine that you or your team (if there is one) have no development experience besides issues that can be solved by your product. But if you can not provide any other contributions, I think you're going to find contributing here hard, as the others have suggested. – Bart Jul 30 '12 at 9:43
  • @Maria: Then your presence on Stack Overflow will be seen as self-promotion and the community will flag your posts as such, and your account will probably be disabled by the moderators after enough flags have been raised. You are on SO as a representative of your company, not as an individual. That is not a use the SO community supports. – Martijn Pieters Jul 30 '12 at 9:43
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    @Maria - so you're saying you develop and sell software but have no experience with any programming questions except the ones where you have something to sell? Doesn't sound good for the quality of your product... – Flexo Jul 30 '12 at 9:43
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    @MartijnPieters: If I find a spammer which has only answers linking against products, I normally request complete deletion of the account (which is granted in 99% of the time). – Time Traveling Bobby Jul 30 '12 at 9:45
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    I think buying advertisement gives you advertisement. It still does not allow you to only post product related answers, nor guarantees you won't be flagged. (Though I might stand to be corrected on that) – Bart Jul 30 '12 at 9:52
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    @Maria: Advertisement and posting answers are kept separate. Take a look at Adobe-sponsored tags for an example of what tag sponsorship can get you. – Martijn Pieters Jul 30 '12 at 10:00
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    @Maria - don't introduce yourself except where disclosing affiliations. The important thing is to post good relevant answers where you don't stand to gain from them. If you're doing things right most of your answers shouldn't need any disclosure. – Flexo Jul 30 '12 at 10:10

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