A problem I see quite often over on SharePoint.SE is a new or reasonably low-rep user posting several links to their own blog or site (as tangentially discussed here); either as an answer or in their (inappropriate) signature.

Usually their affiliation is undeclared, through deception or ignorance.

These usually show on the Review pages under First Answer or Low Quality Post, but it takes some investigation to find out whether this is actually their site (linked in their profile) or most likely their site (several links in different answers to the same site).

Would it be possible to add a page that flags lowish rep users that have linked more than once to a particular site (I imagine this would need a whitelist of some form)? And/or where their profile link is the same as their answer link?

If you were feeling really fancy you could even add a quick declaration check (I'm going to use the word 'heuristic', even though I only half understand it), for phrases like "my/our article/blog/site/product".

  • If they're only providing links to things, chances are it will pop up in LQP. If they're providing adequate context that answers the question, then what's wrong with letting them provide links back to the source, even if it is their own site?
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Aug 31, 2012 at 19:27
  • Yes, I mentioned LQP, but the pattern of behaviour isn't always obvious from that view. You should always declare your affiliation, even if you're being very helpful: FAQ
    – Stu Pegg
    Commented Aug 31, 2012 at 19:30
  • Perhaps you should be discussing whether or not people should mention their affiliation to things before requesting a new feature? I agree that the view on SharePoint Meta vs here on SO Meta might be different, but a feature like this affects all sites.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Aug 31, 2012 at 19:33
  • @animuson Affiliation declaration is required on all sites, that's mentioned in the faq. Commented Aug 31, 2012 at 19:35
  • @animuson: Well, I'm proposing a feature to help with enforcing the SE FAQ. If you want to discuss the FAQ being wrong, I'd suggest a new Meta question.
    – Stu Pegg
    Commented Aug 31, 2012 at 19:35
  • @Gilles: I wasn't aware of that, nor do I really care about it. Someone looking for an answer won't really care if that person is affiliated with whatever they're linking to, they only care about getting an answer. I really don't see how enforcing affiliation improves the community at all. I certainly wouldn't take any action on the post if I came across it.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Aug 31, 2012 at 19:36
  • @animuson Your opinion definitely warrants a separate discussion/question, then.
    – Stu Pegg
    Commented Aug 31, 2012 at 19:39

1 Answer 1


I don't know that there's much value to this beyond what we already get with the Low Quality Posts review queue - Generally the "link and run" folks who don't declare affiliation show up in Low Quality posts, and get shot down as spam.

Someone who posts a longer thought-out answer with a link to a resource they're affiliated with and forgets to declare affiliation (through ignorance) isn't really as much of a leech on the community -- we might fix their post and send them a polite comment or mod message, but if it slips through for a few days/weeks/months/years it's not really hurting anyone.

That leaves us the one outlier: The malicious user who posts good answers with links, and intentionally doesn't declare affiliation as part of an astroturfing campaign.
At least over on SF this doesn't happen often (I can only think of once case since I became a mod), and generally the users eventually catch on and start flagging the problem posts.
Earlier identification wouldn't help here because the user is malicious. They'd get banned earlier, but the community would also lose out on good content since the premise is that the answers are OK and the "bad" thing is that the answerer didn't declare affiliation.

It is of course possible I'm missing a use case for this -- if I am let me know :-)

  • Most of the ones I see on SPSE (and there are a lot) have a teaser and then a link to a vaguely-related article. "You can do this with Designer. See here for more information:". Which is very similar to the helpful version (linking to a useful post), both of which fall under "link-only answer", but the former of which is traffic-seeking and often less useful.
    – Stu Pegg
    Commented Aug 31, 2012 at 20:23
  • So LQP will show an issue; but not the main issue.
    – Stu Pegg
    Commented Aug 31, 2012 at 20:24
  • @StuartPegg We do see some of those on SF - the problem is the number of false positives on a "see here for more info" type string matching heuristic (about half of my posts on SF have links to manuals or documentation with that phrase - though if we're only examining users with <100 rep or so that's probably less of a problem).
    – voretaq7
    Commented Aug 31, 2012 at 20:29
  • @StuartPegg How is it less useful? Both are "link only answers", why do you need to deal with them differently?
    – yannis
    Commented Aug 31, 2012 at 20:30
  • 1
    @YannisRizos Ha! I was was just writing about that on animuson's question. :) Link-only answers are usually slightly misguided attempts to be helpful: Posters of this nature can often easily be encouraged to contribute in a more SE-agreeable manner.
    – Stu Pegg
    Commented Aug 31, 2012 at 20:33
  • @voretaq7 Yes, hence the whitelist suggestion. Otherwise I'd find myself banned quite fast for affiliation with the MSDN documentation!
    – Stu Pegg
    Commented Aug 31, 2012 at 20:35

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