This answer seems like a good answer from an informed user, and a respected name I recognise from the "language community" on the net over many, many years. Why on earth was the answer deleted?

From the comment on his profile, it seems like he's not allowed to mention his own products. Yet those are precisely where he knows most. Sure, there is a risk he will shill stuff. But delete when he does that, not preemptively, just in case! What kind of justice is that?

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    Closely related: Limits for self promotion round ii and Limits for self promotion in answers – jscs Jul 13 '13 at 18:26
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    SO doesn't appear to want to let me mention my products. If the issue is "you can't mention your products period" than that's one position that I think is crazy. One of the complaints is that some people don't like links to the products; if you allow mention of products, insisting on no link seems stupid; it must makes the reader hunt for on the web. If the complaint is "you're here for the wrong reason", ask the OP if he got a useful answer. I think most of this is "We don't like people that have commercial solutions". I can understand "This answer is irrelevant"; mine are not. – Ira Baxter Jul 13 '13 at 18:56
  • Andrew - FYI. One member of the community flagged the answer. A moderator responded to the flag. As things stand right now, the answer has been flagged again for undeleting by another member of the community, a flag that has been acted on by a different moderator. The answer is currently available. – Oded Jul 13 '13 at 19:37
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    @IraBaxter - I take exception to your statement "SO doesn't appear to want to let me mention my products". Some members of the community may be overzealous when seeing products promoted - this is not all of SO and the fact is, other members disagreed and the answer is back. – Oded Jul 13 '13 at 19:39
  • @Oded: I can only speak as a victim of the "overzealousness" and the harsh talk in the meta forums in which I have participated. Yes, some members disagreed but the naysayers are persistent. I am pleased this answer has been restored. – Ira Baxter Jul 13 '13 at 21:48
  • In that case, it would be more appropriate to delete the question as well. Such questions are likely to attract such answers. – Danubian Sailor Jan 31 '14 at 10:20

First of all, this entire discussion is kind of a moot point because that question is closed: the question itself is not something that will lend itself to long term constructive posts. It's basically a current resource request.

That being said, for future reference:

Some self promotion is allowed on the SE network as long as answers also provide valuable content that will stand the test of time. For example this answer would be fine:

You can do that with a code construct like this:

This arrangement solves your problem because...

This is the solution I've implemented in library X which you can checkout if you want a pre-built implementation of this.

That we can handle. Note that this actually answers the question and explicitly reveals the users connection to the product being advertised. Without the part of the answer that actually answers the question, it wouldn't be tolerated:

You can do this easily with library X, get it here.

Note this doesn't actually answer a question or reveal the affiliation. This is unwanted.

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  • Yeah, but the answer in question is definitely in the former category. – Pekka Jul 13 '13 at 18:54
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    And I have modified the question to provide code that does it. However, once the answer is deleted by a moderator, apparantly there's no way for me to ask to put it back by standard channels. – Ira Baxter Jul 13 '13 at 19:02
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    @Caleb: Yes, it does reveal an affiliation via the SO-approved phrase ours, see the threads about me in SO. – Ira Baxter Jul 13 '13 at 19:12
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    @IraBaxter: You can flag for moderator attention, explaining that you added a code sample and requesting undeletion. – user102937 Jul 13 '13 at 19:36
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    @IraBaxter I wasn't applying this to your answer (which I can't even see). I was giving general guidelines for this user for future reference. The specific problem in this case is that this is a closed question. You do have a recourse for mod deleted answers (flag the Q) but before you bother, the question would need to be fixed and reopened. – Caleb Jul 13 '13 at 19:37
  • @Pekka웃 Hence my note at the top that the real issue here is the question closure. Answers on closed questions aren't worth arguing over one way or the other, the other stuff was just for future reference. – Caleb Jul 13 '13 at 19:38
  • I see what you mean and totally agree, but in this specific case it feels to me like the deletion and the closing are different issues. (Yes, the question needs fixing nevertheless) – Pekka Jul 13 '13 at 19:48
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    I'm not so sure this answer is in the former category, @Pekka웃; the code that is provided is command input for Ira's software, not something that's separately runnable, or even containing logic that can be gleaned and translated. It's like Stephen Wolfram saying "this is easy, here's the Mathematica code for it" -- only if you have the extra tool can you use the answer. – jscs Jul 14 '13 at 1:30
  • @Josh: and that's different than a programmer has to have Linux or GCC to do his job, in what way? – Ira Baxter Jul 14 '13 at 3:13
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    Because code that can be compiled by GCC can also be compiled by Visual Studio or CodeWarrior or Clang, @IraBaxter. – jscs Jul 14 '13 at 3:21
  • @JoshCaswell: So your belief an answer is no good, unless it happens to work with the tools a programmer already has? I'll agree it is more convenient if he already has tools to support an answer. If he does not have tools to support an answer that another tool can do, what's the objection? (Try making GCC or any of those others do what Mathematica does, or what the tool I offered does.) If you have a screwdriver, but you need a hammer, you're better off getting a hammer. – Ira Baxter Jul 14 '13 at 4:13
  • @Josh but I doubt an answer by Stephen Wolfram saying "here's the Mathematica code for it" would get deleted. My point is, plugging your commercial software is fine IMO as long as the product is truly relevant to the question, and there is effort in the answer. Ira's answers usually fulfill those requirements. – Pekka Jul 14 '13 at 14:53

When someone does not disclose their affiliation with a commercial product that they are recommending in an answer, the community takes a dim view of it.

Even when one does fully disclose, if all (or a large percentage of) the answers given end up mentioning the product, this is still seen as a bad thing - someone using the platform for self promotion only.

Please note that the answer you have singled out is - use our software. No alternatives or other options.

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    Still, the answer should be undeleted. It has clearly been tailored to the OP's needs; it's not a "Hey try this tool it will help thxbai" answer. "The community" can consist of one person who thinks making software for money is evil. Flagging for undeletion – Pekka Jul 13 '13 at 18:49
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    @Oded: I have religiously disclosed my affiliation, including in that answer, using the approved phrase "our" since a rather rough and tumble discussion two years back. You may not understand that policy, but I don't see why I should suffer because you don't understand it. I kind of understand the sentiment about "other solutions". Do you provide multiple solutions in every answer you provide? As far as other solutions go in this case, I don't of any that will do everything what OP wants, except ours. I don't think I say that in my posts. – Ira Baxter Jul 13 '13 at 19:01
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    @IraBaxter - I had kept my answer generic for a reason. Please understand that it was a member of the community who has flagged the answer (someone familiar with your history on the site, no less). – Oded Jul 13 '13 at 19:28
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    @Pekka웃: When you flag for undeletion, please state the reason why you think the post should be undeleted. In this particular case, the OP has added a code sample, which in my opinion makes it an actual solution, and not just an advertisement (which is what the original answer was). – user102937 Jul 13 '13 at 19:34
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    @IraBaxter: --^^^ – user102937 Jul 13 '13 at 19:35
  • @Robert yeah, will do next time. (I didn't realize the edit was post-deletion) – Pekka Jul 13 '13 at 19:39
  • @RobertHarvey: Thanks for the feedback. – Ira Baxter Jul 13 '13 at 22:26
  • @RobertHarvey: any suggestions for how to repair this deleted answer: stackoverflow.com/a/3460977/120163 I'd be happy to remove the links if that helps. – Ira Baxter Jul 13 '13 at 22:46
  • @IraBaxter: I'll give you the benefit of the doubt on that one. – user102937 Jul 13 '13 at 23:44

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