I rarely mark questions or answers as spam because I actually find very few under the where I'm most active, but I did do so the other day, and my flag was declined.

This is the question, um... in question: https://stackoverflow.com/q/20551685/1270695

To sum the flagged question up, it was a self-answered question whose sole purpose was to promote a new package that the author had developed "for the benefit of the community". There was no indication at the time of posting and flagging that the OP was the author of the package they linked to in their answer.

Responding to my comment that SO isn't a place for self-promotion, the OP responded:

... I am just pre-empting a question. This way it will be indexed by google and when ppl search they will find it.

Thankfully, they did at least edit the question with a disclaimer.

My two questions are:

  1. Was my flag incorrect? If so, sorry for the noise and extra work!
  2. If my flag was not incorrect, but somehow slipped through the cracks, what is the best approach to resolving this? Flagging again? Posting on meta? Something else?

I don't see much wrong with doing this, as long as two points are adhered to:

  1. You explicitly state that you are involved with the package. This is, I think, fairly standard now.
  2. The tag already exists. This is something specific to a self-answer, but I think it's important. If someone goes around creating tags that no one cares about self-answering questions that no one's ever going to read it could quickly get ridiculous. You'd have 100's of mini-self-answered-support-sites.

It's worth noting that, as with any self-answer, the question has to be something that wouldn't get closed. The OP in this particular instance clearly failed to create a decent question and it was rightfully closed.

You don't specify what flag you used but if you flagged it as spam and the OP had stated that they were the author by the time the flag was reviewed then your flag would have been incorrect, yes.

To answer your second question I'm not sure there's something that needs resolving...

  • Someone posted about their own product and (eventually) disclosed their affiliation as per the hundreds of questions about the topic.
  • Someone asked a bad question, it got closed.
  • Someone self-answered.

We can insist that people also disclose their affiliation in the answer in this case but it's obvious they're the same person as in the question.


As long as people are creating quality, useful, content that other people will reuse, and are disclosing their affiliation to the product I see no reason to stop this1. If people are not creating quality, useful, reusable content and disclosing their affiliation then you know the drill...

edit, close, flag, delete, edit, close, flag, delete, edit, close, flag, delete, edit, close, flag, delete...

1. It's not like you could anyway..

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  • Good points, and I was pretty irked by the poor quality of the question, thus prompting my initial flag (off topic). Regarding the timeline, after that flag, the OP had posted their "answer", and it was after seeing the answer and visiting the GitHub page that the connection was made, hence the second flag and my comment. By this point, the question was closed. Not much of a reason to dig further... I'm just curious about the etiquette. – Ananda Mahto Dec 16 '13 at 10:21

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