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I have recently written three answers with recommendations for the product where I'm a developer. In answers I pointed out clearly that I'm developer and that the product is commercial. Answers were relevant to the question and contained an explanation of how the question author can use the product to solve his or her issues. One answer got +1 vote.

Nevertheless those answers have been deleted by the moderator without giving any reason. I read the FAQ and related discussions and cannot determine the reason of removal. Can you please explain the problem?

Questions and my answers: https://gist.github.com/bobrnor/8456213

Direct links to deleted answers:

  • 7
    Could you quote your answers and link to the questions. Its hard to talk in generalities – Richard Tingle Jan 16 '14 at 14:42
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    Maybe because you are answering for the purpose of promoting your product instead of solving a programing problem? If you answer multiple questions with fairly similar answers, you are probably here for the wrong reasons. – Antony Jan 16 '14 at 14:43
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    Were your answers linking directly to this $400 product in your answers? Were you just posting a link to the product? If so, that would most likely be received as spam and will be deleted. I know that I have run across many spam-like answers lately pointing to that product. – Taryn Jan 16 '14 at 14:47
  • I added a link to the questions and my answers – Daniil Jan 16 '14 at 14:55
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    @Daniil Based on your github link are you the same user as this? As I said before, I know for a fact that that other account posted many answers that were basically spam links to your product. – Taryn Jan 16 '14 at 14:59
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    "I have recently written three answers with recommendations for the product where I'm a developer." That's your problem right there. Some background: Limits for self-promotion in answers Defining the limits of self-promotion What signifies “Good” self promotion? (or: Self Promotion Part Infinity). – Time Traveling Bobby Jan 16 '14 at 15:00
  • Are you sure they were deleted by a Moderator and not flagged as spam by multiple users? – ale Jan 16 '14 at 15:11
  • @AlE. Yes. It was a mod. – Servy Jan 16 '14 at 15:12
  • I can't say that it was the same user, @bluefeet, but you are absolutely right about the ... very strange timing. Also; the three answers this user posted also all had answers from that previous user. – Andrew Barber Jan 16 '14 at 21:33
20

The first question is off topic anyway as a library recommendation question so I'm going to ignore that one.

The other two ask on how to do something. The answers you gave were both "use this library". These answers are not wildly helpful as they don't really explain how to do anything, just suggest something to use.

An analogy:

Question: How do I dig a hole (circa 10,000BCE)

Bad answer:
I've developed a device called a spade, use it

Good answer:
This can be achieved using a spade, place the spade against the ground. Push into the ground, applying pressure with the foot if necessary, lift out earth. Repeat

Disclaimer: I have worked on the development of the spade and it may cost money to buy from your local hardware store

What you could have done instead

What would have made a useful answer would have been outlining how to actually do what the question asks. Now this might have used your library, but it would have focused on the actual task rather than being effectively an advert. Even so, while its fine for some of your answers to use your own products, it is generally considered bad form for that to be your sole activity on the site.

  • I don't think that directing a user to a commercial product, even with instruction on how to use it (your spade analogy), for the majority (or entirety) of your answers is going to be acceptable. -1 – Mr.Wizard Jan 16 '14 at 15:05
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    @Mr.Wizard I disagree. – George Stocker Jan 16 '14 at 15:06
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    @Mr.Wizard If it answers the question its an answer. It can be a bad answer. You may disaprove of it, you may downvote it. But it is an answer – Richard Tingle Jan 16 '14 at 15:07
  • @GeorgeStocker So even if all of a user's answers reference a commercial product that is acceptable? That appears to directly contravene the paragraph I quoted in my answer. – Mr.Wizard Jan 16 '14 at 15:11
  • Your analogy might have been better if the bad answer was "I've developed a device called the Super Spade 3000™ that does the digging for you, try it!". – Duncan Jones Jan 16 '14 at 15:26
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    @Duncan I get what you mean, but the analogy is trying to show how it is possible to answer well while still using your own product (a spade is a new invention in all cases) – Richard Tingle Jan 16 '14 at 15:27
  • @RichardTingle Ah, gotcha. – Duncan Jones Jan 16 '14 at 15:34
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    @Mr.Wizard If a user can write a post that solves the user's problem, and the answer is sufficiently good that it solves the specific problem the user has, and that answer just happens to involve a library the user posting the answer wrote? I don't have a problem with that. What I see a problem with is, "Hey, I wrote a Spreadsheet library. Use that." That doesn't solve the user's problem. That just promotes someone's library. – George Stocker Jan 16 '14 at 15:35
  • @George But if the all the users answers require a commercial product that is nothing other than an advanced form of advertising; it's merely specific advertising targeting a particular problem. I am not arguing that a library author should not be able to reference his product occasionally or even regularly, but I contend that "If a large percentage of your posts include a mention of your product or website, you're probably here for the wrong reasons." still applies regardless of how specific the advertisement is. – Mr.Wizard Jan 16 '14 at 15:39
  • @Mr.Wizard What you're describing is "generally bad form" rather than the rules, note the "probably". Posts should ideally be judged individually. And in this case have all, individually been judged to be spam. Because they were, there didn't need to be any overall user decision for this. – Richard Tingle Jan 16 '14 at 15:41
  • @Mr.Wizard "... you're probably here for the wrong reasons". Exactly. Doesn't mean these answers are delete-worthy all the time. If the answer is good and addresses the specific question, then it has value to the community as a whole (or at least the community with $400). – psubsee2003 Jan 16 '14 at 15:41
  • The wording was softened from the original "Also, if a huge percentage of your posts include a mention of your product, you're clearly here for the wrong reasons" and I see that the community supports George's position, so I cede the argument. – Mr.Wizard Jan 16 '14 at 15:46
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FAQ: What kind of behavior is expected of users?:

If a large percentage of your posts include a mention of your product or website, you're probably here for the wrong reasons. Our advertising rates are quite reasonable; contact our ad sales team for details. We also offer free community promotion ads for open source projects and non-profit organizations.

This policy is the result of a previous discussion here on Meta. See the Accepted answer to Limits for self-promotion in answers.

7

Each answer in turn:

https://stackoverflow.com/a/21127886/474189

This question was off-topic anyway, since it was seeking external library recommendations. It makes sense to delete the answers that follow, since they are simply adverts for various tools that might fit the bill.

https://stackoverflow.com/a/21143582/474189

This was a question in which the OP was (I presume) looking for assistance in writing an app themselves. It wasn't appropriate for you to post an advert for your product as a solution.

https://stackoverflow.com/a/21143653/474189

Again, the OP seems to be trying to complete this task themselves. Linking to your product is not very helpful and feels quite spam-like.

5

The other answers you got here cover things nicely. I'll go into some other available details which just aren't as obvious, but contributed to me having no doubt at all about deleting all three.

First: You created your account, and went straight for posts you figured you could advertise your product as a response to. The first one was arguably 'forgivable', as you were at least answering the question being asked. The others were not; they were simply advertising a commercial product.

Note that I also put that first question on-hold.

Second: That's all you've posted.

Third: You aren't the first one from your company to do this. Just a few days ago, another account swept through posting advertisements for your company. There were 9 posted within about 13 minutes, in that case. I deleted those, too.

I also note that your answers all also had answers from the previous account.


If you want to participate here, don't look at it as a way to get free advertising. Post some actual answers to questions. If some of them happen to mention your product here and there - while still answering the question - that's not so bad. But you should be here to ask and answer good programming questions. That's what the site exists for.

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