Browsing the new questions queue in English Language Learners, I see several rapid-fire questions from an account with a spam-like name:

This account is quite forthcoming about it's intent:

However, there is no visible solicitation activity besides the account name and description. Questions appear to be clear and on-topic, and they enjoy neutral to positive reception (that I can see; I am not 10k).

This is an established account (+1k rep) on four Stack Exchange sites, with +6k rep on Math.SE. As such, I am inclined to let it go where I would have otherwise flagged it.

Should this type of "passive" spam be given leeway, considering it promotes an in-network community resource in a non-disruptive manner, or is spam spam and should be treated as such?

I understand that 100% is easier than 98%, but I would like to know the community's position on this.

  • 1
    What? Spam? Where do you see spam? – nicael Oct 26 '14 at 11:25
  • As you see there, he even asked for permission. – nicael Oct 26 '14 at 11:27
  • @nicael not really a dupe, one is asking for permission the other is reporting it as spam. – Shadow The Burning Wizard Oct 26 '14 at 11:30
  • @ShadowWizard: yet it is about the exact same account. – Martijn Pieters Oct 26 '14 at 11:57

This is not spam. Users can have whatever display name they want as long as it is not offensive.

I can have such a name:

I am Shadow and I am great, vote for me now

And it won't be considered spam, even a tiny bit. Annoying maybe, but same way you can't force people to choose names you like to their children, you can't and should not force Stack Exchange users what display names to choose. Period.

Having this inside posts is a totally different matter of course, but that's not the case here.

  • There was a post a while ago about it. – nicael Oct 26 '14 at 11:28
  • Thanks @nicael, missed it. – Shadow The Burning Wizard Oct 26 '14 at 11:29
  • @nicael Posted by the same user, no less. Did you recall that post from memory? Search (SE and Google) turned up a lot of closely related questions, but not that. – Substantial Oct 26 '14 at 11:40
  • You can't have that name, it's too long. The most that will fit is I am Shadow and I am great, vo. – user259867 Oct 26 '14 at 17:40
  • @Wea you won the battle, but not the war! :D – Shadow The Burning Wizard Oct 26 '14 at 18:22
  • 1
    Hey @ShadowWizard your advertising worked... +1...such is your power – user273376 Oct 27 '14 at 3:26

The user had asked the community if it was permissible to use such a username before changing their name.

"Is it permissible to use your SE display name to advertise another SE site or Area 51 Proposal? Is this scrupulous or laudable?"

This cannot be classified as spam, because users are allowed to use any username and have freedom to write their thoughts in their "About me" as long as they are not offensive, and as long as they aren't posting spam content on any of the sites.

As you have mentioned, "there is no visible solicitation activity besides the account name and description. Questions appear to be clear and on-topic"

This is a related post on MSO with the official response on permissible avatars and profiles as per the Terms of Service of Stack Exchange

I see no reason to intervene unless:

  • The person doing it is intentionally creating a disruption (which is a whole other issue)

  • The parody itself is creating a disruption (please, don't be Hitler, nobody likes that)

  • The person is otherwise not following the rules of the site (also a whole other issue)

  • 2
    What happened to the little duck?! :-( – Shadow The Burning Wizard Oct 26 '14 at 11:43
  • @Sha I thought it was a chicken... – nicael Oct 26 '14 at 11:45
  • @Sha, Owl called me a d*ck again. – Infinite Recursion Oct 26 '14 at 11:45
  • +1 Thanks. I didn't see the user's post in meta, despite being exactly the info I was looking for. Search turned up a lot of partially related Q&A about promoting Area 51, but nothing helpful. Lesson learned: next time search for "scrupulous and laudable." – Substantial Oct 26 '14 at 11:48
  • @Substantial next time look on the user's activity in meta sites as well. :) – Shadow The Burning Wizard Oct 26 '14 at 11:51
  • @ShadowWizard I never thought to check. That user acted with exceptional courtesy. – Substantial Oct 26 '14 at 12:00

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .