The spam flag is designed for “unsolicited advertisements.” It’s clear that it should be used when a question, answer, or comment links to a website with obvious commercial intent.

But what about cases where things are not commercial, but the user has an obvious interest? In other words, self-promotion without monetary gain. For example:

  • A post that only links to a personal social media page.
  • A post that consists mainly of a link to a petition1 or other form of campaign that the user started (or wants to promote).

These will generally be “not an answer” if answers, and often “too chatty” or “not constructive” as comments. But are they spam? In addition, does it make any difference whether the non-commercial site being promoted is related somehow to the question?

1: Link visible only to users with 10k+ reputation on Science Fiction and Fantasy.


1 Answer 1


My interpretation of our current policy for answers is:

  • Please don't promote your product, service, website, social media page, or anything else; whether it be commercial or not, unless:
  • your product/service/blog post is relevant to the question and solves the OP's problem, and
  • where possible, a summary of the content of the link should be provided so that it stands on its own as an answer (See: Your answer is in another castle - when is an answer not an answer?), and
  • you must disclose your affiliation with the product

As for questions, the policy is pretty simple; there shouldn't be any reason for you to be promoting your product/website/whatever.

  • If you are developing a product, we don't need to know that! Just give us your question.
  • If you need to show us the code, create an MCVE. No reason to give a link to your product.

Back to the original question: is a non-commercial promotion spam?

If they follow the above policy, we're fine with them promoting their product! Just make sure it is relevant.

Otherwise, ask yourself the following question:

Is it worth having this completely irrelevant, non-constructive self-promotion of your social media page or survey link stick around on SE for forever more?

Your answer to that question should be no. It doesn't matter whether your self-promotion is commercial or not; it would still be considered at the least NAA by our standards, and probably spam.

So yes, self promotion which doesn't follow our current policy is spam, whether it be commercial or not.

  • 6
    As a side note: links to your social media page have absolutely no relevance and should always be considered spam. If you really want to get people to follow you, put your link in your profile. Sep 10, 2016 at 3:33
  • 2
    Yes, promotional advertising has nothing to do with whether the website/product/service/campaign involves monetary gain. Sep 10, 2016 at 16:08
  • ...in much the same way as a "shopping" question doesn't require that the Asker is looking to spend money.
    – ale
    Sep 17, 2016 at 14:27

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