According to a comment on Workplace Meta, the ads experiment will be running for a while:

@DavidK The experiment will last 6 months - so most of the this year. We're planning a recap at the end to talk about what we learned. – Juan M♦ 1 hour ago

There have also been many reports, both on that question and here on Meta.SE, of inappropriate ads. You've asked us to report these, but reporting is currently hard -- the least-bad way seems to be to take a screenshot, upload it, and add it to an answer. That's cumbersome, so a lot of problem ads will never be reported. (For example, I'm not sure I could work out how to do that on my tablet.)

Since this experiment will run for half a year on several sites, please add an easy way for us to report problems straight from the page where we see the ad. A "flag" link right below the ad that pre-fills the ad ID or URL and lets us choose a reason would be fine. I imagine something like the flag UI, where you have several canned options (animation, inappropriate content, inappropriate product...) and an "other" with a textbox. If I understand correctly, the Stacks UI that you're using for flags and close votes now should make this UI easy -- you just need to figure out how to capture the ad ID or target URL and stuff it into the submission, and (of course) send that submission somewhere useful.

I know that developer cycles are scarce and feature requests usually wait a long time to be addressed (if they're addressed), but this is time-sensitive. Please help us. Reporting bad ads to Google does absolutely nothing (I've tried), and some of the other ad brokers don't even have a way to report bad ads. If this is an experiment then it's important to capture all of the relevant data, which includes reports from users about bad content.

A while back we were told that sites couldn't link to external resources in the Community Bulletin because there is no way to report inappropriate content and otherwise police it. The ads experiment is a big pile of external content with the exact same lack of ability to report. If we don't even trust our moderators to curate external content without guardrails, why in the world are we trusting ad brokers to do so?

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    This used to exist back when Adzerk was the ad provider: there would be "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" buttons. Unfortunately, that was lost when SE moved to Google DFP. Commented Jun 18, 2019 at 20:01
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    I'm checking on this. I'll update when I hear more!
    – Juan M
    Commented Jun 18, 2019 at 20:04
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    I turned my adblock off for a few minutes and all of the ads I saw were garbage.
    – Richard
    Commented Jun 18, 2019 at 20:25
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    Whenever I visit a non-SO network site, all I get are ads for bras. Not only entirely non-applicable to me, but also very awkward. Commented Jun 18, 2019 at 21:43
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    @Carcigenicate for me it was just pure scam ads, which are even worse. Sites selling clothes are at least legit. Sites selling magic pill that will teach you a new language are not legit, evil, and should be nuked, not be made legit on SE. It was a turn point for me regarding how I see Stack Exchange, to be honest. When it comes to ads, they're as bad as any other site on the internet, and worse since they lied about it. Commented Jun 19, 2019 at 7:55
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    I agree with basically everything Monica said in this post. Nevertheless, I would also like to point out that considering we are speaking about a 6 month long test... maybe warning the participants would be a great idea. So far it seems that most of the info is posted just on a question on The Workplace meta site... I don't understand why the test is being handled this way - it would make much more sense to post that on the main Meta. Commented Jun 19, 2019 at 9:07
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    @ShadowTheCurlyBracedWizard in an ideal world, if a particular ad broker is generating a lot of complaints, SE would stop doing business with that ad broker. That's what a responsible company mindful of the experience it provides for its users would do. If all the ad brokers are scum that won't help, but if the malicious ads are coming mostly from a few sources, maybe we can do something about that. Actions should have consequences -- post a bad answer here and you lose rep and might get blocked; post a bad ad on our site and you lose credibility and might get blocked. It's the SE model! Commented Jun 19, 2019 at 14:33
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    @MonicaCellio I wish this will be true, but at this point I just don't have faith in this anymore. Thanks. Commented Jun 19, 2019 at 14:48
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    @SPArchaeologist Because then they would cause a massive meta ruckus about SE fully "going evil" in the ad department. Not that this wouldn't be justified, but it's understandable why they'd try to keep this as low-profile as possible, seeing how it's basically an overhaul of their entire ad philosophy. Commented Jun 19, 2019 at 15:08
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    @ChristianRau Yep, that's a way to read this situation, and sadly one that matches the "warn you when you rep goes up, say nothing and hope you won't notice when it goes down" SE culture. Problem is... there are already 3 different post on the main Meta site discussing various aspect of the issue, so it is not like it is a secret anymore. At this point even you were right with your assumption (and I want to think you weren't).... there is no "ruckus" to prevent since the info is already out. If anything, an official statement would only help to put the fires down. Commented Jun 19, 2019 at 15:14
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    @MonicaCellio That's exactly what's happening here - networks that are violating our guidelines are being removed. Those that were serving those scam adverts are no longer in the rotation.
    – Juan M
    Commented Jun 19, 2019 at 23:40
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    @JuanM, I'm very glad to hear that! See Shadow? My hope wasn't misplaced. Commented Jun 20, 2019 at 2:00
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    MonicaCellio yet no answer on the feature request (no note on whether they are even considering it in @JuanM comment even). So no hope here anymore Commented Jun 29, 2019 at 12:50
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    @dark I haven't heard any news. Several bad ads are also recorded on the original announcement on Workplace, so we might need to consolidate. Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 22:51
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    @JuanM, any update on this?
    – Luuklag
    Commented Oct 27, 2019 at 12:56

1 Answer 1


Welcome to the Report this ad feature! The post is not yet marked , but this comment by the OP says it was released network-wide. Here's what happens when you report an ad:

All reports will be consolidated into a dashboard that the team will look at several times per week to spot irregularities in terms of the total number of reports, report categories, and on an advertising campaign basis. We will not be replying to individual reports, but we will reach out to our advertisers, to share feedback or notify them if the ad being reported does not fit our guidelines.

So there you go Monica, and the rest of y'all.

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