Everybody seems to complain about the inappropriateness of some ads which have been posted so far, be it for sexual or other “sensitive” issues that may have disturbed some users.

We all would be much happier in an ad-free context but, alas, we should be conscious of the importance of ads for the long-term survival of SE sites (unless users directly finance SE activities).

Having said that, I think that anybody will always find faults with whatever ad will ever be posted for whatever reason. Advertising has its rules, if you don’t like an ad just skip it or let it go without paying much attention... or we will never come to an end to this issue.

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    What/who is "SE manager"?
    – Lundin
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 6:24
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    Probably depends on the site. I could imagine adverts for or containing alcohol might not go down as well on Islam as they might elsewhere. Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 6:26
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    "if you don’t like an ad just skip it or let it go" that doesn't work for a network viewed daily by thousands (millions?) of people, some of them being in a work environment. As was said by someone else here I'm not prude and I'm okay with shady ads if I'm browsing shady sites, but seeing scantily ​dressed women on a site like The Workplace is 100% inappropriate. Aaaand on top of that I do not want fingerprinting ads. Remember this?
    – Jenayah
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 6:29
  • Actually something I'm wondering is - since its an experiment, what they hope would be a successful outcome. But eh, maybe when things are a little quieter ;) Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 6:34
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    This isn't relevant because SE can't hand pick the ads anymore. They made final business decision to use external ad provider, and they have no control over the content that provider will inject to the visitors. All they can do is remove specific ads after they're already in the air in response to reports here. Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 6:43
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  • and We're testing advertisements across the network What would Stack Overflow look like if there were no measures? Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 6:45
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    @Jenayah "but seeing scantily ​dressed women on a site like The Workplace is 100% inappropriate" I remember IPS was banned from the HNQ for far less than this. So, I completely agree. I know you know that SE are working on something about vetting ads (albeit by users) but perhaps we wait until somebody raises attention on Twitter and it will be released.
    – VLAZ
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 7:18
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    @VLAZ Twitter age is over. Now SE is in a new phase "We do what we want, the way we want, and don't care a tiny bit what others are thinking". Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 7:43
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    @Shadow this could be re-worked into a better slogan: "Have a question? Ask and let us *sunglasses drop* deal with it.
    – VLAZ
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 8:30
  • @VLAZ on the other hand, the IPS matter was spotted on SO, and if I'm not mistaken, SO ads are not Google Ads? I may be mistaken but I think it's a different ads provider. At least I never saw anything inappropriate in ads on SO, but maybe I just got lucky
    – Jenayah
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 9:36
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    I understand managers don’t like being told what to do, especially by those who they are supposed to manage. Amen
    – Gio
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 10:58
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    @Jenayah SO might still run the old system where they get ads directly from the advertisers, e.g. Microsoft. But the network wide experiment is a done deal, and when it won't be experiment anymore, I'm sure SO will also get it. :( Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 12:21

3 Answers 3


How could Stack Exchange get me to unblock ads: a wish list.

  • Static images, without unneeded JavaScript that "tries to start audio but we are sure this is not for fingerprinting and everyone is doing that anyway" - we all know this won't happen...
  • Ads should have some relevance to the site I am on. I am fine if Arqade gets videogame ads, I don't need kitchen knifes ads on SharePoint, an I don't feel the need for Snake-Oil advertisement anywhere on the network.
  • Keep the ads PEGI-7 / ESRB E...

What can I tolerate if it helps to generate more revenue:

  • I could live with video ads provided they don't autoplay and they require user input to start.

And since we are at it, a little side notice...
If I understand correctly, you are using the Google Ads platform. Guess what? I see that platform used in many "for kids" smartphone games... and 99% of the time those don't get ads for fake medicines, questionable sites, online casinos and such. Why should WE get them???

I have skimmed the online available documentation for the Google Ads platform and I see that it provides a lot of filter options, both for target users age, type of content shown (for example, it provides a filter to block suggestive content) and so on. Please enable them if you didn't already.

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    video ads provided they don't autoplay and they require user input to start actually, Firefox has this feature built-in.
    – Vishwa
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 9:28
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    @Vishwa you have a point there, but I would prefer it to be a feature of the ads, not the browser, just in case I have to use Edge someday. Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 9:56
  • Please note that I'm in no way justifying what SE staff is doing, but just providing a mere solution until, or rather if they fix this. I'd always recommend an ad-blocker and using noscript if you really care about your privacy and stuff.. The day you have to use edge, is the day that you should not expose any personal info,logins etc.. ever
    – Vishwa
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 10:17
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    Not sure I agree about the knifes. After working with sharepoint a few hours you might want to cut a few corners ...
    – rene
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 10:28
  • It's sad that they don't realize that without tracking users, they could still have perfectly directed ads to the desired target audience, that nobody would hate. Like for example video game ads on the video game site. Kitchen knives ads on the cooking site. Etc. But that would have been too smart; lets do something thoroughly incompetent instead.
    – Lundin
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 14:19
  • @Lundin Don't know if I can still just assume that they simply didn't think about that option. As you can see, I made that same suggestion months ago but it didn't help ... and so did many other users. Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 14:52
  • @SPArchaeologist-様 They aren't reading community feedback but put their trust in their own incompetence. And so the computer sites get ads with softporn instead of software...
    – Lundin
    Commented Oct 15, 2019 at 6:55
  • @Lundin I know (from the reports, it is not like I will disable filter on this site right now). It is especially annoying since like I said Google Ads DOES provide content filtering and they even work most of the time. So, I don't see any use for the "In the work to be released in 6-8 time units" management platform since they already have the official one provided by Google. Commented Oct 15, 2019 at 7:25

Well at a bare minimum, adverts should not contain content that would be moderated if it was included in a question or answer. This includes:

  • Inappropriate or NSFW imagery of the kind that would be put in a spoiler block if it was needed in a question or answer.
  • Scams or misleading claims that would be illegal in print advertising in countries where this is regulated (there have been a lot of examples reported of fake-medicine "snake oil")

Many SE sites are professional and used in a work context. A bare-minimum rule of thumb should be, allowed ads should never cause an office worker to think "I hope my boss doesn't see this trash on my screen".


I'm not sure what or rather Who you meant by

SE Managers

But, as far as I know, SE staff doesn't provide ads by themselves but use a third party ad provider(s).

You said

...we should be conscious of the importance of ads for the long-term survival of SE sites(unless users directly finance SE activities).

Please note that advertising is not the only way for SE on income. as a corporate, they probably have investors and there may be many other ways for them to get big money. Also note that *Users are the backbone of the SE, and what they do, is the main reason that SE grows this big as a corporate and having the reputation on the internet. I remember someone said in a comment or in an answer, that the question on SO, How can I exit the vim editor may've earn the company a huge amount of traffic, attention and therefore money. so, yes, without users, SE is just a Q&A site on the net.

Having said above, IMHO, if we must see the ads, then,

  • Ads should be workplace friendly and child friendly.
  • Ads shouldn't be kind of animated ads.

  • Ads shouldn't be kind of javascript based.

  • Ads shouldn't be videos and/or with sound.

  • Ads should be relevant to the site (AskUbuntu shouldn't get
    booking.com deals)

  • Ads should be legit. no ads should display if it contains fake
    medicine, fake cosmetics, non-FDA approved drugs, shouldn't be scams, lottery or related categories.

  • Ads shouldn't redirect user to another advertiser, shouldn't force
    user to go into another click-bait website.

  • Ads shouldn't open pop-up windows.

  • Ads should be legal. it may depend on the user's
    location/country/state and/or regardless of the location, shouldn't
    promote illegal activities, illegal drugs/medicine, black market
    products, guns and ammunition etc..

  • Ads shouldn't be type of click-bait.

  • Ads shouldn't open multiple tabs and/or pop-ups on a single click
    from the user.

  • Ads should open in a different tab/window (singular), and shouldn't
    forcibly take the attention.

  • Ads shouldn't keep any data on user's device.

  • Ads shouldn't track user nor install scripts in user's browser nor
    save any user data.

That's the things in my mind for the moment, if and when I get more, I'll update this.

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