A group of SE users and I are collaborating on an open-source project similar to the SE network (basically an alternative for frustrated users), and I would like to get the word out to interested SE users. I am currently using my profile description to advertise, but my profile doesn't get a lot of exposure.

Am I permitted to:

  1. Include a short link to the project in the comments section of my own personal post?

  2. Bring it up in conversation where the user shows visible desire to move away from the SE network?

  3. Include a link to the project in my answers to other posts?

Just to note - I am aware of what qualifies as "responsible" advertising and I don't want to cause spam around the site. Are any of the above options allowed on Meta.SE?

And if the answer is no, then so be it - I just figured I'd ask before somebody got angry.

  • 7
    I wouldn't be surprised if your profile's about me is wiped.
    – Peilonrayz
    Nov 20, 2019 at 0:52
  • 4
    @Peilonrayz I don't think it would be surprising, but it would definitely wouldn't be in their best interest to wipe it considering how it would look against them (the whole censorship issue).
    – moltarze
    Nov 20, 2019 at 0:53
  • Some tips from Jeff Atwood blog.codinghorror.com/… Nov 20, 2019 at 8:06
  • You could talk outside of SE about it. Nov 20, 2019 at 10:04
  • 5
    It appears that the treatment of "About me profiles" has changed from "Zardoz" to "Don't compete with SE, criticize SE, or otherwise make SE powers-that-be feel like you're doing any of the above." Nov 20, 2019 at 19:21

4 Answers 4


Well, I suspect actively promoting the project would likely be a bad idea. Imagine if someone constantly advertised, say a Reddit subredit or something else.

Practically if you're choosing to run your own breakaway network, SE isn't really obliged to support it, and as a moderator - I'd be looking at it as per any other external link. In context, with reasonable disclosure and assuming your only goal isn't promotion of the alternative site(s), it might work.

As a platform - adding it here would be all right I suspect.

I'd also consider that it doesn’t look very good when you're basically trying to leverage the site you're trying to move off of to build your own. Jeff probably didn't.

  • To be fair, I have recently redirected someone to a subreddit for a very niche topic that has been brought up many times there, but there is no SE/SO site or tag that would encompass the entire question.
    – Drew
    Nov 20, 2019 at 3:48
  • @Drew, that is hardly considered "constantly", and thus should be fine. Even more so when there is no support to be expected from the SE network.
    – Luuklag
    Nov 20, 2019 at 8:24
  • Jeff who? Jeff Atwood? Nov 20, 2019 at 18:29
  • 1
    Not sure if meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2267/… is already a good place to post the project mentioned here. It's in a very, very early development stage as far as I can see and calling it an alternative might not really be justified currently. Nov 20, 2019 at 18:52
  • Well, no point advertising too early. Nov 21, 2019 at 3:34

I think that all the use cases that you describe could be reasonably described as seeking free advertising and, no matter what they were advertising, would be removed with a redirection to where advertising can be purchased from Stack Overflow at https://www.stackoverflowbusiness.com/advertising.

I think your question here can also be reasonably interpreted as an advertisement for your profile and project.

  • 4
    Noted. The question itself was not intended as an advertisement but I can see how it could have been taken that way.
    – moltarze
    Nov 20, 2019 at 0:41

This is no different from promoting a book or another web resource or service. The rules for that are as far as I know that they are okay if they serve a purpose of their own, e.g. in your case if the topic is alternatives to Stack Exchange (indeed there is at least one meta thread about that). Otherwise if the purpose is only advertisement don't post about it.

In the cases, where there is a legitimate use, but you are somehow affiliated with the product, service or else, it's typically good to add a disclaimer about your connections to it.


We constantly link to wikipedia, github, personal blogs and other sources of information. When the link is usefull and relevant in the context (links to personal pages in your profile are usefull) then it is not really like advertising.

So in principle it seems ok. But, in practice the problem is when somebody overly self promotes. One can bring up a book or article when relevant, but sometimes it may occur a lot and also when the link is not so strong.

  • 1
    That's why we also require a disclaimer in case of ties to the promoted service. This allows to gauge and keep in check the self promotion. Nov 20, 2019 at 18:51

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