I know that mild promotional activities by users in their profile are generally allowed to some level of good sense, but I noticed that the profile of Mark Mayo ♦, a moderator at Travel Stack Exchange, contains two separate ads for two completely different kinds of products, a travel agency and a web hosting company.

Need webhosting? I'm an affiliate of Bluehost, who I've used for 15 years

I run Cheap Travel Deals for Australians on Beat That Flight. Check it out - 100% free.

One of these ads has literally nothing to do with the subjects of any of the sites that he moderates.

Should such advertising by a moderator be allowed? To some extent, moderators are the mouthpieces or representatives of their community, so it would seem that their profiles should be shining examples rather than commercialized commodities.

Yes, I recognize that the thread I linked above mentions that I can flag one of the user's posts to have their profile investigated, but since the user in question is already a moderator there, I am afraid that there would be a temptation to simply decline the flag to make it go away.

I'm posting this on Meta Stack Exchange rather than the per-site Meta because this is something that can (and does) affect multiple sites on the network (the cited example is simply the most egregious that I've seen). I'm interested in the consensus of the entire community on whether this type of behavior (elected moderators using their profiles to advertise commercial products that they are affiliated with) should be encouraged, discouraged, or banned.

1 Answer 1


You can pretty much have anything you want on your profile (of course, taking into spirit and letter of the COC and other policies of the network), and as far as I know, there's nothing that tells us not to.

There's proper (implicit?) disclosure of affiliation, clear, good faith engagement in the site and network (so clearly they're not only here to shill their links).

He's certainly a user in good standing, and that's about as not in your face as you can get.

I do not see an issue. Whether or not we're a moderator isn't an issue here. We're regular users, and the only situation where I'd see a problem is if our other engagements somehow affect our ability to moderate. If there's a conflict of interest - we'd want to let another mod (or even CM) handle it, but I don't see any here.

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