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I just noticed that this post: ASP.NET MVC CAPTCHA as well as every other answer by https://stackoverflow.com/users/446532/konstantin-nizhegorodov has been deleted after being flagged as spam.

For reference, here's the contents of that post:

Here is free MvcCaptcha library: http://www.smartsoftwarebits.com/mvccaptcha

And [here][1] is the article how to use it. 

  [1]: http://www.smartsoftwarebits.com/mvccaptcha/91-mvccaptcha-getting-started-howto

If you can't see all of his posts at https://stackoverflow.com/users/446532/konstantin-nizhegorodov?tab=activity then here are all 4:

While the author of the post may be the author of the product (I can't tell), the post seems to directly answer the question, it doesn't read like an ad, and there's no obvious profit motive. Indeed, there's little to distinguish that post from any of the other answers to that question.

Were his posts wrongly deleted?

EDIT

More importantly, is there anything in the deleted answers that says that I should not repost them as myself? If I do so, should I mark them CW?

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  • So you're saying they never posted any other answer type?
    – random
    Mar 23, 2011 at 20:30
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    All of my answers are really spam. It's all subconscious and stuff, though, so you'll never be able to tell. Also, you can thank me for the craving you have for cheetos after reading the prior sentence. You're welcome.
    – Pollyanna
    Mar 23, 2011 at 20:37
  • The user posted 4 answers, all of them similar, and all of them directly answering the question.
    – Gabe
    Mar 23, 2011 at 20:38
  • The "user" is you, right? wink wink
    – juan
    Mar 23, 2011 at 20:40
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    @Juan: If the user was really me, I would just use my "Gabe" sockpuppet account with 20k rep to make undelete votes on them all!
    – Gabe
    Mar 23, 2011 at 20:42
  • Well, you'd need two more accounts for them to mean anything though :)
    – juan
    Mar 23, 2011 at 20:46
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    @Juan: Do you really think I'm going to reveal to you all of my 10k sockpuppet accounts?
    – Gabe
    Mar 23, 2011 at 20:51
  • Also mind that the second link links against a webpage which uses Google Ads. So spamming that link could be seen as direct profitable interest (users were kicked before for that). Mar 23, 2011 at 22:15
  • @Bobby: Thanks for noticing that. I apparently have Google Ads blocked, so I didn't see them.
    – Gabe
    Mar 23, 2011 at 22:42
  • @Gabe: Me too, but whenever such things creep up, I check the source for it. ;) Mar 23, 2011 at 22:45
  • 1
    Mmm, cheetos... Mar 24, 2011 at 2:55
  • 1
    Yvan eht Nioj! -
    – Pekka
    Oct 21, 2011 at 20:58

4 Answers 4

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It appears that all of his answers have been deleted, so it's hard to say much about him.

However, if all you do on SO is post links to your product (free or otherwise), then you're not really contributing much.

In general, I think people are too eager to flag as spam. But in this case - if this user posted nothing of any real value - then I say it's spam.

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  • 1
    Related
    – Shog9
    Mar 23, 2011 at 20:34
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    I have no evidence that the product is associated with the poster, and the answers directly answered the questions so as far as I can tell they certainly added value. There was also no promotion (like "this is awesome" or "you gotta try this!").
    – Gabe
    Mar 23, 2011 at 20:36
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    It's a grey area. If the user posts other answers not plugging their library/whatever then leave them be. But if 90%+ of answers are the same then it is spam.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Mar 23, 2011 at 20:44
  • @ChrisF: Sure, if the guy has dozens of posts that are all plugging some library -- but the guy only had 4 after being a member for a year.
    – Gabe
    Mar 23, 2011 at 20:50
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    @Gabe - it's an edge case. Not many posts, but all identical - personally I'd say spam, but it does look like he's looked for appropriate questions. In conclusion - there's no right answer.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Mar 23, 2011 at 20:55
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This is in the FAQ now:

May I promote products or websites I am affiliated with here?

[...] Post good, relevant answers, and if they happen to be about your product or website, so be it. However, you must disclose your affiliation in your answers.

(emphasis mine)

He does not disclose any affiliation, yet there is strong evidence of such an affiliation:

  1. He has linked to at least two distinct products from the same vendor/site.
  2. All of his posts (few as they are) have such a link.
  3. He has never linked to any product from any other source.
  4. The broken English on the site he links to bears striking resemblance to his own.
  5. 3 out of the 4 answers are identical, word-for-word.

Part of the problem here is that all 3 CAPTCHA questions are duplicates. This is what happens when people don't vote to close. But that is beside the point, which is that he is promoting his own products without disclosing his affiliation.

That's against the rules. It's that simple.

Of course even if he had disclosed it, there would still be the issue of copypasta and not contributing anything other than links - but better to take these cases one step at a time.

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  • I don't blame the guy for posting duplicate answers to duplicated questions. I voted to close the two duplicates. Care to vote/flag them, too?
    – Gabe
    Mar 24, 2011 at 2:28
  • @Gabe: I've added my vote to close, but duplicate questions are not an excuse for blatant copypasta - if you see a duplicate, vote to close or flag it, don't copy/paste your answer from another question (especially if it's your only other answer on the site that just so happens to be advertising your product).
    – Aarobot
    Mar 24, 2011 at 21:41
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    It turns out that spammers are some of the very best duplicate finders! We should get some more of them. They look for every single post relevant to their product and spam it, so what do you do? Find all the spams, delete them, then close the dupes.
    – nhinkle
    Oct 21, 2011 at 21:07
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Thanks, Gabe for trying to protect my posts. I have just found this thread in Google. It is funny.

To clarify the situation.

  1. Yes, I was looking for questions about captcha solution for ASP.MVC framework.
  2. Yes, I was answering this questions pointing to the free library that does the job.
  3. Yes, I am the author of the library.
  4. Yes, my English is broken. (shame on me :-) )
  5. Yes, all my posts about captcha for MVC that were deleted are still valid.
  6. Yes, it is a pity that someone decided to hide this information from SO users.
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Maybe it got deleted because it's a sucky answer? First google hit for "free mvc captcha library", nothing else in the post that would help anybody judge the value of the library.

Hanlon's razor applies.

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  • I'm not saying it's a good answer, but it didn't get deleted randomly. It was flagged several times as spam, while the other answers on the page which are arguably suckier were not flagged.
    – Gabe
    Mar 23, 2011 at 21:59
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    If it was sucky then surely it should be down voted. If its relevant and attempts to answer the question directly I don't personally see how it can be spam.
    – Rob
    Mar 23, 2011 at 23:31

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