This morning I had a reputation of nearly 400. Now I have just 1 (Plus 100 for joining MetaSO). All I did in between was correct an answer I posted earlier. Is that the reason?? My reputation page is not showing where I lost it.

I checked after 10 mins and now it is down to 80!! Does anyone have any idea what is going on?


Solution: Summarizing Jeff Mercado's solution below for the benefit of other SO newbies:

  1. Do not simply post a link to some other article - post solutions.
  2. Do not use URL shorteners for links (your post might live longer than the shortening service)
  3. If linking to your own blog, declare that the blog is yours. Attempting to hide your ownership makes it look like spam.

It appears people have been flagging your answers as spam. Here's a link to one such answer (now deleted):

How does this JavaScript closure work? (10k)

and another and another and another.

Considering that it is essentially just an obfuscated link to your blog, I'd say rightly so.

Posting links to your own pages without declaring that it's yours is considered spam and frowned upon. Even worse when you hide them behind URL shorteners. Every time an answer is deleted this way, you are penalized 100 reputation for each infraction.

One of them has the following comment from Shog9:

Heads-up: you're very close to seeing several of your answers deleted via community-spam votes. Might want to re-think posting multiple answers consisting only of obfuscated links to additional information - relevant portions of the information itself would be more appropriate.

It'd be best to follow that advice.

I do however see that the post you did edit was in danger of being flagged to oblivion too. Seeing as you answered the question like you should have, its definitely an improvement and perfectly acceptable (with some adjustments). Just please try not to use the URL shorteners in the future and try not to hide the fact that it's your blog you're linking too.

And as a warning, I see a few more of your answers that are have the same problems.

Please update this ASAP before they end up being flagged for spam. As a courtesy, I've left a comment to hopefully ward away flaggers so you could at least correct the problem.

  • 1
    The best way to do answer such questions in a similar way would be to copy'n'paste the relevant text that answer the question from the blog in question, and if there is more text there (that isn't really needed to answer it, but might still be interesting) you post a link to the blog with a comment like "More information on my blog here: LINK", and then not use URL-shorteners. If you need to track clicks on your blog to see how popular it is, get Google Analytics instead of using a url shortener. Either way, make the answer complete and self-contained. – Lasse V. Karlsen May 23 '11 at 9:35
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    Yeah, +1 for pointing out the obfuscation of the URL with a shortening service. I will absolutely downvote that every time I see it. – Cody Gray May 23 '11 at 9:36
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    To clarify, note that this is when you own the blog in question. If the blog isn't yours, you need to clear it with the owner that you're allowed to copy large chunks of the information. Many blogs have attribution clauses so that might fix it, but beware! – Lasse V. Karlsen May 23 '11 at 9:36

It looks like you recently had several of your answers automatically deleted after 6 different people flagged them as "spam".

And considering that each answer deletion as a result of spam flags costs you -100 reputation, that can really bring down your overall score in a hurry.

Here are the deleted answers I found (note that only you and other users with 10K+ rep can see them):

From a quick inspection, it looks like they're links back to your blog without any disclosure of your affiliation, or explanation as to why the linked article answers the question. Beyond that, the typical expectation here is that answers are self-contained, meaning that all the necessary information is written directly in the answer itself, rather than relying on external links. That way, if the links ever die (as happens occasionally on the Internet), the answer will still be informative to future users.

A moderator thoughtfully left you this courtesy comment on one of your answers a few minutes before it was automatically deleted from the system:

Heads-up: you're very close to seeing several of your answers deleted via community-spam votes. Might want to re-think posting multiple answers consisting only of obfuscated links to additional information - relevant portions of the information itself would be more appropriate.

You'd be well-advised to try and follow this advice in the future. You can, of course, earn the lost reputation back by contributing useful content to the system (both in the form of questions and answers), but be warned that if you continue posting spam answers, it could lead to your being banned from posting answers altogether in the future.

  • I am facing this problem from the other side and I am not sure what I should do. If someone posts "read this" or "refere to this thread" with just links to another SO question and/or an external site, I used to just vote the answer down and leave a comment why. Should I mark this as spam or should I flag it? I am not sure what is the right behavior to react on such answers. Any tip is appreciated :D – WarrenFaith May 23 '11 at 11:31
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    @Warren: There's not really a "right" behavior. I think downvoting and leaving a comment is a good thing to do no matter what, though. That way, if the user wants to edit the post and fix the problem (or learn something for future posts), they'll be able to do that (they're not otherwise notified when their answers are flagged). But if you think it smells like spam, then feel free to flag it as such. If you don't think it answers the question (or should be a comment instead of an answer), flag it for moderator attention as "Not an answer". – Cody Gray May 23 '11 at 11:33

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