I would like to help my fellow Stackizens, using material from my blog or other website. But external links are sometimes viewed as excessive promotion. From the FAQ:

Be careful, because the community frowns on overt self-promotion and tends to vote it down and flag it as spam. 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. Also, if a huge percentage of your posts include a mention of your product or website, you're probably here for the wrong reasons.

I have tried posting answers that reference my blog, and I have followed the above rules, but my answers still get flagged as spam. How can I craft an answer that references my blog, website or other resource, but is still acceptable to the community?

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2 Answers 2


In my experience, posts with links are not downvoted if all these conditions are met:

  • you paraphrase the content of the linked item (possibly omitting details or examples)
  • you identify the author (yourself, MSDN, etc)
  • someone could benefit from the answer without reading the linked item at all
  • you include information to let the reader decide if clicking the link is worthwhile

For example:

You can use the CircularLabelsStyle custom property for this, for example:

  chart1.Series["Series1"]["CircularLabelsStyle"] = "Circular";

I blogged about this last year, with some sample code.

The other extreme, an answer that says nothing more than "here" or "read this" or "please read" and is a link, I will not just downvote but flag as not an answer, and I don't care whether it's the definitive documentation from the owner of the technology, another question on the same SE site, or just a blog you wrote yourself.

  • 59
    Rule of thumb: Can your post stand on its own, or does it require clicking the link to be meaningful?
    – user102937
    Feb 2, 2012 at 16:25
  • 1
    Links can also be used as references. For example: "You can parse (x)html with regex, provided the regex engine uses extended perl regexes according to This SO Post" Aug 9, 2013 at 7:28
  • Btw. one could print the external references smaller using <sup> html tags. That would probably further underline that the content of the small print is further resources, not the main answer. May 13, 2014 at 8:03

From an answer on MSO by George Stocker, this is some good guidance for writing an answer that recommends an external resource (emphasis mine):

A good answer that involves an off-site resource references the following:

  • What is this thing you're talking about?
  • Where do I install it?
  • How do I install it?
  • How do I use this thing to solve the exact problem I have in my question?
  • Are you affiliated with this thing in any way, shape, or form?

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