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What is the proper way to handle

  • Answers that specifically mention a company's products in a way that obviously is more an advertisement than a real answer
  • Answers that refer to a (company's) weblog or web site for further information.

Now most of these cases are so obviously advertisements that I just flag them and check back a few hours later to see whether the posts/user still exist (they don't).


But what about answers that are (gasp) actually helpful and/or relevant? Should we require that they tell us they work/write there? In what way, directly in the post, in the user profile? Or is it enough they provide helpful information and don't care whether it's basically an advertisement for or at least a redirect to their web site? Or should we comment on those posts, to provide additional information for others so they can decide for themselves?

As a current example, I consider this post to be useful, if a bit vague, given the specificity of the topic; but certainly not flag-worthy. The user specified the company blog as his home page, and his user name (JimK) is similar to a poster's name on the blog (Jim Kidwell, "Product Marketing Manager for Font Solutions").

6

As per the FAQ:

May I promote products I am affiliated with here?

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, so be it. However, you must disclose your affiliation with the product in your answers.

More background: Limit to self-promotion in answers?

  • Thanks, I must have been blind. Anyway, what's the preferred action when one encounters such a (helpful) reply? Flag? comment? Maybe even edit? – Daniel Beck Dec 8 '10 at 5:38
  • @DanialBeck Downvote is my first action, unless i can see that the product is worthwhile, then edit. If the person seems to be spamming, then flag. – James Mertz Dec 9 '10 at 17:28
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    @KronoS, @Daniel: Don't downvote for this reason, downvoting is for unhelpful replies (wrong, off-topic, etc.). The FAQ is policy. If you're pretty sure the post is violating the policy, flag it as spam. If you're not sure, or if you notice a repeat offender, you can flag the post for moderator attention. If the post if from a relatively new user who might be unaware of the policy, leave a comment pointing them to the policy. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Dec 9 '10 at 18:09
  • Can I consider this rule to apply to promotion of the company blog or website (second point in my post above) as well? The FAQ only mentions products. See the post I linked to above. – Daniel Beck Dec 11 '10 at 6:44
  • @Daniel: I think the intent is to apply to all self-promotion, whether directly of products or indirectly through a site that promotes the product. But if you'd like an official clarification, ask on the main Stack Exchange Meta. Blogs have been discussed before, but I think not this specific aspect. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Dec 11 '10 at 11:30

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