I came across this answer in the late review que today. In case it gets deleted, it says:

Word Files Splitter is an excellent tool to split a single word file into multiple word files according to number of pages or number of sections in a word files.


Now, this seems like spam because it's made by a new user who's advertising a paid product on an old question.

However, it is still a valid (albeit bad, because free software exists) for this question.

Therefore, does it count as spam?


3 Answers 3


Answers that simply drop the name of a product, without going into how to use the software to solve the problem at hand, are generally bad answers.

If the software is not free on top of that, then it's very much spam.

  • 2
    If it were free software and appeared to be clean of viruses, would it still be spam, in your mind?
    – Jon
    Commented Jul 28, 2014 at 7:35
  • 3
    @Chipperyman No, but it would still be a bad answer and deserve a downvote at the very least. Commented Jul 28, 2014 at 7:52
  • 3
    @Chipperyman Note that we do also get spam for free software, but it's usually a case of the author posting it wherever they think it's relevant, without disclosing their affiliation.
    – slhck
    Commented Jul 28, 2014 at 18:27
  • I've seen a lot of questions where tools like Unlocker, Sysinternals Tools are very good solutions/answers to a lot of questions. But there are not "bad answers", and I wouldn't mark those users as spammers/low quality users.
    – Jet
    Commented Aug 1, 2014 at 7:19
  • 2
    @Jet A good answer should explain how to use a tool or why it is the best tool to do the job (possibly comparing it to others). Then it really doesn't matter what tool it is. Commented Aug 1, 2014 at 7:20
  • if an answer states one free or commercial product, the question probably not allows any others answers. often it's cheaper to simply obtain a license than to reinvent the wheel. I'd rather consider users who constantly attempt to promote one and the same product or company as spammers. the op of the question still has the option not too accept the answer or to down-vote it. explaining how to use the tool is often redundant information, for that there are software manuals (RTFM). sure, examples how the parameterize some shell command might help reaching the intended result. Commented Aug 4, 2014 at 12:37

In this question almost every answer does not describe the way to use the programs to do such actions. Any of these answers would be more upvotable with the users experience added. Tips on what to do and things that it cannot do or do well. Pictures of how that works in action would be really nice to see also, and a big plus.

I have had the same problem in the review quoe before , sometimes it is easily fixable by placing content into the answer so it does something other than link.

Hit and Run, a spammer is more likely to leave after the placement of spam. A clue I have tried to use is they are active on the site (as seen in the profile) only for the time that they dropped the spam in. after doing the drop they are no longer shown as active on the site. I do not know yet how effective that is?

I myself am not so willing to delete what could be very valuable information and alternate methods to accomplish anything. Many times one method or program is not the best solution, or does not solution AT ALL because "your use or need may be different"

I am also not so happy about information on how to do anything being lost, many SE sites the ability to answer at all (unless your going to program it yourself, build it yourself, or write the book itself) the answers will have a program or a product used. Example at the android site they don't have a problem firstly recommending an App for that. Many of the programs would be ones that will be paid for one way or another.

If you go to SEs Gardening site, are they going to kick everyone out that mentions a particular fertilizer that costs good money? :-) You think on the Bicycle site they should unload on everyone who recommends a specific branded high priced derailer?

Somehow moderate the spam, without loosing useful information, without tossing every question that will end up including the use of a program.
Sometimes we have to remember that without a OS (programs) you do not have any questions :-) It is programs.

When questions for excell operations flood the pages, is is not a problem of everyone indicating they are using a specific program, the biggest difference is they "Tell How To use the program"

If a simple review causes me that much conflict, I do not envy the job of the moderation team.

Keep the users keep the information, kill the spam, and somehow know the one from the other. Fix the questions that can be fixed, and still have an expectation from the user that they will not just plop an answer down like these. That they will describe (at least) the reasoning behind the recommndation. They will tell us How to apply it.

One good way to mitigate and differentiate from spam and plopped answers, is The users real actual experience.

  • Am I the only one that could read this all?) Completely agree with your last statement.
    – Jet
    Commented Aug 1, 2014 at 7:21

You are absolutely right, can't i share a solution that helped me? even if its paid, we just try to serve the best available solution. I don't think we need to play tricky. Spamming has increased a lot over the past few years, but the moderators need to understand this, if a person is solving old questions, that means he's got a solution that would help new readers who land on the same question while performing a search on search engine. We respect their efforts to block spammers, but it hurts when we are called spammers, if we just share a paid solution.

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