14

When I report answers (new or old) that point to a link instead of answering the question on Super User, they get deleted or edited to reflect our policies.

However, I've tried to report this answer, and my flag was declined for the following reason:

Post does disclose affiliation with the link. Also it's from 2009, back when HowToGeek was an SU moderator.

What difference does it make that they were a moderator? Does it give them the privilege to keep getting web traffic from Super User? If I, as a normal user, or some current moderator, posted that exact same answer now, wouldn't it be changed to include the solution(s) to the OP's problems locally, or at least a direct link to the specific NirSoft tool instead of our blogs?

23

Without context, you could interpret the response like you did. But let's be clear: moderators are not exempt from any rules we have here—whether it's about quality or behavior in general. Feel free to flag a post when you see something wrong. We occasionally have to delete (older) posts of other moderators for quality problems or other issues. And we try not to handle flags on our own posts either, for obvious reasons.

Back to the topic. Your flag reason was:

spam answer that goes to user's blog

Seeing that in context makes it clear why the moderator who handled your flag chose to answer like they did:

Post does disclose affiliation with the link.

That's one of the most important criteria when evaluating possible spam posts. Generally, we let posts pass when they're actually useful and the author discloses their affiliation. Of course, that doesn't mean you can get away with only posting about your product or website. But if you're honest about it and your post doesn't just include a link, you're generally fine.

How to not be a spammer outlines these rules, too, in case you're interested.

Also it's from 2009, back when HowToGeek was an SU moderator.

This part clarifies the fact that it's not just some user that only visited Super User to promote their product.

And you're of course right. It would be better to replace all indirect links to blogs that describe some tool with a direct one, if possible. With The How-To Geek it's a bit of a peculiar thing since he has a popular website with (generally) helpful posts. Those are easy enough to link to, and it's not very likely that the website will become unavailable any time soon.

Please keep in mind that he hasn't posted an answer since 2009. Back then, our quality standards were quite low compared to today. We still keep finding old posts that need to be cleaned up.

I'd also like to point out that we shouldn't just hunt down old link-only answers to delete them. That's the easy way out. But if those have upvotes and we know that they solved many users' problems, deleting these posts does more harm than good. They should really be edited to include the important parts here—at least if it's possible to do so without major efforts. And this is something you can even do yourself! You don't need a moderator to do this.

  • 2
    Thank you for the long reply. I don't hunt them down on purpose. I find such pages when I'm trying to solve problems myself. – user33758 Feb 15 '15 at 20:28
  • 3
    Sorry if it came across that way; I didn't intend to direct this at you, personally. And it's not a bad thing to be searching for old, low quality posts, per se. :) – slhck Feb 15 '15 at 20:32
  • It also is hard to argue that HTG links are harmful in any capacity. – Ramhound Feb 15 '15 at 23:08
  • it's not very likely that the website will become unavailable any time soon. -- thanks for updating the answer to be more self-contained. It did feel like special exemption for old dates, but within the context of 2009, it makes sense. I'm sure as much traffic you send HTG, there are likely referrals from HTG as well. I'm sure it is not a one-way relationship. – Sun Feb 17 '15 at 21:32
  • @sunk818 It is definitely a symbiotic relationship. :-) – allquixotic Feb 21 '15 at 4:33
  • @allquixotic: There's a link to the full discussion thread, but it falls short of the attribution requirements under CC BY-SA. Among other things, there are supposed to be direct links to the asker and answerer profile pages. – Ben Voigt Feb 22 '15 at 19:44
  • @BenVoigt Interesting considering that it says, "Can I Republish Your Articles On My Site? NO. This site has taken literally thousands of hours of work to create and maintain, and every single article is original copyrighted content. (…) I’m just saying you can’t outright copy my words and screenshots." – slhck Feb 22 '15 at 19:57

You must log in to answer this question.