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I've noticed that some answers on PW appear to be self-promoting or plain advertising. Don't like to single out users but here and here are two examples I just spotted.

They appear to surface most in the recommendation threads. Is there anything that could or should be done about them? (I mean, their answers may be perfectly valid, I don't know.)

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If the poster identifies their connection with the recommended product, and the recommendation is a possible solution, then it's usually OK. Else, downvote it and/or flag it as spam.

Also check if the user in question has a pattern of providing the same response near-verbatim (as is the case with the former), then it is likely spam unless it meets the criteria indicated above.

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    Yep. Full disclosure and a relevant answer is ok. But blatant advertising or a string of poor answer and not owning up to representing the website/product will get your posts removed if done repeatedly. Definitely flag those as I missed both of them. – John Conde Mar 17 '11 at 1:00
  • @John & @Grant: thanks for the clarification. I will make sure to flag any obvious advertisement posts in the future. The main problem is determining if a user is recommending a product they love or a product they sell. There are a lot of these type of answers around PW, many of which would classify as "low quality" even if they are morally upstanding. (Perhaps the problem is the questions themselves?) – DisgruntledGoat Mar 17 '11 at 12:11
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Generally what we are looking for is

  1. The answer, as with any answer, should be on-topic and a legitimate answer to the question -- absolutely!

  2. The poster should have at least a little history of providing answers other than links to this product or service. We need evidence that this poster is someone who participates in our community in good faith, not just to astroturf.

(also, if this is a "drive by user" who made that single post and never came back, it's probably spam.)

https://webmasters.stackexchange.com/faq#promotion

May I promote products or websites 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 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. Our advertising rates are quite reasonable; contact our ad sales team for details. We also offer free vote-based advertising for open source projects.

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