For a long time we have endured spam from SomeProduct's company/owner/employees who post a lot of answers about SomeProduct in barely relevant questions.

Today they posted again about SomeProduct and guess what? Their answer is perfectly on-topic at that question, SomeProduct actually does exactly what the asker requires.

Being known spammers, they are not liked very much, the answer is now at -4 and has been flagged as spam. I declined the flag, because the post at its face value is on-topic and the tone is not spammy either. But someone else tagged as spam again, so I decided to ask here before declining again.

What should be our stance on this?

  • 2
    I'm not a regular user on Software Recommendations, but the guidance elsewhere on the network has been to judge each post on its own merits, and not look at the poster's history. I guess it's possible that they have decided to finally play by the rules; regardless, I can't see how you could flag this individual post as spam if indeed it meets the requirements in the question precisely. – tripleee Nov 1 '17 at 6:54
  • Was there any disclosure of interest? If so, and it's on topic, I say let it stay – Mawg Nov 1 '17 at 8:56
  • @Mawg: Ah, no disclosure of interest in this case, that's a wrong indeed! – Nicolas Raoul Nov 1 '17 at 8:58
  • If you can prove it, of course – Mawg Nov 1 '17 at 8:59
  • It's worth noting that every Long Path Tool answer is perfectly on-topic to the question they spam on. That doesn't stop it from.being spam. It's not the user's history we look at; it's whether or not the product / website has spammed a lot here before. The spammers rarely reuse the same account. – Nic Hartley Nov 1 '17 at 14:35
  • @QPaysTaxes: Then how do you tell the difference between a spammer and a non-spammer? Feel free to write an answer detailing your idea. – Nicolas Raoul Nov 1 '17 at 15:24
  • @Nicolas In the case of LPT, because despite their constant claims that their software does actually solve the problem, and all the screenshots and prose on their site suggests it does, it's ransomware. In this case, it's because this product has been recommended multiple times by the same user across multiple sites, which suggests affiliation (either it's their product, or they're being paid to 'advertise' it). – Nic Hartley Nov 1 '17 at 15:46
  • @QPaysTaxes: Now that certainly brings a new light to the question. Please post as an answer, we have too many comments already. – Nicolas Raoul Nov 1 '17 at 16:12
  • @NicolasRaoul I'm currently in class. Once I'm done for the day (in a few hours) I will. Please note that I'm not claiming that the specific software recommended there is ransomware -- but LPT proves it's entirely possible to fake a good website, and scares me into not downloading software to see if it really does what it's supposed to (which would be one of the best ways to check if it's spam) – Nic Hartley Nov 1 '17 at 16:35
  • 4
    Constructive spam? Let's see what XKCD says to that: Mission f***ing accomplished :) But disclosure still is a must. – Izzy Nov 1 '17 at 18:03

Vote/flag based on the content, not on the user. If people are downvoting or flagging this because of who posted, that is user targeting, which is against the rules on Stack Exchange sites.

If the post is on-topic, not spam (or doesn't fail to provide attribution in the case of a product recommendation), it shouldn't matter whether the poster is new, Jon Skeet, a thrice-banned spammer, or your dog.

If the post is on-topic but fails to provide attribution or affiliation, then yes it should be flagged, but probably not downvoted. However, people are famously free to use their downvotes as they see fit on SE sites.

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