This question is spawned by the top answer to Alternatives to ArcGIS Online? and revolves around the debate around closure of that question.

How should we handle questions that contain users that either intentionally or unintentionally fail to disclose that they have a direct financial stake in the products they recommend?

This is not the first time I have seen this happen on this site, but the example provided is the most egregious one I can find.


2 Answers 2


We cover self promotion and our requirements for disclosure in the Help Center:

you must disclose your affiliation in your answers

In practice this means any answer that recommends your own product must include something like:

Disclosure: I am the [position] of [company] that develops/distributes this software.

Although the above is talking there about full answers I think we should assume that it applies equally to edits made on the answers of others.

Any time someone suggests using a product, that is not mentioned in the question, I think the obligation to disclose that they work for the developers of that product arises.

There is a Software Recommendations Stack Exchange which has gone to considerable effort to provide guidance around how to ask and answer software recommendations questions, and it already has a tag for GIS questions.

Rather than us shadowing or piggy backing on that effort, for a set of questions that are problematic for focussed Q&A, my preference would be to try and redirect GIS software recommendations to that site which is set up specifically for software recommendations.

If we do not provide software recommendations then the problem of them being used to promote sales/use of particular products evaporates.

In the meantime I think it should just be called out when it is sighted, either via commenting like you have done on that answer, and/or flagging for moderation using the Other category.


I think in this case, it would have been appropriate for the author to add another answer with CartoDB as the solution, with disclosure (as suggested) that the author state they work for the provider.

I don't like how the question was 'edited' and CartoDB slid in there...


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