What is the policy on GIS SE for employees of software companies to add this information to their profiles?

I believe users should add to their profile that they are an employee of a commercial software company when that is the case, and I am wondering if there is a formal policy to do so.

The reason I think this should be done, is that this forum is often the only place to get help on FOSS4G applications. To have 'mystery' users from proprietary software companies commenting on their posts may be detrimental to the community as well as the users ability to gain information about the correct use of their software tools.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – PolyGeo Jun 28 at 21:06

I've watched this post for the past couple days...spending way more time than anyone should reading edit history and comments. That nonsense in itself is why I quit on GIS.SE for a few months. But me going on about that is not an answer to the question. That point in itself is a problem - this "question" is now different than the original question. Now that I've called out the ridiculousness that has highjacked the question, I'll add an answer to both questions (even though both questions have been adequately answered).

Original question/complaint about a user being not nice

I think I know who this complaint is about, and if I'm correct in my guess -- this person doesn't discriminate against any one software company, technology or vendor (based on watching primarily Esri questions). I don't say that to normalize behavior. The "be nice" policy applies to everyone on all questions. if there's poor behavior, flag it. That's what the button is there for.

New question, which IMO has nothing to do with the spirit of the original question being should users who work for X company for whatever reason need to disclose that in their profile.

Absolutely not. If you want to require that, then SE on a whole should require people to use their company email to register or have some sort of verification. This is a Q&A site. I haven't come across anything that states someone giving an answer must be a recognized authority. That's why there is voting: to elevate good answer. If someone wants to put their company into their profile; that's simply bonus marks.

Let me add another answer for your original question, which was also about a hypothetical user who was responding and commenting on questions in an aggressive and non-productive way (i.e., 'trolling' around).

When you see such type of action here, first thing you can try is indeed flagging for moderator attention as suggested in the other answer (generally, this will work in almost all cases). Explain in details the situation and if you indeed have a case, expect the moderator dealing with all the systematic behaviour of such user, and not just only deleting that 'specific' comment/answer.

You said moderators were already aware of such user. So perhaps you have the feeling a moderator flag won't solve (or did not solve) this issue satisfactorily. That is the moment you can contact the Stack Exchange team (here) and explain in details with all the evidence you have collected and also mention your previous attempts trying to solve the problem until escalating to admins.

While I think it is very rare a situation where this will be necessary (supposing you are correct in your assessment, which I am not saying you are; just answering in a neutral way), perhaps I wouldn't be suggesting this if it hadn't happened to myself once (it worked for me in that particular case).

On the other hand, this is not an exotic advice; it's been written in many posts across the Stack Exchange community. Here is one of them How can I report a specific bad user?.

  • 3
    Thanks, Andre! I actually did take this to the SE Team a few months ago, but they advised me to reach out to the GIS.SE moderators... so here we are (in a sense...) – DPSSpatial Jun 28 at 17:48

Requiring users to write a profile that includes their employer's name is not something that is a Stack Exchange network policy. The only discussion I have seen about Stack Exchange control over what appears there is at Rules for Profiles.

As a focused Q&A site within the Stack Exchange network, GIS SE operates within its rules and policies, and while our users are welcome to advertise pretty much whatever they like about themselves there, I think to require them to provide any particular details would be against one of the pillars of what makes the Stack Exchange network different from discussion forums, bulletin boards, and other less focused Q&A sites.

Here it is the content (questions and answers) that is paramount, and so users are free to let the community know as much or as little about themselves as they wish.

If you see comments, questions, answers or chat messages that you feel contravene the Be nice policy then I encourage you to flag those posts.

I believe that every person volunteering their time here, whether that be on behalf of an employer or not, as long as they are operating within Be nice and contributing useful content, should be made welcome. The elected moderators are responsible for dealing with anything that they notice or which is brought to their attention that contravenes Be nice. The community is responsible for assessing whether individual questions and answers are useful to the site by their voting.

Coincidentally, Let's hold language in comments to the same standard as posts, is a Stack Exchange initiative posted today for the purpose of holding comments to the same standards that we apply to questions and answers.

Also, if you see any sign of overt, and undisclosed self-promotion (or promotion of the offerings from a user's own employer), then that should be brought to moderator attention by using a flag too. However, you do not seem to be saying that this is a concern within your question.

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