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On Nov 24 I red-flagged this post because:

  • it is a link-only answer
  • the username of the OP partly matches the domain name
  • the avatar of the author in the About page of the blog matches the gravatar of the GIS user

These show undisclosed affiliation and as per this MSE FAQ post:

A post should be marked as spam only if it advertises a product, service, or similar and is unsolicited or lacks disclosure.

  • [...]

  • Lacks disclosure means that the author is clearly affiliated with the product but does not disclose their affiliation. Note that a simple "my" may suffice. However, the disclosure must happen in the post itself; the author’s username or profile do not count.

they should be flagged as spam.

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https://gis.stackexchange.com/a/342843/115 was the first, and so far only, post by the answerer, and as such I was reluctant to greet them with a validated spam flag.

Their blog post was professionally written, and so I thought their skills could be an asset to our site, once they became familiar with its protocols.

As a result, and from its history, it looks like I took these actions in this order:

  1. Declined a spam flag from another user because "a moderator reviewed your flag, but found no evidence to support it"
  2. Validated a very low quality flag as Helpful although I would have preferred that the flagger commented, edited and/or downvoted rather than flagging
  3. Validated a not an answer flag as Helpful although I would have preferred that the flagger commented, edited and/or downvoted rather than flagging
  4. Declined your spam flag because "a moderator reviewed your flag, but found no evidence to support it"
  5. Added a comment of Avoid overt self-promotion. The community tends to vote down overt self-promotion and flag it as spam. Post good, relevant answers, and if some (but not all) happen to be about your product or website, that’s okay. However, 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 publishes this blog".
  6. Deleted the answer

At some point I also downvoted the answer as not useful because it was link-only.

Although, strictly speaking, you have made a case for why your and the earlier spam flags could have been validated, I hope you will understand that, as moderators assessing them, we must also bear in mind what we judge to be best for the site. I try not to validate spam flags on any post which I think may have been made in good faith by what appears to be a genuine new user.


I had a similar flag a day or two ago, and this time, as you suggested in a comment, I searched for how to Dispute (by clearing) rather than Decline the flag and found it on the mod button for the post.

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  • +1. I agree with actions 1-5, I'm not sure I would have deleted the answer without giving longer for the answerer to modify the answer to make it not link-only. I don't believe the posts were "spam", they weren't advertising a product or service, but it was linking to what appears to be the users own blog post. The blog wasn't advertising their own product or service (that I could tell), so still the answer wasn't spam. The answer did need something to say it was their own blog, and shouldn't have been link-only. – Midavalo Dec 21 '19 at 23:46
  • @Midavalo Without content from their blog being included within the answer, I think its link-only nature made it a blog advertisement. I would not have deleted so quickly had it not been for it having already attracted four flags. Even though deleted, the answerer could still see my comment, improve their answer and flag us to undelete it. – PolyGeo Dec 22 '19 at 0:28
  • There's also the dispute option. Also, you say you found no evidence to support the flag, but you actually did because you added a comment about self-promotion. – double-beep Dec 22 '19 at 10:24
  • Next time I process a spam flag, I'll look out for a dispute option. I thought I only had options to Decline or mark Helpful when the latter would put a black mark on the new user. The no evidence wording was canned and not my own. – PolyGeo Dec 22 '19 at 10:28
  • I'll refer to meta.stackexchange.com/questions/95275/what-is-a-disputed-flag next time I see a similar situation. – PolyGeo Dec 22 '19 at 10:30

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