Since the beta went public, I've noticed a few responses which seem solely to be advertising a particular product, or in one case, the product written by the answerer. While I have no problem with commercial software, it feels like we should identify a line in the sand. I'd say directly posting your companies interests when the response is not warranted (they asked for a cheap or free option, yours is expensive) is too far.

The Stack Overflow FAQ has been updated with a pertinent response:

May I promote products I am affiliated with here?

The community generally frowns on overt self-promotion and tends to vote it down and flag it as spam, so be careful. Post good, relevant answers, and if they happen to be about your product, so be it. However, you must disclose your affiliation with the product in your answers. Also, if a huge percentage of your posts include a mention of your product, you're clearly 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.

3 Answers 3


We're about to add some stuff to the /faq clarifying, based on this discussion:

Limits for self-promotion in answers


Perhaps inevitably we are already overwhelmed by ESRI and OpenStreetMap mentioned in every other answer. I think people need to be careful not to vote down other things just because they arn't 'free' or this site will not be very balanced and will lose the interest of a lot of the professionals that it is intended to gain knowledge from.

I would go as far as to put something in the FAQ that FOSS evangelism is not welcome in order to not alienate the alternatives. Theres no need for it anyway if there is a FOSS option that is decent to answer a question then it will stand on it's own merits.


I bet there'll be enough FOSS folks around to vote down such behavior.


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