11

I like answering Qs on GIS-SE. I am from an Esri background, and therefore tend to stick to the Esri related Qs.

At the same time, I have dabbled with OpenSource, and read a lot of the OpenSource Qs to gain better understanding about them.

I am associated with an Esri Distributor, and every now and then, I think that a particular product is worth mentioning in an answer, but a product that I am associated with.

Take a read of the 2 times I have responded and mentioned this product: https://gis.stackexchange.com/a/20270/325
https://gis.stackexchange.com/a/20586/325

They are my genuine feelings on an answer, but I am not sure if I am crossing any lines here?

For the record - I work in a technical role, and do not get any sort of recognition relating to sales or even posting positive material about the product online.

  • 3
    Just the fact that you even bring this up makes people like me gain more respect about the transparency of your answers. +1 – Ragi Yaser Burhum Feb 22 '12 at 1:11
  • also see the related Rules about advertising in answers (it's illuminating to read the linked discussion as well) – matt wilkie Oct 8 '13 at 8:48
10

Objective, well-reasoned replies are welcome here, regardless of their source. People with ties to vendors sometimes can supply advice or information that is unique or otherwise difficult to obtain; this can be especially valued. I am grateful to see such contributions. One strength of our community is that it has many valuable and highly appreciated members who work for commercial vendors or develop open source solutions.

When a new user hides their association with a product and creates a pattern of recommending it as a solution regardless of the specific question asked, the community reacts quickly and takes appropriate action ranging from deleting the offending posts to permanently deleting the user accounts (which occurs when the posts are obvious spam and unconnected with GIS at all). If there's any question about the correct course of action, community members usually initiate a dialog (via comments, chat, or a meta thread) with that user in order to clear any misunderstandings.

If you find yourself recommending or commenting on a solution in which you have a personal interest (whether it be commercial or not), it's always a good idea to identify your association with that solution: it's just one more way to provide the information people need to evaluate your reply.

5

Those answers seem reasonable to me, mainly for two reasons:

  1. You give good quality answers to the questions (besides just ambiguously saying "try my product"),
  2. you divulge your association within the question.

Quality answers is the key IMO, it is what we strive for in the community, and otherwise it just turns into a spam advertisement.

4

With regard to "divulging your association".

For only one or a few posts, ending or starting with a disclaimer along the lines of "use program Foogisbaz (I wrote it, get more info at www.example.com)" is great.

That will quickly get old if your program does a lot of stuff, is relevant in a lot of places. It's tiring to keep writing disclaimers, and just as boring to keep reading them. In that case:

a) Edit your user profile and add all the links and other program vital statistics there

b) If the program or project is what you're on about, then make it part of your nick name, 'Joeline "Foogisbaz" Smith'.

c) every once in awhile use ownership terms such as "our program solves this by...", "the approach we take is to...". Just a few small gentle reminders, now and again.

  • community wiki, to encourage group ownership and editing. – matt wilkie Oct 8 '13 at 8:46

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