I raised 2 spam flags for a guy's posts. My reasons for considering those as spams are below

  • He claims he's the developer of the software he's recommending (See his post).

  • The app costs US$0.99 on Google Play, and is newly submitted (June 17, 2017).

  • This guy has no questions, and only 2 answers, both of which are recommending the app, and their contents are almost identical. In other words, if he had posted other questions or answers, I wouldn't have considered him as a spammer.

  • His display name, Smaj Enterprise, is exactly the same as the publisher name on Google Play.

  • The whole answers are describing promoting the app (telling its advantages), which fits in the criteria.

See images below:

  1. My flag (Click image to view my flag history): My flag

  2. This guy's posts (Click image to view his user page): This guy's user page

  3. The app on Google Play (Click image to jump to GP): Incognito Away on Google Play

As an experienced Stack Exchange user (I registered at Stack Overflow over a year ago), I clearly know what a spam flag mean. (My profile on Meta SE) I carefully investigated the post before raising the flags.

  • 3
    To me the post looks OK: full disclosure, nothing hidden. It's permitted to answer with ones own "product" as long as all criteria are met, isn't it? Agreed, only two (almost identical) posts, so it might be borderline. But is it really to be considered spam?
    – Izzy Mod
    Jun 18 '17 at 16:59

That's some really thorough investigation, and it's good to see that you've put this much thought into the flags, even if they were declined in this case.

I didn't see the flags when you raised them, but I agree with the reasoning that Izzy presented. The answers this user posted are genuinely helpful and relevant to the questions. The answers are nearly identical, as you point out - but the questions are near-duplicates as well. (I think the main difference is whether root-needing solutions are allowed.)

Promoting your own app, when it's relevant, is fine on this site as long as you are honest in disclosing this fact.

The one thing I'd add to Izzy's analysis is that you're right that we discourage developers from advertising their own apps if it's the only thing they post, as it is in this case. Where the answers are otherwise good, I think on judgement I'd be inclined to mod-message the particular user and encourage them to post on a wider range of topics. In such a case, "validating" the spam flags wouldn't just delete the helpful answers, it would also mean the user has to fight the anti-spam system before posting other (non-promotional) answers.

In this case I hope you can agree that simply deleting all the posts would be a loss to the site. Even if individual flags are "declined", they can still be very helpful in letting us know when this kind of situation arises, and we can respond to that situation outside of the flagging system, in ways that aren't always visible.

  • One more thing I forgot to mention: I'm talking about the spam policy as it stands. Moderators always try to act within the rules as they're written. But that doesn't mean they're set in stone! If you think things should be different, and moderators should be acting differently (e.g. being more strict on self-promotional content, or more welcoming of it), then do raise that as a discussion in its own right.
    – Dan Hulme
    Jun 19 '17 at 9:11
  • So if I see a ppssible "not-so-straightforward" spam again, you mean I should raise a custom flag instead of a regular spam flag so as to prevent triggering the auto spam-filter mechanism on new users?
    – iBug
    Jun 19 '17 at 11:12
  • 1
    @iBug One spam flag from you won't hurt anyone: that only happens if the post gets deleted. I don't think there's anything wrong with what you've been doing; it's just that the feedback makes it look wrong to you.
    – Dan Hulme
    Jun 19 '17 at 12:11
  • "we discourage developers from advertising their own apps if it's the only thing they post, as it is in this case" – that's what I was referring to by "borderline". Thanks for making it clearer!
    – Izzy Mod
    Jun 19 '17 at 12:23
  • 3
    @iBug That said, a custom flag saying "All this user's posts promote the same app" would be clearer. We'll check it out either way, but being more explicit makes it more likely you'll get specific feedback.
    – Dan Hulme
    Jun 19 '17 at 12:36

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