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User lzap has just posted a rash of answers, some to very old questions, all of which look very similar:

From Automated VM's provisioning:

If you don't mind use Puppet for configuration, then the tool you are looking for is called Foreman. It's free and open-source project, supported by Red Hat; a complete lifecycle management tool for physical and virtual servers.

From FLOSS Server management and audit tools:

If you like Puppet and you want nice user interface, then the tool you are looking for is (already mentioned) Foreman. It's free and open-source project, supported by Red Hat as a Satellite 6.0 product.

From Automating silent software deployments on Solaris 10:

If you like Puppet and you want nice user interface, then the tool you are looking for is called Foreman. It's free and open-source project, supported by Red Hat; a complete lifecycle management tool for physical and virtual servers.

From Automating server deployment:

If you like Puppet and you want nice user interface, then the tool you are looking for is called Foreman. It's free and open-source project, supported by Red Hat; a complete lifecycle management tool for physical and virtual servers.

You get the idea. There's nothing in his profile to suggest that he's attached to the project, and none of these answers on its own is enough to make me flag, but taken altogether they look a bit, well, spammy.

Thoughts?

10

Yep - We're on it!

Apparently answers must be 30 character long now.... not just 15.

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If the answer, however repetitive, is a legitimate and appropriate response to the question, I don't think it qualifies as spam. In this case, the application he is suggesting is an appropriate response to the questions he's answering. and he didn't even copy/paste them. I would be more concerned about the existence of so many unlinked duplicate questions.

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    There is a fine line to be walked between pushing a product that you are involved with and spam. Some people manage it quite well. Others, like the person in question step over the line and need to be educated. What makes the difference to our community is how you go about it, if it's 'organic' and you answer other questions along the way then that seems to be acceptable. What this person did was answer several questions in quick succession all of which pushed a project they are involved with. That is pretty much spamming by this communities definition and it was handled appropriately. – Iain Dec 10 '13 at 22:29
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    @Iain I suppose the "by this community's definition" is the part I should spend more time getting familiar with. Each of the example questions in the OP were asking for recommendations for particular applications to automate a particular task; Izap gave direct and succinct answers. And it's no surprise that he found several of these questions in short time, since SF is designed to point them out to us. So we're essentially discriminating against him because he is associated with the product he's recommending (never mind that he was asked to recommend something to begin with). – Thomas Dec 10 '13 at 22:50
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    Many of those questions asking for $product recommendations would be closed today. They (and others) are all ancient questions and were obviously dug up to push $product, this is typical spammer behaviour.There really is very little difference between this incident and many others that we've had over the years with for example password recovery, email recovery etc etc products. – Iain Dec 10 '13 at 22:57
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    Izap has been on SF for almost 3 years and has over 400 reputation from 16 answers and 6 questions. Hardly worthy of the "spammer" label. To refer to an answer as spam, or to refer to a user as a spammer, insinuates malicious intent; I see no more malicious intent here than if a Citrix consultant were to answer questions about virtualization. Or if an MS partner were to answer questions about Active Directory. And if a user asked "What is virtualization and how do I do it?" would you really expect a VMWare developer to keep quiet when he is perhaps the most qualified to answer? – Thomas Dec 10 '13 at 23:09
  • Also, there is nothing to indicate to me that any of these answers, or all of them together, qualify for deletion under what I read in the FAQ on the criterion for deletion. – Thomas Dec 10 '13 at 23:12
  • "The official stance is: It it's on topic, adds value to the discussion, and they disclose that it's their own product, it's ok." By what I read, Izap appears to have met these criteria. – Thomas Dec 10 '13 at 23:14
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    You're trying to advocate letter of the law over intent of the law. While that works well in legal institutions, we're generally more concerned with the latter in these parts. Digging up old questions that would be closed by current standards is not demonstrative of healthy participation in the community, especially to push a project. A number of reasons behind why shopping questions are of poor quality are also why shopping answers are of poor quality -- particularly their short term relevance. – Andrew B Dec 11 '13 at 2:17
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    Thomas, note also the last paras of serverfault.com/help/behavior, on self-promotion: "if some (but not all) [of your answer] happen to be about your product or website, that’s okay. However, you must disclose your affiliation in your answers.". lzap did not. – MadHatter Dec 11 '13 at 10:50
  • The answers were deleted before I could read them in their entirety, however Skyhawk's comment on the OP clearly demonstrates that in at least one case Izap acknowledged his involvement in the project. I am not trying to advocate letter of the law over the intent - quite the opposite, since my observations indicate an overabundance of "letter-of-the-law" jurisprudence on SF. It just so happens that in this case the letter and the intent of the law, in my opinion, exonerate Izap and his answers. – Thomas Dec 11 '13 at 15:52
  • Also, there is no indication that anyone attempted to speak with Izap on the subject. Perhaps someone did and I am simply not privy to that conversation. But the appearance is that these answers were dismissed out of hand with no attempt to ascertain the intent and purpose of the writer. – Thomas Dec 11 '13 at 15:54
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    @Thomas: Just because you can't see it doesn't mean it didn't happen. I left comments and I wouldn't be surprised if he was contacted directly by the mods. It seems to me that you're only here to have a whinge. Please stop it really isn't helpful and your getting boring and trollish. – Iain Dec 11 '13 at 21:32
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    @Iain I'm sorry. My intent was not to defend Izap or his specific answers, which this comment thread kind of turned into, but rather I meant to use this instance as a sample in discussing the general interpretation and application of SF's policies. My understanding was that Meta was the place for these discussions and that it's OK for people to disagree in such discussions. If the questions would be closed under today's guidelines, then someone should go and close them. If shopping questions are bad because they invite product pushing, then the questions should be flagged, not the answers. – Thomas Dec 11 '13 at 22:06
  • And, as always, don't feed the trolls! If you suspect me or anyone else of trolling, just ignore it and move on :) – Thomas Dec 11 '13 at 22:09

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