from this link unsolicited advertisement the definition of spam is based on this wikipedia link: Spamming.

In this reference we read:

Electronic spamming is the use of electronic messaging systems to send unsolicited bulk messages (spam), especially advertising, indiscriminately. While the most widely recognized form of spam is e-mail spam, the term is applied to similar abuses in other media: instant messaging spam, Usenet newsgroup spam, Web search engine spam, spam in blogs, wiki spam, online classified ads spam, mobile phone messaging spam, Internet forum spam, junk fax transmissions, social spam, television advertising and file sharing spam. It is named after Spam, a luncheon meat, by way of a Monty Python sketch in which Spam is included in every dish.1

My question is can a single answer specifically written for a question of this site possibly containing some advertising for a sect be spam at all?

recently 3 of my answers are deleted automatically by system for being spam or offensive and a mod said about one of them has been spam. as I see I can not edit it anymore and a lot of my reputation is lost for this deleted spam post. I hope this spam flagging not have any sectarian base. but they have not left even one comment under my post before flagging it as spam. in most of times an critical comment can result in editing and improving the post and flagging as spam will not be needed.

Some times some introductory explanations are needed for an answer that they can seem as advertisement or spam. such information apparently do not directly answer the question but they author feels they are needed for understanding the answer correctly.

  • We are not going to take the words here for face value. Bring the proof of the three answers that you mention. Commented May 20, 2014 at 17:34
  • @BleedingFingers anyway spam is something in bulk form. this question is about definition of spam to flagging system not be abused for deleting posts automatically by system. I have mentioned deleted posts here and in other meta questions. but this question is not specifically about my deleted posts. but is about what is spam and what is not spam. Commented May 20, 2014 at 18:09

3 Answers 3


The answer to the question in the title is:


The spam flag reason reads:

This answer is effectively an advertisement with no disclosure. It is not useful or relevant, but promotional.

It doesn't matter if the thing being promoted is "discount designer handbags" or an ideology. Answers (or questions) with little purpose other than to advertise something are generally not welcome on Stack Exchange sites. The wording on the help page is instructive:

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.

If a large percentage of your posts include a mention of your product or website, you're probably here for the wrong reasons.

So if I write an answer that points people to another Stack Exchange site, I should probably point out that my salary is paid by Stack Exchange.1 Failing to disclose an affiliation in just one post counts as spam.

In the case you linked to:


I will admit I don't understand your answer. I also don't completely understand the question. My framework is the philosophical problem of free will, which isn't quite the same thing. At any rate, the question seems to be about the contradiction between two texts revered by Muslims. But your answer seems to be an apologetic of the Shia view. You have two points:

  1. the hadith has a Shia version that expands on the Sunni version, and
  2. Shia scholars don't find the hadith reliable.

Now in this particular case, I can see how this answers the question. And the "Shia view"2 seems potentially relevant in this case. But I can easily see how a pattern of defending the Shia position no matter what question is asked could be seen as overly self-promotional. The "you're probably here for the wrong reasons" clause might apply as much to promoting a theological viewpoint as to promoting a product. (Notice that the interpretation is largely up to the community. Different sites have different standards.)

But in terms of flagging:


Spam flags are treated very differently by the system than other types of flags. The answer you wrote could conceivably be deleted as "not an answer" or downvoted, but it's not a good idea to start flagging things as spam unless they are, well, spam. I'll leave it at that.

Please don't proselytize

It's a fine line, but Stack Exchange sites encourage teaching and discourage proselytism. From personal experience, the intention of the speaker matters far less than the perception of the listeners. I can say the same thing in two different ways and one will be taken as an attempt to convert people and the other will be taken as simply informative. It takes a certain amount of thought to do it correctly.

The simplest way to avoid the perception of defending or promoting a particular belief is probably to take a neutral posture even when answering from your own point of view. Another possibility is to present both sides of an argument. A third option is to rely on outside sources which are themselves neutral.

Even so, if you find yourself having a difficult time with your answers being seen as excessively "promotional", you might want to re-evaluate your approach to answering questions. There are no hard and fast rules about this.

  1. In fact, that's exactly what I do when on other sites. But it's not so necessary on the network for reasons I don't need to spell out.

  2. But it seems rather bold to imply that there's a unified view shared by all Shia Muslims. My impression is that it's more complicated than that.

  • 1
    I held the very same deduction. Most of OP's answers that were marked as spam weren't spam but poor/low-quality answers. And although I can't objectify my claim completely I have seen non-spam but bad posts getting deleted as spam. I had fleeting seen such post, was surprise to see them marked as spam but didn't bring it up, wish I had flagged them for mod attention. Commented May 24, 2014 at 5:34

That's one definition of spam. More broadly, spam includes unsolicited communication, usually an unsolicited advertisement of some kind. Even more broadly, irrelevant email communication even among people known to each other can be colloquially referred to as spam. The concept in question is not bulk vs. individual but the actual content.

On Stack Exchange, spam can be an answer that doesn't (or barely does so) answer a question that is asked, instead diverting attention to advertise something or soapbox about unrelated things. Some of your recent answers clearly entered this territory, while some others were borderline. It is a toss-up whether they should be treated as "not-an-answer" or "spam" - the user in question decided to use spam (not me or the other moderators, as far as I know). The flag was not unmerited.

In any case, arguing about the minutiae of definitions and clearcut boundaries is really not constructive behavior on SE. We can argue about boundary lines until the cows come home, but that's not going to help us in our objective. Just because you have skillfully managed to find some ground between SE definitions that isn't strictly covered by either doesn't mean that ground is automatically allowed or counts as constructive.

You have consistently refused to understand why your posts are attracting so much mod attention and modify your activities accordingly, instead choosing to focus on finding definitional loopholes and throwing about accusations and insinuations of sectarianism. Your behavior on meta of late has been extremely unconstructive and detrimental to the overall atmosphere.

  • please add some reference for your definition of spam. the SE definition is here:meta.stackexchange.com/a/58035/132874 and please mention evidences for accusations. I ask questions in meta about how this site work. not answering the question has a different options in SE flag system. I hope they be used by users properly and not mixed. Commented May 20, 2014 at 19:54
  • please note when judging changing a definition may result in injustice about a user. clear definition is for justice regarding users. I have modified my activities but this spam issue is a new problem. Commented May 20, 2014 at 20:05
  • 1
    @BattleofKarbala Take a chill pill. Relax and think about it. Be optimistic. Analyse. There is no harm in rewriting from scratch in order to improve. Writers do it all the time. Please show signs of taking advice the community hands out. Realize that it's no less time consuming to provide custom tailored advice and analyses, and certainly is disappointing when one refuses to take it. We are not lawyers/lawmakers. Commented May 20, 2014 at 20:21
  • 1
    Relevant discussion on Christianity's Meta: meta.christianity.stackexchange.com/a/2143/2111
    – goldPseudo Mod
    Commented May 20, 2014 at 20:29
  • @BleedingFingers thanks. but they are not your posts deleted for claim of being spam. you have not lost lots of rep for spam. they are deleted by system and can not be edited anymore. you are not lawyer but SE has clear law:meta.stackexchange.com/a/58035/132874 it says spam is something in bulk form. why this clear definition should be considered to undelete my answers. if they have another problem OK I can resolve them. but they are not spam. I wonder why it is being justifies instead of undelete and returning the lost reps for posting spam. Commented May 20, 2014 at 20:36
  • @goldPseudo did I promote myself or my site or anything else in all or most of my posts? if sometimes happen to seem promotion it is not always promotion really. saying the title of a hadith is usual. for example sunnah.com has titles for each hadith. and titles like virtues of Ali can be seen in this site. so it should not be considered promotion. even if it is promotion it is promoting Islam. please have more tolerance and do not interpret everything in promotion. anyway promotion in some posts is not spam. it is spam when it is in all or most of posts. Commented May 20, 2014 at 20:52
  • @BattleofKarbala Fair point. That last one could be unlocked but it's not worth lot of reps not spam AFAIK but a bad post (you could start from scratch there). What else? This is not spam but copy-pasting disputed answers whose resolution points you didn't heed. Not spam but bad. That's just 30 reps not much. What else? Bring your objective case of being spam abused. We shall assess individually. Commented May 20, 2014 at 21:02
  • @BleedingFingers why they are not unlocked? I made flags but declined. for each spam -100 or more is reduced. about the copy paste of current version of that post, it was said to do by one of SE managers. if they are not spam so they should be undeleted and if there is any problem can be mentioned in a comment or if needed deleted. Commented May 20, 2014 at 21:18

I think the case is a clear example of abusing spam flag and using it for removing answers they don't like and punishing for other behavior. It is wrong, don't do so. If the abuse of spam flag continues we can ask moderators and SE to look into it. The normal thing would be to give one warning to the abuser and if they continue abusing it the next step should be suspension.

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