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There are two answers* which have been revised, where the editor has added a Disclaimer on behalf of the answerer, by adding his LinkedIn profile link. And these edits have been approved.

I just want to understand, is it OK to add someone's social/professional profile without his/her consent? Do we have any user's privacy policy?

*https://webapps.stackexchange.com/posts/9599/revisions *https://webapps.stackexchange.com/posts/11065/revisions

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Definitely not okay in my book to post a person's potentially private LinkedIn profile with first and last name, even if it was in the edit message.

Aside from that, the answers were old and there was nothing "spammy" about them that needed disclosure, per se (there are other answers that could potentially have required disclosure as well, and many of our 2010-era questions are littered with them).

I have mod-rejected the edits.

I have left a comment on one of the posts.

Thanks for letting us know.

  • 1
    why is that? The answerer mentions about the product he works on, so even if it's not spam the affiliation should be disclosed, right? – Ooker Jan 22 at 5:02
  • @Ooker: It should be disclosed by answerer if he/she wish to, not by someone else without answerer's concern. – serenesat Jan 22 at 7:09
  • @Ooker I clarified that a bit. There are quite a few other answers on that post that could probably use disclosure statements as well. I don't consider them to be spam because posting links to products was what a lot of the answers were here at that time. – jonsca Jan 23 at 3:17
2

I've edited those posts per this policy in the Help Center:

How to not be a spammer

The community here 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.

The easiest way to bring these posts in accordance with the Stack Exchange rules is to edit in disclosure. I've added the LinkedIn link so that reviewers can validate my edit; note that it's only visible in the revision history, not in the post itself. Adding disclosure to semi-useful posts which otherwise qualify as spam is an undocumented but reasonably common practice across the Stack Exchange network. The alternatives are:

  • Commenting on one of their posts, but they haven't been around since 2016 so it's highly unlikely they would've noticed, let alone update their post.
  • Leaving the post(s) alone: without the disclaimer, the post qualifies as spam. Flagging it as such would feel too harsh on an eight year old answer to a question which basically asks for such answers.
  • Flagging the post for moderator attention, so that they can edit in disclosure. If you'd prefer that, I'm happy to comply, but IMHO this is a problem that the community (me and some reviewers) can resolve and doesn't need moderator attention.
  • 3
    I disagree (can't downvote though). It says "you must disclose your affiliation in your answers", where "you" is the one posting the answer. It's not our job to add such things, IMO. If the post is old just leave it alone, if new-ish, post comment linking to the policy, and ask the author to edit. – Shadow Wizard Jan 22 at 7:57
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    There are many other rules in the Help Center addressing post authors as "you" where it's appropriate that other users help them by editing their post. And I don't see why old posts shouldn't be held to the same standards as new posts. – Glorfindel Jan 22 at 8:06
  • 3
    It's not about standards, it's about digging old skeletons from the grave where it's not really needed. And same way we should not change code in SO answers, we should also refrain from adding disclaimers on the author's behalf. – Shadow Wizard Jan 22 at 8:10
  • Well, you can blame me again I guess. They've posted one or two other answers with the same flaw (see the second link in this question), and my bot detected a broken image in one of the other answers to that now deleted question. – Glorfindel Jan 22 at 8:15
  • How about just leave a comment that they work for the company? The disclaimer is for the benefit of other readers, so the comment satisfies such a requirement, without violating another requirement to respect author's original post? – Ooker Jan 22 at 9:41
  • 3
    I guess it's better than no disclaimer at all, but the policy is that it should be in the post itself. Comments are meant to be temporary notes. – Glorfindel Jan 22 at 10:35
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    @Glorfindel The issue was more that you "outed" the person by posting their full LinkedIn profile in the edit message. That was definitely beyond just "disclosure." I think you contribute a lot to the network, but we're really just drudging here at this point. – jonsca Jan 23 at 2:59
  • @Glorfindel I've clarified my position a bit in my answer. – jonsca Jan 23 at 3:19
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    Fair enough, I could've wrote something like "according to LinkedIn, he's the COO of LucidChart". It's just that I want reviewers of my edit to know that I'm not assuming something, there's publicly available proof of the affiliation. – Glorfindel Jan 23 at 14:08

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