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I have this question about a particular problem that arose in the context of my open source project.

It is a presumably rare issue, that most people would not believe can exist. At least, I don't know any other other project that has mentioned the same problem.

QUESTION: Should I refrain from inserting anything that might help identify what said project is, and keep the question totally generic?

Excerpt of the comments conversation:

USER1: this question triggers spam alerts.
ASKER: Should I remove all links and anything that could let anyone identify the app?
USER1: This would help. Or at least do not have them inline, but make them obvious by listing them at the end.
ASKER: I removed the link to the app, per your request.
USER1: The remaining link is still embedded in text that reads as if you were trying to spam ("our ... platform"). People have hair triggers for such things.

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    (almost) completely off-topic: thanks for the software. I recommended it a while back to my very non-techy mother to practice French idiom, and she loves it. – Martijn Jul 3 '15 at 10:04
  • BTW, I didn't downvote that question - but the way the links were embedded in the question made my personal spam sense tingle. Having them presented as full URLs wouldn't have done so. – Michael Schumacher Jul 3 '15 at 20:02
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First off, I can't tell you for sure what other people might consider spam.

What the reason for people to downvote is is at best a guess. I can tell you what came across as spammy to me though. Primarily that was linking to the play store, combined with not saying what the project is. It feels like clickbait: I expected a link to the project, for example the github page, and I find something that feels like DOWNLOAD NOW FOR FREE.

Compare:

My Open Source App (download now) is used by millions of people and is available in 40 languages. ...

I'm the developer of an open source app, Anki (github link), which had been pretty successful so far, and I have managed to get it translated to 40 languages. ...

Lastly, please consider that when people downvote because they think it's spammy (even if that wasn't your original intent) they might never come back revisit their vote, even if you edit it. Bad first impressions can really screw you over.

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    I agree entirely. Links are good, but tone matters so much. – curiousdannii Jul 3 '15 at 23:19
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It's fair enough to link to the app you're referring to, and you don't have to remove all reference to your app and make it a general question - specific questions are fine. It's also fine to link to the store.

However, be clear about what you're linking. Don't make it seem like you're linking code and then link the store, or vice versa.

IMO, the link in your first sentence was fine - you say "my app" - I expect that to be a link to the app itself. A link to a store is fine there. If you'd linked the store on "open source" instead, I'd have expected the source, which is not fine. Link text should be relevant to the link.

However, the paragraph you added in this revision is pure marketing. That's the bit that really feels spammy to me. You're here to get help with something, not to sell your product - if I'd seen that I would have edited it out. It's OK to provide details, but if you sound like an advert it needs rewording.

  • Then again, I believe giving some details about your translation platform is fine and on-topic. – Martijn Jul 4 '15 at 5:19
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    What you describe as "pure marketing" are the details about the translation tool we use. I am totally unaffiliated with this tool. I added these details because someone asked for them in the comments. It is like saying I am doing marketing for Git. – Nicolas Raoul Jul 6 '15 at 2:08
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    @NicolasRaoul I hadn't realised that, but the paragraph is still unnecessary. Its contents are not essential to answering the question, so it would actually be better to have a link to a details page there. – ArtOfCode Jul 6 '15 at 6:50

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