Disclaimer: My answer was removed as spam. So, what constitutes spam, and how can recommending software avoid being classified as spam? I can't find anything in


about what is viewed as spam.

For the record, I have no affiliation with the product (ufw). I just assumed that the default firewall configuration for the default firewall configuration tool on Ubuntu might be a good place to start if someone's discussing firewall implementations.

Answering question: Spam or not? suggests that if the product's features are discussed and the answerer's affiliation (or lack of) is made explicit, then a product recommendation would not be regarded as spam, is that the case?

  • I do not disagree with that
    – flerb
    Jul 21, 2017 at 22:54

1 Answer 1


The original question is more than 6 years old (but the lack of accepted answer makes the "Community" bot to randomly bring it on the front page, so you may have not noticed its age).

The OP was preparing a presentation on firewalls. Apparently he (rightly) feared that simply listing IPTables rules may not be attractive and concrete enough to keep his audience interest, so he wanted to find a more concrete way to demonstrate the actual effect and role of these rules.

He suggested in his question to use two computers, this would allow to show how a firewall rule allows to allow or block a connection. Some answer suggested to use Wireshark, which is both a simple and visual tool allowing to highlight the technical details.

In your answer, 6 years later, you suggested to use ufw to generate the rules. IMHO, this suggestion doesn't seem to really fit the question. I don't see how this tool will allow the OP to better demonstrate the concrete firewall action to his audience. The OP problem was not about the rules, it was about how to demonstrate their concrete impact in a way he can communicate to his audience.

So, to sum-up, a new member comes and answer to a several years old question to promote a product which doesn't really answer to the OP request. I think that's why your post may have seem suspicious to the administrators.

Questions overtly asking for product recommendation are systematically closed as off-topic as they obsolete quickly.

Answers proposing a product are tolerated.

The best way to mention the product only to illustrate your explanation. Provide a factual and/or technical answer, explain how the OP question should be solved, the technologies / protocols / etc. involved. An then, at last, you can give a few examples of software implementing these ideas. You are even encouraged to present them with a critical point of view as far as the OP request is concerned.

For instance, on top of my head I remember an answer where I mentioned the tool SSLeuth which was very well received by the community. But if you look my post, it comes at the end of the post, merely as an example of possible approaches to solve the concerns raised in previous points.

Other than that, I recently encountered a border-line answer. It was posted by a new member, but on an active post, the author explicitly discloses his non-affiliation and his motives and the recommended tool may correspond to the OP request. His answer therefore did not fill the criterion to be considered as spam (but it still received a negative vote most probably due to the lack of content).

I hope you better understand now the distinction between post assumed as spam and post recommending or mentioning a software, and I hope this bad experience did not discourage you from posting other answers :) !

  • I understand why the question was viewed as spam. It is also useful to know that 1) affiliation should be made clear 2) It should be made clear why the product is being recommended. For the future I would suggest that the question answerer be given a chance to remove their own post before it is removed as spam when there is a good chance it was not intended as spam, because that's pretty harsh, although I see this may be impossible. Regarding the span between the OP's question and the answer, I don't think that should matter; the answers are more for posterity than for the question OP
    – flerb
    Jul 22, 2017 at 19:03
  • "So, to sum-up, a new member comes and answer to a several years old question to promote a product which doesn't really answer to the OP request." - for even more fun, as soon as there is any activity after the bump, the system forgets entirely that it had bumped the post. Jul 22, 2017 at 20:16
  • @JanDvorak: Sadly while the timeline records when a post has been tweeted, it indeed does not record random bumps on the front page. Jul 23, 2017 at 8:22
  • Sounds like a nice thing to FR Jul 23, 2017 at 8:23
  • @JanDvorak Ooops, wrong assumption, please ignore my previous message as it seems that random bumps are indeed stored in the timeline, as can be seen in this other post. I suppose the original question has simply never been bumped (I wonder how questions are elected for random bumps as some question seem "randomly" selected more than others). Maybe the OP found this question following a web research or something similar. Jul 23, 2017 at 8:28
  • ... hmph. Maybe the OP did have his answer ready before he found the question? Jul 23, 2017 at 8:29
  • @JanDvorak Yes, but even that does not necessarily prove any bad intention, merely a lack of knowledge how SE works which is to be expected with newcomers. "I just discovered a really neat tool which saved me from big trouble, I would-like to share it with the rest of community" -> this OK, but the next action, once enough reputation, is to go on the chat, not try to find a question more or less matching the tool ;). Jul 23, 2017 at 8:38
  • 2
    In truth I was not searching for a question to answer. I was searching the iptables tags because I am learning about iptables. A nice method for me has to been to skim questions that others have asked about a topic. It is easy to miss the date asked when searching based on tags. I happened to already be working with ufw, was impressed with the default that it offered (noticing Ubuntu 17 itself had no default) and thought that if I was in his position that this is what I would do, so I wrote a brief suggestion.
    – flerb
    Jul 23, 2017 at 16:01

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