Quantum Computing SE is a site with different types of users - some work at companies (which is great!) and some write software that's used in quantum computing (which is also great!). While mentioning certain software will inevitably come up when answering questions on this site, we need to be careful that it doesn't foray into the territory of being considered as spam.
What is spam, anyway?
To quote this mother meta post:
[spam] advertises a product, service, or similar and is unsolicited or lacks disclosure.
What should you do as an answerer?
If you are an employee of some company, please say so when you write answers about their products. If you wrote a paper, please say so when you reference it in an answer. This sort of rule is very similar to the rule among scientific journals where you must disclose funding and similar. It is simply good practice.
We don't want your posts deleted. We simply ask that when you bring up stuff you are affiliated with, you explain how you are affiliated, and make sure that your work is relevant to the question. Otherwise, it is spam.
This post isn't meant to be a shame-fest for anyone, just a friendly reminder of guidelines for posting answers with work you are affiliated with.
What should you do as a reader?
If you come across a post that cites the OP's work without explicitly stating affiliation (this can of course can be hard to find, but in obvious cases) please do the following things:
- Edit in a disclosure for the person.
- Comment and explain to the person what you have done and why, if necessary linking to this meta post.
- If the writer of the answer attempts to rollback your edit, or similar, or if there is a pattern of this sort of answer by that user, please flag as spam, or for moderator attention, and we will take care of it.
This whole policy is described in more detail here; we encourage you to read through the whole thing. To quote the main section:
- Don't talk about your product / website / book / job too much. Folks will read your answers for their ability to solve a specific problem; if you're good at doing that, then they'll find themselves more interested in who you are and what you're working on. If you respond only to questions where the answer can be something you're selling, they'll assume you're just here to sell.
- Don't tell - show! The best way to avoid being seen as a snake-oil salesman is to demonstrate a solution rather than simply asserting the problem can be solved.
- Don't include links except to support what you've written. Links are not a substitute for including information in your answer itself, and links should always be directly relevant to a part of your answer. See also: Your answer is in another castle: when is an answer not an answer?
To quote the whole section from the mother meta post linked above:
A post should be marked as spam only if it advertises a product, service, or similar and is unsolicited or lacks disclosure.
Due to the way search engines work, this includes links. For example, an otherwise normal post that contains a link to a website only in a punctuation mark is still spam.
Unsolicited means that mentioning the product serves no purpose other than promotion. For example, if an answer mentions a software that may solve the asker’s problem or a question about web programming references a website as an example, this is not unsolicited (it may still be spam if there is an undisclosed affiliation).
Lacks disclosure means that the author is clearly affiliated with the product but does not disclose their affiliation. Note that a simple “my” may suffice. However, the disclosure must happen in the post itself; the author’s username or profile do not count.
If an otherwise valid post contains an apparent spam link, flag as spam. Do not try to salvage the post by removing the spammy content. The valid part of such spam posts is usually plagiarized from another post or from an off-site source. If you're unsure, you can often find the original source with a Google search of its first sentence.
It should not be marked as spam when:
The post contains no useful information, such as an answer that says “I don't care about your problem”. Flag as not an answer instead.
It contains only gibberish, such as “fsdguejgkfdlk”. Use the rude or abusive flag for these cases.
Thank you; thoughts on this are welcome.