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Related to:

How can I make the font larger on Ancestry.com trees?

I posted a CSS tweak for increasing the font size of Ancestry.com's trees, and was summarily down-voted.

I don't have any stake in either the Chrome/Firefox extension mentioned (which is freeware) or the custom stylesheet (which is also free released it into the public domain). I created the tweak for myself and thought some other Ancestry users might find it useful.

Yet, one moderator claims I'm self-promoting by posting this. I'm new here, but I'm an old hat at Stack Overflow, I know the general rules on SE properties, and I don't consider this post to be spammy at all.

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My first take on reading your question over in Main was "looks like possible self promotion" so I can understand where @AmericanLuke and at least one other are/were coming from. However, having an interest in web and desktop software developers providing better control on font size Out Of The Box, and being a heavy Ancestry.com user, I read more carefully and recognised it as a similar issue to one over at GIS Stack Exchange Meta.

Had you been receiving revenue for downloads of your custom style for Ancestry.com (to use with the free Stylish browser extension) I would stick with my initial impression, but that certainly does not appear to be the case, and so I view your Q&A contribution to be an altruistic and valuable one.

Also, I note your very impressive StackOverflow body of work and am hoping that you will continue to participate here.

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Stack Exchange is a Q&A platform, designed for question and answer based content. People ask questions and get answers. However, when someone asks a question without the intention of getting an answer, it comes across as simple self-promotion.

The community tends to vote down overt self-promotion and flag it as spam.

Your answer wasn't spam per se, but the fact that you're simply pushing your extension (not really a tip) can trigger a negative reaction from some users.

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  • 1
    As a side note (not saying you were doing this), this a very common spam technique. A user asks a question and immediately answers it with a spam answer linking to their product. Sep 29 '13 at 22:01
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    Answering your own question, even to convey something you already know the answer to, is explicitly ENCOURAGED on the SE Network. Please see: blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/07/… The stated goals of SE, from Jeff and Joel, is more about building content that future visitors can refer to, it's not merely about answering individual, one-off questions. Sep 30 '13 at 5:46
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    As for "pushing my extension," again, it's not my extension. I only used that extension to write a CSS file to make Ancestry more useful to me, and thought someone else might also enjoy it. I gain no benefit from anyone else using it. As for "common spam techniques," your argument might be valid if I were actually linking to spam. But I wasn't, as anyone could easily verify. By that argument, anyone sharing a link to somewhere else on the 'Net could be labeled a potential spammer. Sep 30 '13 at 5:51
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Your participation in this site is in its early days, and I very much hope it continues.

The Q&A referred to very properly disclose your affiliation (developer of the style) even though you aren't (as it turns out) mentioning a commercial product. They provide a workaround for some of Ancestry's deficiencies that some people might find useful.

However, as PolyGeo said here, on first sight it does look like self-promotion -- it isn't explicit in the answer that the solution is free, and not everybody will be inclined to do the work to find that out.

One thing I don't like about the question (and the reason I down-voted) was the solicitation in the answer for requirements to further develop the style:

I'll continue tweaking it over time, so if you have any suggestions, I'm open to them.

Requests for requirements for software development have been definitely off-topic here in the past, although we're still feeling our way about which software development topics might be on-topic (at Should we allow questions on developing genealogy software and websites?)

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  • If @richardtallent removed that request for requirements (I had overlooked them but am inclined to agree with you) would you think that grounds to change from a down to upvote?
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Sep 30 '13 at 10:34
  • @PolyGeo, not sure I'd upvote but I would remove the downvote.
    – user104
    Sep 30 '13 at 11:28
  • Anytime I have tried to undo a -1 vote I thought it went to +1 rather than allowing a neutral 0
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Sep 30 '13 at 11:31
  • @PolyGeo As far as I know it undownvotes rather than upvotes.
    – user104
    Sep 30 '13 at 11:40
  • I wonder if this is SE site-specific so will take note next time I do it in GFH and GIS SE sites.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Sep 30 '13 at 19:43
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    I can see that point, so I've removed any solicitation for comments or mention of future improvements. I think given the data-centric nature of this hobby, some software-related questions should be allowed for developers engaging genealogists, but they should follow the same guidelines as other questions, i.e., something where an answer can be chosen as "most correct," not open-ended suggestion boxes. Sep 30 '13 at 22:49
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    I also added a few words to explicitly state that I'm not the developer of the Chrome/Firefox extension, I only wrote the stylesheet. Sep 30 '13 at 22:50

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