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I have recently written this answer that in my opinion provided a very concrete help with the OP's problem, based on the Stock Repair Option Strategy. None of numerous highly voted answers even remotely mentioned this useful idea that any serious investor should be aware of.

To my great surprise, my answer was accused to be a spam for providing a link to the relevant description page by Chicago Option Exchange, the world's major option exchange! Not only calling this link a spam makes absolutely no sense to me, but in contrast - this is the best and cleanest education source I've seen. In fact, I would challenge anyone to find a better source!

It is not like my answer consisted of that only link. With 8 written paragraphs I would say it was slightly more than that.

It is not like that link, if broken in the future, would reduce the quality of the answer. Any basic "googling" that broadly used term (Stock Repair Strategy) would provide sufficient information, even if not so clean and condensed.

It is not like my answer would improve a lot by copying any explanation to that broadly used strategy, for which there are numerous much better sources easily to be found. In contrast, my answer provided exactly the supplemental information.

The "arguments" as to why my answer was a spam I learned from the discussion were:

  1. It was not clear how my answer was related to the question

  2. I might be affiliated to the organisation linked

  3. The essence of my answer is basically a complicated way of gambling

Now I have to ask:

Can these arguments be due to anything other than lack of basic knowledge plus lack of interest to learn about stock options, laziness to spend 1 min reading that page prominently explaining the reasons, and ignorance in general?

And - the main question - how should I respond to such judgemental accusations?

I have added that description as quote in my answer, which apparently was all the answer was missing. It is, however, so prominently displayed on the page linked or can be found by googling, that I have to say at the risk of repeating myself :) - basing any judgement on the lack of that can only be due to basic ignorance and laziness.


EDIT.

I suppose what offended me was perceived lack of respect for the time it took me to write this relatively long answer. In my opinion, there is a big difference between posting a 1-2 sentence spam link and a longer answer with detailed explanation. I would challenge anyone to show me many true spam answers of that size! Even a single one :)

While I appreciate the annoyance of seeing spam, I consider myself capable of identifying and dismissing those without any moderator help. What appears spam to some, can be useful to others. And it something potentially useful was marked as spam and/or deleted by careless moderator, that effectively deprives all the community from that chance to learn something new and useful. Not mentioning the discouragement for the author to share further useful information.

There is a lot to lose for the community to mistakenly mark potentially useful answers as spam and I disagree with the attitude to take this lightly. There is much less harm simply doing nothing and leaving it at that.


Now speaking about the CBOE site, it does indeed, unfortunately, has fair bit of advertising. However, I have to ask:

How much of a freeloader does one want to be? The fellas work hard to write a clean and simple presentation, nicely structured with useful examples! All given away for free! How else are they supposed to earn money?

So every site using 3rd party advertising is to be regarded as spam??? Are we not eliminating 99% of internet? :)

And further, those ads can actually be useful to some people! If not - why would anyone pay for them?

And in case of CBOE - at the risk of repeating myself, I have to insist that the page displays the core information as prominent as can only be possible. Despite of the 2 (admittedly annoying) ads, that information is in no way obscured. It takes under 30 seconds to read that useful information to decide if the page is useful!


Another aspect that I find puzzling is how my answer is specific to the US options. Is it? Aren't options equally used everywhere?


In my opinion, a less harmful approach from the side of the moderator, would be to raise a suitable question in the comments and give the author a chance to answer it, before mentioning any suspicion or accusation or anything negative whatsoever.

If you meet a person in a pub in a cozy environment and suspect he wants to sell you something - are you going to stand up and loudly announce your suspicion for everyone in the pub to know? I presume not. But what happened here is exactly that if you just think about it.


Another thing I perceive as ignorance is calling an option strategy "gambling" for no mentioned reason. Are options gambling? Are stocks? Is this an opinion of a moderator in this forum?

I have further explored the site and found numerous high quality expert level discussions of options. It makes even me even more surprised to see a moderator calling a known proved option strategy, used by many traders, a "gambling".

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    I guess raising in Meta is right way to respond. And since all Mods know your ID, hopefully this will not happen again. – Dheer Jul 29 '15 at 3:45
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    I agree! Probably best for us not to waste our time on these peasants and let them wallow in their ignorance! "Don't throw your pearls before swine." One of the many reasons I stopped using Reddit. Oh, and a better explanation is theoptionsguide.com/stock-repair-strategy.aspx – Chloe Apr 12 '16 at 11:04
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Please don't be offended, and please don't consider a flag to be an accusation.

A combination of multiple factors that correlate with spammy behavior probably caused a user's spam alarm to fire a false-positive, and they raised a flag for a moderator.

Here are the factors that likely played a part in this:

  1. It is a high-traffic page with >10,000 views. Such pages are often targeted by link spam.

  2. You hadn't posted to the site before. Link spammers are almost always first-timers.

  3. The link was to a domain not all would easily recognize as benign. Not everybody here is familiar with U.S. options trading. Though you and I might know exactly who the CBOE are, and their role in the options trading world, many more wouldn't.

  4. Other than the link content itself, your answer text didn't mention the CBOE, who they are, or why you were linking to them. Link spam answers frequently link without explanation, too.

  • Thank you for outlining the reasons. Though I acknowledge their validity in general, I have the following objections in my case: (1.) Precisely because the page is high-traffic some more basic diligence would seem appropriate in evaluating an answer; (2.) I have several active profiles on other Stackexchange sites that would take 1 min to check; (3.) It takes a longer answer, so I will add to my question; (4.) I didn't mention CBOE exactly because I'm not in business of promoting them. As to why, anyone going to that page would immediately see the reasons (that I have now included as quote.) – Dmitri Zaitsev Jul 29 '15 at 4:29
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    @DmitriZaitsev You're right, of course. However, we can't expect every user with the capability of raising a flag (and there are many thousands on the StackExchange network) to be as diligent, which is why I suggest you don't get offended by a mere flag. While perhaps 90%+ of flags raised do have merit, there are a good number raised that turn out to be invalid. C'est la vie. – Chris W. Rea Jul 29 '15 at 18:59
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    Hi Chris, thanks for your comment. However I must clarify the confusion - it is absolutely not the flag I am objecting to, but the moderator's comments - unfriendly, loaded with suspicion, ignorance and negative attitude, instead of politely giving me a chance to improve my answer, that I still consider emotionally damaging for no reason, especially for a new author. Please have a look at my addition to the question and let me know what you think. – Dmitri Zaitsev Jul 30 '15 at 3:47
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    I think you're reading too much into this. Your post was not deleted. Relax. – Chris W. Rea Jul 30 '15 at 12:16
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Firstly, apologies for not being aware that this was a standard reference source - we could have avoided a bit of discussion if I had realised that.

We get quite a lot of answers - maybe one or two a week - that make at least a vague attempt to be relevant but nonetheless appear to be spam/site promotion. In this case the flag stated:

Potential site promotion. It does not directly answer the question

When I respond to flags of that nature, I consider a few different factors in deciding how to proceed:

  1. Does the link seem like spam?

    In this case the website actually looks quite spammy, with several adverts and lots of links to "Special offers". This is also a classic pattern of spam reference links where a site claims to be explaining some concept but is really just trying to sell something.

    Even after taking a much closer look now I still think the only thing that sets it apart from that is the CBOE name.

  2. Relevance of the answer

    A lot of the answers that are really aimed at site promotion are peripherally relevant to the question but don't really make an attempt to address it directly.

    I thought that was true of your answer (pre-edit), and I still do. It's a well-established StackExchange policy that answers should make sense without following links or consulting external resources. There's also some guidance on this in the FAQ.

    As a reader, I want to know why the answer is worth considering before I click any external links or start searching the Internet. Without the introductory material you've now added, the answer seemed to me to be a random strategy for gambling on a stock price with no specific connection to the asker's original problem - by "gambling" I mean short-term speculation rather than investing or hedging.

    Certainly that judgement reflected my own ignorance of this particular option strategy, but I suspect that ignorance would be shared by the original question asker and many other users of the site.

    So as a moderator thinking about how relevant an answer it was, I was also judging it by those standards. That's not exactly laziness, though of course I do also limit the amount of work I do to handle each flag - I don't exhaustively research every possible avenue to understanding the post.

  3. Status of the poster

    You were new to PF&M, which is the typical case for spam users. On the other hand, you did have an established account elsewhere on the StackExchange network, which somewhat negated this factor.

Overall I thought it probably wasn't spam, but I wasn't entirely sure, so I left the answer up and added a comment briefly summarising the above opinions so I could gather more information:

Could you explain a bit more about what this has to do with the OP's specific problem? Also, do you have any connection to the site you've linked to? At present the answer gives the impression of being spam/promotion.

I'm sorry if my comment came across as an attack, which wasn't my intention - I just wanted to explain how your post was being perceived by others. As I told the flagger, my plan was:

I've left a comment asking for clarification, but I can't see any obvious connection between the poster and the site, so I'll leave it up for now.

If you hadn't responded to the comment I'd probably still have left your answer up, but also left my comment as a warning to other users to treat it carefully. As it was, the very fact that you bothered to respond made me pretty confident that there wasn't any problem, and I deleted the comment as planned after a bit more follow-up discussion.

In much more extreme cases (e.g. affiliate links, or completely off-topic material) I would typically delete at that stage - with the possibility of undeleting later if the initial judgement did turn out to be wrong.


So, to answer your actual question, the simple way to respond to an "accusation" of spamming is just to engage with the person asking. If we bother to ask then we are at least open to the idea that there's a good explanation. Any kind of reply at all sets you apart from the typical "drive-by".

Also, for you personally, the next time you post you won't be a completely new user so it's even less likely that any moderator would think you were spamming.

  • I would be very interested to see a single example of a spam answer among those numerous 1-2 per day, that have comparable length, depth and details. – Dmitri Zaitsev Jul 29 '15 at 4:47
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    You'd need to get to 10K rep to be able to see deleted answers, but as it happened I deleted an answer on this question yesterday that was longer than yours (pre-edit) and had the same kind of discussion as yours but had some other features that made it much more likely to be spam (affiliate links, roughly the same material posted in multiple answers). – GS - Apologise to Monica Jul 29 '15 at 5:08
  • As you know I don't have the 10K rep, so how can I see that answer? – Dmitri Zaitsev Jul 29 '15 at 5:48
  • Speaking about spam, it is actually exactly what this comment is, with all due respect: (1.) It makes a strong claim yet no justification provided; (2.) The answer in question is deleted, making it impossible to see it to anyone reading this comment; (3.) A link to a question not answer is provided, which is of absolutely no use; – Dmitri Zaitsev Jul 29 '15 at 11:00
  • (4.) It is actually worse than a spam link - the latter can be at least of some use to some people, where this link is only misleading people to spend time searching for something they can't see, which makes it really of no use to anyone other than possibly those with 10K points; (5.) Being fully aware that I don't have the 10K needed to see it yet reminding me about it instead of showing is really not nice; – Dmitri Zaitsev Jul 29 '15 at 11:01
  • (6.) It does not answer the question, which was to see that answer; (7.) I don't want to sound offensive but expressing a personal opinion instead of showing the answer itself does not make this discussion constructive. – Dmitri Zaitsev Jul 29 '15 at 11:01
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    I'm sorry if that isn't enough for you, but by definition an answer that we definitely think is spam or promotion would be deleted, so it's the best I can do. 10K users can see them so if they think something is wrong they can always raise it, but the policy of restricting deleted answers to them is a general StackExchange policy, not ours. – GS - Apologise to Monica Jul 29 '15 at 11:17
  • It is really easy to "undelete" an answer in question or wait for a day in order to show it. If one really cares to justify one's claims, that is. Otherwise it remains what it is - unjustified personal opinion. – Dmitri Zaitsev Jul 29 '15 at 12:10
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    @DmitriZaitsev I vouch for what Ganesh described. There is such a deleted post, and it is spam promoting a commercial investing course. While most link spam does tend to be short and obvious, there are "expert" link spammers who try to make their astroturfing look more useful and authentic, to improve its chances of survival. For what it's worth, I founded the site and have seen all kinds of spam. Since I gave up my role as a moderator, I still flag it, and earned the only Marshal badge so far. Trust me on this. – Chris W. Rea Jul 29 '15 at 19:14
  • I've edited the "1-2 per day" claim to "1-2 per week" - my memory was skewed by a relative glut in the past few days, but looking back at the history makes the latter estimate seem more plausible. – GS - Apologise to Monica Jul 29 '15 at 19:40
  • So day trading and high-frequency trading are "gambling"? Interesting. – Dmitri Zaitsev Jul 30 '15 at 14:23
  • Also, there is no specific "short term" in option strategies. Their duration can be chosen in advance - long or short - and can be subsequently rolled-over to further period if desired. – Dmitri Zaitsev Jul 30 '15 at 14:27
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    @DmitriZaitsev If one doesn't really understand options and their risks but trades them anyway because of the big payoffs, then it can be considered a gambling and not an investing activity. IMHO, day trading and derivatives are things that, when practiced by typical retail investors, will tend to erode and not enrich portfolios -- except, perhaps, in a bull market, when everybody is an expert. Many of us admittedly do prefer low-fee, passive, diversified, and unlevered approaches to investing, and I think most individuals should avoid options if not prepared to learn a lot about them. – Chris W. Rea Jul 31 '15 at 23:48
  • @ChrisW.Rea Understanding risks is the key, whether it is options, stocks, buying a house or getting married :) From which the options offer the smallest maximum risk :) – Dmitri Zaitsev Aug 1 '15 at 3:41
  • @ChrisW.Rea Gambling is a loaded term with many possible definitions. Which makes it sensitive to the emotional context where it is used. It can be perfectly legitimate but can also become rude and unfriendly. The worst part is - the context perception can differ leading to completely different interpretations by people involved. I see you are defining Gambling as playing without understanding risks. Which I can't agree more to be bad. It is however at no point suggested in any (serious) option strategy. – Dmitri Zaitsev Aug 1 '15 at 3:48
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The answer is we are all human and subject to mistakes. A link to a CBOE article should not have been considered spam. The mod handling it is new, not in the US, and I'm guessing, not familiar with options trading.

You handled it just fine. Your answer is re-opened, and the comments all cleared now. Please accept my apologies.

  • The only problem, apart from emotional damage, my handling the situation wasted a lot of my time that instead could have been used to learn or write something useful for others. Should I have known that, I would not have bothered contributing in all honesty - it is simply not worth it! I accept your apologies but for any future contribution, I would prefer to know a simple direct and effective way of dealing with such situations with no time/emotions lost. – Dmitri Zaitsev Jul 28 '15 at 16:06
  • I don't have an answer just yet, but I will talk to the other mods in the hope this kind of issue is not repeated. – JTP - Apologise to Monica Jul 28 '15 at 16:23
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    @DmitriZaitsev there are a lot of topics on this site which influential members are unfamiliar with, and they can steer the discussion in a way you didn't imagine. Fortunately, at this point, they tend to ignore discussions about options and other derivatives, so keep contributing. – CQM Aug 3 '15 at 18:03

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