This answer has a link with a referral code in it (with a disclaimer, though). It doesn't answer the question as much as it glorifies the service it links to (which I believe is borderline illegal in the US, but that's irrelevant to this question).

How should this be treated? I consider this spam - the writer has clearly no interest in answering the question, and just uses the opportunity to get more referrals. But the OP seems to have liked this and accepted the answer (I added my later).


The link was edited out. And I agree that the answer was, in effect, spam. I just deleted the answer.

The distinction, i.e. the reason for deletion, is as you stated, it doesn't actually answer the question at all, as compared to 'wrong' answers that SE prefers we just vote down, not delete.

For what it's worth, referral codes are never acceptable. And links to our own blog, such as you, I, or MBHunter sometimes offer, are fine as long as the answer stands on its own.

  • would "referral codes" be any more acceptable if the referrer didn't receive any (material) reward for doing so? Say they got "karma" or something similar for each page view. Should I ask this as a real question? – MD-Tech Jul 27 '16 at 13:31
  • I wasn't able to find a specific discussion of this in our T's and C's, but, in my opinion, there shouldn't be a burden on members or mods to trace the link and make a judgement. When a link is anything but straightforward, I'd be inclined to remove it, and with the answer referenced above, delete the entire answer if it's no more than link bait. – JoeTaxpayer Jul 27 '16 at 16:19
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    Continuing in the line of @MD-Tech's question, what about posting a link containing a code that would reward the poster with some shiny badge if a sufficiently large number of unique people followed the link? Why is that different? If that's considered spam, we should probably stop incentivizing such behavior. – WBT Aug 8 '16 at 15:15
  • The question, and my replies, are unrelated to the internal SE badges as you linked to. – JoeTaxpayer Aug 8 '16 at 16:03

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