At the risk of muddying the waters with (more) facts,
the user in question:
- Has been a member of EL&U Stack Exchange for three years,
- where he has posted two (other) questions, which
- were not self-answered,
- contained no links,
- contained no self-promotion that I could see, and
- appeared to be legitimate, on-topic questions
(although neither was high-quality, and one was a dupe).
- Has been a member of Stack Overflow for seven years,
- where he has over 500 rep (based on 6 questions and 17 answers):
- A spot check of these indicated that they were legitimate,
Of course I cannot see deleted posts, and I have no idea
whether he has any history of violating rules or causing trouble.
Is this a malicious, deliberate rule-breaker / spammer?
Or is it a person who has a lot of plates in the air,
and forgot the rules of a site he uses only a few times per year?
Even if that’s true, does it change anything?
Past good behavior doesn’t mean you get to break the rules
and engage in self-promotion without being transparent about it.
Sudden “spammy” activity after a long period of inactivity
may indicate the account has been compromised,
although I don’t think this is the case here.
– comment by ColleenV
I believe that it makes a difference.
I believe that it’s appropriate to look at intent and patterns of behavior.
A lot of the spam that we see
is the first post from accounts that are less than a week old.
When Datt joined Stack Exchange,
I doubt that that he rubbed his hands together
and said “Now all I have to do is wait seven years,
and then I can post a link to a company
that’s owned by the company I work for,
and maybe I’ll get away with it.”
If (and I say If, because I don’t know)
it’s a first offense from a user with a long, clean record,
it might be appropriate to delete the answer (or edit out the link?)
and give him a warning.
Wiping out all his rep on EL&U seems excessive.
Banning the user (which hasn’t happened [yet] but was suggested)
seems like it would be very excessive.
At one point the “Be Nice” policy said
“Be welcoming, be patient, and assume good intentions.”
The language may have changed,
but this still seems to be the spirit of the policy.
And, if the account has been compromised,
how does it make sense to punish the legitimate owner of the account?