This comes up a lot:
User #1 posts a question or a request for help, then User #2 comes along and posts a reply like "I have a solution. Call me." One of our admins deletes User #2's post for being too self-serving, and User #2 wants to know why -- after all, didn't User #1 ask for help?
To try to make this a bit less enigmatic, here are some guidelines.
"Call me" and self-promotional posts are only acceptable when they are in direct response to a poster's request for assistance; e.g., "I am looking for a web designer in NYC."
Even then, the response should offer some identification, either through signature or simple note: "We are web designers in Manhatten with lots of software company clients. Our contact info is below."
Granted, what is a direct request and indirect request is sometimes blurry, and I'm not too hung up on cementing that line.
For example, here's an example of an indirect request for help: We had a post earlier this week from someone who didn't know how to go about collecting money on a purchase order, so he asked for advice.
A CPA or accounting software vendor might have answered that by saying, "We have an affordable service that will handle all your billing woes," or "With our software, you can create professional-looking invoices automatically" -- and had they been just that brief, I might have allowed their posts to stand. But if said CPA simply posted "We have a solution, call me," with no signature, I would have pulled it.
My test (if I have one) is perserverance:
If someone comes back to any thread in 500 years, will each and every post in that thread make sense as a complete contribution in and of itself?
If you simply say "Call me," the answer is no, for the reasons I cited above -- we don't know what it is you're offering. I would have to go outside the forums to find out. In my first example, I may not know whether that web designer is any good, but at least I know what their business is and where they are. In my last example, of a CPA who simply says "Call me," I would not.
But, the overriding rule here -- our default mode -- is that we do not allow promotional messages. As soon as an "offer to help" starts smelling like a sales pitch, we'll pull it.
So, in summary: If you post something that is designed to pull people away from these forums -- to call you or go to your website or email you or whatever -- your post must be:
- in reponse to a request for something you offer; e.g., someone has asked for recommendations for IP lawyers, and you are one;
- fully transparent; i.e., identify yourself and what you've got -- there's no point in being coy; and
- brief. Very brief. As in a couple of sentences.