I think that if one has a blog post that specifically addresses the question, it makes sense to provide the link to the blog post itself (not the blog home page).
What I don't like are responses like "RTFM" without even identifying which document is to be read or "read the documentation" and providing a link to the contents page of the manual when the question is very specific. The OP still has to wade through the entire set or document to find that information which will help him/her.
Hemant k Chitale
I remember Usenet and also Gopher and the times when using the Internet for any commercial purpose was prohibited. I think one cannot compare the situation back then with today. Everything has changed. Even though the idea to use a large Internet community for the purpose of advertising still exists, the majority of users have become a lot more aware and resilient to advertising.
Let's take SPAM out of the picture, which is often easy to identify. An unsolicited post or response for the purpose of advertising will most likely discredit a posting and the person behind it all together. I think most people today are aware of it and I can imagine that the situation could be handled on a case by case basis, perhaps even getting the community involved. Perhaps any information which points to non-free commercial content could be prohibitied.
Just because someone likes to post a signature with a link or promote a site or gather points does not necessarily mean the response is low quality or bad. Imagine you wanted to promote your site or gain a good reputation, would you do this by posting BS? It might rather be the opposite and promoting a site or reputation might be the motivation for providing a valuable response. Some may reject such a motivation to help others, but after all Oracle is a business, not a religion. And for what it's worth, the forum and any information provided is free of charge.
Hm, I only just noticed the cookie preferences. You have to allow advertising cookies in order to post comments. Why?
I would not want to shift this discussion to talk about cookies.
As Dude says, there are people who abuse the posting of links to their own blogs, just to try and direct traffic to it.
As Phil says, if there is an occasional link to a blog post to support an answer that's given on the forums, then that's fine, but admin have said that they don't want people to just be answering posts by continually linking to their blogs (and I've experienced a couple of members who were actually answering the question by writing a new blog post (typically a very small and poor answer) and then posting a link to their blog on the forum telling the person to go there, clearly just trying to direct traffic to their blogs). People who do continually just post links to their blogs and not put any content on the forums themselves will typically find themselves warned or removed by admin.
The moderators are quite good at determining if members are regulars who provide good content in their answers and are just using occasional links to their blogs to support what they say or expand on what they say, or whether they're members who are not really contributing but are just trying to get people to visit their blog. It's the latter that are picked up and reported to admin. The other type of 'offender' are those who have made a blog post about something and then trawl through the forums looking for any thread they can (old or new) and repeatedly posting the same link on each of those threads.... that's just spamming and is also dealt with.
So, feel free to reference your previous blog posts in support of answers you give, just so long as you're not continually doing it in every post you make.
I do not mean to suggest that the management by the forum moderator dealing with links is insufficient, but I think it could be more transparent or obvious. Speaking of links associated with a signature, I certainly see the possibility of abuse, but I also see the possibility of missing a chance. What about those participants who consider the opportunity to promote a link as a reason to provide a valuable and good answer?
It could be mandatory that any links provided must not link to information with commercial interest. The judgement could be done by every forum member, who should be encouraged to press the abuse button upon realizing any posts disregarding the policy. The forum moderators could then address these issues on a case basis.
It's pretty much already like that. Some people post links to a particular site they think helps answer the question simply because they googled for it and it appeared high up in the search, but that site (and I'm not going to mention it as people in the Oracle DBA and SQL/PL/SQL arena will generally know it) only provides snippets of answers, often out of date, and is surrounded with lots of advertising to buy their 'DBA' services or books to get all the details. Usually a bit of peer education telling people not to post links to commercial sites and use the documentation or the non-commercial sites works. Of course it's accepted that many sites have things like google ads as sidebars etc. so we cannot ask people not to post links to any site with any advertising on it.
Unfortunately it's not a clear cut case of having transparent and obvious rules. There's millions of different websites, millions of different members and each has to be looked at on a case by case basis, as well as in combination with that posters history (if they keep posting to the same site, with little other input, or they ignore warnings telling them not to post commercial links then they goes against them).
What about those participants who consider the opportunity to promote a link as a reason to provide a valuable and good answer?
As I say, it depends on the individual (and likely their history). If it's a one-off case of providing a link to a useful website that does provide a good answer to the question asked, then fair enough. If it's a poor website, or a bad answer, or the person has a history of directing people to the same rubbish or commerical website, then it would have to be looked at by the moderators/admin.
Of course we do have members who are good enough to raise potential issues or abuse they see from other members, and that helps too.
If only moderation was easy and clear cut.... ahhh... I wish.