I flagged this answer.

For those who can't read the deleted answer I am posting it here:

I prefer to use virtual environments to install Ubuntu. You can use Vagrant or Docker. Both are excellent options.

A 1 rep user posted two links to some software sites. The post is not an answer to the question, but promotion of these services.

The flag has been declined, but the post has been deleted.

I read What exactly is considered "spam" in Ask Ubuntu? and can't guess why that post is not spam.

  1. It does not answer the question.

  2. It promotes software or services.

  3. It does not have a disclosure.

The muru answer is that if "Using the product in the manner suggested in the answer actually does not solve the problem" then there should be "an instant spam flag".

This is not the first time my similar flags are declined.

Am I doing something wrong?

  • 9
    Vagrant and Docker are legitimate services used for virtualization. How is this spam to you ? Low quality answer, yes. But not spam. Not different from recommending to use VirtualBox Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 18:31
  • The question was not about virtualization at all. And these services do not look to be free.
    – Pilot6
    Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 18:32
  • 3
    Docker is free. I personally use it on my Raspberry with Snappy Ubuntu for running a few containers , like minecraft server and owncloud. It's also included in official ubuntu repositories Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 18:34
  • 3
    Checked repositories, vagrant also there Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 18:35
  • Anyway it is spam according to the definition even if it is free.
    – Pilot6
    Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 18:35
  • Would you consider answer that mentions VirtualBox or VMWare spam ? Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 18:38
  • 1
    No, if it answers a question about virtualization. If links to VB or VMWare are posted to random questions, it is spam.
    – Pilot6
    Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 18:38

1 Answer 1


The answer in question is not considered spam for several reasons. I will be quoting from Seth's answer on the related post about what constitutes spam to analyze this.


Is this an advertisement? Does it read like an advertisement? Spam usually sounds very promotional.

The original text of the answer reads:

I prefer to use virtual environments to install Ubuntu. You can use Vagrant or Docker. Both are excellent options.

Poster's opinion - yes, but not advertisement.


Is there a disclosure? (i.e. "I work for this company" or "I wrote this program")


Relation to Linux

Is it even Linux software? (most spam we get is actually for non free Windows software, which makes this easy)

Vagrant and Docker are both Linux software, used for creating virtual environments (aka containers). They are used professionally by many companies, especially when it comes to cloud. Consider for instance Hewlett Packard . In addition, they're both included into Ubuntu repositories:

$ LC_ALL=C apt-cache policy vagrant docker                                                                        
  Installed: (none)
  Candidate: 1.8.1+dfsg-1
  Version table:
     1.8.1+dfsg-1 500
        500 http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu xenial/universe amd64 Packages
        500 http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu xenial/universe i386 Packages
  Installed: (none)
  Candidate: 1.5-1
  Version table:
     1.5-1 500
        500 http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu xenial/universe amd64 Packages

The poster's intention was that it's easier to have virtual server, but original question asked about actual physical server rather than virtual environment. Hence, this is low-quality and non-answer, but not spam.


Does it answer the question? Spam is often posted on questions asking for software, but it isn't always. Someone recommending a VPN service on a question about getting a VPN to work through a proxy is not a real answer and most likely spam.

As mentioned above, it doesn't answer specific question , hence deserves not-an-answer. Note , that Seth said "most likely". Just because a software is mentioned, doesn't mean the post is spam.


Where do the links go? If it is a legit site (github, pastebin, gist, launchpad, etc) then it is probably fine. If it is a shortened link (goo.gl, bit.ly, etc) then it is most likely spam. Tread carefully here.

As high-reputation user I can see the links and they go to legitimate sites.


Is it a bunch of nonsense, like a troll would post? This isn't exactly spam by the pure definition, but we consider it spam here.


Criteria according to muru

Muru's criteria are not exactly exhaustive and sufficient to qualify spam.

It does not have a disclosure.

Wrong. Many answers on the site do not disclose relation to the product yet are not considered spam. Consider for instance all the posts on What Application Indicators are available ?

It promotes software or services.

The whole question about indicators could be considered a promotion. Seth's criteria are much more detailed. Just because an answer mentions software it doesn't automatically constitute spam.

It does not answer the question.

The post in question doesn't answer the original question, and it deserves a non-answer flag. But this is not sufficient reason to label it a spam.


Your flag was rejected properly. Although the post deserves to be deleted, because it's low quality and non-answer, it's not spam.

  • 1
    All advertisements look like this. "I prefer to use this and that" ))). Most of spam posts go to legitimate sites.
    – Pilot6
    Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 19:08
  • Even if this a contradictional issue, why not mark the flag as helpful and still delete the post?
    – Pilot6
    Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 19:12
  • 1
    How about " I prefer GNOME " ? "I prefer Atom text editor" ? "I prefer vim" ? Big chunk of posts on AskUbuntu could probably be labeled "spam" just because of that Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 19:13
  • @Pilot6 wasn't me who rejected your flag , you may ask them why they didn't mark it as helpful, but imho it's still not proper flag. It's same as closing a question for wrong reasons - sure it still does the job, but it's not proper Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 19:15
  • 1
    Again. If I post an answer with a link to a site promoting some free and also non-free services to a completely non-related question, it is spam. And there is nothing but these links in the answer.
    – Pilot6
    Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 19:15
  • 2
    The links and software in these cases were related though : the docker images frequently are used to create virtual Ubuntu servers. The poster didn't read the question properly , otherwise they would realize it asks about installing physical server image, not virtual. Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 19:17
  • 4
    @Pilot6 spam flags should be used with care. They can lead to automatic suspension and they are used to train the spam filter. Marking the flag as helpful automatically marks the post as spam and passes it to the spam filter. Since this wasn't actually spam for the reasons explained in this answer, whoever rejected your flag was right to do so.
    – terdon
    Commented Jul 30, 2016 at 9:46
  • @terdon I suspected something of that sort.
    – Pilot6
    Commented Jul 30, 2016 at 11:21
  • The fact that an attribution is not indicated in a post promoting external tools is usually an argument in favor of considering it spam. I am not discussing this specific case, but your answer seems to imply that the lack of a disclaimer means a post is "less spam". Commented Jul 30, 2016 at 16:45
  • @AndreaLazzarotto Attribution alone isn't a factor. You must consider others and in context of what is said. If someone starts saying "Hey, I work for this service" or " Hi, I am a dev and wrote this awesome program " , you have to look more critically at their post. Is that post solving the problem or just trying to push their software ? If a post is more neutral , then it's easier to focus on the technical aspects of it. Consider this: askubuntu.com/a/46811/295286 Florian Diesch , the author, is also creator of that indicator. He's not saying "I wrote this so check me out" Commented Jul 30, 2016 at 17:09

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