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There was recently a very basic exercise (aerobic vs anaerobic) question asked by a user whose entire account indicated that they represent a cycling clothing brand.

Seems strange to me.

Is the cycling belong aerobic or anaerobic exercise? What is the effect of weight los

Here's a screen shot of their profile: santic profile screenshot

I doubt this question violates the letter of the TOS. But this feels fishy to me. Is that feeling misplaced?

2 Answers 2

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You are correct that it doesn't violate any site rules.

I do, however, see why you think it's strange. You wouldn't expect a person or company who makes their living on cycling to ask such a basic question.

I've looked into the user's account a bit more and, while I can't go into specifics, I don't see anything at this time that would make me think that this is part of a marketing campaign, astroturfing, etc.

As always, if you see any specific questions, answers, or comments that you believe are in violation of the site norms, from this account or any other, please flag them.

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    The posts from this user (another one appeared today and looks to have been pulled) remind me a lot of posts I’ve seen in discussion forums, with the underlying goal of creating organic-seeming discussion associated with the brand. I’d be in favor of keeping that tactic off of Stack Exchange as at the very least being against the spirit of the rules.
    – RLH
    Commented Nov 21, 2022 at 6:03
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    @RLH This seems like a valid point that could be expanded into an answer. I know that an answer has already been accepted, but this does offer a counterpoint.
    – Weiwen Ng
    Commented Dec 5, 2022 at 19:02
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The posts from this user (another one appeared around the time of this meta post and was deleted) remind me a lot of posts I’ve seen in discussion forums, with the underlying goal of creating organic-seeming discussion associated with the brand.

I’d be in favor of keeping that tactic off of Stack Exchange as at the very least being against the spirit of the rules.

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  • I wasn't aware that this was a marketing tactic these days. I agree that it would be good to keep it off the site. Putting together some general guidelines for how to handle users who appear to be marketing in this way would make a good meta discussion on its own. I could see it involving some edge cases and gray areas that would be worth exploring.
    – jimchristie Mod
    Commented Feb 1, 2023 at 22:09
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    @jimchristie a closely related tactic is asking on fora "I recently heard about X. Does anyone have experience with X (X.com)?". In which case the asker (an anonymous employee or member of the referral program of X) is not at all interested in people's experiences with X, they just want to raise awareness of X and generate backlinks for search engine optimisation.
    – BrtH
    Commented Mar 22, 2023 at 22:38

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