New user @wm-wolff-law-exam-guides has a username that appears to be primarily an advertisement and a form of spam for publications by this author.

I also note reviewing this new user's profile, that this user has received a great many downvotes for contributions (26 downvotes v. 13 upvotes as of the time I write this post in the two days after the new member joined Law.SE) which also is suggestive of a primarily spam oriented account, although this may simply reflect inexperience with the standards expected at this site.

I'm not sure what is or is not permitted at Law.SE along these lines but would like to raise the issue here for discussion.


3 Answers 3


There are a number of users on a range of Stack Exchange sites whose actual name is their brand - they are renowned at high levels for their expertise and work.

If it is okay to include your name this way and enjoy the self-promotion obtained from it, it should be more than okay to include the name of a business there, too.

Note that the use of that name cuts both ways. Given the significant low scores they've managed to collect, is it more likely that this activity is enhancing or damaging the brand? Spam posts and spam links are removed because they affect the operation of the site. A user name has to be something, why not a business name?


It raises an interesting question, whether SE usernames should be devoid of possible connections to commercial products and services. There is no rule to that effect, so I would say that the question is, what is the essence of "spam" in the SE context. It would be interesting to review all of the spam-deletions here, but that doesn't seem to be possible (mods with power might know better). My fallible recollection is that they tend to be composed of minimal discussion – usually verbal gas like "Interesting question: see this (spam link)". I do not believe that the user's primary intent in posting is to advocate a commercial product, it is to expose his/her opinion on legal topics. The choice of username may or may not have been intended to generate interest in the book, but that does not seem to be the primary reason for the posts.

The interesting side question that this raises is whether usernames can be inherently spamulous: if this is an inherently spamulous username, then the remedies would have to be banning, or forced name-change (alternatively, suggested name change with forced change as a backup). Since there is no (published) SE precedent for treating names as inherently spamulous, then we should not punish the user for being unaware that the name itself could be considered by some to be "spam". I do not believe that a reasonable user would conclude that using the name of a commercial product constitutes "spam".


There was a user on Travel Stack Exchange who did this for a while, but he subsequently changed his display name to remove reference to the company for which he works. The display name is now simply a personal name.

I preferred having the company name in the display name as a more prominent disclosure of the affiliation.

Perhaps in contrast to this case, that user provided good content, including answering questions that were not particularly relevant to his company's area of activity. He promoted his company only by mentioning it when it was relevant to the question being answered, and he provided helpful responses based on the company's data without requiring users to visit the company's site to benefit.

I think the disclosure of a business interest in a display name should be encouraged. There are other policies in place to deal with poor content, undue commercial promotion, and other troublesome behavior, and they should normally be effective regardless of a user's display name.

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