The blend hosting service blend-exchange outputs this image, as a link to the file. advertisement

The "Hosted by Blend-Exchange" is the line in the image I'm questioning.
Is that:

  1. "Effectively an advertisement with no disclosure."
  2. "It is not useful or relevant, but promotional."

If so, what should be done with the posts with this image in them. Is flagging as spam, or editing the post the only options?


Going back to the title, if the image really isn't an advert, but more of a user friendly way to introduce a .blend file, is that okay?

Under this theme, these may resolve the issue of unsolicited or solicited for that matter branding:

Here are a few logo less alternatives that avoid the image-text alignment issues of @Davids suggestions by putting text into the image, which isn't quite that bad:

download the blend

blend file

I've made this a community wiki because anyone is welcome to add examples.

  • $\begingroup$ I think your first image would be a fine way to link to B-E. Even without the "hosted by" line it is still branding; while someone using pastall could use that image (probably won't), it will convey (very quickly) that this blend is on blend-exchange. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Mar 6 '15 at 14:00

From reading about "spam" on SE, I would say that is not "spam" but it should not be in the posts.

Quoting from the first line of when to flag as spam

A post should be marked as spam ONLY when it contains an unsolicited advertisement.

The "Hosted by Blend-Exchange" is considered a unsolicited advertisement. - flag as spam.

https://blender.stackexchange.com/help/promotion Starts out with

The community here tends to vote down overt self-promotion and flag it as spam.

Self promotion does not come in to play much here (except that a member of the community created the service) - no action

If you look at the spam flagging reason it becomes less clear.

This answer is effectively an advertisement with no disclosure. It is not useful or relevant, but promotional.

The answer is good and helpfull, but the image is what is "advertisement with no disclosure and promotional" - this is the gray one no action.

Well what is the definition of spam? In two different places1 2 SE links to the wikipeda definition of spam.

Electronic spamming is the use of electronic messaging systems to send unsolicited messages (spam), especially advertising, as well as sending messages repeatedly on the same site

So the question really becomes "what to do with good posts that have spam in them?".
At this point I would say that flagging is not the best course of action. Rather edit out the images, and replace them with a simple text link.

Here are several link option in stead of this.
Old image

This question (and the answer) deserves a read as it talks about the weightiness of the spam and offensive flags. What are the “spam” and “rude or abusive” (offensive) flags, and how do they work?

Further more the W3 states that

Images of text are only used for pure decoration or where a particular presentation of text is essential to the information being conveyed. (Level AAA)

Which means that there is no reason that the text "Download the .Blend Hosted by Blend-Exchange" should be in a image. If a icon is really necessary the image should only contain the icon.
blend-exchange icon Download the Blend file

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Or the Icon and the "download the .Blend!" cause that's colorful and cool. $\endgroup$
    – Scalia
    Mar 5 '15 at 18:45
  • $\begingroup$ @VinceScalia edited the answer to include your suggestion. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Mar 5 '15 at 18:50
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I understand the W3 states that text should be out of images, but without full CSS and markup, I had to make do... not ideal yes, but the download the blend file you provide has serious image alignment issues that would be avoided by putting the text in the image $\endgroup$ Mar 5 '15 at 23:58
  • $\begingroup$ If the question is "[W]hat to do with good posts that have spam in them?", the answer is simple; more sophisticated users, upon seeing the spam, should edit it out, noting in the comments that the question was edited to remove spam.. $\endgroup$
    – brasshat
    Jun 30 '15 at 19:56


  • Flagging is the wrong approach
  • Blend-Exchange isn't "adverting"
  • Blend-Exchange is just suggesting use of these images
  • It really doesn't constitute irrelevant adverting spam
  • If they are a problem editing is the correct approach

Flagging is the wrong approach

Firstly I'd like to say that posts shouldn't be marked as spam just because they contain something that could be considered advertising. Spam is when a post is solely trying to sell something, and not contributing to the knowledge base the stack exchange is trying to build. In this case, some of the posts with the image have been well received and gotten several upvotes, a sign that with the Blend-Exchange name and all they are still valuable and not at all spam. Flagging is out of the question, now to whether the image are spam is a different matter...

Not quite spam

Spam on stack exchange usually consists of people trying to sell garbage that nobody wants... Blend-Exchange is a charitable service, built out of volunteer hours and operating at a net loss of 100% with no income and operating expenses. In other similar cases these were companies, and the links helped them sell products. On the other hand, charitable organizations can spam for donations, but then again they are trying to collect money. Blend-Exchange doesn't collect money at all on its site. Blend-Exchange has nothing to gain other then increased taxing of its services, as well as a reinforced brand, but what does that brand even help?

Blend-Exchange isn't spamming, users are

Finally, normal users are spreading this accused spam by using the suggested embed code... Blend-Exchange isn't adding it to posts. One could claim that by giving out a blender guru tutorial link, or even by putting the name in this post that they are spamming. The only reason that Blend-Exchange cause an upset is that the image was fairly large and very orange. A better question may have been is it incorrect to put attention grabbing content? Is the subtlety of the brand's name important. The point is mentioning a service isn't necessarily spamming, the line can be fine, yes, but I don't think this crosses it.

Do edit if all else fails

How to handle the images, amusing it is spam, which it is not: Editing the posts.... flagging isn't appropriate, since the moderators will simply have to edit it since it on its own doesn't justify removing the post, see first paragraph.

Special note from the admin of Blend-Exchange

This is a Community Project As the manager of the project, I'm open to suggestions from the community. (I also have to say no from time to time in the best interest of the project, I promise to be nicer about it then Linus Torvalds though :P ) Even though Blend-Exchange is under no obligation to change the images, a change will occur as a result of this.

I appreciate your support of the project, even if its unconventional... I hope this doesn't affect your view of the service, Its trying to solve a problem, not create one.

PS Blend-Exchange is under no obligation to act upon this much like any other file hosting service wouldn't be liable for its embed code... however since this community is central to its operation as said above, Blend-Exchange will be changing as a result.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ 7 excellent points addressed in this answer! also, text on any display is displayed as pixels. unless you are using an alien goo-tron display, then they might not use pixels. $\endgroup$ Mar 5 '15 at 23:52
  • $\begingroup$ @X-27 I now have 4, you clearly cant count in the future... $\endgroup$ Mar 6 '15 at 4:00
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ well, I posted that with the anticipation that you would add more, which you have. $\endgroup$ Mar 6 '15 at 16:08

Apparently some people on this site only like white backgrounds and black text. We want pretty looking images to use for links and other places where attention is needed and a plain link isn't enough.

enter image description here

may be a bit overkill, but it is a lot more eye-catching than blend file

I can not represent Every answer or question on this site, however based on this reason we should NOT flag as spam answers or questions containing this image.

This answer is effectively an advertisement with no disclosure. It is not useful or relevant, but promotional.

This description would be fitting if the Entire answer or question was an advertizement, not useful or irrelevant. However, the very purpose of all answers and questions are to be useful, and the blend files are added as a general aid.

Just because the link to the blend file has a picture that some people do not like does Not mean the entire answer is useless or irrelevant.

  • $\begingroup$ I covered the flagging as spam topic in my answer. I never stated that a image would invalidate the whole post as "not useful or relevant," but rather I was raising the whole point on the "advertisement with no disclosure or promotional" line. As to your "pretty" links point, read the last part of my answer. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Mar 5 '15 at 23:20
  • $\begingroup$ Your answer is seemingly drifting off in another direction. The question is about whether or not the blendexchange image is considered spam, and what should be done about it. It really has nothing to do with the styling of links, vs images. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Mar 5 '15 at 23:25
  • $\begingroup$ Ok, you have a good point. But your question is still flawed, there should be a third option on how to deal with "spam" answers. 3. add a disclosure such as "The service Blend-Exchange is a third party service and not endorsed by stack exchange. use at your own risk" Seriously????? no one wants a bunch of legal mumbo-jumbo in their answers. $\endgroup$ Mar 5 '15 at 23:27
  • $\begingroup$ Your last comment confused me, and the issue. However I would agree that there is no need for extraneous text like "Hosted by blend-exchange" in answers. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Mar 5 '15 at 23:30
  • $\begingroup$ We do want pretty pictures. thankyou! $\endgroup$
    – Scalia
    Mar 5 '15 at 23:32
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Just because the link to the blend file has a picture that some people do not like does Not mean the entire answer is useless or irrelevant. I'm pretty sure that's a fallacy - the straw man fallacy, to be precise. The point is not whether we can have images for the link, but rather whether they should say hosted by Blend-Exchange. $\endgroup$ Mar 5 '15 at 23:43

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