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About a week ago, a new user named Bible Student joined and supplied answers to the following questions:

Unfortunately, his answers don't include his answer to the questions. He has a website, TheDiscipleWhomJesusLoved.com, that promotes a freely downloadable ebook in which he lays out his case that Lazarus was the "disciple whom Jesus loved" in the fourth gospel.

Now it's something of a conflict of interest for me to mention this, because he devotes large portions of his answers to arguing against my own answers to the same questions.

Nevertheless, I don't think Bible student's answers belong here. Stack Exchange is supposed to be a site that provides quality answers, not a place for authors to link to their own self-promotional websites.

If he wants to make the case for Lazarus here, list the main points of his argument in his answer, and then link to his website for more information, I think it would be fine. But as they stand, his answers don't contribute anything to this site.

In my opinion, both of his answers should be flagged for deletion. But I am far from a disinterested third party. What do the rest of you think?

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My philosophy tends toward non-interventionism when there is a gray area. In this case, his answers don't seem to me to be bald advertisement; they do address the questions he is answering. Likewise, the references to his website strike me as citations rather than simply advertisements. I tend to prefer to allow the voting system to take care of this; in this case, it does not seem as though his answers are gaining much traction, and I'm not convinced that having an answer with negative votes arguing against you is even to your detriment.

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  • +1 My thinking is basically the same - sometimes users can be encouraged to improve their answers with a gentle nudge from a mod in the comments or in chat :-) – Jack Douglas Feb 13 '12 at 16:06
  • Good point--I did see that you've done that, which seemed enough to me. – Ray Feb 13 '12 at 16:09
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    I mostly agree with you here; my main concern is not that he argues against me, but that he doesn't actually name Lazarus in his answer. His actual answer to the question can be found only in his 56-page .pdf. – Bruce Alderman Feb 15 '12 at 5:38

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