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I was reading the question Should I inform students that there are cheaper alternatives to the on-campus book store? and I saw that some brand names are included in the posts. Even after it is edited and the brand names are omitted from the title of the question, there still we see some brand names in the question text and/or in the answers posted to it (such as this answer, this one, etc).

In that question it is being asked about informing students about cheaper ways to buy the books and mentioning a website's name or a book store does not make any essential improve to the question, so it seems it is not necessary to mention those brand names and omitting them from questions/answers does not disturb the question at all.

Because I think mentioning a particular brand name is not always the main point to be mentioned and the question is about something more general, I think the correct way to edit such posts is to make the post more general like this:

before edit:

I think the [Brand Name] has some advantages in a particular area.

after edit:

I think one of the brands (which it's name is not mentioning) has some advantages in a particular area.

Is it ethical to include brand names (such as universities, trademarks, companies, etc.) in questions and what is the website's policy on such issue?

Should they be edited or not? And how is a correct sample of edit to such posts? (Please give an example to show the correct edit of such questions; like: before edit and after edit)

  • I was the original poster of the question. I don't believe I did anything unethical, but I certainly don't mind that my post was edited. – Anonymous Aug 25 '14 at 1:46
  • @Anonymous I am bringing your question as an example, take a look at this question. I see many other questions in which the poster names universities, brands, etc. and his question may have negative impact on the reader's opinion about that name. For instance, somebody says, University A is better than University B; this may have bad effect and bad-advertisement of a good university which may suffer from problems in only specific areas compared to university B. – Enthusiastic Engineer Aug 25 '14 at 4:44
  • @Anonymous In my opinion, you could ask this way: The bookstore at my university is an outpost of a well-known publisher/bookshop, charges much higher prices than can be found on an online book store [...] This will not name any brands, also will not disturb to your question too. – Enthusiastic Engineer Aug 25 '14 at 4:47
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There is no universal right-or-wrong answer here. The issue is that users should not be "promoting" products and companies on the site—including their own universities and departments!

However, so long as the poster isn't promoting, I don't see a huge problem to leave specific manufacturers and brands in a question or answer—particularly if there is some relevance to the question.

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    I think the user should not be slandering the product/company either. – StrongBad Aug 24 '14 at 10:46

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