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A self-link is a link to a web page you own or have some involvement in.
It is against the rules to post to the MetaFilter front page for self-promotion.
You may not link to the following in a MetaFilter post:
- Your own site.
- A site that you host or contribute to substantially.
- A site of someone whom you have worked with recently, or who is a close friend or relative of yours.
- Something that you posted online, at a site such as scribd, facebook, twitter or youtube, even though you may not have personally created the content.
People who self-link in front page posts on MetaFilter will have their posts removed and their account banned by the mods. Transparency and honesty are important to the community, which relies on users to abide by the guidelines and participate honestly. The injunction against self-linking is arguably the single most inviolable rule on MetaFilter. The posting page says "linking to your own site ... will result in a deletion and your account will be banned."
When is a Self-Link Acceptable?
Including a link to your own site in a comment is acceptable, provided that it has some relevance to the topic being discussed and is not your only form of site participation. Random off-topic insertions of self-links into other posts are discouraged and such links may be removed. It is considered good practice to disclose this in your comment.
Linking to your own site in an Ask MetaFilter question is only permitted if it has something specific to do with the question being asked and is necessary for people to provide an answer, for example "Can you look at my logo and tell me why everyone thinks it looks like a devil?" or "What else do I need to do to this website to make it ADA compliant?" Other self-links are typically removed. Linking to your own content in answers is okay to do occasionally; people who seem to be self-linking continually, or seemingly with spammy intent may have their content removed and their account banned.
Ask MetaFilter questions that seem to be thinly veiled self-promotion will be removed. Do not use Ask MetaFilter to drive traffic to your site or your friend's site or sell a product or service. Questions that seem to be being asked with the intent to promote a poster's product or service or friend's product or service are typically removed and the participating accounts banned.
Pepsi Blue is an excellent illustration of the (feared) eventual result of allowing self-links on MetaFilter.
For more information, see the Metafilter FAQ on this topic.