In the following question and answer, I've explained how one could go to a certain bus station in Tbilisi to catch a minibus to Yerevan. I added two things, the address of the station along with the geocoordinates, as "X bus station" can sometimes be hard to find in developing countries like Georgia:

I've also landed at Avlabari on my way back, so there might be departures there also. (What I've done on leaving is simply ask a taxi driver for it and they drove me to the Ortachala station.[^1])

[^1]: 1 Dimitri Gulia St, Tbilisi (41.6752119, 44.8332579)

One commenter said:

[...] Having said that I suggest removing the promotional content of your answer.

I was kind of puzzled, and asked to make sure that's what they were referring to.

Another contributor, @Willeke, at 13k rep, outright edited my answer to remove the location, address and coords:

I have edited out the details for the taxi, not that useful in the long run and close to spam, if not outright spam, which might have resulted in deleting this answer.

I'm pretty baffled here. Was that an appropriate reaction, is that the policy of the Travel.se?

If they thought it was a taxi company, why didn't they at least ask or even check what it was? I get that my footnote could have gone on the first reference to the Ortachala station, but wasn't the reaction a little... overreactionary?

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    Is it possible that some people mistook "1 Dimitri Gulia St, Tbilisi (41.6752119, 44.8332579)" for "a driver named Dimitri who you can call at this number" instead of "a street address and lat-long coordinates?" That would explain the confusion. Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 4:45
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    Possible, that's the only explanation I can find, I but found the reaction pretty rash considering my comments. Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 4:54
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    I understand that. We do get a lot of promotional spam, and while your high rep on SO makes it pretty clear you're not a typical spammer if someone checked, I can see how such a mistake could have happened. I just put that info back, and reformatted it a little in the hope that it's more obvious what it is. Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 4:58
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    I certainly did misread it as a recommendation of a taxi driver called Dmitri and assumed the co-ordinates were phone numbers with country codes... I don't really understand why that wouldn't be allowed though? We often mention websites, services, tour operators, companies, guides, books etc if they are a good option to solve an asker's problem... supposing one of the best options for travelling between Tblisi and Yerevan was a particular independent taxi driver who is particularly reliable, why wouldn't it be allowed? Not especially more likely to become out of date than anything else. Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 11:33
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    The edit by @ZachLipton clarifies the content in a way that removes doubt from the original statement. People make comments like that to HELP. If you would prefer comment-less down votes instead, that's fine too. Overall when I make a comment, it is well-intended and an attempt to be helpful.
    – Gayot Fow
    Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 11:42
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    @GayotFow I don't think anyone's criticising your comment (though I'll admit the mistake several of us made, me included, is a pretty funny one :-)). If anything's being criticised, it's the original edit unilaterally removing the "phone numbers", which seemed a bit heavy-handed, though I think it's more a case of (legitimately) questioning it than necessarily criticising it. The answer is better now Zach's removed the ambiguity. Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 11:46
  • The person who did that did so after consultation with me. I.e., the whole incident lies on my back.
    – Gayot Fow
    Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 11:51
  • @GayotFow I think that under the assumption that the misunderstanding this comment thread has arrived at is correct, you (and Wil) did the right things from your point of view. (Which can still be criticised as having been the wrong choice factually, but mistakes happen and I’m sure nobody will hold any grudges.)
    – Jan
    Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 12:26
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    @Jan when people get comments on their answers it is a favourable thing; it's an opportunity to improve and strengthen the answer, to make it more durable and understandable. It's a good thing.
    – Gayot Fow
    Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 13:20
  • It doesn't help that 41 and 44 are European country codes, so they look even more like phone numbers at first glance. Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 15:01
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    It would help to make the coordinates link to a map (Google Maps or OpenStreetMap etc).
    – vclaw
    Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 21:19

2 Answers 2


Judging from the comments there, it's quite clear that these users believed you had given the name and phone numbers of a driver called Dimitri. lol :)

The users who mistook this for spam spend considerable time reviewing and answering questions here, and there is a fair amount of spam here, so I suppose such errors do happen occasionally. (They're only human, after all.) As you have now seen, when such errors do occur, it's quite easy to get them reverted. (Like you did, replied to the comments and posted on Meta.) I would probably also have pinged the users in chat.

Interestingly, even if this was (I know that it wasn't) the contact information of a taxi driver called Dimitri, I'm not absolutely sure that it should have been removed. You are not using a throwaway account, you have a decent reputation on Stackoverflow, and I consider it disappearingly unlikely that you would have had some sort of deal with this guy Dimitri, lol :) But maybe it's not allowed anyway? Regardless, that's a separate question.

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    Yeah, no-one complained that I just recommended the popular London transport website citymapper.com in an answer, for example, even though it's surely far more likely that I might secretly work for Citymapper* than it might be that Jonathan Allard secretly works for some independent Tblisi taxi driver called Dmitri!.............. *(I don't, just to be clear...) Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 11:42
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    @user568458 LOL, I get this funny image in my mind of Jonathan (as he is in his profile photo) sitting in a dark room in Tiblisi, counting money, with a laptop with TSE open, making a deal with Dimitri :)
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 11:48
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    @Fiksdal If I ever get back to Tbilisi, I will make sure to make that picture happen! Hahaha Commented Aug 24, 2016 at 17:47

As other answers have pointed out, this was likely a misunderstanding. I would like to point out an additional way to prevent such a misunderstanding.

Do not omit the N-S and E-W designators and degree sign. And truncate the length a bit.

41.6752119° N 44.8332579° E is far less likely to be misinterpreted as anything else then coordinates. Even less so if you reduce it to 41.67° N 44.83° E. Arc seconds are 30m (at the equator), omitting some decimal places should be precise enough for anyone still to find the place (and your map likely doesn*t have the coordinates that precise anyways, google maps puts the location marker outside the bus station with the coordinates you gave).

Furthermore, if you use the DMS system it gets even less likely to be misinterpreted: 41° 40' 30'' N 44° 49' 59'' E. No chance someone thinks that is a phone number or anything else other then coordinates.

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    Better still, when including latitude and longitude, since most average travel site users don't know how to geolocate, make it easy by searching on the lat/long in Google Maps or similar, which automatically handles the geolocation, then link the lat/long to the first part of the resulting URL e.g. https://www.google.com/maps/place/41°40'30.8"N+44°49'59.7"E/ for example 41.6752119° N 44.8332579° E Commented Aug 29, 2016 at 10:49

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