Yes, I suppose "covert" is a bit of a charged term...and that "active vs. passive" is better. You understand my point though. Everything we do, from having a booth at a tradeshow, to handing out a business card at dinner, to giving a talk or writing a paper/article, is a SALES
(marketing) opportunity. People might not be writing that article so that members of the journal's readership will hire them. However, how many times might they use that article as part of their credentials or qualifications when interviewing for a job, asking for a pay raise, or bidding on a freelance project?
I'm not sure why "sales" and "marketing" are such dirty words though. It was the same thing I had to deal with when taking all of my undergraduate graphic design courses. As though you are 3/5ths of an artist/cartographer if you actually worry about how you are going to eat tonight! It's pretty hard to make a good map when you're starving to death...correct?!
To your original point of the thread though. Yes, the spike in "active" marketing within these threads annoys me too. If said people aren't sensitive or clever enough to engage in a little bit more "covert" or "passive" marketing techniques, how successful do you think they will be at the end of the day? It'll actually be worse for them, as you/we having a negative opinion of how they handle themselves will be worse for them than if you/we never knew they existed.