Don't get me wrong: I appreciate how quickly and efficiently moderators react to spam, but they can't be everywhere at the same time. And though unlikely, I even hear some of them have a life as well :-).

The best way to discourage spammers is to make spam as invisible as possible. They may not be intelligent, but they're smart, and they will find their ways, as I learned again today. (No I'm not telling how, I don't want to get others to the idea.)

Suggestion: authorize users with enough rep to preliminary remove spam answers and comments, until the removal is approved by a moderator. A spam answer which was posted 5 hours ago and is still there could have been made invisible when I saw it 3 hours ago.

To repeat: this not criticism towards moderators, I think they're doing a great job. Kudos!

  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, I'll know spam whan I see it. The few times that happened I flagged for moderator attention and it was dealt with. I think they could trust us to know spam from real content and not abuse the priveledge, especially since a mod can reverse the provisional deletion. I'm willing to help since deleting wouldn't be any more work (probably less) than flagging for moderator attention, and it cleans up the site right away. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 29, 2012 at 12:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Olin - Most of us will know spam when we see it. But I don't even want those who are interested in a Chinese phone to click the link. That's already too much reward for the spammer. \$\endgroup\$
    – stevenvh
    Jun 29, 2012 at 12:40
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @OlinLathrop, you are able to vote to delete. If you flag something as spam and a couple others do then it automatically deletes. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Jun 29, 2012 at 12:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kortuk - How's that with the vote to delete? I saw the link for the answer you just deleted, but not for Tony's, for instance. Does it need a number of downvotes? \$\endgroup\$
    – stevenvh
    Jun 29, 2012 at 12:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @stevenvh sounds like a separate meta question. I am getting a solid reference for the rules for this one. Flagging as spam from a number of people auto-deletes. This means that just everyone flagging it when they see it deletes it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Jun 29, 2012 at 13:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ I feel criticized. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Jun 29, 2012 at 13:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @stevenvh In this case I saw that user yesterday and thought it an odd question but one of our users that has taken a long hiatus was in chat asking about the hiatus reasons and I missed doing my due diligence. I did downvote because I dont agree that this feature should be implemented! I am adding a status declined also :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Jun 29, 2012 at 13:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kortuk - This one was also easily overlooked too, as it copied from another answer to give it a legitimate look. \$\endgroup\$
    – stevenvh
    Jun 29, 2012 at 13:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @stevenvh yeah, that is now they snuck by me. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Jun 29, 2012 at 13:27

1 Answer 1


Under Flagging Privilege which requires a mere 15 reputation:

What happens when I flag something Offensive or Spam?

The offensive and spam flags are designed to automatically eliminate truly offensive posts through the collaboration of the community.

  • 3 flags -- post is banished from the front page.
  • 6 flags -- post is locked, deleted, and the owner loses 100 reputation.

Users with the Moderator Tools privilege can see how many offensive flags a post has accrued, and may opt to flag it themselves.

So if 6 spam flags are given on a post it will automatically remove the post with a delete. Approximately 6600 people had at least 15 rep on the site at the time of this post.

This is key to spam fighting, the community must flag, not just to let moderators know but to delete the post.

This is the reason Kevin posted the community call to flag spam!

Put a comment on it, FLAG THIS AS SPAM if you want to start teaching the community to take part. I would do that but it is a bit moot because when I get there the napalm comes.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ 6 is probably too many for anything but Stack Overflow. Can it be decreased? \$\endgroup\$
    – endolith
    Jun 29, 2012 at 15:29
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @endolith You only need 15 rep to flag spam, 6 users flagging it does not seem crazy to me. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Jun 29, 2012 at 15:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @endolith, the amount of spam we get almost does not exist compared to SO also, SO has an unbelievable number of spammers that have shown up. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Jun 30, 2012 at 19:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure what you're saying. I'm saying that of the people who view a question, a smaller percentage views all the answers and comments, and a smaller percentage notices spam, and an even smaller percentage goes through the trouble of flagging it. If it gets 2 or 3 spam flags, it's pretty safe to assume it's spam. It can always be undone by a mod anyway, right? \$\endgroup\$
    – endolith
    Jul 1, 2012 at 17:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @endolith spam is a much more severe flag. I am thinking that not enough users are flagging it, often only one person does, we need users to post that they should use the flag for spam option so that everyone starts do it, once the community is involved we have more workers then any spammer can afford. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Jul 1, 2012 at 17:29

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