Having run across some answer spam in the review queues recently, I would like to forward on this message from StackOverflow Meta that I saw from AskUbuntu Meta:

Educating people to flag spam and not vote to close

Do we have the standards in place to remind users/high-rep users/moderators that spam is always spam?

If there is other discussion on this, I would be interested in knowing.

(Throw back to 2012 spam issues)

  • \$\begingroup\$ The problem with flagging as spam is that it has bad consequences for you if someone disagrees. I tend to avoid it since sometimes mods are like "if in doubt, its innocent" \$\endgroup\$
    – PlasmaHH
    Jul 16, 2016 at 21:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ What makes you think that spam (posted as questions) gets closed rather than flagged appropriately? I did not see evidences of this myself. Spam is much more often seen in answers than questions, and, even though I never saw one spam question, I'd bet it would be quickly reported as spam and deleted if it happened (and I think it is also the reason why I never happened to see this - because they were deleted before I came across them). I think the system is actually working pretty well in this regard. \$\endgroup\$
    – dim
    Jul 18, 2016 at 7:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not a moderator. But if spam is violently blatant I've been known to edit it 'to improve its quality', in line withgeneral system guidelines for any post. In the case of blatant spam, disabling any links is usually an excellent 1st step in improving its quality. Others can then tidy up as protocol permits. \$\endgroup\$
    – Russell McMahon Mod
    Aug 26, 2016 at 8:41

1 Answer 1


I don't see a problem that needs addressing. As far as I can tell, the spam handling system works well.

As you say, the right way to handle spam is to flag it as such. In my experience, the mods handle it quite quickly. I'm not sure we're big enough yet for enough spam flags to accumulate to cause automatic deletion before a mod sees a flag and handles it directly.

Most spam I've seen has been answers, not question. Voting to close therefore doesn't apply. However, you can still downvote. That will make the score negative, which then allows you to vote to delete. This is what I usually do with answer that should be deleted, whether spam or something else. Perhaps that's overkill, but I don't see how that hurts. After all, I do feel the answer should be deleted, which is what the delete vote mechanism is for.

As to not flagging because a mod might decline the flag, that's just silly. First most spam is blantantly obvious. As long as you don't consistently raise flags others disagree with, there won't be any problems. For example, I just checked, and I have raised 8 spam flags, and one was declined. In total I've raised 205 flags, of which 7 were declined and 3 disputed. No harm has come to me, and I certainly don't feel the mods are taking my flags less seriously due to a few disagreements of opinion.

If you see spam, flag it!

  • \$\begingroup\$ I have raised 31 spam flags. 30 are marked helpful, 1 was disputed (this one). I don't see a problem here either. \$\endgroup\$
    – David
    Jul 20, 2016 at 19:56

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