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We've been hit by another one of those pesky spam messages posted as an answer today. I won't post a link as it wouldn't make much sense, considering it ought to be deleted any minute now, but I was wondering what is the advised way of handling such occurrences for us non-moderators?

What I did is of course flag it as spam, but also edited its contents now that my reputation is over 2k and my edits don't need to be approved. Is this appropriate way to handle it in the future, or should we better follow some other protocol?

Suggestions welcome, but mostly looking for an official advice. If you could answer taking into account that users might have different privileges based on their gained reputation, then even better. Thanks!

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    Additionally, does the community have any way of automatically removing/detecting spammy messages after (like in today's case) 5 posts quickly appear with the same link and get massively downvoted? – NULLZ May 2 '13 at 7:05
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Here's the part from the relevant Meta.SO answer

What is the effect of the Spam flag?

This type of flag receives an extremely high priority in the moderation queue. It should be used only when the content of the post you are flagging meets the criteria defined below, or it will likely be declined.

The spam flag is designed to eliminate posts with no relevant content and to penalize the authors:

  • 3 flags (spam or offensive): post is banished from the front page.
  • 6 flags (spam or offensive): post is locked, deleted, and the first revision owner loses 100 reputation.
  • 1 flag from a moderator has the same effect as 6 flags from normal users: instant destruction.
  • Because a question with 6 flags is locked, a 10k reputation user cannot meaningfully undelete it.
  • Each spam flag counts as a downvote for calculating the post's score (it does not affect the user's reputation).

Is there any way to remove Spam flags?

There is often no need, as spam flags expire after 48 hours if the thresholds aren't reached.

Rolling back a post to a previous state will revert to the number of spam flags from that particular revision. This allows the OP (or someone else with edit rights) to rollback a post that someone else made spam in a later revision. However, as a general user, once you mark a post as spam, you cannot take it back.

How does the Spam flag differ from the Offensive flag?

There is no functional difference aside from separate counts - 3/6 of either will be sufficient for mechanical purposes.


Personally, this is what I usually do:

  1. Flag as SPAM.
  2. Edit out the spammy part.
  3. A mod eventually will come and look at it and check the user.
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    For those, one of us will get to it pretty quickly...spam flags get to the top of our queueueueue – Rory Alsop May 2 '13 at 7:55
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    Editing is fine - it doesn't reset the counter. It's only if you revert to a previous version. – Rory Alsop May 2 '13 at 22:55

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