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Spam posts usually occur on SE sites and main site is not an exception. Such posts should be flagged as spam and they do get flagged. However, what I have been noticing is that sometimes, they get edited and stick for long times on the site.

This has happened in the early days of public beta, and now it has happened again. I am not aware how many times such thing has happened during this period. However, this is not a good practice.

From this answer to the main meta post,

Spam doesn't usually stay there long enough for it to be cached by search engines or to have random users stumble upon it.

Most spams are posted to get a backlink from popular sites such as this one. But since spam is deleted before crawled by search engines, this will not happen.

From the same answer,

If a post is flagged after being edited, those flags will be invalidated if the post is rolled back; unless your edit actually results in a post that shouldn't be deleted, you're just creating an opportunity for someone to make the post stick around longer.

If the post is edited, the post will stick around little longer and the spammers will get their goal accomplished.

I don't wanna call names, but here are those. Example Post 1, Example Post 2

enter image description here

enter image description here

If a post is a spam, please don't edit it, flag it as a spam.

Thank you.

Related Discussion

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  • 4
    Is this a regular occurrence here? I've never seen it. If not, I don't really see why this is necessary to put as a question on meta. – JMac Sep 25 '17 at 13:11
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    Without an example, I don't think most folk are going to know to what activity you are referring. – Robert Cartaino Sep 25 '17 at 13:22
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    @RobertCartaino Sure, I'd add the example. I recently flagged this post. – A J Sep 25 '17 at 14:12
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    @JMac As I have seen, it happened a couple of times. How many times? I am not sure, but yes this usually occurs. – A J Sep 25 '17 at 14:15
  • I was one of the first to act (on Sunday) on THIS Question. I was not sure it was a spam, so I decided to edit and remove the links, then VTC. In case I had no doubt, I would have flagged as spam. Was I right or wrong in this particular case? – OldPadawan Sep 25 '17 at 14:24
  • @OldPadawan looks like spam to me. Edit out links only if there's a genuine on-topic question visible. Else, flag and let it die. :) – NVZ Sep 25 '17 at 14:27
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    The other problem with just editing out links is that people like me don't notice there's an edit history with links and don't delete the crappy content from the site. – Catija Sep 25 '17 at 14:31
  • "What would be the best way to as for a Free Classifieds ads linking back to my website?". I changed the as for ask. So from now on I will be flagging. – Tycho's Nose Sep 25 '17 at 14:40
  • @1006a 10k for big sites. Here, since it's beta, somewhere around 4k, I think. – NVZ Sep 25 '17 at 15:56
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    @Catija : ok, get it! Next time I won't miss it :) – OldPadawan Sep 25 '17 at 18:23
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    @OldPadawan Don't be too harsh on yourself. See my answer below. – Catija Sep 25 '17 at 18:35
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    @OldPadawan I don't wanna call names, but please stop editing spam posts. – A J Feb 17 '18 at 11:06
  • @AJ : thanks for reminding, I had forgotten this :/ sorry about that... – OldPadawan Feb 17 '18 at 11:33
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    It is useful information to the community members that the correct response is not to edit in any way but to flag as spam, thanks @AJ. – English Student Feb 17 '18 at 11:48
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    The Metasmoke spam archive currently has 186 IPP reports, of which 153 are flagged as correctly reported as spam; you can see the false positives by switching tabs. – tripleee Mar 16 '18 at 11:49
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I think there are a couple of concerns worth addressing here.

  1. No, we don't want to edit obvious spam for the reasons mentioned in the question and because removing the links makes it less likely that other people will flag it as spam because links are sort of required to be considered spam.

  2. Sometimes it's not always completely obvious whether a post is spam or not and we can't expect every user to be perfectly capable of identifying spam posts every time, so let's not admonish them too harshly for trying to help someone.

Here's what I suggest:

If a post seems to not meet the scope of the site and contains links to other sites/products, just flag as spam and move on. Six spam flags (or one from a moderator) will delete the post.

If the post seems like it might be related to IPS and also seems like it might be advertising other sites/products without disclosing the author's affiliation, I think it's OK to edit out the links, leave a comment mentioning that the links are problematic and flag it for a moderator to decide using the custom mod flag and say something along the lines of "this may be spam but I'm not sure".

If others disagree with the flag, then nothing will happen to the post (and you've already fixed it by removing the unnecessary links) and you'll get a disputed flag but one or two disputed flags with the upside being that more people see the post and possibly decide to flag it themselves, I think it's worth the risk.

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    RE: it's OK to edit out the links [...] and flag it as spam -- Not sure I understand. If the edits improved a post, why flag it? Also, if the links are gone, the chance that others flag it as well is reduced, right? Also, edits cancel the existing flags on it, right? – NVZ Sep 25 '17 at 19:03
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    @NVZ not a moderator flag. When I was originally thinking about flagging I was only thinking about a mod flag, not a spam flag, so it's exempt there... but editing it won't always make it a good post... mostly it's in the case that it's too difficult to decide what the post is. – Catija Sep 25 '17 at 19:13
  • Okay, I see you've updated the answer to clarify that. +1 – NVZ Sep 25 '17 at 19:21

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