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On a recent piece of spam, a user (Ramhound) stated:

“Please do not vote to close spam.“

Why? Should we just downvote and close as spam? What is the harm in voting to close as off topic? Wouldn’t that allow more people to quickly review it, thus getting rid of it sooner?

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  • @gparyani Nice find! “Technically, it does not cause any harm. It does not make spam more difficult to flag or to handle, and it has no consequence for the post's eligibility for review audits either.” Feb 1 at 5:37
  • That being said, it does waste one of your close votes, and here on SU it may not be an issue, but it is an issue on SO where people frequently run out of close votes. Also, even if the question does get closed, keep in mind that the server doesn't actually block answers to closed questions until four hours later - the only way to truly stop a spam question from getting answered is protecting it, which only a mod can do within 24 hours of it getting asked.
    – gparyani
    Feb 1 at 5:39
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    IMHO, a closed question is one that's capable of being reopened. Spam is not something to reopen. Feb 1 at 5:54
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    diy.meta.stackexchange.com/a/1784 - I've observed that closing often is done instead of flagging. Even if a user starts with good intentions by flagging and close voting, others might only choose the latter option.
    – VLAZ
    Feb 1 at 6:03
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    @gparyani Arrrgg. No. The way to truly stop a spam question from being answered is to flag it as spam. If four users flag it as spam, then the post is deleted and locked, the text is hidden in the revision history for non-moderators, the user is assessed a -100 reputation penalty, and the user is prevented from posing more spam from that IP address on this site and other SE sites.
    – Makyen
    Feb 1 at 6:03
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    If you want to get more users looking at the spam post who are familiar with evaluating if it's spam & flagging it, you can post a link to the post in Charcoal HQ. People there are usually quite willing to handle things once they have a link to the spam. If you're interested, there's an Introduction to Participating in Charcoal, which is a group of users who focus on making sure that spam & rude/abusive posts are quickly removed on all of SE. [Disclosure: I'm one of the Charcoal admins.]
    – Makyen
    Feb 1 at 6:11
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    For something that you know is going to be deleted as spam, and you have flagged it as such, then close votes are at best a waste of precious mouse clicks (some mice have a finite number of clicks, looking at you Logitech) and a however many bytes a close vote takes in your Internet pipe and the related databases at Stack Exchange HQ. I would expand Ramhounds comment to "Do not (just) vote to close, flag it as spam as they are handled differently." But I would not say "Do not close" as that implies we don't do anything to spam.
    – Mokubai Mod
    Feb 1 at 10:06
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    @Mokubai You should post that as an answer. Feb 1 at 17:17
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    When I said that comment, I know it would be deleted as spam, closed questions become eligible to become audit questions. I don’t want to see the potential of a spam question, even if it’s deleted, to become an audit question. I have seen, spam get reviewed from the queue, and the community bot submitting automated comments from those decisions showing a small minority of users performing reviews cannot properly identify spam by skipping the review when they encounter spam.
    – Ramhound
    Feb 4 at 8:46

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