I flagged a question as Spam. When I clicked on the Flag link again this is what it showed me:


I raised only the Spam flag, so is all spam automatically considered rude or abusive too? What is the advantage of implementing it this way?


1 Answer 1


This seems like poor UI design, but internally spam and offensive flags are handled very similarly. Unlike other flags, they allow regular users to take direct action without moderator intervention. If 6 spam or offensive flags accumulate on a post, the post is deleted, locked, and the user receives -100 reputation and the information is fed into the automatic anti-spam system.

I'm not sure, but I believe selecting "spam" vs "offensive" changes how the anti-spam system handles the information, but besides that, there's little difference in how they work internally. They are only different from a user experience perspective.

  • There must be a time delay, after which it goes into a moderator queue if it hasn't already been deleted. The -100 rep is sort of a waste of programming; users with any rep aren't the culprits.
    – fixer1234
    Commented Jun 4, 2015 at 16:40
  • @fixer1234 it always goes directly to the mod queue, and often we get there before a post hits 6 flags on its own. Occasionally a user with significant rep will get hit with an offensive flag, but it is uncommon.
    – nhinkle
    Commented Jun 4, 2015 at 18:12
  • @fixer1234 - I saw a spam post published by somebody with more then 100 reputation. Its borderline, but the link was basically a ad website, it served no purpose and clearly was designed to advertise the website ( the answer wasn't self-contained ).
    – Ramhound
    Commented Jun 4, 2015 at 18:42
  • Thanks nhinkle. I do wonder though what -100 rep entails. Sometimes I've checked deleted spam questions and the user has been anonymised, while at other times their selected user name (and account) still seems active. Why isn't account deletion/banning automatic for everyone who has posted spam?
    – Karan
    Commented Jun 6, 2015 at 6:35
  • @Karan sometimes users get a second chance. We do get people whose initial intent was to promote their company/product, and after a friendly reminder end up actually being contributing members of the site in some way. Often people promoting something are actually quite skilled in whatever the related topic is, and with some coaxing can be useful contributors.
    – nhinkle
    Commented Jun 6, 2015 at 7:01
  • @Karan when it's obviously blatant spam being posted by a robot or a person being paid a few pennies per post for something they had no involvement in, we do typically destroy the user profile though. We only tend to suspend + give a chance when there seems to actually be a potentially redeemable person who's actually involved with the product in question on the other end.
    – nhinkle
    Commented Jun 6, 2015 at 7:02
  • That sounds like a common-sense approach. I just thought in cases where the automatic anti-spam system gets triggered (due to 6 flags) the user would be auto-deleted. So even in those cases mods have to review and take a call on whether each account is to be removed or not?
    – Karan
    Commented Jun 6, 2015 at 7:05
  • @Karan if a post is removed by spam flags, we may never see the user. Getting 6 spam flags sends a pretty strong signal to the automatic anti-spam system, which typically results in us not needing to deal with that user anymore past that point. Also, if it's their only post and an unregistered account, the account will be auto-deleted eventually anyways. It's the borderline cases (which often accumulate "other" flags too) where we have to make a decision. The decision is usually pretty clear though; 100% spam is easy to spot.
    – nhinkle
    Commented Jun 6, 2015 at 7:32

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