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I saw a post that is obvious spam. How should I deal with it? What is the proper action to take?

  • This is just something of a PSA since we've seen a bit of an uptick in spam somewhat recently and (luckily) haven't had to deal with it very much in the past. – eldarerathis Dec 7 '12 at 15:41
  • What should be done with the OP's account (like if he advertises his pirateapps site in his profile)? – ce4 Dec 7 '12 at 15:58
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    @ce4: In general, people can put whatever they want in their profiles as long as it is not offensive or extremely distasteful. However, if you see something that just doesn't seem right (like obviously illegal content) then feel free to flag a post with "Other" and explain your concern. If the user has no posts then a good option is to flag one of your posts with "Other", provide a link to the profile, and explain your thoughts that way. At the very least, we will take a look at it and discuss it with the SE folks if we need to. – eldarerathis Dec 7 '12 at 16:01
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Unfortunately, spam slips onto just about every site on the Internet, and Android.SE is not an exception. This post is intended to provide a brief guide on dealing with obvious spam and advertising on the site.

The Stack Exchange system has specific measures in place to help deal with spam. One of the most important of these is the spam flag. If you find a post that you think is obvious spam, click the "flag" link and select the "It is spam" option:

Spam Flag option

The spam flag has a few special properties in comparison to other flags:

  • A spam flag will also cast an automatic downvote without inflicting a rep penalty on the flagger
  • Posts that receive 3 spam flags will be banished from the front page
  • Posts that receive 6 spam flags will be automatically deleted and locked by Community♦
  • If a post is deleted by spam flags it will deduct 100 rep from the author

By flagging spam when you see it, the community can not only help moderators identify spam posts, but can also deal with the posts without any mod intervention. This means that the size of the community itself becomes a very effective tool in dealing with spammers.

In addition, try to remember these guidelines when you come across a spam post:

  • Don't worry about editing it. Spam posts will be deleted and locked anyway, and links on Stack Exchange sites use the rel=nofollow attribute, meaning that the links won't improve the site's search rating. Further, moderators and SE employees can search through deleted posts. If you leave the link in then it can be easier to determine how often something has been spammed on the site.
  • If the post is a question, don't worry about voting to close. The spam flag will obliterate (delete + lock) the post anyway, so it won't matter if it was closed first.
  • In general, don't worry about leaving a comment. Spammers know they're spamming, and they know that it's against the rules. They don't care, and leaving a comment is highly unlikely to have any meaningful effect (plus, odds are you'd just be talking to a robot).
  • Don't worry about downvoting. You have a limited number of votes each day - use them on content that deserves those votes instead of on spam. As noted above, the flag will impose a -1 vote on the post anyway.

Additional resources:

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    Thanks especially for the don't edit it suggestion. – ce4 Dec 7 '12 at 15:59
  • Great question/answer! – Bryan Denny Dec 7 '12 at 16:10
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    For mods, note that spam-flagging will instantly delete the post and trigger other good things like the 100 rep penalty ... better than deleting directly. Of course, you may end up destroying the user anyways if they're just a spam account, but yes. – Matthew Read Dec 7 '12 at 16:23
  • @MatthewRead thanks for that info, didn't realize that – Bryan Denny Dec 7 '12 at 16:27
  • Not familiar with this site the downvotes on this answer android.stackexchange.com/a/71656/39544 with the given comment are indicating the following answer android.stackexchange.com/a/92040/39544 should be fine. How to decide it's spam or no spam. – bummi Dec 18 '14 at 10:57

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