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I'm wondering whats the policy on "hidden" spam. Today I reviewed one of the "late answers".

E.g..

An OP posts a question.

Someone answers the questions and embeds in his code:

http://cool-webdesign.example.com get your own homepage for just 50 bucks.

The rest of the answer is referring to the problem.

Should one:

  • Flag the post as spam.
  • Just edit the spam out.

I went for the flagging. Meanwhile someone else went for the editing out option.

On moderator review I received "declined - a moderator reviewed your flag, but found no evidence to support it". Are moderators just checking the current status and/or the original post that was flagged?

I wondering if I should flag those posts in future or not.

I checked Limits for self-promotion in answers and What are the spam and offensive flags, and how do they work? however they didn't answer the question.

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7  
If it isn't obvious, you need to flag for "other" and describe what's going on. We run through hundreds of flags a day; the more info you give us the better. –  Won't Jan 4 '12 at 21:19
    
You should include a link to the answer you flagged. –  slugster Jan 5 '12 at 3:55
    
@slugster stackoverflow.com/questions/569149/… The one created yesterday. –  Udo Held Jan 5 '12 at 6:22
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2 Answers

up vote 13 down vote accepted

Flagging as spam is the correct option, usually the "real" content is just copy-pasted from another source anyway. If you take a closer look at the post, I'm pretty certain that you'll find that it was entirely copied from somewhere else, which would alone be a reason to delete the post.

From how you describe the situation, declining the flag was probably an error from the moderator. They usually take a look at older revisions if the flag doesn't make any sense, but on SO they have a lot of flags, so the mods can't spend much time on each flag.

If the situation is complicated, it's often a good idea to use a custom flag and explain the situation in detail. This is far less likely to get declined than one of the pre-canned flag reasons. Though in this case I still think that spam is the correct flag reason, and spam flags have the benefit of automatically deleting posts.

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5  
This. If there's any kind of special case reason or subtlety to your flag, it's best to explain it to us to be sure we don't miss it. Moderators can always give a post a super-charged spam flag to get rid of it immediately. –  Bill the Lizard Jan 4 '12 at 19:50
    
@BilltheLizard super-charged spam flag. This sounds cool. Does it involve lasers? –  PeeHaa Jan 4 '12 at 21:14
5  
@PeeHaa: No real lasers, but I do make a "pew pew pew pew" sound when I destroy a spammer's account. –  Bill the Lizard Jan 4 '12 at 21:30
    
@BilltheLizard: Sounds like the moderator flag review page should give an easy way to access the particular revision that was flagged, not just the most current. –  derobert Jan 7 '12 at 16:11
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These should most definitely be flagged.

Users that do this need to be brought to the attention of the moderator team to prevent future abuse. Editing out the offensive content just hides the symptom while leaving the root cause in place.

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