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I notice that when flagging something as spam, the answer containing said spam automagically receives a downvote*. This got me pondering and I have a few closely-related questions:

  • Does this vote get attributed to me? If not, who? I don't see it in my activity.

  • Should I also 'manually' downvote a spammy answer or is that just a waste of my daily vote allowance?

  • If, having found a spammy answer, I then notice via their profile that the user has a plethora of spammy answers, would working through them quickly trigger the "serial downvote/vandalism" script?

  • Should I be working my way through a spammer's profile in this way?

*Unless someone's following me around the site downvoting everything I flag as spam.

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1  
If it's a serial spammer, just flag one of the contributions with an explanation stating that it's a serial spammer. No need to work through all the contributions. –  Bart May 17 '12 at 14:07
    
As for the *), your observation is correct: How does the Spam Flag work? –  Arjan May 17 '12 at 14:08
2  
I think community owns the spam/offensive flagged downvotes. –  Flexo May 17 '12 at 14:17

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Community ♦ owns the votes*.

Feel free to downvote spam, the lower it goes the better it gets. (It doesn't matter much once the post hits -5 for questions (disappears from the front page), and -3 for answers make them fade.)

Note: votes on content, that gets deleted the same day, are "refunded". If the post is indeed spam, chances are very high it will get nuked pretty fast. So you'll get that vote back.

If a quick check of the user profile reveals that he/she is a serial offender, flag one of the other posts (using the "Other" flag reason) and explain what's going on. Do not flag all the posts, one flag is enough.

*yes, Community follows you around everywhere. Be afraid.

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1  
To clarify The fourth paragraph is referring to the Other flag reason; explain to a mod that they're a serial spammer (which require extra attention) otherwise a busy mod might just delete the single spam post. –  Ben Brocka May 17 '12 at 15:16

Does this vote get attributed to me? If not, who? I don't see it in my activity.

Automatic down-votes, like the ones for posts flagged as spam, and for questions closed as off-topic are given from the Community user.

Should I also 'manually' downvote a spammy answer or is that just a waste of my daily vote allowance?

Just flag it as spam; there is no need to down-vote it again, once you flagged it.

If, having found a spammy answer, I then notice via their profile that the user has a plethora of spammy answers, would working through them quickly trigger the "serial downvote/vandalism" script?

If you are flagging them as spam, the script that detect serial down-voting doesn't kick in.

Should I be working my way through a spammer's profile in this way?

If you mean looking for other spam left from the same user, then you can surely check if there is still spam that has not been detected.

Consider there are two types of spam: posts about something completely unrelated with the question (e.g. posts with links about boots), and posts about something related with the question that are promoting something (or that could be considered promoting).
In the first case, it is rather probable the account used to spam is destroyed, and all the posts made with that account are deleted. Still, flagging them as spam has the effect of moving them on the bottom of the answers given to a question; if then the spam was posted as a question, with enough down-votes the question is not shown in the front page.
In the second case, knowing how much of those promoting posts are written by a user is important for the moderators. If the user has contributed to the site, the account will not be destroyed (which is not even possible when the reputation is higher than a specific limit); it is probable the user will be said not to write such posts anymore, if they are considered over promotional.

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Thanks - regarding the last point, I meant is flagging one answer of a spammy user sufficient or do all spam posts from the same user need to be flagged (I take it you can't flag a user as spam)? –  Widor May 17 '12 at 14:42
    
I added a note about why flagging as spam other spam left from the same user could be helpful. –  kiamlaluno May 17 '12 at 15:11
    
Thanks for the clarification. –  Widor May 17 '12 at 15:12

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