Sometimes I stumble upon answers which actually comes with an answer for the question - but finishes off with a small link.

Like this answer (where the spam link has been edited away now).
Originally I flagged the question to get moderator attention, as this post is not entirely spam. But I'm not really sure whether this has any effect or not.

I could just edit the link away and the problem is solved - at least for this post. But the posting user hasn't actually learned anything from it, which is why I thought flagging the answer might have an impact of some sort.

But what would be the recommended/appropriate action to take in this case?

Fix it instead of flagging or flag instead of fixing?

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Flag with Other option and mention the details in the textbox –  Lucifer Jun 8 '12 at 13:33
    
@Lucifer I did - but another user has now edited the link away. But which is more correct? That is my question. –  Repox Jun 8 '12 at 13:35
    
In this specific case: why would you want to preserve that answer? It's suggesting to loop over the whole user table until finding a correct user/password. Just flag, it was spam, no other intentions at all I'd say. –  Arjan Jun 8 '12 at 13:36
    
Editing is ok, but such activity should be flag for moderator attention –  Lucifer Jun 8 '12 at 13:37
    
That answer should be downvoted and deleted. –  user7116 Jun 8 '12 at 14:08
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3 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I would flag this as spam: it's a low-rep, single-answer user, and is almost certainly nothing more than a spambot, even if a human one. I'd edit it out as well, but it wouldn't stay un-flagged.

If it's from a "real" user (the definition of which is a separate issue), I'd edit it, but I might flag as questionable, and let a moderator decide based on magic criteria, such as long-term user behavior.

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I've always done both - replace the spam link with a place holder and then flag for moderator attention.

It irks me to leave the link in there and visible while my flag sits in the queue, so I don't give the spammer the satisfaction of leaving it there.

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The "placeholder" is key, I think. Flagging as spam while also completely removing the link might make the post not look like spam for other users who pass by, or who're handling flags. (I'm not too worried about leaving the link in though: it won't help the spammer to outsmart Google etc., I think.) –  Arjan Jun 8 '12 at 13:43
    
If you replace the spam link, it's harder to actually search deleted posts for that particular URL, which again makes it harder to effectively trace back spammers. –  slhck Jun 8 '12 at 13:52
    
I figured the same, @slhck, but asked about that multiple times. In one or two occasions I was told replacing is okay; some other times I got no response. If the consensus is different, then I might need to find more of my own comments and reply to those... –  Arjan Jun 8 '12 at 16:06
    
@Arjan Should Spam posts be edited? –  Flexo Jun 8 '12 at 16:19
    
Nice, @awoodland, that needs an answer from moderators or the crew :-) –  Arjan Jun 8 '12 at 16:29
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Had the pleasure of destroying that particular spammer.

It takes relatively nothing to search a particular question and slap in some found code in order to make your answer look slightly real. So don't worry about trying to salvage these. Or, at least not in cases where the user in question has < 20 rep.

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What about if the answer were completely real? Not saying that's likely to happen (though it might have on Gaming) but I think it's worth considering all cases if a blanket "don't salvage them" policy is to be applied. –  Matthew Read Jul 18 '12 at 15:56
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