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I'm slightly wary of flagging a link only answer, along the lines of this one, and a few other's I've just flagged as spam because they are solely links. The answer was as follows:

It's very simple , please visit here for detail enter link description here

I had a better example but it got dealt with immediately! Thank you whoever that was

This seems, at face value, to be a genuine, if fairly bad, answer. It's only after clicking on the link that it becomes obvious that it's spam.

I've been vacillating between flagging them as spam and flagging these as "other" along with an explanation that this is spam and sometimes that the user has a number of other similar or identical answers.

If I flag these as spam, and therefore help to remove them quicker, do moderators look at the links or am I risking getting these flags declined and having the spam stay around? Are the flags more likely to be acted upon if I flag them as "other" and clarify that this is actually spam and not just a bad answer?

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Why would there be a problem flagging them as spam, if they are spam? I don't really get what you're asking, though your flagging seems to be fine. –  Bart Aug 3 '12 at 8:10
    
They appear to not be spam. If I flag them as spam am I risking getting the flag declined and therefore the spam staying around or will moderators look at the links and determine that the answer is actually spam? I've clarified slightly the question at the end. –  ben is uǝq backwards Aug 3 '12 at 8:11
    
@Ben If you identified it as spam, it is spam. If you are unsure, leave a comment stating your doubts instead, allowing the user to clarify. –  Tobias Kienzler Aug 3 '12 at 9:39
    
@TobiasKienzler, my question isn't about whether I'm sure, I am. My question is about how moderators deal with the flag and what I should be doing to help them in this situation. –  ben is uǝq backwards Aug 3 '12 at 9:46
    
That's why I answered that you should use the spam flag, which can trigger automatic deletion without requiring moderator intervention at all. I fail to see what the benefit of the "other" flag should be since your point "this is spam" is already made and doesn't need to be restated in a message to a mod. Also you shouldn't worry too much about declined flags, everyone errs sometimes. (And deleted posts can still be undeleted by mods). One false positive is better than ten omitted adequate flags due to uncertainty. –  Tobias Kienzler Aug 3 '12 at 9:52
    
I'm not worried about declined flags. I'd just rather remove spam than have it left lying around. –  ben is uǝq backwards Aug 3 '12 at 10:06
    
Then spam-flagging is definitely the correct answer over "other"-flagging. –  Tobias Kienzler Aug 3 '12 at 10:11
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4 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Moderators will generally not decline spam flags without taking a closer look at the links contained in the post (though actually visiting them is usually not necessary). There is no reason not to flag spam.

Spam is often a bit deceptive on first glance, embedding a spam link inside copy-pasted content that fits the general theme of the question is not uncommon. So moderators are used to a certain amount of deception with spam.

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Answers such as the one you linked to should / would be removed even if the link were to a genuine place. Just providing a link to elsewhere isn't an answer to a question.

However, if the poster left a long and useful answer but left a closing line of 'there is more information about this here' and that link was just unrelated spam then that's where the problem would come in. The Moderators would have to check that such links were not genuine ('genuine' meaning the citation source or other such reference, and not some random pharmaceutical product sales site or whatever spam it could be).

If you do spot such schemes then flag it as spam and the moderator should check to see if there are any links in the text, and where they are linking to. If it's flagged as spam then the moderator knows what they're looking for when reviewing the post. (i.e. they are looking for spam content / links). If it's flagged as something else then it's less likely the moderator will pick up on the spam link.

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Your second link does not provide any information, you should remove it :-P –  Tobias Kienzler Aug 3 '12 at 9:56
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@TobiasKienzler Ah well I could change it to: spamspamspamspam.co.uk or something. That's kinda relevant! ;) –  JonW Aug 3 '12 at 10:21
    
You totally should :-D (nice one) –  Tobias Kienzler Aug 3 '12 at 10:22
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Genuine how? Aside from it being only a link, you can immediately tell without even visiting the page that it doesn't even link to a specific article that might be related to the question, only the base domain is shown when hovering over the link. Pure spam. Another giveaway was they did not acknowledge any part of the question and only provided a generalized "visit here" line.

Why are you at all worried about being it declined? If you know it's spam, flag it as spam. No need to explain why. You should not use the "other" option because that just makes it take longer for it to get auto-deleted. Imagine if everyone flagged using other. Then the spam sits there forever until a moderator comes along and deletes it. As well, a moderator can determine if it's spam. They're not going to look at it as "just another link-only answer" when there's a bright red box that says "spam" right in their face.

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There's no notification about users that have deleted spam posts, but most mods just directly destroy the user instead of deleting the post if they see a spam flag. –  Mad Scientist Aug 3 '12 at 8:40
    
I'd say they should, but I suppose those users would still hit the eventual question/answer ban if they keep getting auto-deleted, right? –  animuson Aug 3 '12 at 9:22
    
Thank you @MadScientist, that clarifies something else I was wondering! So, if a user has posted multiple spam answers it's enough to flag them rather than flagging as "other" and explaining that every answer is spam. –  ben is uǝq backwards Aug 3 '12 at 9:49
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@Ben If it's more complicated (e.g. too much self-promotion, but not blatant spam) flagging as "other" is a good idea, for plain spam the spam flags are always better. A spammer should never have enough time to accumulate a lot of spam posts on one account. –  Mad Scientist Aug 3 '12 at 9:54
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Flagging it directly as spam has the advantage that 6 flags cause automatic deletion, therefore not requiring moderator intervention in most cases, so it is highly advisable over "usual" flags. The spam flag will also count as a downvote. For more information, see the community FAQ.

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