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Doesn't Marking a post as spam make it figure higher in the moderator's to-do list?

This answer which is clearly not an answer has been around for an hour. I marked it so, but nothing seems to happen, though other questions & answers I proposed for deletion seem to have been taken care of.

How is marking as spam different from voting to delete or flagging as not an answer?

Damn Spam!

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It need 6 spam votes to automatically delete the post (and give -100 rep penalty to the author). I'm pretty sure that flagging as spam does not reach the moderators at all since the system is counting on enough flags. –  Shadow Wizard Nov 13 '12 at 10:26
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And technically that is not spam. It's not an answer though. So perhaps it's not gathering all that many spam flags. (Having said that...it's gone now). –  Bart Nov 13 '12 at 10:28
    
Flagging as Not an answer is always slow. I thought the spam thing would be faster. Guess not... –  Anirudh Ramanathan Nov 13 '12 at 10:30
    
@Bart good point! Flagging as not an answer should reach the moderators, maybe it's just a slow day that's all. From my experience it usually takes anywhere between 1 and 30 minutes until "not an answer" flag is handled. –  Shadow Wizard Nov 13 '12 at 10:31
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@Cthulhu Enough spam flags would (as said) result in automatic deletion indeed. But the spam flag states "This question is effectively an advertisement with no disclosure. It is not useful or relevant, but promotional." Given that that's not the case, I'm merely suggesting it might be around for a while because people don't use the spam flag. –  Bart Nov 13 '12 at 10:32
    
Well it deleted now in the good old way by three high rep users. –  Shadow Wizard Nov 13 '12 at 10:36
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Don't forget that a lot of the moderators are probably not awake at the the moment. –  ChrisF Nov 13 '12 at 10:37
    
Finally deleted! Considering SO serves people worldwide, maybe moderators should be equally distributed across different timezones ;) –  Anirudh Ramanathan Nov 13 '12 at 10:38
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@ChrisF Are you suggesting they are people? –  Bart Nov 13 '12 at 10:39
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Downvoting solely for your last edit. I don't have any opinion on this otherwise, even as to whether it is an issue or not. –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Nov 13 '12 at 11:03
    
@BoltClock'saUnicorn That was what I wanted to ask in the first place. How the three differ. Anyway, I've got my answers from the comments here. –  Anirudh Ramanathan Nov 13 '12 at 11:07
    
@Cthulhu: We are. However, we are not looking at flag queues the whole day... –  ThiefMaster Nov 13 '12 at 11:54
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I would've flagged that as "abusive". Same auto-delete functionality with enough flags that spam has, but more applicable to the (non-) content. –  Shog9 Nov 13 '12 at 14:07
    
@Shog9 I've wondered about that; I did it once on such a post and it was accepted ('Helpful'; deleted), but I meant to ask about that sometime in a low-key way. –  Andrew Barber Nov 13 '12 at 14:18

1 Answer 1

up vote 12 down vote accepted

I can't agree that having that answer deleted in under two hours is at all slow. In fact, that's pretty fast if you ask me.

Stach Overflow has only 15 diamond moderators on a site with millions of users and tens of millions of answers. There's no way they can review everything on the site by themselves. The fact that a bad answer like you posted above can be downvoted to negative 3 in under an hour, and be deleted entirely in under two hours is pretty good.

As for "Flagging as not an answer is slow", there's a lot of flags. I'm not a mod on Stack Overflow so I don't know how many, but I would be willing to guess there's hundreds a day. The more helpful flags you have, the higher priority your future flags are. So if the mods are slow to respond to your flags it's likely because they're busy responding to other people's flags.

Don't get discouraged. When you see crap like this, downvote it and flag it as not an answer (or maybe very low quality) but not spam unless it's really SPAM. As said in the comments, marking as SPAM automatically deletes the post when enough flags have been raised, but it should only be used for posts that are effectively an advertisement with no disclosure. Not useful or relevant, but promotional.

As long as the post has a negative score, the system's working. If the post has been flagged, a mod will look at it. Maybe not in less than an hour, but they will check it quickly enough.

Also, as ChrisF reminds me in the comments, when an answer has a negative score then users with more than 20k reputation can vote to delete it. (Users with 10k can vote to delete after 24 hours) As you saw in this example, it takes 3 10Kers to delete an answer, and they can't see flags, so just downvote and flag bad answers and be patient :-)

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Once an answer gets a negative score then 20k users can vote to delete immediately. Once three vote to delete, the post is gone and you get your -1 reputation back, so down-vote, down-vote, down-vote. –  ChrisF Nov 13 '12 at 13:53
    
Excellent point @ChrisF, I should have mentioned that above. I was too focused on diamond mods. –  The Unhandled Exception Nov 13 '12 at 13:55
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10k users have to wait 24 (or is it 48) hours before "delete" becomes available. 20k users can do it immediately. –  ChrisF Nov 13 '12 at 14:03
    
That's right. I'm at work and am distracted, so... that's my excuse anyway :-) –  The Unhandled Exception Nov 13 '12 at 14:12

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