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Today I flagged this answer as spam. I thought it was really obvious, user linking to a site with same name as the user, the link was also in the profile. Additionally the answer seemed rather content-free. I was surprised to see the flag declined. So is this spam or not?

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Declined? Must have been a mistake. Let me flag it again – Pëkka Nov 29 '12 at 13:16
And he is also an Unregistered user. – hims056 Nov 29 '12 at 13:21
Sorry about that, I saw groupon, but not the relation between the second link and the user. I err on the side of caution, because of the nature of spam flags. I've destroyed the account, given that it was an obvious spam account (only that post, ever, and a product recommendation). – casperOne Nov 29 '12 at 13:26
up vote 19 down vote accepted

This is a clever attempt at Spam. If I were looking at this from the moderator panel, it'd be really hard for me to know it was spam, for a few reasons:

  • Links are not shown in the moderator panel (unless we expand the post, which incidentally I didn't know we could do until now). The default is just naked text.
  • The spam flag doesn't give any indication what makes it spam. Looking at the post head on, It just looks like a poorly written answer to a poor question (You'll note the question was subsequently closed -- better to cut the snake off at the head).
  • It's not until you look at the user's profile that you realize he's promoting his own website.

In this particular case, a custom flag of

User seems to be promoting his own website (see profile) in a very poorly written post -- borderline spam

would be enough to alert moderators that you think it's spam, and why you think it's spam.

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always been wondering why the spam flag doesn't have a textbox for an optional comment? That would be also helpful for flagging multiple spammy post once ("this and all the other answers of this user posted today") - they often come in bunches. – kleopatra Nov 29 '12 at 14:59
@kleopatra The spam flag is reserved for outright, "This is clear spam.". In this case, it wasn't entirely clear that this was spam just by looking at it. A custom flag is helpful because you'll still get credit for a helpful flag, and we can conduct a more thorough investigation before hitting the user with a -100 penalty. – George Stocker Nov 29 '12 at 15:14
ahh ... makes sense, thanks :-) – kleopatra Nov 29 '12 at 15:17

I would say that it's an attempt at spam, yes. It's not of the "Buy your sunglasses here" type, but there is some (poorly) hidden promotion going on.

And what's more, either link is completely unnecessary for the answer. So if the answer is to remain, the links themselves can easily be edited out. (If the question is not better off deleted altogether)

That said, mistakes happen occasionally when handling flags. Moderators seem to be human, though this has not yet been conclusively proven. I've flagged it as spam again. Let's see what happens.

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It's probably an attempt at Page Rank spam. – Pëkka Nov 29 '12 at 13:19
@Pekka Yeah, seems likely. Btw "The cross browser is about code coding" might make an excellent t-shirt. – Bart Nov 29 '12 at 13:20
Since that pearl of wisdom is now restricted to 10k users, it falls to us to preserve it for posterity. I'm thinking of adding it to my profile. – McCannot Nov 29 '12 at 16:10
@McCannot I'm working on a needlepoint version as we speak. My pillows will never be the same. – Bart Nov 29 '12 at 16:11
@Bart I want one, too. Do you accept orders? – Pëkka Nov 29 '12 at 17:51
@Pekka I might trade you for one of those handbags of yours – Bart Nov 29 '12 at 18:11
@Bart deal! ---- – Pëkka Nov 29 '12 at 18:17

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