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One of the responses to the question about the mass of football spam said:

The proper course of action is to flag the post as spam. Three spam flags will remove it from the front page, six will delete it. Don't edit it, don't downvote it, don't use another flag. Flag as spam and move on.

Assuming I've already flagged an obvious spam post, why shouldn't I downvote it as well? Is this discouraged because enough downvotes will hide it from the main page and potentially make it more difficult for users to spot (even though search engines will still index it and penalize the site's rankings?)

Are there other reasons? Is the rationale different for lower-traffic SE sites?

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Sufficient downvoting could remove it from the front page before it is flagged enough times (assuming some people downvote and don't think to flag). –  apsillers Aug 19 '13 at 20:53
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It's just 3 spam/offensive flags that remove posts from the front page. –  Mat Aug 19 '13 at 20:54
    
@apsillers Does that remove it from the active tab as well? –  John Bensin Aug 19 '13 at 20:55
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In the recent mass span attack, I noticed that folks are not educated about this. Many times, the number of downvotes was greater than the number of needed flags from regular users to delete the post (6, I think). –  brasofilo Aug 19 '13 at 21:05
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It's not "probably" index: twitter.com/df07/status/300250817473175552 –  MPD Aug 19 '13 at 23:02
    
@MPD Corrected. –  John Bensin Aug 19 '13 at 23:54
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Clearly we should then upvote spam. –  GManNickG Aug 20 '13 at 0:02
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But, @MPD, that tweet says "Google has applied a manual spam action to your site". Bad, of course, but also someone who needed some sleep at Google. I still feel that visitors who happen to run into the spam post should be warned about how the community feels about that post too, no matter how short the spam post will live. And flags are not visible to other visitors. So, always comment then? –  Arjan Aug 20 '13 at 10:40

1 Answer 1

up vote 34 down vote accepted

Because downvoting pushes out off the front page but doesn't remove it. This means that it is somewhat less likely to be seen by other active members who could flag it, and therefore kill it.

Downvoting is for bad, unresearched questions. Spam is just spam, it should be spotted and removed ASAP. Hiding it means it might stick around longer then it needs to.

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Devil's Advocate asks: If it's hidden, then what is the harm? –  Wesley Murch Aug 19 '13 at 20:56
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@WesleyMurch Downvotes only remove the question from the main page. It can still show up in searches, "related question" links, and "recently tagged" lists. –  apsillers Aug 19 '13 at 20:57
    
Because then it exists, it'll show up in searches, or be found when people are browsing tags. –  JonW Aug 19 '13 at 20:58
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@apsillers Then once again, why does it matter? Won't it eventually get nuked anyways? Or do spam flags expire? Isn't hiding it a good thing if it is destined to be removed after the first flag? –  Wesley Murch Aug 19 '13 at 20:58
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@WesleyMurch Then a moderator would have to handle it. Why not let the community nuke it asap? –  Bart Aug 19 '13 at 20:59
    
@Bart Oh right they are nuked after 3 flags automatically, correct? –  Wesley Murch Aug 19 '13 at 20:59
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If this is a concern, then why do 3 spam flags remove it from the front page? Wouldn't that also hide it and make it harder to obtain the last 3 flags needed for deletion? –  David Robinson Aug 19 '13 at 21:00
    
6 iirc @WesleyMurch –  Bart Aug 19 '13 at 21:00
    
I'm not sure it makes sense. Waste 6 users' time or one moderators? Doesn't a mod have to eventually step in to ban/nuke the account anyways? –  Wesley Murch Aug 19 '13 at 21:00
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@WesleyMurch Personally, I'd rather waste the 6 users' time -- we have way more than 6 users per mod, and there plenty of other specialized things that only mods can do. If there's something the community can easily accomplish as a collective, I'd rather have the community do it that waste time a mod could be merging accounts, commentifying non-answers, etc. When there's a huge volume of spam, I'd imagine even the trivial task of spam-flagging adds up. –  apsillers Aug 19 '13 at 21:03
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@apsillers Doesn't a mod have to eventually step in to ban/nuke the account anyways? Why do you devalue the regular user's time? We are the ones editing, voting, and providing content. –  Wesley Murch Aug 19 '13 at 21:03
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@WesleyMurch: that's not an "urgent" matter. The thing that need to get rid of fast is the spam itself. –  Mat Aug 19 '13 at 21:05
    
@WesleyMurch A worthwhile point; I don't know. Certain after a handful of spam-flagged questions, the account would get an automatic question ban anyway without mod intervention (and same for answers, if the spam comes in the form of an answer). –  apsillers Aug 19 '13 at 21:05
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@WesleyMurch SE sites get indexed by Google rather quickly. There was an instance a few months ago where an SE site was flagged b/c Google had crawled it and seen spam. –  MPD Aug 19 '13 at 22:34
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Reason to Flag instead of Downvote/vote to delete: the system learns from this and prevent future spam... –  Braiam Jan 19 at 18:26

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