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User makerofthings7 has recently posted the following answer (singular):

Every answer is the same, and it's only vaguely related to most of these questions. Ordinarily this looks like something that should be immediately flagged as spam. Except, it doesn't look like it's shilling for anything -- even the mention of commercial software is just a link to a different question.

But it still seems wrong -- should anything be done?

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Planting seeds perhaps –  random Apr 20 '11 at 2:44
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I know this user fairly well. Tends to focus heavily on one subject, every week another one. Nothing malicious. –  Uphill Luge Apr 20 '11 at 3:43

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I'll delete them if you like.. just trying to be helpful to the community and share answers to people who may not search for them.

Advice?

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I'm one of the people who flagged them as spam. They showed up as new answers to old questions, nearly 10 of the exact same answer. It wasn't so much the content that caught my eye as the quantity, lateness, & duplicity. Seems hard to imagine that's really useful to anyone. It would be much better to get the questions closed as duplicates if you can really post the exact same answers to each of them. Makes it more likely people will find content from other contributors as well. I'd say this is an edge case: keep providing good answers, but try to edge off on copy-and-pasting same answers. –  Cody Gray Apr 20 '11 at 14:10
    
Alright... Perhaps I'll delete some answers? I have new information I want to share. –  makerofthings7 Apr 20 '11 at 14:13
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-500 rep is somewhat steep for this non-malicious intent. I had hoped to offer them as bounty for some tricky issues I run into. –  makerofthings7 Apr 20 '11 at 14:13
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@maker, did you lose that 500 rep? (I checked your account, and it doesn't (yet) appear so.) I completely agree that your losing rep for this would not be the appropriate result. But IMO, I do feel the answer is noise, and believe the answers should be deleted at least for almost all of them. –  Kirk Woll Apr 20 '11 at 14:23
    
@Kirk Many answers appear to have been deleted by "community". Also according to link my -500 isn't immediately visible on the graph. I think I hit the daily cap. Heck shouldn't I at least get a badge for this!? –  makerofthings7 Apr 20 '11 at 14:27
    
I confirmed that I lost 500 points rep by going to stackoverflow.com/reputation however I don't know how to give you a link to my user (clicking on that link will show you your personal rep not mine) –  makerofthings7 Apr 20 '11 at 14:32
    
@maker, that sucks about the rep. I don't think that's in the spirit of what the spam flag is for. If I were you, I'd post another question on meta asking if the rep penalty is something that can be undone by mods. –  Kirk Woll Apr 20 '11 at 15:49
    
As I mentioned, this is definitely an edge case. Most users who post spam should lose 500 rep; that's what the automatic decrement is for. It's definitely "in the spirit". It's unfortunate that you lost 500 rep, as I agree that you didn't deserve that. But that doesn't imply that the system is broken. There's not much to do now but take the experience and learn from it. For what it's worth, the spam flags I submitted appear to have been rejected by a mod. Others had flagged earlier in the day, before this had been discussed and people had stood up for the general quality of your answers. –  Cody Gray Apr 21 '11 at 7:13
    
@Cody - Thanks... I agree the system isn't broken and this is an edge case. I posted another question in meta and one of the mods was able to remove the spam flag (and consequently the penalty) –  makerofthings7 Apr 21 '11 at 12:37
    
That's good to hear. I probably should have addressed that last comment more to @Kirk. My argument about it being an edge case, rather than a flaw with the system were probably more responding to his last comment. –  Cody Gray Apr 21 '11 at 12:39
    
@Cody, I didn't mean to impugn your (or anyone else's) actions. My only point with the comment is that maker's answers were not technically spam, and therefore the automatic rep penalty seemed inappropriate. Flagging as "offensive" would also have seemed weird. I think the issue is that there is no perfect flag for answers like this -- the "unconstructive" or "noise" flag used for comments might make more sense. –  Kirk Woll Apr 21 '11 at 14:46

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