Consider this question

Non-10K: it's spam.

The question got -8 votes, and was promptly deleted by BoltClock to avoid the pending deluge of spam flags.

My question is, is it appropriate for this user to get his 16 rep back, now that his question is deleted? I'm sure if he keeps posting crap he'll get suspended, but it doesn't quite strike me as appropriate that you can post something inappropriate, and, once a mod wipes it, any negative repercussions of your actions vanish.

Rep is ultimately a measure of the community's trust in you, it seems like this should be reflected better in these situations.

  • FYI, some of those downvotes were likely Community-cast ones (triggered by spam/offensive flags), which don't cause rep loss in the first place.
    – a cat
    Jan 26, 2012 at 20:02
  • 1
    The question you linked wasn't actually spam, and I think @Fabian got it wrong: if a moderator deletes the post before it accumulates enough spam flags to be deleted by the community, it will not accrue the -100 rep penalty.
    – user102937
    Jan 27, 2012 at 1:11

3 Answers 3


There is an automatic -100 reputation penalty for a successful spam flag, the user won't get that reputation back by recalculating. If the user hasn't posted anything valuable, he's also very likely to be outright destroyed by a moderator.

I consider the automatic -100 reputation penalty to be completely sufficient for that purpose.

  • I wasn't aware of the -100 penalty. That answers my question, thank you. Jan 26, 2012 at 19:57
  • 2
    By the way, a moderator has to actually re-flag the post as spam/offensive; agreeing with the flags by deleting it the usual way effectively rescues the spammer from the rep penalty.
    – a cat
    Jan 26, 2012 at 20:00
  • Wow - active on gaming, skeptics, SO and Biology—you're quite the polymath :) Jan 26, 2012 at 20:06
  • 2
    @AdamRackis He's a skeptical, bio-hacking, gamer! Jan 26, 2012 at 20:08
  • @lunboks Nope, that was recently fixed! meta.stackexchange.com/a/119723/154510
    – user154510
    Jan 26, 2012 at 20:13
  • @MatthewRead That was a bug with red flags not being dismissed as helpful in certain scenarios. Somehow I doubt that normal deletion by a moderator incurs a -100 penalty if the post has just 1 spam flag on it. It doesn't automatically lock the post in any case, that much I know.
    – a cat
    Jan 26, 2012 at 20:20
  • @lunboks You'll have to take up your doubts with Marc, I suppose.
    – user154510
    Jan 26, 2012 at 20:31
  • @lunboks In the comments to that answer, Marc seems to reference that the penalty does work as intended. Jeff also made a reference to that bug being fixed in one of my recent questions, in response to a Mod saying that Mods use regular flags on spam posts, too. Jan 26, 2012 at 20:32

I think what BoltClock was saying in the comment on the deleted question is that it was determined that the post was not necessarily spam, but that its appearance was causing a stream of flags to that effect to come in. If it had been spam, it probably would have been deleted as such straightaway.

If it really was spam, that causes a loss of some relatively large amount of rep (100 points?)... I don't know what happens to the rep from the (presumed) negative votes in such a case, though. My guess is that it goes away, and the -100 from the spam flag itself counts.

  • 2
    yeah, I had a feeling that question wasn't intended to be spam, but boy, OP did a good job of disguising a real question as junk. Regardless he'll get his 16 rep back (the point of my question) and Fabian already pointed out the -100, which I think is the real answer here. Jan 26, 2012 at 20:02

I disagree that the post was spam. It was poorly written, enough so it smells like spam on a quick read. But he was complaining about a website that added additional content to his clipboard. You can read all about it at Daring Fireball. I'll select some of my favorite pieces from Gruber's article:

Over the last few months I’ve noticed an annoying trend on various web sites, generally major newspaper and magazine sites, but also certain weblogs. What happens is that when you select text from these web pages, the site uses JavaScript to report what you’ve copied to an analytics server and append an attribution URL to the text.


All of this nonsense — the attribution appended to copied text, the inline search results popovers — is from a company named Tynt, which bills itself as “The copy/paste company”.

It’s a bunch of user-hostile SEO bullshit.

Everyone knows how copy and paste works. You select text. You copy. When you paste, what you get is exactly what you selected. The core product of the “copy/paste company” is a service that breaks copy and paste.

Gruber's article cannot be mistaken for spam but if it were posted here, it surely would have fallen prey to the FAQ entry what not to post: it is a rant disguised as a question: “______ sucks, am I right?”

If this were up for a vote, I'd vote to give Patrick back his lost 100 due to the spam flags and take away the 16 for writing a bad question. :)

  • Check out my answer, if you haven't yet; I don't think its final disposition was as spam. Jan 27, 2012 at 0:52
  • @Andrew: Excellent, thanks! I'm glad he didn't get dinged too badly from the incident.
    – sarnold
    Jan 27, 2012 at 1:56

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