Note: This is a different question to Are answers ever deleted permanently?

I just hit 10k rep on Pro Webmasters and as I browsed around the site tonight, I saw multiple spam answers (just links to another site). I've seen plenty on Stack Overflow too (although I don't visit there as often these days).

Shouldn't all these spam posts be permanently deleted, or at least the links removed? Just seeing them on the site is pretty annoying to me. Due to nofollow spammers don't stand to gain "link juice" from them, but they do gain visibility. By my calculation, 2,000 SO users have over 10k rep, and that's increasing all the time.

If over 2,000 Stack Overflow users can see spam posts, haven't the spammers essentially accomplished their goal?

  • 8
    I would disagree with your concluding statement; the large majority of 10k users will not give such deleted posts more than an annoyed glance; they certainly won't be clicking through. Commented Feb 8, 2012 at 0:04
  • 2
    And more importantly, Google can't see them.
    – mmyers
    Commented Feb 8, 2012 at 0:09
  • 2
    @mmyers but they are nofollow anyway so it makes no difference whether Google can see them or not. Commented Feb 8, 2012 at 0:14
  • I'm posting this as a comment because I can't address your question completely, but to answer your title with an example: The spam answers are permanently deleted when the user that posted them is destroyed by some moderator. Note that there is a difference between that and a simply deleted user.
    – Alenanno
    Commented Feb 8, 2012 at 0:16
  • @DisgruntledGoat For example, it would still show up in cached versions. Commented Feb 8, 2012 at 0:16
  • 3
    @Alenanno - that's not the case - even when the user is destroyed the individual answers remain visible to 10k, just with no associated account link
    – Flexo
    Commented Feb 8, 2012 at 0:17
  • @awoodland Are you sure? When you destroy a user, the content is completely removed, as far as I know.
    – Alenanno
    Commented Feb 8, 2012 at 0:18
  • @Alenanno - the user who posted this "answer" was destroyed for spam, but their answer is still visible on that question to 10K users, even if the user who posted it no longer exists.
    – Flexo
    Commented Feb 8, 2012 at 0:19
  • @awoodland it takes me to the question, but thanks for the link anyway... :D
    – Alenanno
    Commented Feb 8, 2012 at 0:20
  • 2
    @Alenanno Deleting a user leaves their posts; destroying a user deletes their posts, but it's a normal delete Commented Feb 8, 2012 at 0:30
  • @MichaelMrozek I see. I misunderstood that, then. :)
    – Alenanno
    Commented Feb 8, 2012 at 0:31

2 Answers 2


Permanent deletion requires developer level powers I believe - something that should only be used in very rare cases.

The visibility of previously deleted posts is valuable to 10K users and thus the site as a whole. Keeping them visible allows:

  1. Spotting+flagging of repeated spam on the same questions or by the same users or to the same sites
  2. Judgements on protecting questions by 15K users to be made (+ possible VTC/flag on spam magnet questions)
  3. Oversight (i.e. checks and balances) of deletions, e.g. inappropriate deletes can be reversed/flagged

These benefits outweigh the negatives. The fact that deleted answers always appear last makes them very easy to ignore in the cases where you're not interested.


If the deleted spam content bothers you, do what I have seen done (and now do myself). Edit the question like so:

{Spam content removed.}

  • 1
    That's a really good idea - I think I'll have to start doing that too Commented Feb 8, 2012 at 2:24
  • 7
    That's fine, but please don't do that until it has been deleted. Otherwise, we see [spam content deleted] from our dashboard, which causes us to have to go to the post, see the revisions, agree it's spam and then ultimately delete it.
    – user50049
    Commented Feb 8, 2012 at 13:38
  • 2
    I'm moderately against such edits - see meta.stackexchange.com/a/110032/153020 - once they're deleted it's very easy to just ignore them when you're reading general questions rather than reviewing
    – Flexo
    Commented Feb 8, 2012 at 15:26

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