On many Stack Exchange sites, particularly during the hours when Europe and America are asleep, spam can survive for hours. This gives a bad impression.
What can we do to allow the community to handle spam quicker?
Stack Overflowers, please note that this discussion is about spam on low-traffic Stack Exchange sites. I don't know where exactly to draw the boundary, beta sites and most Stack Exchange 2.0 should qualify, but Stack Overflow is a completely different beast and I do not solicit or propose anything that is meant to apply to Stack Overflow.
Stack Exchange is actively working on better automated filters to keep spammers out, but spammers always find a way around blocks. This thread is about dealing with the spam that makes it through. Involving moderators network-wide has been proposed, but it doesn't help when spammers create separate accounts on each site.
Besides raising awareness to flag as spam, here are a few proposals to start with.
As soon as a post gets a spam flag, move it off the front page for anonymous visitors and users with less than 15 reputation (who wouldn't be able to flag it). This improves the experience for casual visitors. This could even be client-side filtering, although server-side would be better to keep the spam posts off search engines.
Reduce the privilege to access first posts queue. This would make more users able to locate potential spam and flag it. The reputation to access that queue was recently raised for the sole reason of having a privilege at the 350/500 reputation level — let's just undo that.
Show spam flags to users with the “moderator tools” privilege. This used to be the case, but was removed because moderators don't need help to deal with spam flags. Well, that's true enough when moderators are around, but most sites don't have moderators round the clock, and we do need community involvement to kill spam faster.
Allowing the community to handle spam wouldn't just make the site nicer for casual visitors, it would also be nicer to moderators. I can think of nicer ways to start the day than destroy a handful of accounts on CS.