When site users are on the ball they should be spam flagging posts so they get removed from the front-page and eventually deleted. All this happens without moderator involvement.

However, sometimes the spammer stays quiet for a while then rears his/her ugly head again and re-spams (until the spam-ram takes care of them anyway).

So, sometimes in those quiet moments I like to go and look for such posts to give the spam-ram a bit of a helping hand and get rid of those users before they cause trouble again.

Currently I just do a search for deleted:1 and then sorting by newest. But obviously this returns everything that has been deleted.

Another mod suggested searching for deleted:1 score:-20..-2 which gives slightly better results, but still shows 'real' posters too.

Is there a way to search just for deleted spam posts?

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    It's not obvious you are talking about a moderator-only request, I've clarified this. Jul 28, 2014 at 14:51
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    Anyway, back to topic, I guess they can add search operator like "spam:1" to make the search trivial. :) Jul 28, 2014 at 14:52
  • @ShadowWizard yeah, that'd work for me.
    – JonW
    Jul 28, 2014 at 14:59
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    A "spam:1" query option would be particularly useful on Stack Overflow, where we tend to get a lot of spam in the late night U.S. hours when few moderators are around. Would be nice to come in and destroy all of the spam accounts that community members tagged before we saw them. Jul 28, 2014 at 15:03
  • @Bard that's true, another option is to raise a system flag when a post is deleted by 6 spam/offensive flags. (Pretty sure it was already suggested) Jul 28, 2014 at 15:04
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    This MSE feature request is at least somewhat related. Either would be nice to help mods find users who have spam/offensive posts which were deleted by the community.
    – user642796
    Jul 28, 2014 at 15:05
  • @ArthurFischer: Indeed it is. Slightly different but a similar approach. I'd take that one or this one, whichever is easier to implement really.
    – JonW
    Jul 28, 2014 at 15:15
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    The search kludge can be improved by also including locked:1 migrated:0. (On math.SE this reduced the number of matches by more than 95%. Still some false positives, but much better.)
    – user642796
    Jul 28, 2014 at 15:23

2 Answers 2


This won't get only spam, but it'll get spam and offensive posts and you might want to know about the latter too. This is what I use:

deleted:1 locked:1 [created:3d..]

Posts deleted by spam and offensive flags are locked as well. Adding a date filter that covers from when you last checked makes review easier.

The problem with score-based searching is that your results will be polluted with Roomba cleanup, VLQ deletions, and the like, and can miss some spam/offensive deletions if another moderator flag-deleted it or somebody upvoted it. And yes, I've seen upvoted spam.

This query will also catch migration stubs and merge stubs, and anything that was manually locked before being deleted. It's not only spam/offensive, but on my sites the rest of that stuff is small enough in comparison to the spam that it's not disruptive.

  • This also catches deleted migration stubs and merge stubs. Dec 18, 2017 at 11:58
  • @gparyani oh, true. We have so few of those, compared to spam, on my sites that it hadn't registered. I'll edit. Dec 18, 2017 at 13:31
  • Unfortunately, on Stack Overflow, the first 1026 pages out of 1926, sorted on votes, are all positively scored implying that they aren't spam but the migration stubs/manual locks/merged posts. :-( (But yep, I add a negatively scored filter usually while searching for spam, so they won't be detected) Dec 18, 2017 at 13:39
  • This also doesn't catch posts that were flagged as Spam/R/A and deleted via delete votes but are still hidden behind the revision link.
    – Mithical
    Dec 18, 2017 at 13:40
  • @Mithrandir true, but possibly less-clearly spam. Sure, some 20k-rep users delete when they should spam-flag instead, but sometimes spam flags are wrong even if the post is a link-only answer that should be deleted. Dec 18, 2017 at 15:12

For spam posts reported by SmokeDetector, there is a database of posts on metasmoke, which offers the option to show recent posts by site or more extensive search options.

If you're not looking for spam posted during the last week, there's a SEDE query to search for deleted posts with spam or rude/abusive flags (which doesn't mean they were deleted as spam or rude/abusive).

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