According to the new flag dialogue, spam:

Exists only to promote a product or service, does not disclose the author's affiliation.

While before it was:

This [question/answer] is effectively an advertisement with no disclosure. It is not useful or relevant, but promotional.

Now, for most spam posts, this does not make any difference, but sometimes you have a post which only exists to blatantly promote something that is not a product or service, e.g., a world view.

Two examples:

  • This question on Academia seems only to exist to advertise an advertisments-are-evil point of view. (Note that this answer is also blatantly off-topic, but that’s not the issue here.)

  • This answer on Physics seems only to exist to promote some paper that the answerer likes. I successfully flagged previous similar posts by the same user as spam before the rewording. (The publication is also very far from the scientific mainstream (to be mild), but that’s not the issue here.)

My question is: Should I still flag those posts as spam? They abuse Stack Exchange for publicity, which is precisely why are so keen on hitting spam and spammers quick and hard and in particular harder than just (closing and) deleting the posts. If I should not flag them as spam, what is the ideal course of action to take?

1 Answer 1


These questions should be addressed at each site's meta.

For example, it's up to the Physics site to decide what it does with non-mainstream questions and answers. They might decide to allow non-mainstream questions with a view to providing answers that explain why that view is incorrect, for example. While non-mainstream answers can be dealt with by down-votes and the provision of better answers.

On Stack Overflow and Programmers we include promotion of one's own blog as a "product or service".

So each site needs to determine what constitutes spam.

However, if the user is posting the same "answers" on many questions regardless of topicality then you should certainly flag one of the answers for moderator attention. A spam flag might be a bit strong for this - at least in the first instance, so just using an "other" flag and explaining what's happening would be best. The site moderators can then decide what to do - just delete the answers, suspend the user or even delete the account. If they are posting identical answers then these will be automatically flagged and the moderators will already be aware.

  • Note that the problem with the Physics example question is not that the theory is far-from-mainstream (that may also be a problem, but as you say, this should be discussed on Physic’s Meta). The problem is that this theory has no relation to the question whatsoever (as far as I can tell). This problem would be no different if the answerer would promote their own mainstream-physics paper.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented May 17, 2015 at 16:09
  • @Wrzlprmft ah. Updating.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented May 17, 2015 at 16:12
  • Would you then suggest taking the issues of questions such as the first one to the site’s meta? The question could have been posted on every site of the topic and it would be off-topic and worthy of deletion without many need to discuss this, but that would not be as efficient and punishing as a spam flag.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented May 17, 2015 at 16:23
  • @Wrzlprmft I think that's been effectively dealt with by the down-votes and closure.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented May 17, 2015 at 16:24

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .