I've been an elected moderator for about a month or so, and I'm still a bit confused about the correct way to handle spam that others have already flagged as spam, but that hasn't got to six flags yet.
Note that I'm talking about cases where I've decided it definitely is spam. If I don't think it is spam then I would explicitly clear the spam flags to make sure the user doesn't get hit by the relevant penalties.
I'm aware that if I come across spam that isn't flagged as spam at all, then I should flag it to make sure that the system does treat it as spam rather than something deleted for another reason.
But if it has already been flagged as spam, does it make any practical difference if I just delete it rather than adding a (binding) spam flag myself? I've heard other moderators say that the right thing to do is to add the spam flag, but I haven't heard a definitive explanation as to why.
I've noticed that when I delete then I get marked in the mod dashboard as having handled the existing flags, but when I spam flag I don't. In both cases the previous spam flags do get marked as helpful and are dismissed.
I also know that I can destroy a user if the only thing they've done is post spam, which is the common case. But I don't always want to do that immediately because I may want to check the user out a bit more carefully first but in the meantime I want to get the spam removed.
So, is one approach preferred, and if so why?
I know there are at least a couple of concrete consequences from a post being treated as spam:
The IP/user are treated as spammers for the purposes of blocking future posts
The post itself is "scrubbed" so that 10K+ users who can view deleted posts don't see the text by default, but instead see:
This answer was marked as spam or offensive and is therefore not shown - you can see the revision history for details.
I want to know if the route I choose makes any difference to those or any other consequences.