tl;dr: Auto-protection doesn't always work to keep spammers away. Give me a way to have new answers to a question flagged automatically.

There is a question or two on my site that gets a decent amount of spam (all for the same product). Community auto-protects these after so many posts marked as spam, but this seems to be an imperfect solution. From what I've seen (and it just makes sense), these spammers tend to just move to another question.

Protection has its place - there are some questions that we don't want legitimate new users to the site answering. Not so much on my site, but some sites have specific rules. Some questions have gotten the same answer 17 times from 1-rep users, which just isn't necessary. I'm not suggesting we kill protection.

I considered unprotecting the question and just watching it. Which would work, until I go on vacation or get sick or plain forget. Then we're leaving spam on the site for much longer, or indefinitely if it's not obvious. I, as a moderator, have context on these spammers that most users simply don't have.

It would be nice if I could mark a question as a 'honeypot' - ideally with a note from the moderator doing it, to be used by other moderators as context if needed:

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Think of it as a Ye Olde Murder Hole - every answer that comes in has to go right under my eyes. If it's a good answer, it can pass unhindered. Otherwise, I pour burning oil and pitch and nasty stuff on it.

Then, when a new answer is posted by a user with < x reputation, a flag from Community is automatically raised, something like 'answer to honeypot question (auto)', perhaps with the context provided previously embedded in the flag.

These would be super easy to process (Spam? Yes -> kill, No -> dismiss), and would keep moderators (and the community) from having to chase spam across the site. It might not scale to Stack Overflow level insanity... but does anything?

  • I'm pretty sure monkeys with guns in there hands scale. //// I do think this might be a good idea, as it allows a more focused, more expert version of First Posts to be trained upon questions that attract subtly yet deeply bad answers. – Nathan Tuggy Aug 27 '15 at 1:53
  • Fair proposal since I have had this experience too. The workaround is to "favorite" the question as a bookmark, or to directly bookmark it and hopefully don't forget to check the bookmark sometimes later. – Meta Andrew T. Aug 27 '15 at 5:47
  • Can you clarify why this is better than protecting a question? There's already the mod tool for "new answers to old questions" which seems to do this, so I'm not sure what the actual benefit here is (?). – enderland Aug 27 '15 at 16:40
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    @enderland When I protect a question, the spammers just go to another question. I'd rather have all the spam in one easy-to-find place than be chasing it all around the site. The new-answers-to-old-questions tool is okay, but it has a lot of stuff in it. The flag counter is my bat signal, something I'm guaranteed to check. If we could funnel the almost-certainly-spam answers to the place I'm guaranteed to check, that would be the best solution. – Undo - Reinstate Monica Aug 27 '15 at 16:44

A half-decent workaround for this would be to add a feed of the activity on this question to your moderator chatroom.

The appropriate RSS link can be found just under the Hot Network Questions list in the sidebar:

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