As explained here, if a post is deleted through spam/offensive flags it is replaced by the message: "This answer was marked as spam or offensive and is therefore not shown - you can see the revision history for details".

However, this post (visible for 10k+ users on math.SE and ♦diamond users) was apparently flagged as spam and the flag was marked helpful. (One of the users who flagged the post confirmed that his flag was marked helpful in chat). Yet, the text of the answer is still visible, it was not replaced by the message mentioned above. (Here is link to revision history, which does not show any changes at all.)

What caused different behavior in this case? Is this a bug?

I will add that when this was discussed in chat this explanation was suggested by a more experienced user:

It seems that a mod did not apply their (binding) spam flag to the post but instead destroyed the user. This led to automatic deletion of their post, and validated the flags on it. But did not result in the content-censoring notice.

But I guess only mods or SE-developers can confirm whether this was the case. And from this case it is also unclear whether the same problem would occur for offensive flag. (But I guess the mechanism used in both cases is the same.)

  • Can you post a screenshot?
    – user206222
    Commented Jan 9, 2016 at 7:39
  • @Emrakul You mean screenshot of the post right? (As mentioned in the post, the spam flag was cast by another user. So I do not have a screenshot showing that the flag was marked helpful.)
    – Martin
    Commented Jan 9, 2016 at 7:40
  • Oh, I meant of the post itself - to see what had happened to it. But it's a moot point now, due to the answer below.
    – user206222
    Commented Jan 9, 2016 at 7:47
  • Also related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/204033/…. Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 14:01

1 Answer 1


It only had 4 spam flags on it at the time that the user was destroyed, so this does indeed appear to be the case. Those flags were all validated, and the Community user even kicked in an automatic down vote - but it wasn't technically spam-flag deleted.

This feature shouldn't require mods to spam-flag and destroy the user as they explicitly tell the system the user is being destroyed for spamming; I'm going to look into a fix for this next week. It's not technically a bug but I'm leaving the tag - it's bad UX for mods.

It could be as simple as creating a PostHistory event along the lines of "user is actually processed meat" for every post they own when that destruction option is selected, and triggering the obfuscation feature on that particular PostHistory event. I have to see how complicated that's going to make things, but I think we can come up with something.

By the selection the mods make, I'm referring to this:

enter image description here

The system knows it's a spammer - no other work should be necessary.

  • 2
    Hmm. Might want to do something similar for flags resolved as "helpful" by a moderator... but that has a broader impact, since it's a pretty big deviation from current behaviour that mods may be accustomed to. Maybe we should put a "mark as spam" button on the flag overlay (or something along those lines) to allow for a quick and clear action in spam cases vs just dismissing as "helpful". Happy to hop on a hangout next week to elaborate if this is a jumble. 3 a.m. here and my coherence level is more dubious than normal. :)
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Jan 9, 2016 at 8:06
  • There are instances where mods want to validate spam flags, but not delete the post (or mark it as spam). They can tell why someone would flag it that way, but they think it's benign and say .. edit instead. I'll definitely take you up on the offer to talk about it next week @AdamLear, I'd love to fix this quirk.
    – user50049
    Commented Jan 9, 2016 at 15:42
  • 3
    "I'm going to look into a fix for this next week." - is it next week yet? :)
    – hichris123
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 22:20
  • 1
    "I'm going to look into a fix for this next week." - is it next week yet? :) Commented Nov 27, 2016 at 12:52

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