This question (probably soon to be deleted) made me wonder what would be the right way to handle surveys like that:

I'm doing a worker interview for High School and I want to be a computer programmer.

What is your job title?
What is your work history?
What are the duties of a beginner?
Where is work available?

To me it feels like spam but checking the FAQ makes me doubt that it really qualifies. I find it somewhat difficult to state that questions like in above example advertise something:

A post should be marked as spam ONLY when it contains an unsolicited advertisement...

If there was a link to a survey off-site (like in most similar questions I've seen so far) I would easily flag it as spam. But this one didn't have link, it expected answers right there, on our site, making it hard to say what exactly is advertised. Or it would be correct to say something like asker advertises their survey?

Another option I considered was flagging for moderator attention. But I can't come up with compelling flag message that would justify mod involvement assuming that question can be closed with 3K users votes.

That leaves the only option to handle such questions - vote to close, correct? (At sites where I'm active such questions are blatant off-topic; maybe this is so network wide but I am not sure).

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    Related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/247230/…
    – Catija
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 20:45
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    to avoid misunderstanding, I don't hesitate to flag spam when question contains a link to survey off-site - that's very easy to qualify as advertising. Example here is trickier in that it doesn't refer anything off-site, expecting answers to be right there at SE site where it was posted
    – gnat
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 20:50

2 Answers 2


This is clearly off topic; close it and delete it. But these "take my survey" questions often ask users to go off site to collect that content. If they do, don't worry about the dictionary definition of spam; flag it and delete it.

Off-site solicitations are not allowed on our sites, so closing is good... but flagging is better. If you simply go through the voting process, and close the questions in good time, it's already too late. The damage is done and the author got what they needed. And there will be more to follow.

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    But this question doesn't ask users to go off site, and it not only doesn't meet the definition of spam, but it specifically meets criteria of what is stated shouldn't be marked as spam. As for closing being to slow, clearly it wasn't here, and in any case that's no different than any other close-worth question. Lots of bad questions attract bad answers before they can get closed, what makes this off topic question any different than all of the others?
    – Servy
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 20:50
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    @Servy I find Robert's answer useful in that it explains the approach to questions that look similar to my example but differ in that asker posts (advertises) link to off-site survey instead of dumping it straight on site. For experienced users it is probably easy to see the difference, but for wider audience it may be not that obviouos
    – gnat
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 9:49
  • @gnat First off, he edited his answer. In his original draft he said that this post should be deleted as spam because it does link to an off site resource. As it is, it's simply completely unrelated to what's actually being asked about, making it, at best, just off topic as an answer. Yes, had the answer done something completely different than what it actually does, you'd potentially respond to it in a completely different way. As it is, this answer is extremely misleading, as it could easily confuse a reader into thinking that they should flag off topic posts as spam.
    – Servy
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 13:00
  • @Servy I saw original version, and anyone can see it in revisions history. Per my reading corrected as of now it looks okay and opens with the way that makes sense in the context of my question: "This is clearly off topic; close it and delete it." As for readers who choose to miss that statement and misread the answer as flag-it, I'm sure that flag decline will teach them to return and re-read more carefully (for the sake of completeness, if mod "mistakenly" will act on their "wrong" flag and delete on-site survey as spam, I for one will have absolutely no friggin' issue with that!)
    – gnat
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 13:18
  • @gnat No, actually you can't see the original version in the revisions history as the post was edited within the first 5 minutes of it being posted. So you're saying that it's perfectly okay for an answer to be off topic and very misleading and that if someone gets tricked by his misleading post it's their fault for being tricked, rather than there being a problem with an answer trying to mislead people into taking an extremely inappropriate action?
    – Servy
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 13:41
  • @Servy as I already explained answer looks all right to me ("This is clearly off topic; close it and delete it.") and even in unlikely case if someone misreads it, not a big deal
    – gnat
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 14:01
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    accepting this answer because it turned out a convenient authoritative reference on handling the kind of questions I asked about (example): "clearly off topic; close it and delete it". Supplementary guidance on similar but different kind questions, those with spammy reference to outside survey doesn't hurt either
    – gnat
    Commented Jun 23, 2016 at 16:50

That's not spam. It's not an advertisement.

You can pretty much take your pick of close reasons. I'd go with just "off topic", but you could use "primarily opinion based" if you want, or a custom close reason, or just about anything.

There's no reason to flag a mod because someone asked a question that doesn't belong on the site. You just close it, like any of the other thousands of close worthy questions asked every day.


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