As a spin-off of this question, the problem on Aviation.SE is that sometimes we are quite slow in removing posts (not enough users regularly checking the review page), this has led some of us in adopting the tactic of removing all or part of the post before it is removed/flagged.

The linked meta question explains that it is generally not a good idea, but it assumes that the community is fast enough.

Taking this assumption away, is it still a bad idea to remove at least the contacts details/links? Putting the question in another way, does this editing harm in any way the automated spam recognition system (i.e., will the system take in consideration also the original version of the post if enough flags are raised)?

  • 12
    You're welcome to report any spam in Charcoal HQ. We have an automated system to detect spam, but it hasn't detected much on Aviation lately. With your help, we might be able to train the system to detect this spam automatically, decreasing the time it's visible on the site.
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Apr 18, 2017 at 8:58
  • What benefit do you gain from editing out spammy content?
    – Wrzlprmft
    Apr 18, 2017 at 9:00
  • 5
    @Glorfindel I volunteered my account to the charcoal system, I will try to help also by reporting it in the HQ.
    – user295567
    Apr 18, 2017 at 9:03
  • @Wrzlprmft not having spam on the site...
    – Cai
    Apr 18, 2017 at 9:25
  • @Cai: But it’s still there; just in the edit history. The spammer has still something to show; the link is still affecting search engines. Unless somebody is stupid enough to click the link and buy the product, there is no difference.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Apr 18, 2017 at 9:38
  • @Wrzlprmft there's a massive difference between a spammer being able to show it to his boss and everyone on the site being able to see it. I'm not saying you should edit it out—you shouldn't... I'm just saying there is an obvious and instant benefit to editing it out.
    – Cai
    Apr 18, 2017 at 9:42
  • @Cai: And what would that difference be (in particular when only removing the links and similar)? Random visitors without flagging capability are unlikely to stumble upon the spam in the short time it’s there, even if we are talking about a day here.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Apr 18, 2017 at 9:54
  • @Wrzlprmft I don't know what you're getting at... the difference is it being there vs not being there. If it being there isn't a problem, why do we delete spam at all?
    – Cai
    Apr 18, 2017 at 9:56
  • 1
    @Cai: 1) Because it litters the site with content that nobody wants to read. But reading spam removed is usually as time-wasting as glancing at the actual spam and noticing that it’s spam. 2) Because it leaves a bad impression on new and casual visitors. While this is a problem, it only becomes relevant through long-lasting spam. Casual visitors usually go from a search engine to a specific question they are interested in. For them to see spam, that question would happen to have received a fresh spam answer – which is possible but unlikely if the spam gets dealt with within a day.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Apr 18, 2017 at 10:06
  • @Wrzlprmft so you're saying there is a benefit to removing spam? If so then that is all I was saying... there is a clear and instant benefit to editing out (i.e. removing) spam vs leaving it where it is. Which without knowing the larger context of how spam is handled on Stack Exchange is the obvious thing to do
    – Cai
    Apr 18, 2017 at 10:55
  • @Cai: editing out (i.e. removing) spam – as I tried to argue, the two are not the same thing. A spam post with the links removed is as disruptive as one with them – it may be even worse since it takes me longer to identify it as spam. Replacing the entire post by some notice like “spam removed” does not help either, as it takes me as long to read that notice as to identify most spam (and of course as somebody with flagging capabilities, I have to load the revision history).
    – Wrzlprmft
    Apr 18, 2017 at 11:23
  • @Wrzlprmft I'm not disagreeing with any of that. All I'm saying is that the obvious response to spam is "remove it", and to most users, the obvious way to do that is to edit it; however wrong or misguided that may be.
    – Cai
    Apr 18, 2017 at 11:42

1 Answer 1


does this editing harm in any way the automated spam recognition system?

Only in that future viewers of the post may not understand that it is spam and therefore not add their spam flags to it.

The system doesn't take revisions into consideration for this - flags are raised against the post, not its revisions.

  • you mean that, if the flags are raised, the system will also take the first version in consideration? (I will add this clarification to the original question, sorry for having forgotten it)
    – user295567
    Apr 18, 2017 at 8:56
  • 1
    Nothing to do with first version - it is about flags against the post itself - all versions.
    – Oded
    Apr 18, 2017 at 8:57

You must log in to answer this question.