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I'm coming across several posts (mostly questions) recently. They all come from new users. Those posts seem OK: they're on-topic and is only an edit away from a decent post for beginners to SE, except that there's a spam link, usually near the end of the post (So I call those posts otherwise salvageable).

I prefer a red flag but would that be too harsh?

I see this in FAQ:

If an otherwise valid post contains vulgar words as an expression of frustration, edit the bad part out instead of flagging the entire post as rude or abusive. If this results in an edit war or rollback war, flag for moderator attention.

It's about the rude or abusive flag. Is it the same for otherwise valid spam posts?

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Note: I see this kind of posts on various sites, on some of which I don't have enough rep for full edit privilege.

33

If, at first glance, the the post looks good but has an apparent spam link at the end there's a good chance that it is really spam.

The legitimate content will have been plagiarised from somewhere (possibly even another question/answer on the site) and simply copied and pasted with the spam link added. A quick search for the first sentence of the post should confirm this.

Flag as spam.

  • 3
    I haven't even thought of plagiarism before spamming. Good spot. – iBug Nov 26 '17 at 16:21
  • I can agree to this. I have come across many such spam answers on ELU. It looks like a decent answer at first in the review queues. But on checking the original question page, it would appear to have been plagiarised to add spam to it. – NVZ Nov 26 '17 at 16:25
  • @NVZ "Original question page" you mean the spam post is plagiarized from another answer under the same question? – iBug Nov 26 '17 at 16:29
  • 1
    @iDebug Yeah, it happens on occassions. – NVZ Nov 26 '17 at 16:29
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    @iDebug here's one example, if you have 10k on ELU: english.stackexchange.com/a/405290 – NVZ Nov 26 '17 at 16:33
  • @NVZ I don't even have 1k on ELU! Can I have a screenshot? – iBug Nov 26 '17 at 16:34
  • 1
    @iDebug i.imgur.com/RhZfN4f.jpg – NVZ Nov 26 '17 at 16:36
  • @NVZ Got it. Thank you. – iBug Nov 26 '17 at 16:37
8

In addition to the concerns raised by ChrisF about preserving plagiarized content, there are some other reasons why you should not edit spam out of spam posts:

  • It delays or prevents spam from being fed into the internal spam monitoring systems. Flagging a post as spam and having it deleted as such will feed the post into the system's internal spam monitoring and prevention system, SpamRam. If you edit the spam out, later users may not flag the post as spam since it was edited out. It may also cause spam flags to get cleared if your edit is rolled back. It's important to ensure that spam remains untouched, so that users see that it's spam and flag it, ensuring that it properly gets tracked.

    • In a similar vein, it can also prevent the spam links from getting added into SpamRam in case the post is deleted as spam after the edit, since it's been edited out.
  • It can create permanent public-facing pages with spam, incentivizing spammers, in the case of suggested edits. It's been confirmed that spammers use edit review links to show whoever's paying them a public-facing page with spam, as edit reviews on deleted posts continue to be visible even after the post is deleted. If you suggest an edit, it may create such a page, and this is bad as it encourages spammers to spam anyway. (Yes, there is a system where some rejected edits may show as false 404s to outsiders, but this isn't guaranteed to activate always, and won't activate in case your edit gets approved.)

It's also worth mentioning that suggesting edits to remove spam has little personal benefit. The +2 rep from having your edit approved will end up getting cleared anyway once the post is deleted.

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