Since there's no spam option in the LQP queue, you have to go outside of the queue to flag as spam. This leaves you with the review, though... What do you press?

Pressing 'delete/recommend deletion' isn't optimal, because spam should be flag-deleted, not VTDed. However, 'looks okay' can look like robo-reviewing or that you don't know how to review.

I had been pressing 'looks okay' when it came up in the queue, to prevent it from being VTDed, but I've become aware that some people (including at least one moderator of the site that I come across this situation on) don't exactly approve of this.

Do we have any defined guidelines for what to do when encountering spam in the LQP queue?

  • 3
    I'd definitely go for VTD, also because it might be a review audit and clicking "Looks okay" would make you fail it and you risk getting temporarily suspended from reviewing. If you open the post on the main site for flagging first, you already see if it's an audit or not though, but anyway. Also from personal experience, a post still counts as red-flag-deleted even if it accumulated a few regular delete votes. Not sure what the minimum amount of flags vs votes is (just one, majority, whatever) though. Also a VTD from review doesn't stop you from casting a spam flag on the site. Jan 16, 2018 at 11:25
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    @Byte - 1.) Please don't answer in comments ;) 2.) Very, very, few sites have audits 3.) A post will be hidden if it gets red flags and then VTDed, but none of the other penalties are applied if it gets deleted via votes.
    – Mithical
    Jan 16, 2018 at 11:28
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    @ByteCommander 1 spam flag makes the “this post was deleted as spam” message show up on the post when it’s been deleted.
    – J F
    Jan 16, 2018 at 11:28
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    Don't overthink this. If the post needs to go, press Delete, if the post can live, Edit or Looks OK. If you feel the post needs additional moderation, do so outside of the queue.
    – rene
    Jan 16, 2018 at 11:32
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    @Mithrandir 2.) is exactly the reason why I didn't follow 1.) - if I had been sure and were not just voicing my opinions and assumptions, I would very well have answered. You explicitly asked for "defined guidelines" though, which I can't provide :) Jan 16, 2018 at 11:32
  • @ByteCommander I think it's reasonable to answer this with opinions, so long as those opinions are explained and are not presented as accepted policy. Policy is typically created by consensus, which answers on meta facilitate. I wouldn't interpret this question as demanding only answers that reference policy that is already established--and, if I did interpret it that way, I'd consider it an XY problem. I've posted an answer here, and I think you should feel free to do so as well. Jan 16, 2018 at 11:38
  • Also asked on MSO: What am I supposed to do with a piece of spam that I review in the low quality queue? although circumstances may have changed since then.
    – jscs
    Jan 17, 2018 at 13:47
  • The parochialism in that SFF thread that Edlothiad linked is unfortunate. The idea that a spambot might post to other sites in addition to SFF has not, apparently, occurred to anyone there.
    – jscs
    Jan 17, 2018 at 13:53

1 Answer 1


When I encounter spam in the LQP queue, I go to the post and flag it as spam, as you do. Then I click Skip in the queue.

After several Looks OK reviews, a post is dropped from the queue, preventing other reviewers from seeing it. Spammers want people to see their spam, and normally it's good to prevent this. But in cases where the people who are seeing it are likely to flag it, which definitely includes the LQP review queue (because people using that queue have accounts, are interested in deleting posts that don't belong, and usually want to serve their community), it is better for those people to see it. I think it is best that spam posts remain in the LQP queue until they are deleted.

I do not think the value of preventing the spam from being deleted for the wrong reason (i.e., by "Delete" or "Recommend Deletion" reviews) outweighs the value of making people aware of it who are likely to flag it. Unless hard numbers exist that can justify clicking Looks OK on spam posts, I do not recommend doing so. Furthermore, if that did turn out to be more effective at stopping spam, it would indicate that the review and/or flagging systems we have are pretty badly broken, and the best ultimate solution would be for Stack Exchange developers to put a "Flag as Spam" button in the review queue, or to make other adjustments.

I said I click Skip, but actually there's an exception to this: if I know the spam has already been deleted by the time I get back to the review item, I'll go ahead and click Delete. There's no need to do so, though, and arguably it would be better if I still clicked Skip, since the number of reviews we can do per day is limited. Once the spam post is deleted, it really doesn't matter much how you review it, so I wouldn't worry about that. But I recommend clicking Skip on spam that hasn't been deleted yet, so that more reviewers will see and flag it.

  • did you forgot to mention voting down when flagging spam?
    – gnat
    Jan 16, 2018 at 13:58
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    @gnat When flagging as spam, the Community user automatically casts a downvote for each spam flag, so even if it's good to downvote spam, it's not really necessary. Jan 16, 2018 at 16:25
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    yes I know that, however I prefer to add my DV over that because enough of votes down trigger IP-level block forcing spammer to make additional effort to change their IP (instead of simply changing mail address)
    – gnat
    Jan 16, 2018 at 16:51
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    @DonaldDuck, downvoting a spam question has the advantage that it only takes three reviewers to get it off the front page (a question at -5 is no longer shown), where it takes six reviewers to delete it.
    – Mark
    Jan 18, 2018 at 2:04

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