Should spam posts be edited? - Everyone knows: No.

Today someone edited a NSFW spam link (10k on Stack Overflow) into

[NSFW spam link]

Before clicking on the image, please note that there is an explicit NSFW link inside.


Seeing the edit, I thought I was under dilemma: I can't simply rollback the edit, but it doesn't comply with the meta post above. So I went on and edited that into

[NSFW spam link, please flag as spam]

and it was no doubt another user told me not to edit spam links. I explained the issue and was forgiven.

The exact thing I'm confused about is

  • If I roll the edit back, it's like I'm helping the spam link to survive (because it's already hidden), even though it's extending the life span of the link for only a minute or so. Also I would invalidate a few flags if it had already been some time after the edit, further delaying the automatic flag-nuke.

  • If I "improve" the edit, well the edit has already violated the consensus, my "improvement" only makes the violation worse.

As per the accepted answer to the linked question:

As nhinkle says, most links do not even need to be removed, unless they are linking to porn, viruses, or disturbing content.

This time the NSFW link is porn, so it somehow makes some sense to hide it. I would have rolled it back directly if it were a regular spam (advertisements to whatever drugs).

Next time, what should I do if I see another user edits a spam link out? Rollback or "improve"?

  • 2
    That is the least effective way to handle SPAM. All that was needed were 6 red flags. Instead 5 close votes and 2 delete votes are lost as well. I would have rolledback. The url is not linkyfied so anyone landing on that post either while it is life or in an audit will see it is a spam link. None of those edits were needed.
    – rene
    Jan 31 '18 at 15:39

Rollback. Flag (so spamram catches it). Presumably let team smokey know (so smokey catches it)...

There's no real dilemma here, though I disapprove of the use of edits as messaging.

  • 3
    But, rolling back to reveal NSFW link makes it somewhat like I want the spam to last. Jan 31 '18 at 15:41
  • 5
    Well, if there's an edit, there's no spam to filter. Just paint a big red circle around the target instead of burying it
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Jan 31 '18 at 15:43
  • 1
    And as well, if the rollback is performed late, it would validate a few flags. Jan 31 '18 at 15:54
  • I see you have a diamond at one of the sites, would mind such issue being handled with a custom flag? With text about like this: "This spam post was edited which made things a bit messy, could you please take care of spam, spammer and editor (meta guidance here recommends against such edits: meta.stackexchange.com/q/110030)"
    – gnat
    Jan 31 '18 at 16:13
  • 1
    I prefer standard flags here buuuuut I seem to recall you can add in text by using the custom flag option then switching before you submit
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Jan 31 '18 at 23:02
  • 1
    If you roll back an edit to a post, the flag count is reset to the one at the time of that edit. So a rollback could potentially cause some flags to be ineffective and so delay the autodeletion of the post. meta.stackexchange.com/a/58035/270345 meta.stackexchange.com/a/18876/270345
    – muru
    Feb 1 '18 at 10:44
  • 1
    It shouldn't have been edited in the first place. And presumably people should have flagged it, and should keep flagging it. At worst a mod sees it, sees the spam link, and sends it off to /dev/null
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Feb 1 '18 at 10:50
  • That's not "at worst" - that's the best case, since a mod's spam flag => instant deletion. The worst case could be something like an edit made even before the first spam flag getting rolled back, if the editor chose to edit before flagging. :(
    – muru
    Feb 1 '18 at 10:57
  • 3
    +1 for "rollback". We don't want to censor spam, we want to nuke it.
    – Cerbrus
    Feb 1 '18 at 11:27

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