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I know this has been said many times, Don't downvote spam, flag it!, but still spam is being bombed with downvotes, why?

Can we do something to prevent this?

For reference, this post says:

The proper course of action is to flag the post as spam. Three spam flags will remove it from the front page, six will delete it. Don't edit it, don't downvote it, don't use another flag. Flag as spam and move on.

Spam posts gets easier removed if we just flag them and avoid downvoting them.

I thought about doing something like this, to prevent it:

  1. A spam post is created
  2. A user flags it as spam.
  3. A bunch other users tries to downvote it.
  4. Each of them gets a popup saying, "This post has been flagged as spam. If you agree, then please flag it too, instead of downvoting it.". (NEW FEATURE).

Will this be a good idea? To basically show a popup telling the user to flag the post instead of downvoting it.


Sorry I didn't knew that the downvotes are added automatically when flagging a post as spam. Thanks for pointing that out :)

  • 7
    Disagreement that this is worth being implemented. – πάντα ῥεῖ Dec 19 '19 at 12:54
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    Voting is different on Meta: On posts tagged feature-request, voting indicates agreement or disagreement with the proposed change rather than just the quality or usefulness of the post itself. – Glorfindel Dec 19 '19 at 12:57
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    When I flag a spam post I also downvote it. How can the system know it's spam before flagging? Why downvoting on spam is bad? – CaldeiraG Dec 19 '19 at 13:05
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    Don't downvote spam Really, spam shouldn't be downvoted, is that what you're saying? I often flag as spam and downvote, I don't think that's self-defeating – CertainPerformance Dec 19 '19 at 13:06
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    As Glorfindel says, the flags come with the penalty of a system-inflicted downvote. In most cases in my experience, people are not flagging and downvoting, they’re just flagging (I can see the number of flags). For blatantly obvious spam that Charcoal catches, this post is unlikely to stick around long enough due to how Charcoal works. For more subtle spam, I feel there’s more of a problem of it getting close votes or edits, the latter of which may remove the links, leaving people thinking it’s a legitimate question. – Catija Dec 19 '19 at 13:06
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    Flagged but not marked as helpful so the system still don't know about it. What about users flagging as spam posts that aren't? You also have Smoke Detector that does this job too. – CaldeiraG Dec 19 '19 at 13:07
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Don't downvote spam, flag it!

And that spam flag automatically downvotes it; you don't own the vote yourself, the Community user does. That's probably what you experience, not real users downvoting the post.

Also, the other 'users' might actually be automatic flags from the Charcoal project, especially if it involves blatant spam for pharma products. Your main site, Drupal, sees relatively many of them.

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  • While I'm not checking all 5000 I just checked my last 500 flags on Drupal and the lowest score which was only one post was -8, it looks like under 10% even get a single regular downvote to take them to -7. – PeterJ Dec 19 '19 at 13:11
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    It might be useful for future visitors who have the same idea. That's why we generally don't delete them. – Glorfindel Dec 19 '19 at 13:25
  • @Glorfindel No, but it gets downvoted into oblivion, just because that I didn't knew that the downvotes were added automatically :( – user569408 Dec 19 '19 at 13:26
  • Well, with +2/-7 you're actually gaining some reputation. And you don't need to worry about post bans on Meta, they kick in much later here. – Glorfindel Dec 19 '19 at 13:27
  • Ok, thank you :) – user569408 Dec 19 '19 at 13:28
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  1. Each of then gets a popup saying, "Please flag this post as spam instead of downvoting it!". (NEW FEATURE).

How should the engine decide that it's actually spam and place the popup dialogue?

I don't see that this is really feasible.


As for your edit:

The post has been flagged already, so that's how the engine will know that it's spam.

That's not a certain indicator. People may fail about identifying spam and put flags wrongly.

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  • The post has been flagged as spam, that's how the engine can decide that it's spam. – user569408 Dec 19 '19 at 12:58
  • @Jdrupal "The post has been flagged as spam" That's not a certain indicator. Many users (including me) fail about identification of spam. – πάντα ῥεῖ Dec 19 '19 at 12:59
  • And if it would suffice as an indicator, then a single spam flag could simply delete the post right away, @Jdrupal? But of course, the popup text could explain more. – Arjan Dec 19 '19 at 14:32
  • @Arjan I think people understood this post wrong. The popup was just meant to be a message saying, "This post has been flagged as spam, please flag it as spam in stead of downvoting it" (if you believe it's spam). – user569408 Dec 19 '19 at 14:43
  • @Jdrupal I think that more people might indeed like the feature request if it would say "This post has been flagged as spam. If you agree, then please flag it too, instead of downvoting it." – Arjan Dec 19 '19 at 16:09
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    @Arjan Thanks, I'll edit my question! – user569408 Dec 19 '19 at 16:11
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"Don't downvote spam, flag it!"

This quote is missing one word:

"Don't only downvote spam, flag it!"

There's nothing wrong with casting downvotes on spam posts. The problem is that some users stop after the downvote, when the post should be flagged first and foremost.

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