It has been suggested that this question is a duplicate of others.

Sorry, but it is not.

I am merely addressing the issue of:

"flag the post right away as well as editing it, hoping for moderators to see and take notice of the edit in due time and finally delete the post altogether".

In the example given (see attached screenshot), it took 10+ hours for the issue to be addressed.

This is the issue.
10+ hours is an eternity in Internet time.

So. How does one handle that? Any and all suggestions welcomed.

I had a long and fruitful discussion on the matter with @Makyen.


How could/should one handle SEO spam situations like this?

Enter image description here

My approach was to flag the post right away as well as editing it, hoping for moderators to see and take notice of the edit in due time and finally delete the post altogether.

Instead of having it hanging around for 10+ hours (which is just what the spammer wished for in the first place), since it was registered in both Google and DuckDuckGo as well. (You can probably still find it there.)

I do believe that should be edited to a non-interest link till deleted.

Could this be the right way to handle SEO spam? If not, what are your thoughts?

I believe the nature of such questions are quite debatable. This is not an easy call. It still needs to be addressed.

  • 7
    Does this answer your question? Should spam posts be edited?
    – NobodyNada
    Commented Jun 21, 2020 at 6:13
  • 4
    It's also worth pointing out that links posted by low-rep users are automatically nofollowed, meaning that they don't boost the linked sites' search engine ranking.
    – NobodyNada
    Commented Jun 21, 2020 at 6:16
  • @NobodyNada Actually it does NOT. Why? Because it mentions that "..In short, the community is usually too fast for spammers, so by the time anything can happen out of it, it's already gone." Commented Jun 21, 2020 at 6:16
  • I am talking about 10+ hours Commented Jun 21, 2020 at 6:17
  • 13
    The other points made there still stand. Editing out spam links makes it difficult for users and moderators to keep track of what links are being spammed. It also makes it harder for future readers to tell at-a-glance that the post is spam, which only causes the post to take longer to be deleted. I saw that post in Charcoal HQ, and my first reaction was "that's not spam, the link just goes to Google." If I had not thought to check the edit history, I would not have flagged the post as spam. Editing out spam has no advantages and just makes it harder to delete the post.
    – NobodyNada
    Commented Jun 21, 2020 at 6:23
  • 3
    You can't outrun the Google Crawler. SE has special arrangements that makes that new questions almost instantly are crawled by Google. Even if you manage to delete it under 2 minutes.
    – rene
    Commented Jun 21, 2020 at 6:34
  • "hoping for mods to see and take notice of the edit in due time" is your wishful thinking. For some sites, particularly in the weekends, mods are not available for long time.
    – Nobody
    Commented Jun 21, 2020 at 6:57
  • @scaaahu That is the exact reason why I suggest editing them as well. Commented Jun 21, 2020 at 6:59
  • 4
    Some inexperienced busy mods would just decline your flag because they don't see the spammy stuff anywhere because the spam is edited out. I do have this painful experience. I spam flag it, some people edit out the spam, my flag declined.
    – Nobody
    Commented Jun 21, 2020 at 7:01
  • 3
    Removing the spam link is borderline OK, if the post contains an extremely offensive or NSFW image AND you know for a fact that the post will hang around for hours (very low activity day) but changing the URL of the link to Google, meant ordinary users didn't see it as spam and as a result they didn't downvote / flag it to the system. Leave a message on the post, if you must remove the offensive material E.g "EDITED: removed offensive image and link." Commented Jun 21, 2020 at 7:12
  • @marikamitsos You are aware that editing a spam question even bumps it up in the home page and activity tab, no? Commented Jun 21, 2020 at 8:48
  • Two/three users can get a post off the home page, flag as spam & also downvote. Yes, it's irritating on low-traffic sites, but it's better to leave it than edit it, for all the above-mentioned reasons. I often add a comment, "Did you know that Stack Exchange uses nofollow which means all this crap does is irritate us, it doesn't help one bit for your SEO." which satisfies my own desire to "do something" & also is a clear indication to any other users that the post should be flagged.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jun 28, 2020 at 14:17

1 Answer 1

  1. Flag it as spam.
  2. We have a chat room called Charcoal HQ, where people who flag questions as spam hang out. If you mention it there, the regulars will flag it too. Some of them have accounts on every Stack Exchange site just for that purpose.

Don't edit the post! Editing makes it harder for everyone else to tell it's spam, and therefore harder to accumulate flags. It's also not necessary to vote to delete it, because we want the system to know it's spam, as it will then get added to SpamRam.

  • 2
    For users that only have an account on Stack Overflow the SOCVR chat room (FAQ) takes manual spam reports for Stack Overflow alone. Smoke Detector reports also in our room.
    – rene
    Commented Jun 21, 2020 at 6:25
  • I am aware as well as understand the reply. Everyday users are most certainly UN-aware or the room. Not an easy find unless one is guided to it. Still. The issue I raise is 10+ hours. Should one just edit as well as report it at the same time? Mods DO have access to the edits so replies/comments as ** **this or this do NOT the question. Commented Jun 21, 2020 at 7:27
  • 2
    @marikamitsos, once the spam link is edited out, the burden is almost entirely placed on the site moderators to respond and notice that they need to check the edit history. Not all mods check the edit history; not by a long shot. Most of my declined flags are because the post was edited between when I raised the flag and when the moderator handled it. For spam flags, users are quite reluctant to raise a spam flag on a post that doesn't look like spam. That's just how people are, regardless of how much we feel checking the edit history would have helped.
    – Makyen
    Commented Jun 21, 2020 at 7:43
  • 4
    @marikamitsos On any SE site that I am aware of, the number of regular users is always more than the number of mods at any given time. We rely on the regular users to flag out the spam. Once the regular users see the spam, it's not hard to flag it. Six flags will do it. But, everybody is busy. You don't want ask them to dig out the edit history to figure out it's spam. You have good intention, but won't work. We always rely on regular users to moderate our sites, not the mods. Mods take actions only when it's necessary.
    – Nobody
    Commented Jun 21, 2020 at 7:45

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