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Question: Are there some additional limits for users who had some of their posts marked as spam (or rude/offensive)?

Typically, an account posting spam is a new user, with reputation 1. (Meaning that even after -100 reputation for spam posts, the user remains on the same reputation.)

Looking at the The Complete Rate-Limiting Guide I see that such user:

  • Can post a question once a 40 minutes. (Additionally, on some sites there is a limit of 6 questions per day.)
  • Can post an answer once every three minutes.

Once some questions or answers have been flagged as spam, are some additional restrictions imposed?

If there are only the above restrictions, spammer could post an answer every three minutes. Eventually, the spam posts will be deleted - but bumping many old posts to the frontpage by spam answers might be quite annoying to the community around a specific site. (From the viewpoint of bumping, spam questions are less of a problem - after they are deleted, there isn't anything left.)

I asked this because I recently saw four spam answers posted relatively quickly on one site. (The timestamps I see are 11:22, 11:34, 11:40, 11:44.) If I remember correctly, at the time the last answer was posted, the previous ones were still on the site. (I do not have sufficient reputation on this site to see deleted answers - so I can't get the time stamps for deletions in this way. But this SEDE query confirms that it took some time.)

I assume that the answer ban will kick in at some point, because of the downvotes that come with the spam flags. But I am not sure how many downvotes are needed for the answer ban.

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    This is how I think it works: It needs 6 spam flags from regular users to spam nuke a post. Once a post gets nuked due to spam flags the IP address is fed into SpamRam, effectively denying access to the network for the spammer from that IP. If they switch to a new IP address then the whole game of whack-a-mole starts again. As long as the spammer hasn't reached the 6 spam flag threshold, they are only held to the normal rate limiting.
    – rene
    Aug 14, 2021 at 6:43
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    @rene one spam and they're blocked? Any source for that? Aug 14, 2021 at 7:40
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    @ShadowWizardWearingMaskV2 source: mod's dashboard Aug 14, 2021 at 10:40
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    Does the scope of this question cover spam edits? I can speak from experience about the restrictions there.
    – bobble
    Aug 14, 2021 at 14:16
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    @bobble Originally I did not think about edits - just about posts. (The recent occurrence I saw involved answer.) But feel free to post an answer about spam edits. Maybe somebody else will respond about answers/questions. (To me rene's comment seems like something that would answer my question - but I do not know whether it is documented somewhere.)
    – Martin
    Aug 16, 2021 at 6:41

1 Answer 1

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I have extensive (sigh) first-hand experience with how anonymous edits marked as spam affect the user on the other end. OP indicated they would be interested in this, so here goes.


First off, when I say "marked as spam", I don't mean any human participated in the process. Rather, the restrictions mentioned here:

Because a large proportion of anonymous edits are spam or abusive, anonymous edits are heavily rate-limited and there is an extra filter that checks all anonymous edits. If your edit trips the filter, it will be silently disregarded and you will be instantly banned from suggesting edits temporarily.

That said, if you read the quote and assumed the punishment would be somewhat similar across bans... no, no that's not what happens. After getting "spam-banned" (that's what I call it), I've had all of these happen to me:

  • Cannot suggest any more anonymous edits on the site I attempted to edit, but can on others
  • Cannot suggest any more anonymous edits on the site I attempted to edit, but can on others, but only one per day
  • Cannot suggest any more anonymous edits on any site, period

Of course it never affects my ability to edit on the three sites where I have accounts with full edit privileges. The bans have lasted for:

  • A couple hours
  • A few days
  • ~Week
  • Over a week (I think this might be because I kept trying to edit. Also, as I've been recently reminded, eventually the system will stop doing the courtesy of giving me an error and instead fail silently)

I have no idea what triggers the different punishments. The different lengths can at least be partially explained by my IP changing every so often. The best guess I have at this point is that multiple spam-bans within a short period trigger harsher/longer punishments, but I lack hard data to back this up, just feelings.

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