##What is the effect of the *Spam* flag?

This type of flag receives an extremely high priority in the moderation queue. It should be used only when the content of the post you are flagging meets the criteria defined below, or it will likely be declined.

The spam flag is designed to eliminate posts with no relevant content and to penalize the authors:

   * 3 flags (spam or offensive): post is banished from the front page.
   * 6 flags (spam or offensive): post is <a href="http://meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/22228/what-is-a-locked-post">locked</a>, deleted, and the first revision owner loses 100 reputation.
   * 1 flag from a moderator has the same effect as 6 flags from normal users: instant destruction.
   * Because a question with 6 flags is locked, a 10k reputation user cannot meaningfully undelete it.
   * Each spam flag counts as a downvote for calculating the post's score *(it does not affect the user's reputation)*.

##When should the *Spam* flag be used?

A question should be marked as spam **ONLY** when it consists of [undiscriminated bulk advertisement](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spam_%28electronic%29).

It should **NOT** be marked as spam in the following cases:

 * The answer contains no useful information, such as an answer that says "I don't care about your problem". **Solution**: flag this sort of 'answer' as 'not an answer', and if you find a weird non-question, then flag it 'for moderator attention' and probably 'other'.
 * It contains gibberish, such as "fsdguejgkfdlk". **Solution**: flag this sort of 'answer' as 'not an answer', and flag questions 'for moderator attention' and probably 'other'.


## Is there any way to remove *Spam* flags?

There is often no need, as spam flags expire after 48 hours if the thresholds aren't reached.

Rolling back a post to a previous state will revert to the number of spam flags from that particular revision.  This allows the OP (or someone else with edit rights) to rollback a post that someone else made spam in a later revision.  However, as a general user, once you mark a post as spam, you cannot take it back.

## How does the *Spam* flag differ from the *Offensive* flag?

There is no functional difference aside from separate counts - 3/6 of either will be sufficient for mechanical purposes. Mods can see which flags are applied, and Jeff's plan according to a [comment on a blog post][2] was that in the future posts that are highlighted as spam might be used to help construct better measures to protect against spam.

  [1]: http://meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/56223/has-there-been-an-uptick-in-spam-votes-against-established-questions/56224#56224
  [2]: http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2009/04/raising-a-red-flag/#comment-19475