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Jeruba's avatar

Mods, would you please give some guidance on flagging spam posts, versus writing cutesy quasi-answers to them?

Asked by Jeruba (52209points) January 10th, 2019

I seem to remember from some past time that jellies were advised not to post in spam threads but just to flag them. I think it had to do with not turning them into legitimate users’ threads that were then arguably keepers. But I may be misremembering.

In recent times they’ve often been treated as opportunities for puns and one-liners.

Does this type of response serve the community in any way, or is it better just to help eliminate the spammers by flagging them?

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10 Answers

longgone's avatar

[Mod says] There used to be a policy that required us to remove all posts on a spam thread, even comments like “Flagged”. We don’t do that anymore, so those posts don’t bother us, unless…

A) ...they contain information similar to the spammer’s, because that then needs to be treated as spam and removed. It’s not a huge deal, but it can be annoying when we’re trying to get through many spam threads at once.

B) is not absolutely obvious that we’re dealing with a spammer. When new users are driven off because they’re mistakenly identified as trying to sell something, that’s unfortunate.

We definitely encourage both flags, and the practice of posting a quick “Flagged” afterwards. That way of interacting with spam threads is the most mod-friendly.

Brian1946's avatar


How do you treat the spam OP?

Do you delete, archive, or do something else to it?

longgone's avatar

@Brian1946 We delete it. We archive threads when they get very long or turn into battlefields. In that case, you can still see the thread but no longer post.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh. I thought you didn’t want us to respond at all, so I’ve never written flagged after I flagged it. But will from now on. (BTW, how does that help you guys?)

longgone's avatar

@Dutchess_III That used to be the case, yes. Posting “flagged” doesn’t help us, but somebody else might appreciate seeing that the thread has been taken care of and does not need to be flagged (again).

Brian1946's avatar

When the OP is deleted, does that also delete the answers, or do they have to be deleted separately?

Jeruba's avatar

@longgone, thanks very much for up-to-date clarifications. So more flags on a given post don’t draw your attention faster? I thought flagging something even after seeing a “flagged” post might give it a higher priority.

The jokey responses, though: I assume they don’t actually help anything. The spammer will probably never see them, or not understand them if they do, and to me they’re just annoying.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I am “guilty“of some of the jokey responses. I stopped when it was posted that they were a problem, resumed when it was said they were no longer a problem. For me, it is a release, taking from the irritation of the spam bombardments. I also enjoy seeing what other jokey jellies come up with. Some seem as though they were researched.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

A certain Jelly used to threaten to trace and come after a spammer. I am not naming names. It was ooohhh snap.

longgone's avatar

@Brian1946 They have to be deleted separately.

@Jeruba Flags are bundled, so even though we get separate emails for each one, by the time we look at our accounts we just see a single email with a tiny number next to it. However, a brand-new email moves the whole bundle to the top of the queue. So, for time-sensitive issues (e.g. somebody spamming the whole site, or a person who needs immediate help), it does make sense to flag several times. Of course, if simple spam threads receive a very high number of flags afterwards, that time-sensitive message will be moved away from the top again…but we try hard to go through all new emails whenever we’re working, so it shouldn’t make a difference in most cases.

“The jokey responses, though: I assume they don’t actually help anything. The spammer will probably never see them, or not understand them if they do [...]”

Yes, I think you’re right about that.

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