10

It is not possible to close a question for the reason that it is spam. It is not possible to vote to delete until it is closed. One can vote down or flag as spam, but the question remains.

The top of the front page is currently a mixture of a spam question and various questions which have been bumped by somebody adding a non-answer. (A copy of the question or another answer.) These are marked, mostly, as modified by Community for reasons which currently escape me.

It seems there is not really any very effective way to deal with this in the short term?

11

As detailed in the other questions on the same topic, the correct response to spam is to flag it as such if you have the privileges. Downinvoting also helps but does not provide the additional information that a flag does. The StackExchange back-end picks up spam flags in particularly and will auto-block users after a threshold number of flags has been raised.

Note that even if a post is flagged very quickly by multiple people and thus auto-removed, this never reverses the fact that the something has happened. Thus a spam answer on a question will always bump the question up to the top of the front page. If the spam user gets destroyed (either by mod action or by the back-end) then this 'promotion' ends up being marked as dupe to the 'Community' user rather than a real person.

As TeX-sx is relatively small compared with the main site, there is something of a time lag between a spam post appearing and being removed. On the main site a question will get removed within a few minutes by user votes, whereas depending on the time of day it can take longer for us. If you feel the response to these things needs to be more rapid then you should raise the possibility of a moderator election: moderator votes are binding but of course depend on the number and location of moderators (all currently based in Europe).

  • Thanks. I've read that advice or similar re. spam but I wasn't aware of all the details. So an answer can still show as being by a particular user even though the list of questions shows the modification as being by Community? – cfr Mar 15 '15 at 11:01
  • @cfr The idea is that you don't see the user anymore unless you have >10k rep. So when the answer is deleted as spam, his name is removed from the question list, but remains with his answer. – yo' Mar 16 '15 at 21:12
  • @yo' Well, this is when it has not been deleted.... – cfr Mar 16 '15 at 21:14
  • @cfr Until it gets deleted, the username will be shown in the question list. – yo' Mar 16 '15 at 21:15
  • @yo' That's what I thought. But that is not what I've been seeing. The questions show as modified by Community in the list of active questions, even though the posts have not been closed - let alone deleted. At least, they do not appear as closed or deleted e.g. it is possible to downvote, to flag, to vote to close, to comment. – cfr Mar 16 '15 at 22:39
  • @cfr Is the user showing as 'normal' or as greyed-out? If the latter, the spam user has been deleted leaving 'Community' responsible for modification. – Joseph Wright Mar 16 '15 at 22:41
  • @JosephWright They look normal - not grey - but I can't click on them. Does this mean they are functionally greyed-out even though they don't look greyed-out? I find it rather confusing.... – cfr Mar 16 '15 at 22:43
4

I would just add: While the important things are flagging as spam and downvoting, you can also cast a close vote as off-topic (since it is off-topic). It very likely won't change anything in the end (since it would take 5 close voters to close it; if they all downvote and raise a spam flag, it'll be auto-deleted probably), but it can't cause any harm. You at least show to all people following the review queues that there is a malicious post worth flagging and downvoting.

  • This is what I tend to do, but I'm not sure it is what I'm meant to do. (I thought we were not supposed to downvote or vote to close such questions, but to only flag them.) – cfr Mar 16 '15 at 22:40
1

Normally I just flag as spam, things go soon enough.

In a couple of cases where I thought the posting offensive rather than merely spam, and I didn't want to wait for automatic deletion, I in addition to the flag, edited the text deleting it all and replacing it by a line saying it had been deleted. Not sure if that is really sanctioned by the site guidelines, but it certainly works to get the text off the default page instantly.

  • Thanks. This wasn't offensive. There was just so much of it hitting the front page simultaneously. (Mostly it was copies of material on the site - usually the same page - so certainly the content was not offensive...) – cfr Mar 19 '15 at 23:49

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