Recently, I found a spam "question": stimulating the original collagen and elastin development (mirror for non-10kers)

It had -1 votes, 2 views and was asked about 2 minutes ago. I, of course, flagged as spam. But what I saw and really got me was:

I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's spam - A 5k user

I don't remember all the details (like the time that the comment was posted) and the question is long since deleted. But the main part is that this isn't a good action. (Just to prevent any misunderstanding, I'm not against that user in any way; I don't even know him.)

Instead of flagging the question as spam, the user voted to close the question. Why I see this wrong:

  • This just delays the deletetion of the question. If the question had to be first put on hold, then closed and then deleted (everything by voting), we would have every spam post around here for a week or more - that's bad.

  • Flagging as spam is the fastest way of getting the question deleted, and the user too if he's new. After a spam "question" is flagged 6 times as spam, it will get automatically deleted.

Here's my point: Please do not vote to close or vote to delete spam questions. It just slows things down. Just flag it and go away. As for me, I don't even bother to downvote.

Please use this as a reference point to any user, who would vote to close similarly.

  • 7
  • I don't get it. If a question is voted to close for the spam reason doesn't it also get deleted? I can't remember seeing a spam "on hold" question before.
    – user101016
    Sep 28, 2016 at 16:40
  • @camelCase Do you have a spam close reason?
    – user143228
    Sep 28, 2016 at 16:42
  • Not that I can see. I think I may be confused here. Is that a custom close reason?
    – user101016
    Sep 28, 2016 at 17:43
  • 1
    @camelCase That's it. How can you vote to close a question without havibg a close reason? The closest is "off topic"
    – user143228
    Sep 28, 2016 at 17:54
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    @RudolfL.Jelínek - You can select custom and type in your own message. I believe you get "I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because" as a default prefix, and the user entered "it's spam".
    – user101016
    Sep 29, 2016 at 12:02
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    can we feature request to promote "spam" close votes to flags? Oct 3, 2016 at 13:34
  • @Mindwin Flags are for flagging a post, close for closing, and are totally different features. I would like to do this too, but it would somewhat disrupt the close vote's logic... but thanks for the suggestion.
    – user143228
    Oct 3, 2016 at 17:39
  • @RudolfL.Jelínek if we can, beyond reasonable doubt, programatically identify a close vote motivated by "spam", then it may work. Or pop a prompt "do you mean to flag this post as spam?" Oct 3, 2016 at 17:42
  • @Mindwin Yep, that would work. Like when you try to close as a custom reason "spam", "off-topic because it's spam" or something like that, a popup would show: "Please don't vote to close spam questions, instead, flag them as spam". That will be good. I'll consider doing a feature-request. Thanks for the idea.
    – user143228
    Oct 3, 2016 at 17:47
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    Oh, I think I know what's going on... and I think said user is me... Both Close and Flag gives me a similar interface, and sometimes I wonder why it is missing the spam option, so I just select Off Topic. I frequent multiple SE sites and they are all different, so I may not noticed I clicked Close instead of Flag.
    – Nelson
    Oct 6, 2016 at 8:51
  • 1
    Related: (Meta Stack Exchange) Is there any actual harm in voting to close spam, as long as you flag? Jul 29, 2023 at 4:26

2 Answers 2


Flagging spam as 'Spam' is already the most extreme action you can take - with enough spam flags raised on a post, it will be auto-deleted (without needing moderator intervention) and the user account responsible will be permanently marked & severely restricted from posting again.

Close votes on Spam are superfluous at best. It only takes 3 clicks to flag as Spam. To vote to close, you need to:

  • Click 3 times to get to the custom off-topic close reason
  • Type a reason (let's say minimum 4 characters to spell 'spam'),
  • Then click 'Close'.

And for what? So it appears in the close vote review queue?

  1. If it's a new user account, anything they post will already be appearing in 'First Posts'.
  2. It's probably also in the 'Low Quality' queue thanks to the downvotes it's accruing as well.
  3. You can flag directly from the First Post queue, but not the Close Vote queue:

Close Vote First Post

So a close vote is effectively wasted effort.

As I also mentioned in the comments to MBraedley's answer, manual deletion is also not good. A user that has a post removed by spam is treated differently to one that simply has a post deleted. A successful spam vote is a serious mark against an account and severely limits what that account can do.

Deleting a spam question/answer before it hits the requisite spam flags will mean the user account won't be marked as a spammer, can continue to spam and worse, potentially accrue reputation and then put it's spam into even worse places. (This is also why we don't edit out the spam links in an otherwise "fine" answer).

To conclude, Spam is Spam, don't spend time with it, just flag and move on. Spend that extra moderation effort you would've spent closing/deleting it on posts that actually deserve your attention. :)

  • Nor does the low quality posts review queue allow to flag (I think)
    – user143228
    Sep 29, 2016 at 14:11
  • Also, Is there any motivation for someone to vote to close the question? Any badge or so? I don't think so. Why do people vote to close everything? :)
    – user143228
    Sep 29, 2016 at 14:13
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    +1, I'm sure that was just a mistake borne of ignorance. I easily could have voted to close as well, but won't now that this has been drawn to my attention.
    – DCShannon
    Sep 29, 2016 at 17:34
  • I didn't understand "This is also why we don't edit out the spam links in an otherwise "fine" answer" part. Can you (or anyone else) enlighten me? Oct 3, 2016 at 13:36
  • @Mindwin - see here - a tactic that spam accounts have taken in the past is to actually post a semi-relevant answer with their spam links embedded in the post. Usually the answer is not great and was likely ripped wholesale from another post. The problem with removing spam links is that with the spam now hidden, those answers may gain upvotes giving the spam account reputation, which -other than just being a measure of trust in that user- is tied to greater privileges/access to tools that spammers shouldn't have access to.
    – Robotnik Mod
    Oct 3, 2016 at 13:58
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    @Robotnik thanks. So answers with spam links are to be flagged instead of "fixed". Good to know. Oct 3, 2016 at 14:59
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    @Robotnik can we feature this? Recently, a lot of people are flagging spam answers/questions as should be closed when they should be using the spam flag to get it deleted faster. Also, do rude and abusive flags work the same way?
    – Timmy Jim Mod
    Mar 8, 2017 at 22:29
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    @TimmyJim - We could, but I don't think it would help much. The instances of close-votes on spam has definitely lessened, even if there are a few that still do. We're not going to stop everyone from doing so by featuring it - this is a fairly recent meta - everyone that's seen it has seen it and everyone that hasn't won't look at featured metas any more than regular metas anyway. if you see any close votes on spam while the spam is still active, try and leave the close voter a comment linking back to this meta, that's probably the best solution :-)
    – Robotnik Mod
    Mar 9, 2017 at 23:09

I respectfully disagree. I'm not saying don't flag as spam (please do flag as spam) but voting to close or delete doesn't hurt, and can actually help. It doesn't slow the process down (they happen in parallel), and can help get the offending question in front of more eyes faster. The best thing to do, though, is to point it out to those in chat.

Leaving a comment is completely unnecessary. That we agree on.

  • 2
    It can slow it down, if people vote to close instead of flagging, and voting to close is a total waste of time. this is not a good answer. Sorry.
    – user141024
    Sep 28, 2016 at 16:23
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    Flag - Yes. Put in chat - Yes. Comment - No. Close - No. Manually delete - No. The last three actions just slow it down, as Yvette said, or just tangle it up. Anyways, I generally agree.
    – user143228
    Sep 28, 2016 at 16:24
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    I clearly say that you should flag as spam, and that voting to close is not a waste of time. Please take the time to read my answer again.
    – MBraedley
    Sep 28, 2016 at 16:26
  • @RudolfL.Jelínek I am not sure how manually deleting a spam post slows the process of it getting deleted down. And, well voting to close it is valid as it is off topic.
    – Dragonrage Mod
    Sep 28, 2016 at 18:27
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    @Dragonrage - Please don't delete them manually: deleting a spam question/answer before it hits the requisite spam flags will mean the user account won't be marked as a spammer and can continue to spam and worse, potentially accrue reputation and then put it's spam into even worse places. Same reason why we don't edit out the spam links in an otherwise "fine" answer. Spam is Spam, just flag and move on.
    – Robotnik Mod
    Sep 28, 2016 at 21:03
  • I don't really understand why is this so downvoted - +5/-8...
    – user143228
    Oct 3, 2016 at 17:40
  • @RudolfL.Jelínek, StackExchange has a spam filter. That filter learns from posts that have accrued six spam flags (or have been deleted as spam by a moderator). Closing and deleting a spam post through the ordinary deletion process prevents the spam filter from learning.
    – Mark
    Oct 6, 2016 at 18:07

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