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UPDATE: Upon reflecting on what fail badp and Nick T said, I agree that the spam flag should not be used in the situation I outlined, or a similar one. For although I personally feel the answer had no place as both a comment and an answer - my problem lies more with the tone in which the statement was delivered, and not what the statement was actually saying. As such, I can see people starting to flag things for spam just because they get a bit "miffed" at what the poster said, or how he said it. And clearly someones post should not be auto-deleted for that, nor lose 100 rep.

I recently came across a (now deleted) "answer" to a question, in which a user simply complained about the current downtime of the Playstation Network. This "answer" is obviously unsalvageable, and contains no content to speak of - and since 6 flags as spam automatically deletes a post, it seems like the best way to handle the problem. However, it does not meet the exact definition of spam laid out by the SE which is:

This question is effectively an advertisement with no disclosure. It is not useful or relevant, but promotional.

Furthermore, a statement made by fail badp also seems to support my position:

5 Please, if a post is obviously unsalvageable, contentless spam -- flag as spam. 6 flags as spam delete a post. 200 flags for mod attention don't.

However, I am uncertain if this meant only posts which are advertisement - or any post which is "obviously unsalvageable, [and] contentless"

As such, in cases where a post is "obviously unsalvageable,[and] contentless" is the correct course of action to flag it as spam, so that it deleted all the faster? or is (or should) the spam flag be reserved solely for posts which meet the exact SE definition of spam? If the former is the case, then should the rule be changed to allow flagging "obviously unsalvageable,[and] contentless" as spam?

  • Good question, I was just about to ask it myself after running into a situation like this. – Kevin Yap Apr 25 '11 at 23:25
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This is what I meant by 'contentless unsalvageable spam' - 'contentless' is an operative word here. Comments as answers do not fall under that definition. A comment expressing frustration over the downtime is an okay comment in my eyes.

  • It wasn't the fact it should have been a comment. The post would have been flagged as a comment too. IT would be best if I had the exact answer, but it has been deleted...but (from memory) it was: "this is **, psn being own just bought my games and can't even play" That's obviously not a comment, and even in a forum it would be flagged and deleted. It's just someone swearing about PSN being down. – Wipqozn Apr 25 '11 at 23:13
  • That said, since I deleted that post, all the flaggers, including the asker, got flag weight for it. – badp Apr 25 '11 at 23:14
  • ok then you do know the post I meant – Wipqozn Apr 25 '11 at 23:14
  • @wip 'damn, this is complete bs. i just started my 1 month free trial to find out i cant use it on my ps3 for like a week' – badp Apr 25 '11 at 23:18
  • answer link - gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/20757/… – badp Apr 25 '11 at 23:20
  • there we go. I'd say that is obviously unsalvageable and lacks content, and is barely above "spam". That said... I think part of my problem is the tone in the message, I may be letting that over shadow what the comment is actually saying. – Wipqozn Apr 25 '11 at 23:22
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I think failbadp was just a little exasperated and taking that statement too literally is a bad idea.

Please do not cast spam / offensive votes against posts unless you honestly believe them to be spam or offensive.

And by "spam" I mean it in the strict traditional internet definition not as shorthand for "I don't like this post."

If we see a pattern of this sort of behavior from users, we will consider it abuse.

Overlord #00001

If a question hits 6 spam or offensive flags, the user will be docked 100 reps. As this is a fairly severe penalty, it shouldn't happen unless well justified. A newer user who still doesn't understand forum vs. QA shouldn't have that shoved on them, but be given a little latitude.

  • yeah, that makes sense. Good point. – Wipqozn Apr 25 '11 at 23:12

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