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    • CommentAuthorMariano
    • CommentTimeMay 8th 2013

    I was wondering if there is some way we might make more people aware of the fact that when dealing with obviously spammy answers/questions it is best not to downvote but rather to simply flag the post as spam, as that will delete it automatically.

    • CommentAuthorquid
    • CommentTimeMay 8th 2013 edited

    I (used to) leave comments saying that I flagged something as spam (in addition to voting to close). More generally, I think documenting what one does (and why), and giving general advice in comments, is a viable, albeit slow, way to disseminate such information.

    There is a point in downvoting spam-questions though in addition to flagging them: It is easily visible on the frontpage that there is a question people should open to flag as spam.
    Michael, spam flags come with an automatic (and free of charge) downvote.
    Michael, this of course only helps drawing attention to spam-questions, rather than spam-answers. For spam-answers, perhaps the best alternative is to leave a note in meta, for example on this thread:
    • CommentAuthorquid
    • CommentTimeMay 11th 2013

    With score -5 or -6 questions dissapear from the frontpage so to downvote (in addition to flagging) still seems to have a positve effect. (I think one can do both but have no active memory of doing it, though I think I did it sometimes.)

    quid, does it? I know it does on MSE, but I recall seeing -8 threads on front page here before.
    • CommentAuthorquid
    • CommentTimeMay 11th 2013 edited

    @Asaf Karagila: I am virtually certain (in general) things do "disapear" (it confused me on occassion that I had to got to 'new' to find it again when it was not on the frontpage anymore). But, yes, now that you say it I believe rather recently I too saw something at -8 floating around. Not sure why/how this could happen (existing answers?, the flag -1 counts differently?,...).

    Added; Or, it disspears (only) if there are a couple flags already, and I only thought it was the score.

    Added 2: the following answer by Jeff Attwood mentiones the dissapearing feature on SO at Aug 30, 2010 (thus already long ago and it was not introduced then but existed; meanwhile things are quite different, interesting vs active or something) which somewhat support the idea this would exist here too

    August 30, 2010, you say? This is well into SE 2.x days, so it just as well be a feature of SE 2.x rather than the obsolete software we have on MO.

    On the other hand, say that 3 spam/offensive flags will remove a question from the front page, and that is dated 2009 which makes me inclined to believe that it is a feature in MO as well.
    • CommentAuthorquid
    • CommentTimeMay 11th 2013

    @Asaf Karagila: thank you for digging up that link; it is a bit difficult to test now (of course there is no spam-question question when one finally would need one!), but as said it is possible I was confused regarding this, score vs flag, and then the extra downvote would not have the benefit I claimed.


    It's quite easy actually. Find some highly downvoted question and bump it by an edit or something. Hidden questions do not appear on the front page even if they are edited (at least on MSE, but I suppose that this feature was there all along).
    • CommentAuthorquid
    • CommentTimeMay 12th 2013

    @Asaf Karagila: Alternatively, I could try to ask a spammy question :-) [Though as bad as I am at predicting what people find good around here it might turn out to be a success ;-).]

    Kidding aside, this is a possibility but chances are it would be an annoyance for 'everybody' [I am now not that convinced it would not appear] and in any case it would not completely answer the question I have if it appears [as I could imagine, whatever the situation now on math.SE that actually an edit overides the dissapearnece; else, given the sorting-categories here it would be virtually impossible to ever again give any visibility to downvoted question].

    While abstractly I am quite courios what is an is not the case, and entertained the idea (and even started) to test this on the test site (but gave up and deleted the start soon when I realised I'd need a couple of accounts past 100 points which then seemed a bit too much effort to create), in the end I think it might not be worth the effort to now figure out what is the case on MO now, since anyway in only a couple of weeks (or so it seems) it will be as on math.SE. (Where, if I understood you correctly, my original statement would/will have merit, while possibly/likely being wrong at the moment.)

    But all in all, what I consider as most likely at the moment is that the flag-dissapearence exists, while the score one does not, and I just got confused regarding this (as until not too long ago I did not see the flag-count but only the score and noticed questions dissapearing, possibly in combination with reading something over at SO and not paying enough attention that this is/might be a 'new' feature).


    Here's some real high-powered spam.

    • CommentAuthorquid
    • CommentTimeMay 14th 2013

    @Asaf Karagila (or anybody interested): shortly after midnight (MO time) I observed a question not showing up anymore on the frontpage (while being 3 hours more recent then the end of the frontpage and not having been deleted) at a score of -6 yet with only a single flag (spam). It still did show up when it had score -4 (I do not remember if it had a flag or not).

    Thus, I am now (again) convinced that the score is (also) relevant [though the details are not fully clear to me], as a single flag certainly does not make question dissapear. Further details: the question had no answers and was closed; this might play a role; the one -8 counterexample I remember for example had an answer.)

    Sorry for bringing this up in a way that you'd have to take my word for it, but when it happened meta was down. (I can mention the question of course, but it would not really help as now it is to late for observing it and I do not want to draw particular attention to it; but if you really want to know look for one where I left numerous comments recently [I did not vote it though])

    • CommentAuthorEmil J
    • CommentTimeMay 14th 2013 edited

    My impression (which may be completely wrong) was that the threshold is −5, but what matters is not the score of the question, but the score of the most recent post which would have cause it to appear on the frontpage. Thus an edit to a −5 question is not visible, but (posting or revising) an answer to a −5 question is visible; since on the other hand the numbers shown on the front page are scores of the questions rather than answers, you could have well seen a −8 there.


    That supports what I said. Having but one flag, regardless to the score, is not enough to remove the post from the front page. It is possible that when it reached -6 one of the moderators deleted it, or cast a flag.
    • CommentAuthorquid
    • CommentTimeMay 14th 2013 edited

    @Asaf Karagila: I am not sure if I misunderstood you or conversely or both, anyway let me repeat the crucial part of my post:

    A question (without answer, closed, but not deleted) with score -6 (and 1 spam flag) does not appear on the MO frontpage even if by its "age" it should.

    To some extent this indeed supports what you said (and it was not my intention to invalidate anything you said), by contrast I wanted to continue and confirm my original claim (and answer of your question) whether or not score has an influece on the presence on the MO frontpage:

    I am convinced score does have an influence.

    As I see no other explanation for this observation; the question was not delted and still has only one flag [turns out two by now but then it had one, also meanwhile score - 7], and one flag certainly does not suffice, so it ought to be the score. (By contrast deviations from the [rough] principle I postulated seem reasonable explainable by things Emil J points out.)

    Final note: the question I am talking about is the one in the "trollery" thread; so it might be delted (and have more flags) by the time you check; but on the other hand the timeline shows it was not delted when I made the forst comment nor is it just now (except it changed in the last five minutes)

    • CommentAuthorquid
    • CommentTimeMay 17th 2013

    I just confirmed the threshold is -5 (as said by Emil J). Question -4. Downvoted to -5. Question dissapears from frontpage. Undid downvote. Question (at -4) reappears on frontpage. [There is a small delay for both.]

    • CommentAuthorquid
    • CommentTimeMay 20th 2013

    Not sure if anybody but me cares about this, but: a (closed) question with an answer (score 0) also dissapears from the frontpage when voted from -4 to -5 and reappears when undoing the vote.