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    Not sure if it's a bot or not, but this question just got two obvious spam answers. I flagged them as spam so I guess that the moderators will get notified of this. So I'm posting here more for the benefit of non-moderators.

    Presumably there's some way to actually delete these posts since the purpose is to get links back to the other website and thus raise their page rank, so merely voting down is not enough.

    More generally, are all off-site links automatically marked "nofollow"? If not, they should be.


    I notice that one of the spam posts has been deleted (the more obvious one) but not the other. Was this a concious decision or is there an automatic spam-defence-bot that deletes obvious spam? If so, are it's criteria influensible - if enough people flag something as spam does it get deleted?


    Yes, I believe that if a post gets 5 or 6 spam/offensive flags, it is automatically deleted, but I think the flags decay over time so if something is just a little bit spammy/offensive, it hangs around. I just deleted the other post.

    community to the rescue

    Note that the community user locks and deletes the post. Locking is to prevent the offending user from undeleting.


    Okay, that makes sense. If it's alright by you, then in these early days, if I flag a comment as spam is it okay to put a comment saying that others can flag it such as well and that if enough do so, it will automatically be deleted? A few people left comments along the lines of "what's the point of the link?" and so probably would have flagged it as spam if they'd realised that it was possible.


    I absolutely endorse leaving a comment explaining how the system works and encouraging people to flag inappropriate content.

    By the way, you should have gotten the Citizen Patrol badge for flagging a post as spam, but it looks like there's a bug, making it so that the badge is only awarded for flagging as offensive (or there is a very long delay in the badge being awarded). I've updated a bug report I posted at meta.SE on this issue.


    I just added some support to your bug report. I want my badge! Now that David Speyer's managed to get a silver badge, I'm the only one in the first two columns without a silver badge. 10 bronze ones would at least have made me feel a little better since you have to go to the fourth column to find someone else with so few badges as me.

    As long as we're wondering about badges, I've been sort of curious why I don't have [citizen-patrol] or [enlightened]. I've certainly flagged posts and 3 of my accepted answers, each of which are my only answer to that question, have more than 10 upvotes.
    Ah, I see from the discussion at <a href="">meta.SE</a> that I may not merit the citizen patrol badge; I'm not sure I've flagged anything as spam or offensive. Someone should rewrite the badge page to reflect this point. (Although this is an extremely low priority item.)

    @David: Actually, I was getting worried that you hadn't gotten a silver badge. Just before you finally got one (earlier this week?) I was plotting some scheme to ask a question in such a way that it guaranteed you a silver badge.


    Some time ago I also worried about my badges (not to extent of plotting to get more with others), but then I noticed Terry Tao only has one silver and David Ben-Zvi is at 6 bronze.

    Now I think it kind of doesn't make sense to pursue badges if people who so much stronger than me don't have ones: any reasonable observer will immediately notice the situation and will come to the conclusion that badges don't correlate with math strength.


    @Ilya: just so everyone's clear: I do not care one whit about badges or reputation! It's just part of the fun and community building. But if it's there, it should at least play according to the rules.


    @Andrew, sorry to make my post look like I'm picking up on the idea of having badges! I'm actually very proud that I invented soft-question tag (which gives Taxonomist) and I want to get Citizen Patrol - I kind of feel like "I should learn how to do flagging".

    But the point I'm trying to make is that suppose some hiring committee looks into my Math Overflow reputation, and they decide to look at the list of users. Now one of them says: "Aha! We should probably try to get people who don't have many silver badges. That Ilya Nikokoshev probably only got them because he has spent too much time on the site while Terry Tao was busy writing his blog posts and posting arXiv articles -- we should get someone like that. By the way, that profile of Andrew Stacey is interesting..."

    See, what I mean?


    A-ha! So all I need to do is get another 49 people to use the tag "idle-speculation" and I get a silver badge.

    I think it's a bit early to second-guess what hiring committees will think of MO! And if you look at the speed with which Terry Tao has gone up the reputation scale, then I think we'll all be hard put to stay even in the same order of magnitude as him once MO has been around half a year or so. I've already dismissed keeping up with the likes of Ben Webster or you and am making my personal goal simply keeping ahead of Scott Morrison.

    Hey, I certainly don't feel badge deprived! I'm just curious to understand how the badge system works, and I'm more likely to notice bugs or confusing aspects when they effect me.

    "Enlightened" seems to be a tricky badge: I think an answer has to be the first posted answer to the question to gain it, though it's indeed not clear from the badge description.

    Incidentally, deleted answers don't count for that purpose (as I see since I deleted my first answer and Barton Reid appropriately received a badge for his answer). This has the following implication: if you post a really bad answer first, and realize it, it makes sense to delete it so that a different person will have an opportunity to get a silver badge.


    Ah, I see. The first answer to that question, not my first answer. And, indeed, I just picked one up for writing about my cat.