I've seen this happen a number of times. A post looks innocent enough but there's a comment talking about a spam link that doesn't exist. Only when you view the edit history do you see it. Here's an example:


My question is... why do people edit the post to remove the spam link? Why not just flag it as spam and get it deleted all together?

2 Answers 2


Sometimes (not always) the content is actually useful, but not the spam link. So people edit them.

Otherwise, if they flagged them - the mod would then have to edit them. Our mods are crazy busy as it is, why pressure them more with something we can do?

I agree though, in this case I'd have just voted to delete, it's not that useful and appeared to be spammage.

  • 2
    Yes, I have done that in the past as well. Sometimes people do give a good answer and then just put some spamy links under it as signature or such. Or people want to promote their site but the rest of the post is actually useful.
    – drat
    Commented Aug 23, 2015 at 11:28
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    For what it's worth, spam flags are intended for use on only the most egregious cases, like "ChEaP GUCC1 BAGS HERE" or "STREEM LIVE 5PORT5 |\|0VV!" They show up with priority in the mod queue and carry a hefty reputation penalty for post authors when enough accrue (just like offensive flags). Cases like the one described in the question above could be seen as promotional, but are at least intended to be relevant to the topic, and aren't the intended target for spam flags. For more info see the community FAQ on Meta SE.
    – Pops
    Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 17:58
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    @Pops That doesn't sound like what that post says at all (to me, at least). It very much seems like the message is "It's spam if it contains unsolicited advertisement. Period. It's not spam if it doesn't include unsolicited advertisement, and instead just doesn't contain a solution to the problem or is total gibberish; you should use these other flags instead." If that's not the position of the entire Stack Exchange team then that answer needs editing. Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 13:38
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    Your comment also seems to contradict guidance I've seen on other metas, which seems to be that good, non-obvious spam (i.e. posts that disguise a spam link in an otherwise good - though almost always plagiarised - post) is still spam, and should be treated exactly the same. Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 13:41
  • @AnthonyGrist there is a fine but significant difference between writing a "real" (for lack of a better term) answer that includes a promotional-looking link that is honestly intended to be helpful, and using a bunch of plagiarized text to mask the spamminess of a link in a post that is intended to be spam. When possible, we should be talking to the authors of the former and perhaps editing, and burning the latter, on any site.
    – Pops
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 15:04

I like Mark's answer but wanted to add that I prefer to edit out the spam. I don't do it very often though.

I try to avoid flagging whenever possible because I have flagged some things in the past and the next day they came back as "Disputed". And then I'm like... "Huh? Disputed? How can that be? Those guys must be on acid or something!"

Hence reduced morale.

The vast majority of my edits are to get the tags right and apply a more descriptive title. Having said all of that, I have spotted incidences where users have deftly removed spam from the content of someone's post. I am grateful that they do it and I like their alacrity in getting it done.

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