At the moment there is the following question on the first page of the questions list: https://mathoverflow.net/questions/149697/can-anyone-tell-some-about-mobile-affiliate-programs-like-yeahmobi

It is already marked as [on hold], but it seems to me that it is outright spam. I would rather see such questions be deleted at once. Should I flag such a question as spam, or am I being overactive if I do that? (After all, it is already marked [on hold], so clearly moderators are aware of the question.)

What exactly is the right action when one encounters such a question?

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    $\begingroup$ Note that being marked as on hold does not necessarily mean that the moderators are aware of it. It just takes 5 regular users with enough rep to put a question on hold. $\endgroup$ – Tobias Kildetoft Nov 23 '13 at 12:10

Yes. We've recently deployed a new spam blocking system that is partly fed by the signal that it receives from the community and moderators during the normal course of moderation, which includes getting rid of spam (and the accounts that post it).

If you see obvious and blatant spam like that, flag it as such. Moderators should also destroy these obvious throw-away accounts by selecting:

Mod -> Destroy -> "created exclusively to post spam or nonsense"

Note - this guidance is intended for the most obvious cases, which fortunately is the majority of the spam that we see. If an account has even a modicum of otherwise positive participation, more investigation is needed.

The post that I linked to has a link to a spreadsheet, where you'll find some of the junk that the system has been keeping out of Math Overflow over the last seven days or so. Accurately identifying this stuff and dealing with it quickly helps not just MathOverflow, but all sites in our network; just as MO now benefits from the work that other communities put into handling it.


Spam (i.e. commercial advertisements) should be flagged as such. -- Six spam flags delete a post.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your answer. I do understand this guideline. However, in this situation the question is marked as [on hold], and by an edit a spammy link was removed. As such, it is in some way "despamified". Still, I wouldn't mind if such a post were deleted, in stead of being [on hold]. Hence my question... Should I flag this "despamified" question as spam, to contribute to its deletion? $\endgroup$ – jmc Nov 23 '13 at 10:55
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    $\begingroup$ @jmc: In such situation, unless the OP him-/herself has removed the link, I'd say: revert the edit, add a comment saying that the question is spam, and flag as such. $\endgroup$ – Stefan Kohl Nov 23 '13 at 11:10
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, I thought that reverting the edit would not be appropriate. $\endgroup$ – jmc Nov 23 '13 at 11:20
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    $\begingroup$ I don't see the point of reverting the edit. If moderators see the flagged spam, we will make it disappear. $\endgroup$ – S. Carnahan Nov 23 '13 at 11:36

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