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I recently flagged these three answers as spam because they

  1. Linked directly to a specific product/site/etc
  2. Provided a link but didn't give much (or any) explanatory context to answer the question
  3. Didn't address the question being asked (simply assumed an answer of "use Lua instead of Java" and provided links to tools to do so)
  4. The users who posted the answers had no other activity on the site, or their name was non-linked and I could not find such information (and assumed that to be the case)

Since one of the flags was marked helpful, and the answer wasn't deleted, I did some searching and found out how spam flags are handled. It seems that 3 flags are required to remove the post from the front page (completely irrelevant at this point), and 6 are required to delete the post. These flags all must come within 48 hours, or the flag count is reset. Considering the newest of these three answers has been around for 7 months, and traffic on GameDev.StackExchange seems to be lighter than StackOverflow, I don't expect these posts to get the required 6 flags for deletion within the 48 hour window. Will they be left there to plug their link (2 of the 3 linked to the same thing) simply because not enough people flagged them at the same time? Or is there another course of action that can be taken?

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I'm pretty sure spam flags also show up in moderator tools.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, that was my understanding. What sent me on this search, though, was that I noticed my flag had been marked as "helpful", yet nothing had changed. <strike>If the post was acknowledged by a moderator to be spam, why is it still there?</strike> I now see all three have been removed... \$\endgroup\$ – yoozer8 Feb 9 '12 at 2:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @jim FWIW, not all things you flag will require moderator attention. Just because a post exists with a single link doesn't necessarily mean it's spam. It's a bad answer due to lack of content, sure, but not necessarily worth deleting on its own. I'd recommend voting down instead of flagging as spam, unless it is actually somebody seemingly promoting their own product without any applicability to the question at hand. \$\endgroup\$ – Tetrad Feb 9 '12 at 7:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ I understand that, my question arose from the fact that the flag was marked as helpful, with no action taken. Had it been marked declined or disputed, I would've shrugged it off as me flagging something not really in need of it. \$\endgroup\$ – yoozer8 Feb 9 '12 at 14:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Jim Saying a flag is helpful (at least based on what the moderator tools explains) is in the no further action group, it says the flag has merit and doesn't penalize your flag weight. Where as not helpful flags would penalize your flag weight. \$\endgroup\$ – Jesse Dorsey Feb 9 '12 at 15:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ To add to what Noctrine said, generally speaking we dismiss flags as helpful unless they're malicious. \$\endgroup\$ – Tetrad Feb 9 '12 at 16:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Tetrad: I nearly don't dare to speak up, but is that really a good idea? I mean, flags which are wrong should not be marked as helpful...or did I misunderstand you there? \$\endgroup\$ – Bobby Feb 10 '12 at 13:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Bobby usually the thought process is "okay I see why they flagged that, but I don't think moderator attention is necessary, but I can see where they're coming from and appreciate the effort". Plus declining flags has a negative effect on that person's flag weight. The actual text on the tool says "the flags have merit but no further action is required". This could ether mean because the action was already taken, or no action is required at all. \$\endgroup\$ – Tetrad Feb 10 '12 at 16:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Tetrad Actually, since this change, there is no flag weight, and (I believe) no negative effect for declined flags. There is simply a count of helpful flags \$\endgroup\$ – yoozer8 Feb 10 '12 at 22:44

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