When flagging a post spam because of a single URL considered as spam it may be challenging to find the reason for flag, if the post otherwise is well formed.

For example there seems to be a user creating new accounts and promoting his site. The questions are somewhat related but when you access the link, the site doesn't seem to have the problems mentioned at all. Closer look reveals that the site is for downloading pirated software (or maybe something worse masked to be just that).

Should it be added as a public comment or should there be either optional or even mandatory explanation field on this flag type?

3 Answers 3


When in doubt, flag as "other" and add an explanation, especially in a case like that. When applicable, a link to another question with the same spammy pattern in the comments might be helpful as well as it will also notify non-mod users who can then start to close-vote.

  • Thanks for your advice, that's certainly what I should do next time I see it. Maybe the domain could even be blocked if found malicious. as I find it. Commented Apr 4, 2015 at 22:07
  • 3
    Unfortunately, we can't create a blacklist for links, but at least low-rep users can only create nofollow links. BTW, I had a second look to the user you flagged earlier, and he definitely is a spammer - the relevant question has now been deleted, and the account put into suspension.
    – Sven
    Commented Apr 4, 2015 at 22:34

Use the "spam" flag when you're quite sure that neither the post nor the user account that posted it have any redeeming qualities whatsoever. The spam flag has side effects such as an automatic downvote, IP blacklisting, etc. So, while we do want to see spam flagged, please be reasonably sure that it is.

If you aren't sure, then feel free to use the 'other' flag and explain in detail. Whatever it ends up being, the moderators will sort it out.


I routinely add a regular public comment when the reason I'm flagging something as spam is unobvious (returning user with multiple promotional but now-deletel posts, probotional link hidden in punctuation, etc).

There are probably situations where it would be better to withhold this information (never comment on troll posts, for example) but most spam is a complete drive-by job where the spammer will never see your comment anyway.

You should probably also notify us in Charcoal HQ to make sure we are aware of the spam and have the domain name added to our database (ideally, join our squad and !!/report the spam post's URL to Smoke Detector; but if you're not actively planning to join our ranks, just provide the post's URL and ask someone in the chat room to !!/report it). For more information about the Charcoal volunteer anti-spam organization, see also https://charcoal-se.org/

  • As of right now, Charcoal is on strike, but I'm posting this as a preemptive PSA for when the strike is over.
    – tripleee
    Commented Jun 18, 2023 at 7:29

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .