We've had an upswing of spam recently (hopefully short-lived), and I've noticed a few users editing spam posts to remove links.
Does that recommendation still hold? Do we flag spam, but not edit it? Or has something changed?
When I see a post that looks like spam but has been edited, I always look at the edit history to make sure that:
- It was really spam.
- (As a sub-case of 1) It's not a legitimate, valuable post that was then edited, making it spam. (Such edits are frequently submitted, and on rare occasion make it through review.)
- There isn't anything special going on that warrants an additional custom flag to a moderator.
When spam has been edited, the benefit is that links are less likely to be clicked by accident, and theoretically might be less likely to get indexed for search engines (but really, they're unlikely to either way, as each individual spam post is likely to be handled very quickly).
The disadvantage is that, whenever a spam post is edited, I feel obligated to click through to the edit history to check to make sure it's not one of the three reasons above, before flagging it. I suspect (hope) that everyone else feels obligated to do that, too. This makes handling spam harder and more time consuming, and makes it take longer to deal with it, increasing the benefit of spamming to spammers.
So it seems to me that we should continue just flagging (and if we wish, downvoting) spam posts, but not edit them.
Is that correct? Or should should I edit spam, at the time I flag it? If spam should be edited, is that because something in our spam-handling situation has changed since that post? Or for some other reason?
Please note that this is not about the question of whether or not moderators should edit spam after it is deleted, to affect what 10k users see. While I think that should usually not be done (and is usually not done), that's not what I'm asking about here.