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Should accounts that have posted spam and don't appear to have contributed any non-spam content to the site always be deleted?

My understanding--from limited observation and this may be wrong!--is that we at least delete these accounts when:

  • they are repeat offenders--that is, when they have posted more than one spam post on Ask Ubuntu, or
  • they've posted one spam post on Ask Ubuntu but at least one other on another Stack Exchange site, or
  • they are most likely connected to other recognized spam accounts, for example by a similar name, very similar posts, or have used the other account's name to post spam elsewhere, or*
  • possibly, if they post spam that is especially harmful, for example by linking to a site that tries to install malware that causes data loss on visitors' computers.

But I'm not sure we delete them just for posting a single, ordinary spam question/answer.

In spite of having articulated that list, I'm not advocating for creating formal rules about when to delete spammers' accounts. Rather, I'm asking--should all spam accounts be deleted, or just under aggravated circumstances like those given above?

If I see a spam post that's been automatically deleted by spam flags (for those to whom that may be confusing: 10k users can see deleted posts) such that no moderator was involved, and I cannot find any other posts by the spammer (no legitimate content, but no other spam either), should I recommend to a moderator that the account be deleted (for example, by flagging)? Or should I only do this once the spammer has spammed again?

14

Logical simple way of viewing it lets us divide this in 2 types of spam:

  • The post related to the question in case (as in: it could be an answer) but connected to a commercial product/information or owned/developed by the user;

  • The post is pure spam and has nothing to do with the site or the information we normally deal with;

First case should make us monitor the user, read the reactions from the community to those posts and react on that: either by PM the user or by suspending the account if it seems abusive

Second is pretty simple: destroy and by that remove anything the user posted. The system allows us to delete accounts removing the user and leaving any posts behind, or for these kind of users with less that 500 reputation the option to destroy and remove anything ever posted. Destroy exist specifically for those.

Not that hard to separate those 2 types of spam users actually.

  • 1
    In the second case, do we always remove the user account itself? I think you're saying yes, but that's a bit unclear from your answer, which I think otherwise clarifies the issue quite well. (And in fact, it was only the second sort of spam that I was thinking of at all when I wrote the question here.) – Eliah Kagan Mar 15 '13 at 9:10
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    Yes, if there is not other added cases where the user was useful on the site and the information he posted was clearly abusive that it the path to take. The system allows us to delete accounts removing the user and leaving any posts behind, or for these kind of users with less that 500 reputation the option to destroy and remove anything ever posted. Destroy exist specifically for those. – Bruno Pereira Mar 15 '13 at 9:16

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