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Our help page incorrectly states that it takes 6 spam / abuse flags to delete a post is a documentation report stating that the mention of six flags is wrong and it should be three.

It appears that this has gone back to six: it took six flags to delete an answer recently (now deleted, so 10k-only to see).

While the reduction from six to three was done by executive fiat in December 2016, there's been no notification that the reversion is intentional, and I don't see why it would be. It seems likely to be related to other changes made recently to review queues.

Could this be corrected so that only three spam flags are required for deletion, please?

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    The answer from an SE staff member on the Meta post you've linked explicitly states that the change is intentional (in bold). That seems like fairly clear notification to me. It appears that your question here isn't taking into account that answer. That doesn't mean that it couldn't be changed back to three red-flags to delete, just that the premise from which this originated appears inaccurate.
    – Makyen
    Aug 30 at 16:18
  • @Makyen I'm fairly certain it's only just changed. Unless our dealing with flags has been so good that mods have nuked spam before six votes have been cast, so this is the first instance of six-vote spam in two years.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Aug 30 at 21:26
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As Makyen says, this has been in effect since I had Shog change the site setting in July 2019. This is documented in the answer linked to in the post in your question, so it's not quite correct to say that this was unannounced - I didn't create a new question, that's true, but I did explain the change and why it was made.

Screenshot of site settings showing that the site setting to override the default of 6 was changed to 3 on 7 December, 2016 and that override was removed on 22 July 2019.

I confirmed the date it was switched to 6 (or that the override to 3 was removed, anyway) and it was indeed back in 2019. If you're confused about why you haven't seen many spam flags, it's because of Charcoal. They find and flag most spam posts within minutes, rarely needing moderator intervention - they are, actually, why we felt it was safe to raise the number of flags back up to 6 - and your experience seems to show that this hasn't had a negative impact on the site over these last two years, which I'm glad to hear.

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  • This site has by far the worst spam handling that I’ve seen. Maybe Charcoal does handle a lot of spam almost immediately, but all the spam I see takes forever to be deleted. The last posts I flagged as spam took: 30 minutes; 7.5 hours; 1 hour; 1 hour; 3 minutes; and 1.5 hours to be deleted. Only one of those is an acceptable response time! (We should lower the flags required again.)
    – Laurel
    Aug 31 at 2:45
  • @laurel could you provide the links? Some answers that should be immediately do take considerable time but I don't recall them being spammy, they were either just gibberish, off-topic or simply very low quality.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 31 at 6:18
  • @Catija The particular post I asked about doesn't appear to have been picked up by Charcoal and reported in the main ELU chat room. I can see why that may be have been the case (human pattern-matching is generally better than machines), but it may be the reason it took rather longer/more votes than other spammy examples.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Aug 31 at 6:23
  • It was picked up by Charcoal indeed within minutes of being posted . But it didn't qualify for auto flagging chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/11540?m=59008969#59008969 They're always adding more to their lists of things to look out for, though. In this case, the timing was the problem. There's not a ton of people around at 6 am UTC, so if there's no auto flags, it falls to people active on site or in Charcoal's chat room to address it.
    – Catija StaffMod
    Aug 31 at 6:42
  • Gah. Looked at the wrong day in the ELU chat :-( You're right: at that time there won't be many people around in Europe (early Sunday morning) or the US (late Saturday). It may need a little more vigilance from those of us who are around.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Aug 31 at 7:16
  • @Mari-LouA See my answer for context
    – Laurel
    Aug 31 at 11:38
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This site has by far the worst spam handling that I’ve seen. Maybe Charcoal does handle a lot of spam almost immediately, but all the spam I see takes forever to be deleted. Here's how long it took from the time the spam was posted to the time it was deleted, for the last 6 things I flagged as spam:

I could go further back. In fact, this pattern of terrible spam handling must predate the switch back to 6 flags, as I posted the following as a reaction to how slowly spam is handled here:

Could this be corrected so that only three spam flags are required for deletion, please?

Anything that makes spam not stick around for hours, please.

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