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Quote from some comments in the question "Spam post should not be upvoted!":

  • Don't downvote spam. Just use the spam flag, and not another one. It may seem counterintuitive, but downvoting can make spam stay around longer in the system. The spam flag is also special.

  • If you downvote the post and flag it as spam, it may actually take longer for it to go away. When the vote count hits a certain point, it will disappear from the home page, and catch fewer flags, which means it will take longer to get autodeleted and may stay around until a moderator can handle the flag.

I wonder what the real problem is with downvoting spam, also taking into consideration that this is what shows if you mouse-over" the downvote button:

This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear and not useful".

That mouse-over message is exactly why I think you should use that button. If doing so confuses "the system" (does it?), then just fix the system ... Or adapt that mouse-over message to not "confuse the downvoter" ... Or adapt the algorithm that makes it disappear from the homepage so that it does not disappear if it also has some number of spam flags (so that it can continue to catch more flags).

And having spam disappear from the homepage, isn't that a good thing? Even if it is at the price that a moderator needs to do whatever extra action to really delete it.

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    Because I clicked on the wrong question when I closed it. This has been discussed to death and does not need to be talked about again. Don't downvote spam; don't use another flag. Use the spam flag and the spam flag only, and move on with life. – mpdonadio Feb 13 '17 at 20:38
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    Do not downvote spam. Just use the spam flag. I cannot stress how important this is. – mpdonadio Feb 13 '17 at 21:24
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You answered your own question:

If you downvote the post and flag it as spam, it may actually take longer for it to go away. When the vote count hits a certain point, it will disappear from the home page, and catch fewer flags, which means it will take longer to get autodeleted and may stay around until a moderator can handle the flag.

And the spam flag is special; it triggers other things behind the scenes. Any other flag causes the mods more work and will be declined because they are wrong.

Why is spam disappearing from the home page a bad thing? Again, you answered your own question.

When the vote count hits a certain point, it will disappear from the home page, and catch fewer flags, which means it will take longer to get autodeleted and may stay around until a moderator can handle the flag.

If it disappears from the home page w/o the spam flag, it may not be noticed by the mods as quickly. Several years ago, DA got a manual action by Google as a spam site precisely because of this.

Seriously, if you see spam: flag it as spam and move on. Do not downvote. Do not use another flag. The system is designed to work this way on purpose and the SE team has put a lot of thought into this.

I have handled thousands of spam flags, and handled spam attacks before the current system was put in place (as in the spam was coming in faster than we could delete it). Please just use the spam flag.

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  • SE is basically leaving the front door open for spam. I wish SE did more and would only give access to the advanced editor until your reach 15 rep, else you get a basic editor with no way to link to stuff. Perhaps this will make the spam useless and discourage the spammers from posting here. And/Or add a Google Captcha when you post until you reach 15 rep. – No Sssweat Feb 15 '17 at 6:06
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    @NoSssweat Not disagreeing there. There have been many discussions about this on MSE, and there is resistance to this. Spam is no where near the problem it used to be, which possibly why more radical options haven't been implemented. – mpdonadio Feb 15 '17 at 13:37

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