I keep a pretty close watch on spam and rude/abusive posts on this site, as much as is possible for a normal user without a diamond here, using the 10k tools and some other things that I use to watch for red flaggable posts.
And what I've seen is... sometimes, sub-optimal.
Let me say that I've made a lot of research into how Stack Exchange deals with spam. I've gotten about as involved in the process as possible - from flagging spam all over the network, to destroying spam accounts as a mod on Literature.SE, to reading a ton of posts on Meta.SE about spam... Spam and flags are my specialty.
And so... here are the things that are bothering me.
The bigger issue that I see is people voting to delete spam and rude/abusive posts. I can pull up examples:
...and so on. I don't want to call out any specific users - they're not the only ones who have VTDed - but these are just some convenient recent examples.
So... voting to delete spam or rude/abusive posts is a misguided effort. Not only does it not help, it actively harms the system's ability to block these people from posting more.
When a post is flag-deleted that was red flagged, an IP block is thrown up to heavily rate-limit the person who posted the spam or rude/abusive post, the post is deleted and locked, and the post content hidden behind the revisions link (for non-mods).
When a post is manually deleted - either by a mod or by 20kers - that was red flagged, the post content is hidden by the revisions link.
That's it. Nothing else. The author doesn't suffer any blocks or anything. They don't get rate-limited if they try to post another rude/abusive or spam post. They don't get fed to SpamRam, the internal spam filters that SE has.
Needless to say... that's sub-optimal. We want the people who are trolling or spamming the site to get blocked and rate limited. We don't want them to be able to continually post without getting blocked.
Voting to delete rude/abusive or spam posts is misguided, and could cause some persistent trolls to get away with a lighter block than they would have.
The second thing is editing red flaggable posts. While a simple edit won't invalidate red flags on the post (as far as I know), a rollback will invalidate any extant red flags on the post. While this is less common than voting to delete red flaggable posts, this is also something that I have seen and that is less than optimal - a determined troll who is familiar with the system can rollback the post after it's edited and invalidate any flags, making it take a whole lot longer to delete (and get them IP blocked).
That's it - have any thoughts? Am I making a mountain out of a molehill? Did you learn anything?