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I have noticed a few users posting low quality questions containing links to blogs, links to restaurants, and lots of pointless pictures. Example Example

What should we do about them? Edit to remove links and images? Flag as low quality?

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    Those.... kinda look like spam? – Bonnibel Jul 9 at 13:46
  • (For future readers: Note that some of the example posts have been edited in the mean time.) – Stephie Jul 10 at 8:55
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It sure looks excessive and when it links to restaurants or advertising-heavy blogs it may even feel spammy, doesn’t it? But we should first assume that the asker probably means well and is mostly harmless.

There are a few points that are actually in favor of these users:

  • We want details, and giving a picture and possibly a link to the kind of dish or ingredient is good.
  • Giving the source of a text or image is mandatory, otherwise the user would be accused of plagiarism.
  • Sometimes a user struggles to explain the problem in clear English and so linking to the goal is a logical step to make up for limited language proficiency.

So far, so good. But where’s the line between useful and excessive, between a link to “as seen here” and spam? It’s probably going to be an individual call of judgment, but I suggest a few rules of thumb:

  • One picture/link is ok, possibly two, if they serve to clarify the question, e.g. showing differences or similarities. If you are planning to post more than that, it probably won’t add any useful information, please choose what illustrates your point best. We realize that a picture will be just an example and take that into consideration. However, multiple photos of basically the same motif should be removed.
  • Photos that don’t contribute helpful visual information and are mostly “decorative” should probably better be removed, especially when taken from somewhere on the Internet.
  • Links to sources (images, recipes) are fine, because it’s the rules. But still the core information must be in the post.1
  • We will be patient and helpful and support by asking for clarification and possibly edit the question to make it better. There are mechanisms in place to deal with severe and repeated post quality issues.

In short, remove excessive amounts of photos, help clarify where possible, vote as you see fit.

1 In case of suspicious patterns, mod actions are called for, but first we assume good intentions.

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    For what it's worth, I broadly agree with your conclusions, but these posts don't really look spammy to me. There's an actual question (even if it's unclear), there's effort being put into the posts, and the links are not as commercial as spam targets generally are. I think it's worth examining the way we intuitively identify spam. If a new user trying their best to include relevant information looks spammy to us, then that intuition isn't serving us well. And it's especially unwelcoming if we're more likely to flag non-fluent new users. – Cascabel Jul 10 at 16:41
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    @Cascabel clarified. Thanks. – Stephie Jul 17 at 9:38

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