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In cases of spam or trolling, as a non-moderator with editing privileged I'm often tempted not just to flag it but to clip out the offensive section until the mods can get to it. I've never been sure whether this is more useful or harmful for the community...

(Tempted to step on a particularly gratuitous example, but it was a good excuse to ask.)

  • Two answers so far with slightly different advice... which means it is indeed something we need to discuss. Could be that one answer is for spamming and one for trolling...? – keshlam May 29 '16 at 21:24
  • 2
    You did ask whether to edit for both spam and trolling - the answer is (potentially) different for each ;). – ChrisF May 29 '16 at 21:25
  • True, but the answers don't currently make clear how they intend to partition the problem... – keshlam May 29 '16 at 21:27
  • Hmm. You seem to use "trolling" in a different sense than I do. Got a major-under-bridge-dweller on another site, and it's only really clear that the poster is an under-bridge-dweller if you look at the complete body of work, rather than an isolated question. Yet I smell troll (chain yanking, attention-seeking) in the overall pattern/content/nature. IMPE, most of the time an offensive gets flagged/voted down and out PDQ. – Ecnerwal May 30 '16 at 2:03
  • Note: The post that lead to this question, was asking how to get ones genitalia unstuck from another's orifice. Which is why I'd advise editing out the content as soon as possible. – Tester101 May 31 '16 at 14:18
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In cases of spam please flag as spam and leave the link in place. It makes it easier for other users to see and flag as spam as well. Stack Exchange links are "no followed" so the spammer won't be getting any SEO juice from them.

In cases of trolling and offensiveness, if it's editable edit it out and move on. If the post still makes sense then there's no real need to flag. If, however, it's nothing more than the troll, then rather than use a plain "offensive" flag use the other option to explain that you've edited it. Better to give us as much information as possible.

  • It's a pity the spammers don't know -- and in many cases don't understand -- the no-follow mechanism, and thus keep trying anyway. – keshlam May 29 '16 at 21:24
  • OK, that's reasonable, I guess. – keshlam May 29 '16 at 23:33
  • An additional reason to leave the spam alone is that it helps train the site's spam filters. – Mark Jun 22 '16 at 1:54
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Flag it for moderator attention, and write us a note (e.g. "Rude or offensive. Check review history"). Then edit away the nasty. When one of us pop in, we'll handle it.

  • That's roughly what I've been doing in most cases, but (see ChrisF's answer) I wasn't sure whether that was agreed to be best practice. – keshlam May 29 '16 at 21:26

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