We sometimes see posts that contain just gibberish such as e.g.


From the variety of flags we receive it appears that the community is not sure what flags to use for these posts.

3 Answers 3


From network wide guides on flagging it is recommended to flag such posts as rude or abusive.

To make the best out of our anti-spam protection system please do not use the spam flag on these posts.

Also see: What are the “spam” and “rude or abusive” (offensive) flags, and how do they work?

  • 1
    The example given is neither rude nor abuse. The flag for postings like this should be "rude, abusive or garbage"
    – PiedPiper
    Jan 10, 2019 at 15:55
  • @PiedPiper: the naming for those standard flags is a network wise thing. Posting garbage is an abuse of our system, and is rude because it not only makes fun of us but also unneccesarily takes our time.
    – Takkat
    Jan 11, 2019 at 7:16
  • According to the comments on the first mentioned post "Not an answer" would be another possible flag. Do you prefer "rude or abusive"?
    – IQV
    Jan 11, 2019 at 8:20
  • 3
    @IQV: the network policy asks for a rude flag which imposes a penalty on the poster and leads to an auto-deletion of the post by the system. We do not want to welcome people posting gibberish. ;)
    – Takkat
    Jan 11, 2019 at 8:38

I quote from Shog9's post on Meta Stack Exchange: Why don't we treat rubbish the same as spam?

This is an utter waste of time. There is no meaning to the post! It's VLQ, it's abuse, it's Not An Answer, heck it might even be a spammer, testing the waters... There's no metric you can apply that'll narrow that down, because there is no meaningful content to apply metrics to.

So pick the flag that speaks to you. I'm partial to "rude or abusive", because enough of them immediately delete and lock the post, which is handy in those rare scenarios where someone's flooding the site with a lot of these... But VLQ or NAA work just as well in the vast majority of cases. The important thing to remember here is that when the post clearly means nothing, you shouldn't be wasting too much thought trying to decipher it; flag it and move on with your life.

Personally, I tend to use very low qualify flag. This should push the post to the low quality review queue where users can vote to remove it.

It gives the poster benefit of the doubt - if they really posted this just by mistake, this way of deletion does not come with the same penalties as having a post marked as rude/abusive. (Of course, downvotes and deletion still count towards the question/answer ban.)


AFAIR, I recently flagged such a post about one week ago, and I think I flagged it as "in need of moderator attention", because the other titles didn't match.

I don't see the content being rude or abusive. Of course one could argue, that that making such a post is abusive to the platform, but on this meta level, every flagging reason is meanwhile abusive to the platform, isn't it?

Well, the same fits to "in need of moderator intervention". Spam needs moderator attention as well, so does rudeness against other users.

But there is a box for freely formulating the reason, and I think I worte "for obvious reason" or something like that.

Spam would either need a link to a webpage or some kind of advertising for a product or service, imho.

The most positive assumption would be either, that a user was testing how the whole page works and couldn't delete his post, or somebody was logged in and had an accidental interaction with the keyboard (or his cat had) and didn't mention it. So I looked for reputation and user name, but these were not indicating such an accident.

  • 1
    Custom flags are o.k. as long as a moderator sees them in time. With the rude flag community can quickly handle such posts all on their own. This includes deletion which makes this quite effective. All flags but not the spam flag would o.k.. Because we usually get single spam flags on such posts there was a need to explain.
    – Takkat
    Jan 12, 2019 at 17:42
  • I didn't know, that some of them lead to community deletion while others don't. I rarely have to flag postings so I hope I remember the next time, how to flag it. Jan 12, 2019 at 23:27
  • It is the "red flags" mentioned in the Meta post on the spam/rude flags. There also is an entry on the flag privilege help page.
    – Takkat
    Jan 13, 2019 at 7:37

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