I flagged this question as spam. The content of the question was:

I'm looking for designers who can "do" something with the material I created. Fonts, a poster, what you want! So if you're inspired to work with it, please contact/show me by sending a mail to [email]. (I can also send the pics by mailing). Help this student out by showing what people can do with this material!!

and three images below it. So, I flagged it as spam, since it is clearly a job offer. There is a related post on Stack Overflow Meta: Are job offers spam? where the answer, in my opinion, applies to the whole Stack Exchange network:

The purpose of Stack Overflow is to get answers to programming questions, not to solicit developers for work.


The purpose of X Stack Exchange is to get answers to Y questions, not to solicit developers for work.

I also had one before in another related job offer which was disputed. However, this was declined. Why? Should moderators spam-nuke the posts instead of declining the flags and deleting them? Why isn't job offers spam here?

1 Answer 1


In general

Spam on Stack Exchange is defined and characterised by lacking disclosure or being either unsolicited/off-topic. The former point does not apply here. I would not consider the latter criterion to be fulfilled in the following, strongly overlapping cases:

  • The asker does not intend to (ab)use the site other than for getting answers to their questions (which is the point of this site).

  • A question (honestly) seeks for people to post answers on our site.

  • A question’s author could realistically have arrived at the conclusion that such posts are welcome here. Cf. Hanlon’s Razor: Do not assume malice for what can be explained by ignorance.

  • A request for free work, which expects answers to provide a file with requested content. We get these from time to time on our site and close them (we even had a canned close reason for these before we decided that others were more relevant). They are our equivalent of homework questions. There is somewhat of a grey zone between these and regular questions if the asker is not really clear about what they actually want.

Another point to consider is that unlike your typical spammer can potentially become regular members of the community and are unlikely to become repeat offenders if they are aware of the rules. Hitting them with a spam hammer would seriously counteract this. By contrast, most spammers would have no scruples to create another account and try again (though they may not bother).

That specific flag

I handled that flag. I consider all of the above points to apply here. It is a request for free work, albeit a somewhat weird one. We can expect that the asker would have been happy with some creations based on their images posted as answers.

There is an overly strong focus on contact via e-mail, but you will sometimes find this in questions that are completely fine otherwise. Given the rest of the rest of the post, I blame lack of experience with the Internet on this rather than malice (Hanlon’s Razor again).

Hence I closed the question for being a request for free work. Since the question was unsalvageable and the poster may not have been aware that posting their e-mail address is usually not a good idea, I also deleted it immediately (instead of waiting for the roomba bot to take care of it).

For whatever it’s worth, this is no job offer. No money is offered for the requested work.

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