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I recently encountered a question that was just a request to be endorsed in arxiv. I flagged as spam on the basis that it's not a real question, just "pure" self-promotion. Was that the correct action on my part?

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Validated spam flags cause the user's account to be fed to automated systems that limit/prevent future posting.

In the case of the post you describe, I deleted the post to reduce the potential benefit of this behavior (it was already closed by 5 votes), but I didn't validate the spam flag.

While I do think the post and others like it are accurately described as "spam", I didn't feel like it was necessary to apply the additional spammer penalties to this user. Unlike traditional spam accounts that exist only to spam, this appears to be a person involved in academia who is within the target audience of this site; it's possible they'll choose to contribute in other useful ways after learning this sort of post isn't allowed here.

I'd probably recommend a custom flag in these cases (same for people promoting their papers) noting the self-promotion, rather than a spam flag, but if a post seems especially blatant a spam flag is okay, too: one validated spam post won't permanently punish a user, and unless a post gets hit by the community's anti-spam service (Charcoal) it's very likely a moderator will be manually handling the post anyways.

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  • I assume you can't confirm whether this happened or not, but it does seem like a moderator warning is merited here (even if the "hard" spam penalty is not applied). Aug 21, 2023 at 18:06
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    @EJoshuaS-StandwithUkraine I thought the comments on the post by users were sufficient to explain what was going on.
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Aug 21, 2023 at 19:09

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