# Did decreasing the amount of rep required for meta cause spam?

On any other site, the Help Center says this:

Because we allow anonymous participation, we require a small bit of parent site reputation to prevent spam, and ensure that meta is for active, engaged members of the community.

On PPCG, anyone can post on meta, so this part was removed from the Help Center.

Did meta get any spam after this change was made? If so, how much?

• We may have gotten a few more users that mistook meta for the sandbox or the main site, but no actual spam. – Dennis Jun 12 '17 at 21:32

Not being a diamond moderator (but having all other privileges), I only have access to the statistics from the past 30 days.

In that time span, though, I can certify that there certainly isn't an excessive amount of spam. I didn't check Sandbox posts (on the basis that they're commonly deleted and we probably want new users to be able to post in the Sandbox); in terms of other Meta posts, there's exactly one post that was deleted in the prior 30 days, from a user who had 101 or less reputation at the time it was posted, that could even plausibly be described as "spam": this one. (For users who can't see deleted posts: it's a direct duplicate of this question, which was closed as such and downvoted to -1; Community deleted it on the basis that it was negatively voted, inactive for 30 days, and had no answers.)

It's worth noting that this is a very small number of unwanted posts, and easily handled. Even then, it only qualifies as "spam" in the sense that it's a post that adds nothing to the conversation on Meta and shouldn't have existed. It's not "spam" in the "red flag" sense of "Exists only to promote a product or service and does not disclose the author's affiliation". (We do get spam in the red flag sense on PPCG very occasionally, but it's nearly always posted to main rather than Meta, and it's typically handled very quickly.)

As such, I'd say that reducing the Meta participation limit hasn't caused any noticeable issues, and the benefit (allowing new users to post in the Sandbox) is fairly notable.

## Yes, all of it

Stack Exchange Data Explorer lists all spam or offensive flags ("red" flags) in its Votes table. When messing around with this query listing all votes on the site, I noticed that Meta has actually had 5 spam flags and one offensive flag cast. So, I did a little digging to find when:

Flag Type Date Post Id/Link (10k+ only) Time from creation to deletion
Spam Flag 2018-01-31 14707 1 hour 15 minutes
Spam Flag 2017-11-15 14222 15 minutes
Spam Flag 2017-02-05 11437 16 minutes
Spam Flag 2017-02-05 11438 12 minutes
Spam Flag 2016-11-11 10562 3 minutes
Offensive Flag 2016-10-03 10234 3 hrs 5 minutes

Don't ask me how I got the links. It involved a lot of digging, plus some healthy anger at SQL

It turns out that all spam on Meta happened after we decreased the reputation levels (which happened on 2015-10-03). However, this is still 4 spam posts, across 15 months, so, in practical terms, this is nothing compared to the spam on main (approximately $$\0.68\%\$$), and, as you can tell from the last row, we're generally pretty good at handling these quickly