I was clearing the "low quality posts" queue, and I marked an answer as "Looks OK". The system then told me that this was just an audit and I failed the test. I believe I was right to accept it, and so I'm asking for guidance here.

The question was Calculus book suggestion, and the answer (now deleted), was:

enter image description here

The question explicitly asks for a good calculus book for beginners. The answer provides a good calculus book for beginners, and even gives a link to the book. As far as I'm concerned this is not

  • spam,
  • offensive,
  • off-topic,
  • abusive.

Then why is it marked as such?

  • 7
    $\begingroup$ In my opinion, the post reads off as a generic spam message that a bot could write. Indeed, if you check the link in the post, you'll find the majority of the post is just a copy-and-paste of the book's description, and the post does not at all elaborate about the merits of the text. At best it's dubious in my eyes. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 10:01
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Anecdotally, a fair number of threads on book recommendations in the low-quality queue were popping up a month or so ago, for similar reasons like your own thread here, IIRC. (That being "This seems legitimate, why did I fail the audit?") I'm not sure of the nature of all of these spam posts regarding textbook recommendations. Spambots? Disingenuous authors looking for a quick buck? I wouldn't know, this is beyond my ken. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 10:01
  • 2
  • $\begingroup$ According to a local definition (that is, local to SE) blatantly commercial = spam. Opinions may vary whether this is blatant, but the idea is not to allow advertisements as answers. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 13, 2019 at 9:01

2 Answers 2


I'd say the culprit is that last sentence:

This much anticipated second edition of the most successful calculus text published in the last two decades retains the best of the first edition while introducing important advances and refinements.

That just reeks of advertisement. It says absolutely nothing of content about the book itself, and sounds like it was quoted from a dust jacket.


Because sometimes there is a bigger pattern that regular users don't see where certain websites, books, or otherwise commercial venues post their links here.

What might seem to you as a single post with a valid link can easily be considered spam when zooming out. Unfortunately, regular users don't have these tools to zoom out (except long-term users with memory of elephant).

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I feel like that would beg the argument that such posts should not be put into the review queues for auditing purposes, then. Not sure who/what controls that sort of thing though, so it might be asking too much. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 10:05
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, that's a good idea that I don't know if can even easily implemented. $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 10:08
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ @EeveeTrainer I believe, simply from basic observation, that it's automatic and the logic is pretty basic. The system picks some posts and bases the expected reply on the one given. Also an issue in the other direction, with highly scored posts that are still arguably off-topic. $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 11:36

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