Is there a well-defined guideline for Spam?
There seems to be some disagreement in some of the discussions about what is and is not spam. I've read the guidelines and all it says is
"Leaving a trail of irrelevant entries in forums or on people’s streams may get your account deleted. This includes not only creating posts without substance, but also any other type of spamming."
Many of the posts being called spam do not seem to fit this.
In short, no.
Spam can be a hard one to pin down. Moderators communicate with staff from time to time to get guidance on staff's interpretation of what counts as spam on Duolingo.
For instance, because posts about lingots became so numerous, ~staff gave moderators permission to leave or remove lingot posts at will. This made lingot posts simultaneously count as both spam and not spam.~ Update: all posts with the main purpose of giving, receiving, or exchanging lingots now count as spam.
Generally, posts related to language and Duolingo are considered "on topic", so long as they do not violate the guidelines.
However, if a person is creating numerous posts in one day, that can be considered as "spamming the forum". The exact number of posts until a person is considered to be "spamming the forum" is not exact. But, generally, two posts a day is a safe limit.
Have you created more than one XP contest post this month? If so, all of your posts beyond the first are spam.
Do you have a club that is making a new post every day? You'll probably get a moderator advising you to observe the limit of one club post per weekinstead. (This is based on a comment staff gave to a Duolingo book club a couple of years back.)
If a person creates more than one copy of the same post, or creates a new post with the sole purpose of advertising a previous post, these are most often considered spam. (Some exceptions apply to moderators who are making PSA's and posts to help with onboarding. Though, generally it is best for everyone to avoid doing so.)
Posts created for the purpose of casual conversation (aka chats) are considered spam.
Posts that are intended for "only members of x group" are spam.
Gibberish? Yup, it's spam.
Using Duolingo to advertise products is considered spam. However, this one has some nuance. Community members are allowed to suggest learning resources, so long as those resources follow the Community Guidelines and the Terms of Service.
If you're worried about whether or not your post is spam, ask yourself, "Is my discussion related to language or the Duolingo community?" Next, take a look around, have a lot of people made the same kind of post recently? (for example, have 3 people already created an XP contest today? It might not officially be spam, but the community might down vote it. Or, has the website acted up? If every post or every few posts is reporting that same thing, mods can remove the excess posts and redirect traffic to a single post about the issue.
Spam is a surprisingly nuanced matter on Duolingo. It'll help if you're considerate of limited space on the "front page", stay on topic, and stay within the guidelines.
This post could go on for miles. Basically, moderators strongly prefer for non-mod community members not to go about telling each other that their posts are spam. More often than not, those folks are wrong. Seasoned moderators have spent time in meetings learning the finer points of "what is/is not spam" and have had one on one email conversations with staff. Newer moderators are encouraged to seek out mentor ships with more seasoned mods.
I hope this helps!
Spectacular response. I'm "following" this post so I can share with others in the future. Thank you, Usagiboy7!
YOU KNOW when you are spamming.
If you are unsure of the definition how do you know some posts do not fit the definition?
That may be true but I'm by no means sure that people necessarily know that what they are posting here will be a. regarded as irrelevant or vexatious by the general population here or b. treated as spam by any given moderator on any given day (and whether this varies in accordance with who posted it). And whilst a and b may overlap, they are not the same thing.