Thanks for the suggestions, and we appreciate your help in trying to keep the forums clear of spam, but knowing how things work "behind the scenes" I don't think that this would be a good plan for the forums. There are a few reasons why not.
It would be too open to abuse. Any member with a grudge, or a bot that got stuck on the wrong button, could easily cause a whole lot of damage.
Different people have different ideas of what counts as spam, advertising or legitimate linking. As a team of moderators, we have clear guidelines for what is what, and we can discuss among ourselves when we come across a borderline case. A small but significant minority of reports that we get are misguided, and we wouldn't want these to be able to directly impact on other members.
Any kind of automated system would be much more likely to miss things – eg, when we ban a user, we can go through and delete all other posts they have made (if necessary, which it isn't always), check if people have replied to the posts and quoted the links or advertising and delete that, and so on. The danger is that if we try to rely on automated systems too much that we don't pick up on these details either.
You may have noticed that we've had an increase in spam over the last couple of weeks. We are working hard at finding ways to stop it at source, prevent multiple registrations by bots – obviously I can't tell you how we're going to be doing that (mostly because it's complicated and I don't really understand that technical side of it myself :shifty:), but it is in hand – and improve the auto-moderation systems so that any spam goes into the mod queue for manual approval.
Please do continue to report spam using the red flag – we've got a strong team of moderators here, and we can usually deal with any reported posts, especially those that are obvious spam, very quickly.