A client asked this question: As you know I recently had a problem with hundreds of junk comments, all fixed by the way, but in deleting them I had the option between “trash” and “spam” and wondered about the difference? Does something different happen when I use one or the other and should I care?
Yes, there is a big difference and making the right choose will help us all exterminate the nuisance of spam.
In short, choose Spam. I will explain why.
Anti-spam software needs to know the enemy
When you choose Trash, which deletes spam comments from your WordPress site, you let that message disappear without being successful but also without any consequences for it.
When you choose Spam, you ‘teach’ your anti-spam plugin or service that this message is spam.
By doing this you help Akismet or Antispam Bee or whatever spam tool you are using to recognise this sender and message style across the whole internet, not just on your site.
Therefore, every time you correctly choose Spam, you are, in effect, vaccinating the internet against that strain of spam.
And the more people who help spam catchers identify spam, the more we can taunt them with the cry of Dr Who’s perrenial foes, the Daleks; exterminate, exterminate.