Craigslist Community

The Craigslist Community – A Bunch of Crazies!

The Craigslist so called community behaves more like a pack of rabid animals than a community. With communities like this, who needs enemies? Let me clarify something, when I say the ‘community’, I’m not referring to the average person who posts a product or service and does nothing more than that. When I say ‘Craigslist community’, I’m referring to the crazy people that behave as if they were Craig Newmark, or as if they owned Craigslist. The brown nosing loonies that go overboard in their attachment to a person, place or thing. Unfortunately there are crazy fans of everything in this world, but they are treated as crazies. Craigslist on the other hand gives these crazies more power than they should have. By allowing the community to flag anything that they find objectionable, people get a rush of power and abuse this privilege. They begin to think they are a part of something special and they get an unnatural attachment to it. To make matters worse, instead of Craigslist having some sort of review or control over this, they don’t. Posts that are flagged, and get deleted without any staff revue.

This leads to a bunch of crazies running around flagging posts that have absolutely nothing wrong or objectionable about them. The Craigslist staff argues in their Q&A section that the flagging system is a necessary feature because they don’t have the manpower to check each and every post for abuse. Sorry, but that just doesn’t wash as far as I’m concerned. They certainly seem to have enough time on their hands to single out certain posts to be prevented from appearing when they want to, but they don’t for other things. Read the section about ‘Ghosting’ to find out more. The community doesn’t seem to have any problems with prostitutes and scammers posting on Craigslist, but if you make a post like “Cheapest prices in town!” you’ll get flagged because someone thinks that is not the right thing to say.

I give you that last comment from real life experience. I used to post a service on Craigslist and I used to post in my ads that I guaranteed the lowest prices. I actually had my posts flagged and had angry members of the community insult me because I was supposedly making the rest of the advertisers in my field look like cheats for charging too much. Whatever happened to freedom of speech? It doesn’t seem to exist on Craigslist. I complained to the Craigslist staff about my posts being flagged inappropriately and got only cryptic responses. In other words they just didn’t give a rats behind.

I’m sure you have already guessed about the next huge problem with flagging abuse and no oversight. Aside from the loonies, there are the smart folks out there that want to corner the market in what they are advertising for. In other words, lets say you are a tree trimmer on Tucson Arizona. Maybe there aren’t many trees around in the dessert so you want to make certain you get as much of the Craigslist business as possible. What do you do? You simply start flagging down all your competitors. It’s as easy as that. If you want to corner your market, you start flagging every body else and your posts will be the only ones that appear. There are hundreds of complaints about this in the support forums, but no one want to hear about it. They all get red numbers next to their posts basically telling them to stop complaining. I know that Craigslist claims it’s not that easy to flag posts. Don’t you believe it. I have seen posts disappear in under 5 minutes. If it was hard it wouldn’t happen that quickly.

5 Responses to Craigslist Community

  1. I recently encountered this problem too, and the absolutely horrible attitude I got when I posted to the forums asking for clarification. I got one or two replies that made somewhat helpful suggestions, the rest were basically insulting me for how I laid out the post and my price.

    Apparently, if the “community” doesn’t like your price for an item, that is reasonable grounds for flagging it down. So much for a free market right? They also actually argued that because my ad didn’t look similar to most other posts, that it doesn’t meet “community norms”. Which is so arbitrary that they can use it to justify any flagging they want.

    I agree with the first poster, people who flag posts should be tracked and if they submit a number of flags that are not in clear violation of the TOS they should be blocked from flagging. They should remove any vague language from their TOS and make it clear that not liking someones post or their price isn’t grounds for flagging.

  2. i have emailed craigslist today and made a few suggestions to implement which will pretty much dead stop flag abuse.

    1) Require a user account and user be logged in to flag

    2) only allow so many flags from an account per a time period

    3) do not allow multiple accounts be logged in from the same ip simultaneously or within a certain time period of each other

    4) maintain a list of proxies and ip’s used by the automated flagging software and actively block them for flagging purposes

    5) not sure if feasible but i’m sure these flagging software has a specific signature which could also be used to disallow this software.

    6) require captcha challenge each time you log into your account

    i would like to get in contact with someone who would be interested in making a successor to CL. a more friendlier classifieds site.

    i have idea’s and know how to build the hardware, but i know nothing of coding nor have the financial backing to get colo space for a server or a T-3 of my own.

    i can be contacted at “kc8gpd” “at” “hotmail” “dot” “com”

    if they wont listen we build a better moustrap and put them out of business!!!!!

    • You seem to have put a lot of thought into this system you created. Good for you! That’s what we need, more people with good ideas. Unfortunately I am certain your good ideas will fall on deaf ears. The reason Craigslist is in the state it’s in is because they refuse to listen to feedback. They think they are the only ones who know what is going on and how best to deal with it. That, in short, is a recipe for disaster, as we can see. I can also tell you that many other sites have tried to compete with Craigslist and have not gotten traction. If you find someone to help you and you get it going, I will be most happy for you. The internet is a tough place to make money since everyone wants everything really easy, and really free.

  3. plakakahn says:

    like hundreds and hundreds of others that show up in forum 3 everyday you have all sorts of opinions about how “good” your posts are—and quite ignore the fact that it takes a LOT of people disagreeing with you to remove your ad. Hmmm…think there might be something wrong with your ad after all.

    But who cares? If craigslist sicks so much, just go elsewhere. What’s the attraction?


  4. […] free and fair. For example; EBay does little more than protect the feedback system, Craigslist uses community flagging, Linkedin keeps track of comments and contacts, etc. All markets must have a vetting mechanism in […]

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