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. When posting my services Craigslist 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.