#2) Learning From Idiots, Part 2: Craigslist and New Year’s Eve

Like many people, I have had a love-hate relationship with Craigslist over the last few years.  I am almost embarrassed to say it, but I have used the site for many purposes, including but not limited to: finding music students, finding band members, finding living situations, getting attention for my blogs (such as http://www.nobodyhikesinla.com), selling things and, during my last stint as a single man, ill-fated attempts at dating.

Users of Craigslist – and I am sure there are more of you reading this than would like to admit it – are familiar with the site’s policy on “flagging” posts.  If a user finds a certain post offensive, they can flag it, and if enough people do so the site will take down the post.  I have had a few of mine taken down over the years, for one reason or another.

Now, I’m not going where you may think with this.  I understand why Craigslist has the policy: They want to prevent internet scams, offensive posts and the like.  I also understand that as a small company, CL does not have the resources to look deeply into each case of flagging and see which are justified and which aren’t.  And lastly, I know that any site that provides a free service will attract individuals who abuse it–for themselves, or others.

What I do find interesting is not that a certain individual found two of my posts promoting http://www.nobodyhikesinla.com to be upsetting enough to flag, but the timing of said flagging: shortly after midnight on Saturday, January 1st, 2011.  Both of the posts had been originally placed on the 30th, so the flagger had to dig pretty deep to find them.

I’m not here to editorialize about what kind of person spends New Years’ Eve going through Craigslist and flagging posts (although the title of this post might be considered to be editorializing).  However, as near as I can calculate it, at the time the flagger was saving Craigslist from http://www.nobodyhikesinla.com, I was having really good sex with my girlfriend (leather boots were involved).  Somehow, that sort of thing makes flagging other peoples’ posts less exciting.

Then again, I should add that I’m a little bit envious of my flagger.  I wish that my biggest problem was what people posted on Craigslist.  I also should give him props – after all, he (or she) inspired me to write a 400-word-plus blog post about it.  And since you just read the post, you too, faithful readers, have been influenced by this nameless soul somewhere in cyberspace.

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