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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

CraigsList & Malicious Flaggers

If you've used CL for any lenght of time, you know all about the Flaggers. People who make it their business to uphold the TOU regardless of the actual post made.

Generally, they focus all their time on Animal related ads. Whether that be hidden in the 'General' community or the 'Pets' community section. Now, the TOU states "No Selling of LIVE Animals." That is not my issue here, that is the easy part. If you violate the TOU, you should be flagged off the board.

But that is not always the case here. There is a group, abeit small, of malicious flaggers that flag anything they, personally, disagree with. Whether that be the way the ad reads (spayed or neutered vs. not altered), omission of any fee, or the 'adoption/rehoming fee' that is being sought. They flag with little regard for the animal its self.

They have a forum, http://forums.washingtondc.craigslist.org/?forumID=2626 they use to communicate and get ads from all over CL flagged off. They even use it to make personal commentary and belittling remarks about individuals. They have also been known to post personal and business information and even gone as far as to offer it to those other flaggers who wish to make a nuisance of themselves.

To further compound this issue, CraigsList employees are Banning IP addresses and 'handles', and deleting posts from one forum, essentially moving them to the "Isle of Misfit Threads" http://forums.washingtondc.craigslist.org/?forumID=1047&batch=1 of anyone who steps up and opposes the Flaggers.

In excerts from CLs CEO, Jim Buckmaster; he states (in relation to the "Fair" Housing lawsuit) that the "community-moderated commons run by and for its users, who self-publish and manage their own ads and use a flagging system to police the site."

It's this 'self policing' that have allowed the Flaggers free rein to abuse the system and get posts NOT violating the TOU removed. If indeed this "Community-moderated commons" is self policed, why is it that employees of CL are banning IP addresses, handles, and deleting posts of those individuals who oppose the majority of the Flaggers and what they stand for?

Are they infact not, "eroding important free speech" (again taken from the "Fair" housing lawsuit - stated by CEO, Jim Buckmaster). Do those who stand in opposition not have the right to voice that opposition to the actions of a select few?

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just an FYI, Craig condones the flaggers behavior and tactics, as confirmed via an email to me, and I feel the entire site should be boycotted and shut down.

Anonymous said...

Count me in. It is very obvious that CL allows this. In these "private" flagger forums it is clearly stated "no flagging". Yet, if anyone registers and posts there opposing the flaggers (i.e. pointing out that some ad does NOT violate TOU) within an hour that person is banned. I will no longer post anything on CL nor will I shop there. My money and time are to valuable for that. CL allows this blatant disregard for rules which is completely unacceptable. I have sent out over 300 e-mails to people sending the links to Petfind, Backpage and PetsO. I would love to see everyone begin posting over there. Personally I would love to see the flaggers sit there all day with nothing to do. It does seem the flaggers don't even use CL, just hang on the flagger forums day in and day out. Pretty pathetic.

Knuckle Head said...

Once upon a time I successfully brought much distress to the dreaded pet flagging forum...
how i did this is:
1) distrupt them in the actual forum - this could get you banned rather quickly if it is a slow day and slower if it's a weekend or late at night.

2) post fake ads for flagging so they waste some of those "precious" flags they "save". (why they don't flag anything but pet ads)

3) distrupt them by posting "anti-flagging" material - i never got banned for this.

4) bring attention to them by posting a link in the pet communities - i never got banned for this, just told by Craig to "knock it off".

5) bring attention to them by constantly emailing links to staff & craig every time i saw personal info, free animals & harassment by the flaggers. Staff doesn't really care, Craig seems to have taken the role here (not sure why).
I think he finds it amusing. i also think that some flaggers MUST be sending him nude pics! lol.

6) bring attention to them by posting obvious violations in the feedback forum (#8) sometimes this works to make them mad and distrupt them but other times it backfires.. be careful.

now the following "tips" take a lot of work, so i don't do this anymore and i am also no longer trying to get in trouble with staff or Craig
BUT... here ya go:
7) Go to their forum and look at every ad. Mass mail every one that is "up to be flagged" letting them know where they can go ask "why their ad was flagged".
8) REPOST THE ADS in your own account or multiple accounts. i would only repost the ads that had the actual contact info in the ad because if the original ad gets flagged off I don't know that the anon email for that ad still works.
This was the most successful way to piss them off because if multiple people do it then 1)no one gets banned 2) some ads get put up x3 or x4 times 3) the original poster appreciates it and you get lots of nice emails!! lol.

ENJOY!

Anonymous said...

CL is a private site, so freedom of speech won't apply, all you are doing is giving CL exposure and ppl will go just to see. Jim could care less about this issue, in fact even the bad publicity is doing him good

Anonymous said...

I agree that this site should be boycotted as well. I think someone could set up a portland pet website that doesn't allow these flaggers to "own". I am much agianst some of the things I see on CL pet section, yet I do not find that I need to remove these ads, simply posting an informational ad about the issue is enough... The number one way to help people is to inform them, not make decisions for them. I would love to see another site started and be successful!! Anyways, just my 2 Cents worth.

LL72 - flagged friend said...

Unfortunately, I think that we need to get rid of the flagging or change it a great deal, not get rid of Craigslist all around. It’s the flaggers who are causing the problems. If you have been on CL for any length of time, you would remember a time when there weren’t these people who were control freaks.

When and why did this happen? Where did these people come from and what changed for them to make them so fanatical about policing the site that they continue to flag anything "they" disagree with and not necessarily things that go against CL's TOU. Another thing I think is strange is their perception of what the TOU means. Why it is hundreds of people read it one way and then a handful of a few others think it means another? There needs to be someone policing the so-called CL police. Right now, what the non-fanatic flaggers are doing is good. We try to go in and cause a bit of an uproar to the flaggers forum. This is okay until they get tired of you bugging them and they ban you. However, if we approach this in a non-fanatic way, we may get more of their attention.

How about the problem with the animals and adoption fees, this is a ridiculous argument. What is considered an appropriate adoption fee? Who makes that call and why should it be different per county, city, or jurisdiction? I believe there should be a base line on a per-breed adoption fee. This would really cut down on many of the problems. We all know which animal breeds are over populated and which ones are considered more of a high risk or a less bred animal. If there were more of us who make these rules, then I believe there will be less of them. Why cant we vigilante them?
They do it and get away with it.

This post may be a non-political read, but it is just that - non-political and I believe it should be right out there, up front and not some sugar coated mumbo jumbo.

LL72 - flagged friend said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anna Dove said...

Our club - the New York Companion Bird Club, aka Manhattan Bird Club, has been the subject of ongoing harassment on CL New York Pets forum, and many of our ads posting our events and stating our "no breeding and no wing clipping" philosophy have been unjustly flagged, while our club and its Founder simultaneously have been the target of slanderous and hateful postings in the Pets NY Forum. Most of the posts and flagging, we suspect have been initiated by the Directors, members and supporters of competitive bird clubs and groups who propagate breeding and wing mutilation for self serving purposes and wish to get rid of competition. The unfair flagging and postings increased dramatically very shortly after "club X" started posting on CL NY Pets and has not been significant prior to that.

While CL provides a much needed and wanted service on the internet, posts in certain controversial forums should be monitored for spiteful flagging
and CL should be willing to take responsibility for slanderous and malicious postings directed at innocent parties.

Anonymous said...

hi there,
i agree with a lot of what you are saying, and many of the comments. fwiw, i found your blog through the 2626 forum, because someone posted it for flagging!

ridiculous. i think it's INSANE that people flag purely to censor.

however, i flag. i flag ads that are clearly for sale. i have personally had a HORRIBLE experience with a puppy purchased from someone who has advertised on CL (and these people continue to do so. they continue to sell sick imported puppies. they continue to profit on the misery of these animals.)

i agree that there needs to be a consensus as to what is a reasonable adoption fee, whether that varies from animal to breed to location, there needs to be SOME kind of guideline.

also, all animals up for adoption on CL must be spayed or neutered (look it up--it's in the TOU), and "animal parts" are also prohibited. many flaggers consider semen, which is ultimately what is for sale in "stud" ads, to fall under that category.

cheers!

Anonymous said...

there is another site that is specifically geared for pets and closely resembles CL however WITHOUT flaggers. it is free to use and is located at www.petsO.org(make sure you capitalize the O) check it out if you'd like. i have tried numerous time to post this info on CL and it is flagged very quickly. As far as CL goes, as long as craig condones, encourages, and stands behind the flaggers, which he made clear to me he does via an email, it has become useless in so far as the pet section goes. though keep in mind there is a lot of flagging of other catagories going on, i even saw the auto section being flagged the other day. unreal. have a great day everyone, and may it be "flagger free".

Anonymous said...

Ya know, the joke is really on those poor ignorant sheep of Craig's, think about it, Craig is sitting there getting rich, while these poor saps are sitting there doing all his dirty work FOR FREE. He doesn't have to pay these poor fools a salary, that in and of itself makes him money, it's brilliant if you stop and think about. Very sad, but brilliant. This is why is will never get rid of the flaggers. He gets to sit back and rake it in all the while laughing his head off at these poor foolish flagers. Says alot about what kind of a person Craig really is to me. Just something to think about.

Anonymous said...

What really makes me sick is that these flaggers try to make everyone think that they really care about animals....they don't. If they did they wouldn't flag all the ads that they do, they wouldn't flag a rehoming ad simply because they feel the cost is too high, they don't know why or what expenses were incurred in SAVING this animals life and they don't care.

One thing that I do is to forward every comment on their 2626 forum to Craig, especially when one of them is stupid enough to make a comment about him. Today I noticed that one of them is missing, could it be the comment they made about Craig yesterday????

It doesn't do any good to get involved in their petty little conversations that they are having on their kiss ass board, but it does do good to forward all ads flagged inappropriately to Craig. Eventually he will get sick of the bull and do something about it.

Anonymous said...

just an idea. Why not everyone here go and register on the flagger forum. Then once a day flag one particular person. Maybe eventually that person would be banned.

Anonymous said...

GOOD IDEA WILL DO, BUT I CANT JUST FLAG ONE LOL HAVE TO FLAG ALL...:)

Anonymous said...

If anyone sees this, please take a look at forum 4915. Someone with a handle tjk9 flagges all kinds of ads in Denver that don't violate the TOU and really pisses me off. Please flag their posts as prohibited conduct. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

The anti-flaggers have taken over the flagging forum. The flaggers have been complaining to CL, flagging our posts, sending e-mails to Abuse@craigslist and still the flaggers have no more forum. Think CL got tired of it?

Come join us. The more the merrier and for every anti-flagging post, there is less room for the flaggers.
http://forums.portland.craigslist.org/?forumID=2626

http://forums.denver.craigslist.org/?forumID=7778&all=Y

Anonymous said...

Update....

Please be very careful if you decide to visit Forum 2626. Two people are flagging off all posts that they do not like. Woodysnickle and Knucklehead, it could be sobbing knuckles, or mad knuckles or niave knuckles, or whatever, flag and send your posts to be banned as soon as you post.

Woodysnickle is a nut and should be avoided at all costs. Knuckles is a sad little girl that thinks the world is out to get her. Please be careful when visiting this forum.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Life and the road less Traveled said...

The above post ^^^ was removed due to duplication.

Anonymous said...

(1) The TOU says no selling of animals or animal parts, it doesn't specify 'live'

(2) Craig & Jim can run their site however they like, just like you can remove comments from this blog that you don't like.

(3) Both sides have blown this issue way out of proportion: animals are NOT dying because someone's ad got pulled, and the pet overpopulation problem is NOT caused exclusively by people posting ads on craigslist. Get over itl

Life and the road less Traveled said...

^^^You couldn't be more right about Animals NOT dying bc someone's ad was flagged off CL.

Why not take a moment and read the entire blog before you 'preach to me' about the TOU!

I am a fence sitter, plain and simple! I'll flag blatant ads that violate the TOU, I'll flag Flaggers who are abusive and I'll flag Anti-flaggers who are also abusive.

This issue here was never about the animal(s). They'll survive, get along, or what ever they do just the same as before CL came about.

Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

Hey, not trying to preach, just correcting a typo (I assume it was an oversight) on your part and emphasize how ridiculous BOTH sides are being.

I'm all for fence-sitting, BTW! Too many extremists around these days.