For some reason, it never fails to surprise me - the fact that Craigslist is just a huge jumble of seemingly random posts placed in seemingly random locations throughout a huge array of often-vague categories. No matter which section you wander into, there’s inevitably something that just doesn’t belong. Some are better kept than others, but those aren’t the fun ones, now are they? The more vague the category, the better the random element and, as a consequence, the more fun one can have looking at the “WTF?” posts that end up in the cracks and crevices of this site.
This week around, I decided to take a trip into the “Community” section. More specifically, I went into the “Local News” area. One might think this to be some sort of helpful resource that people who live in a particular area could use to find out what’s going on in their area, communicate important information about what might be of interest to people in their community or get help from their neighbors. But, like all of Craigslist, the posters are left to interpret “Local News” however they wish and post pretty much whatever they please in this area as well as most others.
For my study, I decided to look at Seattle’s “Local News”. While I found some helpful stuff, the majority of the posts were far from being news and more along the lines of bitching and complaining, advertisements and links to scams, politics and religion. Among the things I found were:
Guitar lessons, business adverts, people wanting to buy old appliances, complaints about companies that had nothing to do with Seattle, MLM scam postings, cell phone providers, bands trying to find gigs and even people raging about their classes at school.
On the other side of the coin, I did find some community-related postings that seemed to fit the intent of the category a little closer, including:
Church gatherings, garage sales, announcements about new businesses in Seattle, people praising local educational workers for doing a great job, people trying to find homes for kittens and puppies or discover where their lost ones were, adverts for events taking place in Seattle and those who were looking for like-minded individuals to help support political changes that are important to their city.
Of course, I found plenty of stuff like this as well:
susie anna. The I's have it!
WTF? A private joke, perhaps?
Then there were people who just wanted to rave about something in particular:
Where are all the medium to extra large companies in WA State? (WA State)
Where are all the DECENT PAYING, DECENT HOURS and MEANINGFUL employment with FREE health care benefits? (Commerce?)
Maybe this could be considered an appeal to the community in the form of a cry for help? It certainly doesn’t seem like news of any sort, that’s for sure.
And yet another confusing one:
P-H-E-D-E-H-C-H-E-Y. Pronounce it right.
Then this guy seemed to pop up repeatedly, always along the same vein as the following two posts:
Cantaloupe, (Federal Way)
Still taste really good! The burger was almost perfect, it tasted great! However, the burger bun was a little shiny in one spot.
Mmmmmm (Federal Way)
Once again, the cantaloupe taste real good.
I think maybe this is some sort of restaurant review? Can’t say for certain, but I’m guessing that “Cantaloupe” is the name of an eating establishment.
Then there was this, which started out like a political rave but degenerated to pure gibbering insanity.
Do the math: (24.53) multiply by $1.00 (seattle)
that equals.........property valuation and property taxes.........2011 valuation and 2012 valuation................going from a very rich economy to a very, very, very poor economy........... aspirin, pure vanilla extract, vitamins.........
By this time, I had become convinced that the “Local News” section was a secret hiding place for crazies. Or maybe there is some sort of conspiracy going on and the plethora of meaningless posts are actually a code that members of some alien organization are using to communicate their takeover plans for the world.
Then I saw this:
Buff! (South King County)
No, people are just insane. This guy had several of these, btw. All random and all in the same pattern. Hmm… maybe the secret code theory does have some merit after all?
Imagine my delight when at last I came to the next one:
News and Views
Is just what this category label reads.
It is not for Garage sales there is a separate category for that.
It is not a religious group for prayer or bible study, again there is a group for that also.
It is also not for spam, free advertising, or other junk postings.
If you people don't want this site to be one of those, start flagging these posts and keep this site free of that crap.
Finally, someone who had the nerve to say what everyone else is thinking. Good job to you, good sir.
In the end, I just had to accept that it was an inevitable fact of Craigslist that it should be filled with random chaos and that unrelated content would be forever strewn throughout its many categories. People will post whatever they want, wherever they want and there’s no way to stop them.
Oh well, what are you going to do? At least it makes for an entertaining read on a boring Monday afternoon.