Saturday, August 29, 2009

Gary Wolf tells the truth but holds on to many assumptions


EVEN MORE: As promised, I read your follow-up post. I continue to be very disappointed. As I do not find that your follow-up comment adds to the discussion in any way, I'm sorry but I don't see the point in publishing it or continuing any of this -- Good luck & good bye! D.

MORE: my answer


re: "I've committed myself in writing to the story as I understand it."

That would have been perfectly fine, would you have written it as such. That's not at all how your article reads -- at no point is there any hint that this may not be what is actually going on. That's why I thought that pointing out those assumptions would be really helpful.

I'm really disappointed if you don't even realize those are important assumptions at the core of your article -- you are kidding yourself if you truly believe that you were able to "confirm" those things or that those things are "known" or knowable at this point. (e.g. "Newmark was wedded to the idea that craigslist was a community service." 2nd page, middle of 4th paragraph) There are strong reasons to believe they are false and I explained as much as I could in a short post but the truth of the matter is that we don't really know at this point -- we can't! unless you have some way to read Craig's mind and I'm sorry but I don't believe that you do. As I said before, you appear to just believe him! That's fine, I suppose, as long as you acknowledge it.

"The remainder of your post has a lot to say about what the real intentions of craigslist are. But how, in good conscience, can I take this speculation as anything but one person's unsupported opinion?"

I'm not sure what you mean by "the remainder of my post" : I listed eight core assumptions -- that was it! Gary, you presented the intentions of craigslist in your article -- without indicating any doubt! You apparently got those things straight from the horse's mouth...sorry, Craig's mouth. Whether it was directly from him or by believing many others that just believed him is irrelevant. So how can you in good conscience present Craig's story as "the truth"?

Regardless, I do believe you deserve a lot of praise for the things you got right (three major ones!)


P.S. If you ever change your mind about the things we disagree about, I'd love to hear about it! D.

EVEN MORE: Gary's comment

Delia - A lot of reporting goes into a story that is not described in the piece. It would be very boring to into detail about who I talked to and what they said, when the upshot was to confirm a lot of what is already known (or, as you say, "assumed"). I've committed myself in writing to the story as I understand it. I think if you are going to tell me I'm wrong, you ought to say what, exactly, I'm wrong about, and how you know I'm wrong. I'm willing to be corrected, if you have anything to offer. But all I see here is a set of leading questions that imply nefarious goings-on, unsupported by facts or evidence. The exception is your assertion that more that half its profits (I think you meant revenue) come from the adult/erotic ads. I did not talk about this in the story, but I'm going to publish the correct estimate when I have it.

The remainder of your post has a lot to say about what the real intentions of craigslist are. But how, in good conscience, can I take this speculation as anything but one person's unsupported opinion?

Posted by Gary Isaac Wolf to craigslist criticism at August 31, 2009 3:41 PM

STILL MORE: @agaricus Gary, just read your comment for my blog --I'll have an answer for you tomorrow evening; wil publish bot comments at the same time

MORE: Twitter: @agaricus Gary, here's the list I promised ( ~Delia


As I already told you (on Twitter) , I believe you did a marvelous job figuring out the truth about craigslist's "customer service." You also did a very good job on describing the retarded development of the site and the modus operandi -- "low-key dictatorship." Not surprisingly, you got plenty of criticism from "Craig's friends."

Anyways, here is the list of assumptions I promised:

#1. Craig's story of craigslist is true (you appear to just believe it, I see no evidence of any doubt on your side at any point; much of the article, aside from your accurate description of the customer service, underdevelopment of the site and the mode of operation, should really be prefaced by "Craig sez")

#2. Craig's persona is authentic (it is funny and entertaining at times but it's very hard to believe it's real -- again I see no evidence of doubt on your side)

#3 craigslist is on solid legal footing (even though more than half of its current profits come from adult/erotic ads ( -- many of them illegal --, the law requires craigslist to remove ads once they are made aware they are illegal and craigslist has nowhere enough employees to be able to do this)

#4 the craigslist profits are really sitting in the compay's accounts waiting to be used for expansion -- adding more cities -- (although craigslist is quietly and steadily adding more cities to the pay list even though current profits would more then suffice for offering a craigslist site for each and every city in the world)

#6 "the ambiance of neglect is not a way to extract more profit" (although this is the undeniable direct effect)

#7 the intention is not to maximize profits in the long run by keeping expenses as low as possible while expanding as much as possible and quietly and steadily adding cities to the pay list

#8. it would be no problem if craigslist got sold at some point (although craigslist was really built by the community under the constant assurance that it would not be sold)


Sunday, August 23, 2009

(aside) Mediactive; Dan Gillmor's future book


Seth, I see no good reason to give up my anonymity when deriving no benefits from my online presence -- I believe I should be entitled to privacy.

Dan, do you ever just read what people say? I mean the vast majority of them choose anonymity online unless they have a good reason not to (as in, they hope to make money off this and building "a name" is important to them). I'm afraid you end up missing some of the best stuff if you just assume the worst because it's anonymous... (I was hoping you would have moved away from this by now but looks like nothing has changed:)...



Seth, what I meant to say was that you have received baseless personal attacks from some in power. I believe your experience with this is a strong argument *against* volunteering one's identity online. As long as you are not doing anything wrong, it's really nobody's business WHO you are, *personally*... D.



Seth's experience with it is a very good example as to why those who are not making money off this should NOT disclose their full name online, regardless of how much they are pressured to do it.

Anonymous baseless personal attacks are one thing (most people don't give much credence to those) but the same sort of attacks from those currently in power are a very different story.



Seth: you are welcome!


re: 'Seth, [...] Your critiques (to which you *honorably sign your name*)' [my emphasis]

I was hoping you had, by now, given up on the absurd notion that giving someone's full name online is the 'honorable' thing to do -- it contradicts your whole idea of a democratized media: it shouldn't matter *who* is saying it!

And pushing people to give up their privacy is NOT the honorable thing to do as far as I'm concerned. D.



re: "help persuade passive consumers of media to become active users"

The main problem I see with your approach is that most people don't have much time to spend on this nor would it be wise for them to spend the amount of time it would take to become sophisticated users on a volunteer basis (Seth can expand on this in great detail and I believe he is right).

I would not call the demand "crappy". That's like a business calling the customers lousy because they are not interested in spending a great deal of their own time making the product work. I fault the business, not the customers -- they are just acting rationally.

I wish we could fast forward to the end of this period in journalism and see clearly just how odd it all is -- how many of the fundamental assumptions are just outlandish! To some extent, I'd like to be awakened what it's all over: when the importance of striving for objectivity is rediscovered and those who profit from news actually deliver balanced news that you can use.


Dan, (awaiting moderation -- my 1st post on this blog)

Seth brought it to my attention a while back that you moved your blogging here. I don't know that I have anything new to say on a regular basis -- I feel that I've pretty much said it all on your old blog.

For instance, it should be no secret that I believe you are wrong to encourage *for profits* (as opposed to non-profits) to step in and set up a marketplace in situations where the real value would be built by the community (re:your blog entry,'Needed: real-time media auction system').

Anyways, good luck with your book! I don't know what you have in mind exactly, seems like a moving target (if you are very specific it would probably be obsolete by the time you publish it) but certain strategies should be useful even if the media landscape changes drastically in relatively short time.

It seems to me that most people could use good advice on how to do an adequate job at keeping up with relevant media without spending an inordinate amount of time on it.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

New York Times reference to SC AG v. craigslist

MORE: Twitter:

New York Times reference to SC AG v. craigslist: just sloppy or intentionally misleading? link; craigslist expands 25% but 'it is conceivable' that Craig has no idea! --right, Susan!he's busy twittering to Squirrel and such
just sloppy or intentionally misleading?


Your story about the SC AG is not up to date -- I find that linking to it (in the first line of this article) without mentioning the current developments misleads the readers.