Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Gary Wolf's follow-up comments -- in full glory!

MORE: agaricus@ Gary, I'm giving you the benefit of a doubt -- don't make me regret it! ~Delia ( will check tomorrow eveninghalf a minute ago from web


I'll give you the benefit of a doubt although good chunks of your follow-up comments look like personal attacks to me and I really don't have to put up with them or publish them on my blog for that matter. Nor do I think they are flattering to you but since you insist I publish them, I will. So please abstain from those if you would like me to publish any more of your comments on my blog.

As I previously told you, I believe you would benefit a lot from taking a break from this topic for now and returning to it at a later time when you could truly take a fresh look at it. I would be willing to continue this per your request at the point when you realize that those eight things I listed are fundamental assumptions. We don't have to agree that they are probably false – as I believe they are -- just that they are assumptions. If you do not agree that those are assumptions -- that, at this point, they are not positively knowns or unknowns -- there is little point to continuing this from my side as I don't believe much could be accomplished.

If you just want to go ahead and check the things I put down – be my guest! It's a public blog... And you may well find that some of the sources I quoted were fallible. I'd be surprised if over the years I've written this blog, all of my sources would be absolutely infallible. Heck! I have certainly not redone the data analysis done by AIM Group, for instance, so I cannot vouch that they are absolutely correct.

I referenced CWTA's amicus brief and if they were wrong, then my source was wrong. But the link is there for anybody to check and I gave the exact location on the page to make it as easy as possible. Still, unless those sources were absolute frauds it's hard to see how it would make that much difference -- the fact of the matter is that a big chunk of craigslist's revenue comes from erotic/adult ads and even Craig has acknowledged that many of those are probably prostitution.

As far as I can tell, unless craigslist's books are open to the public (as a result or law suits or much less likely, voluntarily), the big issues will remain unknown – they are NOT the checkable ones. The major flaw in your article was presenting very important things about craigslist that are unknown as being undoubtedly known. And until you get beyond that, I don't see that much progress can be made.


P.S. Just to clarify, my posts are not intended as “tips” -- they are just my opinion of things with links to my sources when the topic is amenable to it. D.

Here are your 2 follow-up comments unedited (your first comment published in the body of the initial blog entry was also unedited)

Reading your response, I have to note the absence of any new information, testimony, observations, etc. to support your implications of bad conscience on Newmark's part. Just for the record, saying "I've committed myself in writing to the story as I understand it" means that I've told everything I know that I think is important, exactly as I believe it to be the case. The key words here are "committed myself in writing." This means that if I am wrong, and any evidence emerges that I am wrong, my error will be visible for all to see. You repeatedly ask leading questions, as if there is some hidden wrong that it is my responsibility to expose, without offering any evidence to support it. That's effective over the short term - certainly I read your posts with interest when reporting the story. But after many requests to provide something concrete to back up your negative remarks, you still produce nothing that a responsible person would publish in any forum where he had to take moral responsibility for his statements. This makes me conclude that there's nothing here of interest. But it's only a provisional conclusion, and as I said in my first comment, I'm certainly willing to listen if you ever come up with anything.

I should say that the one fact you stated in your first post is incorrectly cited and almost certainly wrong. The footnote to the amicus brief you cite in support of your assertion that craigslist makes more than half it revenue on adult/erotic ads references the AIM report. I remembered looking at this report but didn't remember this figure, and I've now had a chance to look at it again. The AIM estimate for adult/erotic is about 29 million, not 60 million. That's just for what its worth: I do not morally condemn craigslist for taking these ads.

Posted by Gary Isaac Wolf to craigslist criticism on September 1, 2009 8:48 PM

Dear craigslist criticism,

I have checked the figures you cite directly with the source listed in the footnote of the CATW brief. That source, Peter Zollman of the AIM group, also projected his numbers out over a year. This is a somewhat minor point, but given that it is the only checkable fact that you cite, it is significant that you got it wrong.

You might sensibly ask why I even bother with this conversation. The answer: a long history of getting useful information from biased sources like yourself leads me to treat your assertions as a kind of "tip." That's the beginning of the process, not the end of it. In writing about cl, I will try to track down any claim that you make that can plausibly be tracked down. But it is hardly my fault if the evidence doesn't back up your allegations. If you ever have any support for any of your claims I would be happy to try and corroborate it. I'm pretty dogged, and if you care about the truth you ought to treat this offer as something valuable.

It doesn't bother me that you publish these vague accusations anonymously; plenty of people do this, sometimes for good reason. But this doesn't give you a free pass from having your claims evaluated. So far, nothing you say pans out, by normal (or even minimal) standards. That's my conclusion, reached in good faith, and with a continued openness to being corrected if, someday, you ever do have evidence for what you say.

Finally, I would like to challenge you, since good faith is one of your values, to publish this comment unedited.
Gary Wolf
Contributing editor, Wired

Posted by Gary Isaac Wolf to craigslist criticism on September 9, 2009 10:41 AM

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