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An Internet for the PeopleThe Politics and Promise of craigslist$
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Jessa Lingel

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691188904

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691188904.001.0001

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Craigslist’s People Problems

Craigslist’s People Problems

Politics and Failures of Trust

(p.131) 7 Craigslist’s People Problems
An Internet for the People

Jessa Lingel

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the problems that are created and solved as people connect with, sell to, exploit, and protect one another on craigslist. It draws on interviews with craigslist users and a scrape of craigslist's help forum to analyze the ways that people negotiate violations of platform policies. For the most part craigslist transactions go smoothly, but moments of success and failure are important to understanding the politics of everyday online life. When things go right, it is because formal and tacit policies are in place, and because a steady stream of users are working anonymously and without pay to enforce rules and norms. When things go wrong, however, the chapter reveals the limits of policies around community moderation. Interviews and the craigslist help forum has provided a better understanding of how users connect through and negotiate craigslist's policies around community moderation and flagging. In particular, the chapter focuses on craigslist's commitment to user anonymity, which can alternately be seen as a tool for privacy or a threatening way of being online.

Keywords:   trust, user anonymity, help forum, policy violations, community moderation, flagging, privacy, failures of trust, online politics

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