Friday, April 6, 2007

Blog Time Strikes Again

This morning's CNET Blogma blog provided another example of the dangers of what yesterday Ellen Goodman called "blog time." The item is short enough to be reproduced in its entirety (without reactions):

A fake ad placed on Craigslist led to the complete trashing of a Tacoma, Wash., home, according to news reports.

The ad invited people to "take everything," and vandals did just that--stripping the rental home of furniture, appliances, light fixtures, even the kitchen sink and hot water heater.

The owner said she hadn't placed the ad, and had recently evicted the tenant. The ad was only online for about an hour and half before it was flagged as fraudulent, and removed, but that was apparently enough time to attract attention.

While many might take this as an opportunity to bash Craigslist, I think it is important to recognize that, at least in this case, Craigslist is only a symptom of the disease that Ms. Goodman analyzed yesterday (making it all the more appropriate that one of her examples concerned medical diagnosis). In some circles detecting such a fraud within 90 minutes might be regarded as a good thing, but not when Internet speed is involved. The only way to deal with this problem is to make scrupulous editing part of the process (as I have argued Wikipedia should do), even if that means that it will take long for a post to appear before all the eyeballs in cyberspace.

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