In 1995, Craig Newmark founded the classified website Craigslist with the best of intentions: to provide a safe haven for good natured Christians to exchange goods and services, arrange to meet on wholesome dates, and to announce family friendly community events. Like all righteous internet endeavors, however, it was overrun by the forces of Satan before you could say “Christ on the Cross”. As Newmark himself puts it, “One thing we found doing customer service is that there are not that many bad guys out there, that the people with good will far outnumber the bad guys. However, the bad guys make a lot more noise.”
In most cities featured on Craigslist, the good guys have all but given up. That is not the case in Portland, however, where a volunteer watchdog group called Portland Citizens for a Cleaner Craigslist (PCCC) burst onto the scene bringing order and respectability to a website where even I with my Two Fists of Faith once feared to tread.
Formed in early March of this year by local artist Tanner Dobson, the PCCC has found a brilliantly simple way to use Craigslist’s built-in flagging feature to eradicate any and all filth immediately. “People in Portland aren’t going to stand around getting fucked in the mouth by indecency towards anyone or anything, and Craigslist is no exception. Free speech is one thing, but my grandmother, bless her heart, busted her ass for eighty fucking years, raised over three hundred kids into model, upstanding Christians, and I’ll sit naked on Satan’s fat red cock before I’ll let anyone bombard her computer screen with blasphemous ass, mean-spirited, liberal, communist, hate-mongering, ironic bullshit on Craigslist which she visits every day to sell her macaroni mosaics.”
Acting on a hunch, Dobson discovered that if a post got a certain number of “flags” from different people, it would be taken down from the website immediately. Once he had the magic number, he took a trip down to his dear nana’s nursing home and recruited a small army of volunteers. “My volunteers were people just sitting around waiting to die, despite the fact that their facility is equipped with an activity room. When I had my grandmother read to them excerpts from some of the posts she had come across, dude, they were fucking pissed!”
For volunteer Howard Crosby, the PCCC has given him new meaning in life. “In my day, you’d get the belt for acting all filthy like these young people and their computers. I lost all hope once my grandson was taken by the homosexuals because of the internet, but thanks to Tanner Dobson I now have a way to fight back. I might not be able to give these kids the whupping they deserve, but I can sure as shit keep them from spreading their filth!”
Dobson elaborates, “You see, what happens is these cock-sucking degenerates get on a computer at the library or some trendy coffee shop so you can’t track them, and because of this anonymity they feel comfortable enough to put up bunch of hateful, ugly, rotten garbage unfit for decent folks to see or read. You wouldn’t believe some of the shit they were getting away with before I started PCCC. Once I knew exactly how many times a post could get flagged before coming down, though, that was all she wrote. They are free to put up whatever they want, whenever they want, and in the same vein, all thanks to the Lord Jesus Christ, we are free to take it down whenever we want. BAM! BAM! Down just like that.”
During my visit to the retirement facility which serves as the group’s temporary headquarters, I was able to witness several flaggings firsthand. In one instance, some smirking heathen tried to advertise her demonic face painting service, and had the audacity to target it at children! Like clockwork, the team sprang into action and took turns flagging the post until it was gone. Someone else tried several times to post results of their highly offensive drawing contest, but each time it was shot down in less time than it takes me to crack the knuckles on my Two Fists of Fury.
“These old people might not know a computer keyboard from Stephen Baldwin, but if you move the mouse for them and show them how and when to press the button, they get the hang of it pretty quick.” Dobson has every right to be proud of his group. Since they started monitoring up the classifieds, the life expectancy of an offensive post on Portland’s Craigslist has fallen to an average of 32 seconds. “I won’t be satisfied until that number is reduced to zero, to tell you the truth, but 30 seconds is pretty fucking good.” Is it safe enough for children? “You fucking bet, man.”
Next time you find yourself looking to Craigslist for an artist to decorate the kid’s play room, a flower arranger, pottery lessons, or even a tasteful live model, remember to take a moment out of your search to thank Tanner Dobson, his hard working, tireless band of upstanding seniors, and the loving spirit of Portland for keeping things free of bigotry, idolatry, hate, profanity, nudity, sarcasm, slander, and sin, and for making the City of Rose’s Craigslist a place that even our dear Lord Baby Jesus could visit with a smile.