tv [untitled] CSPAN June 5, 2009 4:30pm-5:00pm EDT
proportion to the threat, because i guess we have evolved to see threats, because, of course, threats are what could have killed us as we were busy all the, but as one of america's most trusted newsmen say, you hear more from extremists because moderates have stuff to do. that was jon stewart. yes, so trust your community. people overwhelmingly operate according to these universal, shared values, like treat people like you want them treated, and if you follow from that and engage your community, well, that is a big lesson we learned right away without thinking about it, so trust people, in a cage with people on a daily basis, and for me, it has been literally daily for over 14 years, and people will respond well to you. we do have to watch out for people who do try to the system,
-- try to game the system, which people will do, and that means you have to build more and better systems for that. >> the bad people. you were dealing with somebody who was doing something abusive, on the newsgroup or something. you have a recovery program of disreputable characters who frequent the side and do business in various ways. how many bad people does it take to ruin the experience for good people? >> again, the whole -- again, there are bad guys out there. some are just twirls -- trolls. these are just people who disapprove of stuff. there are people who work on the site to draw that to your attention, and you have to build
mechanisms which removed automatically or manually. in advertisements, it is mostly automatic. in our discussion boards, is largely manual, and i have the pleasure of removing a lot of that as recently as maybe 20 or 30 minutes ago. you are going to see a lot of ugly stuff. you will see people bickering sometimes regarding animals and pets. you will see it as predictable in politics. you will see spam, too, some of the of a rather unpleasant nature. there, and list the help of your community, but count on a lot of personal engagement for a long time. i do suspect we have a better mix of anonymity and identity on the net, that will be easier to deal with, but i am committed to this stuff but only as long as i live. >> i want to probe on that, because there is a strain of
thinking in this community that highly prizes anonymity, and i think on craigslist, you have come to the conclusion that sometimes, identifying people helps the community to be better, and you have talked about how sometimes you want to do that. talk about where people should be identified, where should blogs be kept, so, i assume, you can point the finger at people to be a badly -- where should logs be kept. >> this speaks to my dual role in my eighth day job, -- in my day job. the privacy and bill of rights issues. dating back -- i think i've found a bug in the phone, but this goes back to a civics class, where he introduced this thing called the bill of rights,
and the deal there is that one thing we need a very practical sense is anonymity for people like whistle-blowers, stuff like that. and you need to have people being accountable. some of the very angry bickering, i want to be able to tell them, "hey, cut this out, to speak so that balance has to be addressed. i think we will see it sooner than we expect -- "hey, cut that out," so that balance has to be addressed. the accountability they are going to want. the decisions will be tough at times, because lack of accountability means more work for us and for me specifically,
but, you know, the idea of anonymity and privacy rights is an emotional issue for people like me. i do not have any answers now. i would just see how things go, personally speaking, -- i will just see how things go. when it comes to the company, i will provide feedback. >> it sounds like you are leading towards a rule where people need to identify themselves. >> i do not think i am moving that way, but the deal is that we are driven by our community. we listened to the community in a big way, and it happen from day one, literally, in 1995, and we are driven by what people tell us. we will pose questions to people asking us to address the mix, and we will change in response to that. sometimes, boy, sometimes we hear people tell us we need to reconsider decisions.
yesterday, i heard a very reasonable argument from a guy in alaska suggesting we should find some ways to allow for a gun at advertisements in alaska. -- for gun advertisements in alaska. in 1998, we had a ruling that there be no gun advertisements based on a lot of community feedback, and we have stuck with that. now, we are hearing from this by arguments otherwise. i do not know if we can do anything about it for a while, because we are swamped, but we do listen to people, and then we try to do something about that. >> you are not a direct democracy. it is not like you put it to a vote, the guns or no guns, but is there anything more other than listening to the email that comes in? >> it is kind of let you are
explaining. anecdotal, we listen to feedback, and then we try to make the best decision began. oftentimes, it is explicit feedback regarding categories. for example, that is why we have a bigger city -- a babysitting category, helping parents to get a baby sitter. that is craigslist. for me, and going back and forth between mostly talking just for myself, occasionally referring to our history, you know, it in the company, but i thought a lot about governance, four countries, foresights like ours and wikipedia, for anything. sometimes, to make decisions or recommendations or anything, you need a balance between command
and control, top-down systems -- for sites, for countries. on the other hand, if you believe in democracy, we believe in people working together and decide together what is going to happen from the bottom-up. again, that is true when it comes to news or being a movie critic or whatever. sometimes, you are an expert to place some kind of a role, and sometimes, you want the crowd to decide, but i do think you need some kind of balance. i think wikipedia does a very good job, but this whole thing is in motion because the technology is still moving. >> are we going to be happy if we want to open government with that methodology? the political leaders listen through anecdotal or other means
and then decide? is that open enough? >> i think we can do much better with open government, and that started with the initiative going back a week or so. the deal is to find out what people are really saying. what people really want. the idea is that the discussion board mechanisms allow a few people may be sometimes extreme views that dominate the conversation with the ability to vote up and down stuff, millions of people are for dissipating, then, that is what can really make war. because right now, even the congressmen, they get emails sometimes an organized campaigns, and, you know, if they are getting back, they tend, and they have told me, they are not going to be listening to that. what they what is emails for actual constituents. they want the real stuff, be real feedback, and the mechanisms to make that happen are happening now, i think --
the real feedback. i am now beginning to seek participation in these efforts, on this -- in these efforts. on this participation is part of this. >> with craigslist.com you have got the community that have been doing what they have been doing in the various adult services and erotic services, and any others that think that that should not be going on, attorney generals, and center, and then there is the interaction between the community -- etc., and then there is the interaction. >> well, sometimes fighting the good fight it's awkward and delicate, and the deal is that, well, like conan the barbarian said, what does not kill you makes you strong -- fighting the
good fight is awkward. the community has been overwhelming in its support for us. this has been pretty gratifying. people have been telling us we are doing the right thing, and people have been pretty patient with us, which i appreciate. the only downside with me personally has been an increase in fan mail. i feel obliged to answer everything, and that means extra work in some senses. i mean, my email address is really email@example.com. email in the afternoon pacific coast time, otherwise, it will get lost. seriously, that is my email. i answer everything, unless the person is, let's say, being in
an unfavorable manner, and i have to pick up the customer service request to my boss. remember, i act as a customer service rep, not manager as customer service. sometimes, we have the opportunity to do the right thing, and we will do it. but we are always listening to our community as to what the right feedback is, as to what the feedback directs us to. >> do you see it, changing the name "erotic services" to "adult services," and charging a fee? >> that is what the community wants. i do not think i can speak for them. >> picking fights with the attorney-general -- with the
attorney generals, hal do you see craigslist in society, and why is it -- how do you see craigslist in society, and how is it that you want to be filing suits like that? >> we do respond inappropriate ways. >> and that is appropriate because? >> because it was the right way to do so in our current environment. >> what do you think will come of that? >> i do not know. [laughter] >> do you think the community -- people find themselves in the full range of human wants and needs and operas that are
exchanged, is that going to thrive in this environment, or are there going to be places where one step after another, pieces of that are going to be split off -- the range of human wants and needs and other that are exchanged. >> i do not see how that is a problem. >> in the future? >> craigslist in 10 years will be about the same. we are passionate about the mundane and the boring. specifically, if you want to give people a break, help them find a job for a place to live, the kind of stuff, you know, that is the focus right there be a you know, we've lived in the real world, where, again, you want to give a person a break, you got them find a job or a place to live, keep that part free. the difference is we will be in
more cities. we will be in more countries. we will be in more languages. frankly, we probably need to be in more language's right now. >> how do you see that perpetuating? because one thing you have in the way that you run craigslist as the way you just described is an ethic that you make just enough money. you do not make too much money -- we probably need to be in more languages right now. it is a for-profit company. you have ebay as a shareholder. you are not going to live forever, i am sorry to say. is there a way of creating the organization that is permanently devoted to the values and the operating procedures you're talking about? at some point, does it become owned by shareholders and people who want to make as much money as they feel like? >> we have taken a lot of measures to preserve the value of the site.
i do joke about nerd values, which says that once you provide for your future, it is more satisfying to change the world. the ceo does a great job of that. if you look down, you will see i am standing on a box, but there is a value system. i am committed to this for my life. we have a 6 spam 8 hours extra day. i may commit to my own version of public service -- we have 6 to 8 hours extra per day.
speak directly into the mic. >> let's talk about the newspaper business. no small number of newspaper executives think that the classified advertising revenue, the decline, which craigslist had something to do with it, is a contributor to their financial situation. >> i spoke with a lot of newspaper executives, and none of them blame us. they point to newspapers having a lot of problems which are causing issues. for example, the loss of circulation. and they tell me, even the pure research people say it has to have something to do with the loss of trust -- even the pew
people say that. i think the issue will be trust, and the way you get that is with a lot of fact checking. you get that with maintaining clear distinctions between the editorial and reporting side of the business and the advertising and funding side of the business. the news organizations that do those kind of things, they will be the ones who are perceived as trustworthy. and those are the ones that people will pay extra for, and other news organizations may have to fight for a dwindling pool of ad dollars, so, again, i think trustworthiness, fact checking. you know, trust is the new black, and not just for news organizations. >> i want to ask another question, and then we will flippant up to the audience, and people can line up at the
microphone if you have questions for craig. with the news, you have been involved in new media projects. tell me a little about what you have been trying to do with this activism and refunding in terms of spawning various forms of media. >> well, when it comes to the business, at best, i am a dilettante. what i am trying to do is talk to the folks who are providing the tools and mechanisms to do increasingly good reporting, particularly investigative reporting, fact checking, and all of that. i abort with i abortnyu. -- i have been working with working with-- i have been working with someone at nyu, where they are working with the huffington post. there are investigative reporters that can look into what is going on in government
and see what is happening. i have talked and worked with some folks at the aspen institute and the berkeley journalism school on the theme of what are the business models that will help journalism survive. but me, i am an outsider. i am discussing this in kind of a casual way, and focused way, because i used to be an engineer, trying to talk about how we make the news business drive, because we need, you know, -- how we make the news business thrive so we can prevent problems, like governments going off on major misadventures, or allowing major financial crises to occur. asking tough questions with other people in the news, backing up people like helen to
get the job done. again, i am a dilettante in this, but like all the good government actions going on right now, i realize that, you know, i am the far end of the internet. i know enough to see when something good is going on, and then i will stand up for those activities, and then, i will do more. today, the fda announced the new transparency initiative. not bad. i will tell people about it. i do not think i am being a journalist when i do that kind of thing. i am just trying to be a stand a guy with all of my fault. >> a tough question. identify yourself. >> what moral and ethical responsibilities should there be for an advertiser on craigslist? i did get a job from your list that i did work for in january,
february, and march that i still have not gotten paid for. do you have a suggestion for me to try to get my current pay? and one result from the situation is that i have had an extended but not always welcome email correspondence with ted leonsis and another used to be at aol. >> well, there are a bunch of questions in that one, but the deal is if we hear about someone performing in a bad way on the side, we, you know, what i have done, when i can, and it in a bad way on the site -- when we hear about someone performing in a bad way on the site, we, you know, what i have done, when i can, send us the link. >> hello, i just wanted to speak
up on one of the questions you asked craig about him being involved singlehandedly in the demise of all the newspapers, and there is our seven organizations used in the internet technologies are not killing these things. they are just providing an avenue for people who would not have paid for that material in the first place, people who would not buy nikola advertisements, they will do it now on craigslist because it is free. >> i just do not dig the relationship, what is going on with the ria and all of that stuff, and i have a feeling instead of trying to respond in a way that will lead to their survival and profits, they are kind of, well, i guess the
phrase is self-inflicted wounds. i do not get it as a nerd, but as a nerd, there are many things i do not get. >> i am wondering if he actually believes that craigslist has had anything to do with that. i believe that the internet destroys profits, and i believe that craigslist is the epitome of taking money from something that used to cost money and vaporizing that advantage and those profits, so i think that there is money that was made by "the boston globe," "the l.a. times," and others which will not be made. current economic models are not going to pay for it, nothing personal, but i do believe that craigslist and the trend that
represents our part of the destruction of a particular kind of business that existed in a particular kind of technological environment. >> . shame on you then, craig. >> i think it is indisputably true that there are a lot of people used to play for advertisements. i am one of them. i am a small landlord. that is how i can continue to work as a public-interest law year despite the fact that our salaries are abysmal, and one of the ways i am able to make a little more money is that instead of having to pay for advertisements when i have someone move out of one of our apartment, we advertise them on craigslist.com and there are people in the community always look on craigslist for the best new places that have become an open, and we benefit from that.
this is not to suggest that the loss of revenue from the and people like me has not hurt the newspaper industry. >> on the notion of ideas scale and other discussion boards, how do you go about making sure that everyone can participate in this? we talked about how important it was not to let trolls crowd out others, and there are access problems, including multi and lingual issues. what is your way of solving that? >> you are right. we want everyone to participate in this kind of open government discussion, and right now, it is focused on the web, which, you know, may or may not be fair, especially when you consider is just starting. that is, we need to open this up to everyone possible. i think a key to that is finding ways to use telephones in this,
because not everyone has a cell phone, but it looks like cell phones, especially as they get smarter and interconnected, cell phones i think will be the key to access for everyone, and not just in the u.s.. i see it already here between the young and old, in digital divide, because right now, -- a digital divide, because younger age ranges are a lot more comfortable with electronic media, and that is a small but growing problem. it is personally distressing. well, let's say i have been an aarp member for years, and the kids with their loud rock-and- roll and instant messaging, i just cannot keep up, but this is, kids, get off of my élan. >> sir, i am an attorney in town. first, i want to congratulate
you on your amazing accomplishment and no matter how you slice it, craigslist is incredibly influential and incredibly powerful, so thank you. with that kind of kissing up kind of preface, the adult services/erotic services. saul press you on that, and your response is, in effect, that is what members want us to do. there is an enormous component. do not look to me. that is what members chose, and that is all well and good except, i take it, craigslist is not a democracy and does exercise discretion of when the community voice in government and when it does not, and i wonder what you would say about the tensions. how much should people look to craigslist as a normative actor versus looking at the community as a normative actor? >> i will confess my ignorance
of the everyday use of the term "normative," but the deal is we listened to the community. we try to do the right thing legally. we balance them, and you see the results. >> hey, craig. andrew witha do a dot com. the cell phone, the smart phone, this is going to be the way that people access craigslist or get information from other places of information. there are so limited, and there is only so much you can do in the palm of your hands, and i can do school assignments, but if i just have a cell phone or a smart phone, and that is all i have,