Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

The Simpsons to remove iconic 1991 episode featuring the voice of Michael Jackson from ALL platforms   Leave a comment

Image result for The Simpsons Michael Jackson

 

…This is sad and heartbreaking.

The Simpsons Executive Producer Jamees L. Brooks announced earlier today that he will personally oversee the removal of the iconic 1991 episode from existence. The episode from Season 3 (1991-1992) titled “Stark Raving Dad” features the voice of Michael Jackson, who is credited in the episode’s credits as “John Jay Smith”.

That episode was memorable for 1-minute song Michael Jackson wrote and performed alongside Bart Simpson’s voice actress Nancy Cartwright:

 

 

…I saw it when it first aired. It was such a touching episode and was long considered by series fans to be one of if not the best celebrity episode in the show’s history. Not just because of the featured celebrity but how they worked with Michael Jackson after the 1990 TV premiere of the Black or White music video on FOX to keep his direct involvement in the recording of the Season 3 episode a closely guarded secret. When the episode first aired back in 1991, viewers immediately recognized his voice and looked for his name in the credits. Everyone knew it was him but was shocked to see his name was not in the credits. It actually was: Brooks revealed several years later they decided to use the alias “John Jay Smith” per his request not to have his name featured in the episode’s credits. A few other celebrities have made the same before and since so it wasn’t exactly uncommon.

Brooks made the call to basically wipe the episode from the existence after he saw the HBO Documentary Leaving Neverland. The Documentary features one of Jackson’s former accusers coming forward with new accusations. The new accusations come a few months before the 10th anniversary of Jackson’s untimely death. Jackson died suddenly in 2009 from a medical drug overdose. The accuser, who had apparently been forgiven by the Jackson family and was present for Michael Jackson’s public memorial service in 2009 shocked the family with this documentary.

The surviving Jackson brothers got in front of cameras and condemned the documentary as well as the accuser a few weeks ago. They view the new accusations as a betrayal since they had invited him into their home after Jackson’s death as well as nothing more than a cash grab. More so given unlike before, Jackson is no longer alive and can’t defend himself from the new accusations. It’s worth noting The Jackson family is following through on a lawsuit against the accuser and HBO for defamation and libel. His 3 kids are aware of the new accusations and the family is pulling out all the stops to protect them during this very difficult time.

I have not seen the documentary myself and have no desire to personally. This is not the same as R. Kelly and Bill Cosby. Michael Jackson was tried and acquitted a few years before he died but the court of public opinion still considers him guilty of the charges he was proven NOT GUILTY of in court. I don’t hear calls for R. Kelly’s music to be pulled from iTunes or The Cosby Show being pulled off Hulu. Like Cosby, Jackson had his day in court. The evidence proved he was not guilty. The star witness–one of his alleged accusers–said Jackson never hurt him ever. So, why this now?

One word: Money.

Brooks doing this tells me he belived Jackson was guilty of what he was accused of and was just looking for a good excuse to erase this episode from existence. Well, he got what he wanted in this documentary. Not only is the episode being pulled off TV but is also being removed from ALL streaming platforms and digital stores such as iTunes, Google Play, Hulu, Amazon Prime and YouTube. Brooks even plans to go so far as to remove the episode from future DVD and Blu Ray box sets as well as having existing box sets with the episode in stores recalled so they can be destroyed and replaced. No, really.

I plan to download the episode via iTunes, Google Play and YouTube when I can to protest the decision. The episode first aired 28 years ago. Why do this now? It makes no sense. The best time to have done it would have been back in 2004.

 

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An important warning to parents and Educators about The “Momo Challenge” and Self-Harm Videos that target kids   Leave a comment

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I was preparing to make a blog post to comment on the sudden rise of self-harm videos that have been reported on YouTube Kids all month when I got word of this imfamous Momo Challenge that has been reported worldwide. At this point I think it would be fair to say it’s not an urban legend and is in fact a real thing. Local Law Enforcement are trying to get the word out because the Momo Challenge threatens and encourages kids and teens to do dangerous things and eventually, suicide.

Here’s how it starts: Users are asked to add Momo as a WhatsApp contact via YouTube, Facebook or some other social media platform. It specifically targets kids, teens and in some cases Young Adults. Once the connection is made, things immediately get scary…and dangerous…and possibly deadly, too. The entity known as Momo makes contact and immediately threatens and intimidatinng the victim into doing what it says, saying things like “I’m watching you” or “If you tell anyone, you’ll die”. Kids as young as six years old have apparently been targeted by this Momo Challenge. It specifically targets children and teens because they’re far more likely to accept what they see at face value and do what they’re being told.

I do believe Momo is actually a botting program that is being intentionally spread online. There certainly are chat bots sophisticated enough to carry a conversation as if it was a real person. They do what they’re programmed to do in short. Of course, I would be able to tell the difference fairly quickly between a bot or a real person. A child? Absolutely not. Certainly not a 6 year old. On the one hand, it’s fine to ignore the messages. On the other hand, kids are being specifically targeted. So…yeah.

I mentioned other self-harm videos.

Even worse is both the Momo Challenge and other self-harm videos seem to have hijacked YouTube Kids, which is a kid-friendly version of YouTube. Google, which is aware is trying to address the problem but for now it’s highly reccommended you uninstall the YouTube and YouTube Kids Apps from your kids’ devices for now and block the site on your computers at home. Why go that far? Well, the self-harm videos, which describe in graphic detail how to commit suicide are disguised as innocent-looking cartoons kids are familiar with. It starts looking normal but then it gets dark and scary. Even worse is it ends by encouraging kids to go through with it.

…Yeah.

There are some sick, sick people out there sadly.

I would recommend Educators take 5 to 10 minutes to talk to their class about internet safety in general. I would also reccommend school staff hold a meeting to discuss this important subject and send a notice home the parents. It would be an alert to let parents know the school is aware of both the Momo Challenge and Self-Harm Videos being shared on YouTube.

I would reccommend parents sit down and talk to their kids about the Momo Challenge as well as the Self-Harm videos. Tell them if they see anything online telling them or showing them how to hurt themselves to report the content immediately and don’t do what it says. Let them know all actions have consequences not just for them but everyone they know.

I intend to repost this on a few more of my blogs to help spread the word on this. One death from this foolishness is too many.

To the internet tough guys and trolls who think this is hoax, “Don’t see a problem” or feel “They’re doing parents a service”, you won’t feel that way when it’s your child or the child of someone you know. I promise you that. While yes, I certainly don’t think kids as young as 3 shouldn’t be using the internet unsupervised, that doesn’t excuse the malicious and vile actions of the people who are doing and spreading these things online. Show me a 3, 4 or 5 year old child who has never seen one of these videos before who would watch them and think it’s just ‘harmless fun”.

There is absolutely nothing “harmless” or “fun” about what these self-harm videos and the Momo Challenge are looking to intimidate and scare kids into doing. Yes, they revealed some glaring flaws in YouTube and YouTubeKids’ (and Facebook’s) prescreening algorithms but it doesn’t change the fact someone is deliberately doing this. The disturbing content is embedded in episodes of kids’ programming and uploaded to YouTube. In other words, someone is deliberately doing this for the sole purpose to traumatizing a child at best and coercing them into doing what they’re being told at worst. To date, 2 kids in Columbia (the country) have committed suicide because of these self-harm videos.

The disturbing content appears about 14 to 16 minutes into an otherwise normal episode of children’s programming and lasts for about 20 to 30 seconds. Short enough to not get picked up by YouTube’s pre-screening algorithims but still long enough to deliver its vile message. I have seen the messages myself and for reasons that should be obvious, I am not sharing here what is said. I will say for the Momo Challenge users are directed to add a phone number from Mexico, Russia or India to their contacts and contact Momo via WhatsApp under threat of death to them and/or their friends. Again: young children are being specifically targeted. They have no way of knowing they have nothing to fear from what they saw.

Like I said before, I do believe Momo–like Blue Whale before it–is a chat bot. It’s not an actual person but a scripting program someone made to sow chaos. I also believe the phone number is randomly generated and this is also why I am not sharing any numbers. Again, a young child would not know it’s not a real person. All they know is they’re being told to hurt themselves or put themselves in dangerous situations in very specific ways and if they don’t do what they’re told, something bad will happen to them or the people they care about. They are directed to not tell anyone or “I will know” and “I can see you right now so I’ll know if you tell anyone” obviously. Again, young kids who don’t know better are being exposed to this.

I am urging folks to reblog this post and help get the word out. The whole world is talking about this. That’s how serious this is. No one is taking this as “a hoax”. Kids are getting hurt at worst and in two cases, someone has died. This is one “game” that needs to be stopped immediately.

 

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Anthony Davis firmly rules out the Celtics as a longterm destination but the Pelicans clearly feel otherwise   Leave a comment

Image result for Isaiah Thomas traded to Cavs

 

The trade involving Kyrie Irving and former All Star Isaiah Thomas from two years ago pissed off Anthony Davis’ father (also named Anthony Davis) so much, he put out a public statement last week saying it’s the reason why he does not want his son to play for the Celtics. It wasn’t the trade itself but the way the trade went down that shocked the sports world and pissed off a lot of NBA Players as well as fans of Isaiah Thomas. As a reminder, Isaiah Thomas’ sister died suddenly during the Celtics playoff run two years back. He was also forced to have season-ending hip surgery during the Eastern Conference Finals, which the Celtics lost to the Cavs 5-1 (their one victory coming after IT was forced out of the lineup ironically).

Two months later and a week after the Celtics signed Gordon Hayward, the trade involving him (as well as Jae Crowder and Ante Zizic) for Kyrie Irving went down. Thomas (and the other two players involved) never saw it coming and found out the same way everyone else did: From the news. He didn’t hear it from the Celtics in advance and after what happened with him during the playoffs…well, he wasn’t wrong to feel disrespected. As everyone knows, Kyrie Irving was the one who demanded the Cavs trade him ASAP right after the Cavs lost to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. The Celtics made the Cavs an offer and the trade went down.

The problem wasn’t the trade itself. Isaiah Thomas is well aware it was business decision but and no one is untouchable. Given what happened to him two months earlier, to then be traded a little over a week after the Celtics signed Gordon Hayward without advance notice would understandably make anyone feel disposable. More so given he was a fan favorite. Isaiah Thomas and Danny Ainge eventually sat down and hashed things out.

The man once known as the King of the Fourth only played a handful of games with the Cavs last January before he was traded to the Lakers and was released at the end of the season (The Lakers didn’t make the playoffs last season). He was signed to the Denver Nuggets during the offseason at the Veteran minimum. Just the season before, he was in the All Star game. Isaiah’s public criticism of the Cavs and referencing his experiences with the Celtics during press conferences during his tenure with the team is pointed to as the main reasons he was traded mid-season last year.

On that note, I do think IT4 will return to the Celtics in the next few years. Most likely as a Free Agent in my book. I don’t see the Celtics trading for him personally. I think Kyrie Irving would want it since the trade came during a very low point in IT4’s life and it’s obvious he wants to return to the Celtics. At the same time, the undeniable fact is IT4 was a defensive liability. No one doubts his explosive offense but off the ball, the Celtics had to have him switch off with another defender or otherwise “hide” him.

Case example:

Image result for Lebron James Dunks on Isaiah Thomas

 

The obvious size difference aside…yeah. LBJ literally mopped the floor with him during that playoff series. THIS is why Danny Ainge pulled the trigger and traded him. IT4 is useless on defense against (much) bigger players like Lebron James, Giannis, Durant, Simmons, Westbrook and so on. Until he figures it out like Nate Robinson did, I don’t think the Celtics should take him back.

Isaiah Thomas aside. Anthony Davis himself said he would only consider playing with the Lakers, Knicks, Clippers or Bucks longterm and everywhere else would be a one-year deal. So, there is little to no point in the Celtics pursuing him knowing that. The Pelicans and AD’s agent both announced yesterday he will not be traded before the deadline. Given the Celtics just moved a player to open up a slot, that automatically makes them the frontrunner for AD come July 1. The big problem is the knowledge that he will be a 1-year rental so…yeah.

 

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Anthony Davis announces he wants out of New Orleans and wants to be traded to a Championship Contender   Leave a comment

Image result for Anthony Davis Trade

 

Let the Anthony Davis Sweepstakes begin!

At the beginning of the season, only two teams were looked at as top contenders should AD end up on the trade block: The Celtics and the Lakers. On that note. Jayson Tatum said during the offseason he would trade himself for AD if it came down to it. We already know Terry Rozier will be leaving after this season (and offseason) is done. Tatum + Rozier for AD would be a pretty hard offer to resist and more so given everyone else wants Tatum or Jaylen Brown (or both).

Of course, AD and LeBron James have the same agent. Based on that, most experts believe the Lakers are the most likely landing spot for The Brow. At the same time, it’s certainly possible AD could go with another contender such as the Rockets, Bucks or Nuggets. Besides, if the playoffs started tomorrow the Lakers would be out of the playoffs.

The problem for the Celtics is The Rose Rule prevents them from trading for AD until after the season (and post-season) is over. The reason: They got Kyrie Irving via Trade and thus, The Rose Rule is in effect. How it works is a team with a player that basically gained All Star-level status within their first four seasons in the NBA that is due for a contract extension–in this case, Irving–can’t sign another player who has also met the same criteria–in this case, AD–until the first player signs a new contract or leaves the team. The rule is named for Derrick Rose, who has done a tour of duty around the NBA during his career more or less.

Irving announced during the Preseason he intends to re-sign with the Celtics after this season. What this means is the Celtics will need to wait until the off season to make a deal for Davis. Of course, this is assuming New Orleans can convince Davis and his agent to wait until the offseason and not trade him before the February 7 trade deadline like we’ve all been assuming. Everyone knows the Celtics can offer New Orleans the best deal for Davis period. It’s just a question of weather or not New Orleans is willing to wait until July 1 to entertain an offer from Trader Danny. That’s the one advantage the other 28 yeams have over the Celtics.

As a reminder, AD will not become a free agent after this season. Irving will though he’s opted to sign a new contract with Boston. It’s certainly possible the Celtics and Pelicans could agree to a trade for Davis in advance and then wait until July 1 to make it official. So, everything I said in the first paragraph is certainly possible.

Taking another look at the Celtics Roster, these players could be packaged for Davis:

 

  • Jayson Tatum (Forward)
  • Terry Rozier (Guard)
  • PJ Dozier (Guard/Forward)
  • Jabari Bird (Guard)

 

Tatum and Rozier would obviously be the centerpieces of the trade. The Celtics have a lot of Guards they could offload but Tatum or Brown alone is enough for any team to say “HELL YEAH”! Both are franchise players as well. Because of the Rose Rule, they would both finish the season (and post-season) with the Celtics. The Celtics would also need to sign Irving to a new contract after the season (and post-season) before they can officially pull the trigger on a trade for AD. They could agree to a trade before the deadline, then wait until July to make it official though.

The talking heads on ESPN say AD will likely go to the Lakers but again, we all could be assuming the trade will happen before the deadline. We’ll have to wait and see if AD changes uniforms before February 7 or not.

 

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The noose is finally tightening around the neck of serial rapist and sexual predator R-Kelly   Leave a comment

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…If any celebrity with such a perverse, dark track rcord deserves no more chances and has forefeit the benefit of the doubt, it’s this man. I am utterly disgusted by the fact Black Americans are STILL split on him. There is nothing to debate: He is a serial rapist, sexual predator and a pedophile. He went to prison for it, too.

Some of you may remember this post I made about him 6 years back. R. Kelly has recently returned to the spotlight because of the Lifetime documentary titled Surviving R. Kelly. R. Kelly reportedly threatened to sue the network for defamation in a bid to block the documentary from being aired. The documentary highlights women who have escaped R. Kelly’s “Sex Cult”. I want to repeat what I said six years ago: R. Kelly being a sexual predator is well documented. In one of his albums, he basically admits to being a sex addict. This man needs to be taken off the streets and put in a cell for the rest of his life.

Will Smith’s wife and fellow actress Jada Pinkett Smith recently Tweeted she doesn’t understand why so many are either slow to condemn him or quick to discredit the black women who have come forward with alliegations of Sexual Assault and Rape by him because he is a black celebrity. We went through this with Bill Cosby, who was convicted and sentenced to 3 to 10 years in prison for rape he did 30 years ago. There’s also Chris Brown, who beat his then girlfriend Rhianna. I still remember hearing some folks saying she threw herself down a flight of stairs. Really? In general, America has always been split when it comes to victims of rape and sexual assault coming forward at the end of the day. More so when the accused is a public figure or celebrity.

…R.Kelly, though? He is indefensible unless you’re on his payroll or one of his groupies.

Talk Show host Wendy Williams once commented on a closed door meeting she had with him about 10 years back. According to her, R. Kelly allowed her to ask him about anything and everything under the condition it be kept between them. I assume she had to sign a non-disclosure agreement from how she described the encounter. She clearly couldn’t get into specifics but basically said he denied none of the rumors and alliegations at the time.

I’ll say it again: This man belongs in a prison cell for the rest of his life.

In the weeks since the documentary first aired, R. Kelly has lost endorsements and public pressure is being put on several record labels and iTunes to drop him. As the saying goes, the longest rope has an end. I am hopeful that this time, we will see the complete and utter end of R.Kelly.

 

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Updates to my 3-Story Urban Village concept   Leave a comment

Image may contain: drawing

 

Hit by inspiration, I sat down earlier this week and sketched a floor plan for what I would like to see in a 3-story apartment complex. Before I show you the inside, it goes without saying it’s not to scale. This picture is the outside. Parking would be on the right (See the next picture) but deliveries or taxis can pull up to the front door. There would be some tables out front  as well. I’ve never been good at aesthetics so my apologies for the lack of detail.

After getting some feedback from various folks including a contractor and an architect, I have updated this post in a few areas. I have also done an adjustment to how much it would cost to build as well.

 

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We’ll start with the ground floor. Parking will be on the right. As for how it would look, it could either be a parking garage or a parking lot. As shown, it would be at least 25 spots. There would be bike racks either in front of the building or in the parking area or both. The mail room would contain mailboxes for all apartments, businesses and services and it would be staffed by two clerks. Large package deliveries that can’t fit in a mailbox would be held by the administrative office until the owner can come for it.

The building would have its own security staff of 4 to 6 personnel. This is in part for the businesses and services in the building but also to help maintain the two layers security. In addition to the closed circuit cameras on all floors, smartcards will be used. All residents and staff woulf use them to access shared areas such as the Fitness Center and Library after hours as well as the rooftop facilities.

Yes, there will be both a laundromat and dry cleaners on the ground floor. They will be free to all residents and staff, eliminating the need for a washer/dryer in apartments on the upper floors. For a small fee, residents can have a pick-up/drop-off service to or from their apartment.

The whole building is wired for free Wi-Fi and it comes in 3 Flavors: Staff, Residents and Visitors/Guests. The library will contain several computers with high-speed internet access.

 

 

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If you thought the laundromat was something else, here’s where things get ground-breaking: A Clinic, Grocery Store, Pharmacy and Library all on the same floor as apartments. Again, this is not to scale. It goes without saying the building would need to be large enough to fit all these things. The area of the Grocery + Pharmacy would be about the size of your average Dollar General. Like the laundromat, a delivery service to apartments can be arranged for a fee.

Get a load of that Urgent Care Center. It will be staffed by 6 people–two doctors, two nurses and 2 CMAs (Cerified Medical Assistant). At least one doctor and nurse will be on call at any given time. The Operating Room will be for emergency or post-op treatment as well as general care. As for why I feel a 3-story apartment complex should have an urgent care center, that was just my idea. Otherwise, I’d put the tennis court on the roof in that spot.

Getting to the actual apartments: Again, they’re not to scale.

I imagine at least 10 apartments on this floor including two for the medical and security staff to make use of. Each apartment contains at least one bedroom and a kitchen + bathroom. There would be temperature control in each apartment as well as a land line included. The apartments would be partially furnished with a refrigerator, a desk + chair and a kitchen table + chair set.

 

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Yes, there’s more.

From here we focus more on amenities for the residents. The fitness center would contain exercise equipment, weights and so on. The Community Room is a function room for events and has a full kitchen included. The fitness center could be replaced with another store or an auditorium though.

 

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Saved the best for last.

By now you’ve noticed there are restrooms, stairs and elevators for all floors. That is intentional. Due to the area of space, there will be both an indoor and outdoor basketball court as well as tennis courts and a playground. There would also be a green house and raised gardening beds for residents who want to grow things.

…Whew.

What can I say other than I have vision?

Anything like this would be expensive to build let alone maintain. In fact, far more expensive than I originally estimated. I now estimate $70 Million will be needed to build this and another $10 Million will needed to outfit everything outlined. That is to say nothing of an allotment for salary for the staff mentioned up to now. It would be state of the art to say the least but I think it would be worth the cost to build. I also estimate construction will take 3 to 4 years from the first ground break to the ribbon cutting.

When I secure the funding, I will have this built in Boston. If proven viable or successful I will take this concept across the U.S. first, then to The Philippines and Guatemala. As for why I would like the first prototype to be built in Boston, I have at least 3 places in mind–Two in Dorchester and one in Hyde Park–for the prototype to be built. Once it’s done I would look at Detroit, West Virginia, Baltimore and Memphis within the US to start. I would then look at Guatemala and The Philippines for the first international locations.

I call it an Urban Village: Housing, commerce and industry all rolled in one.

In addition to everything pictured, there would be solar panels and a water filtration system to help keep costs down. I have a 2-story and single-story concept as well as 5 and 8-story concepts. The number of floors decides what amenities will be inside. When I draw them, I’ll share the 2-story and 5-story concepts. They will be variations of the 3-story model I just shared in this blog post.

It’s not secret Boston is the third most expensive city to live in behind New York (#2) and San Francisco (#1). The Urban Village will solve two problems at once. First, will provide affordable housing so rent will not and should not be high (no higher than $1200 max). Key facilities on-site means all residents have close access to important needs. Here’s hoping I can make these ideas become reality!

 

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There is always a large increase in “Help Me” Ads on CraigsList during the Holidays   Leave a comment

…And 7 out of 10 times, they are legit.

What I find most concerning is the cynicism and pessemism from people who have nothing better to do than judge people who turn to CraigsList as a last resort for help. On the one hand yes, there are the same scammers and botters based overseas who have been prowling CraigsList for years. On the other hand, the overwhelming majority of people who use the site in general do use it as intended.

All that said, CraigsList is NOT a good website to turn to as a “Last Resort”. The reasons are five:

 

  1. It’s a wating game: One of the biggest myths people have about CL is if they post an ad, they will get a response very quickly. The reality is more often than not, you wasted your time posting the ad. Those who do get help are rhe exceptions and not the norm.
  2. Your ad will be flagged: “eople with absolutely nothing better to do with their time routinely flag ads they consider “Cyber Panhandling” or “Cyber Begging”.
  3. People will contact you just to judge you: More so if you’re a single mother/pregnant (“Where’s the father?”), unemployed (“Why don’t you get a job?”) or have pets (“Give up your cat/dog, then we’ll talk.”).
  4. If you’re a woman, expect to get solicited for Sex: Yes, there are guys that depraved that they will contact you looking for sex or a relationship and promise nothing in return.
  5. Scammers and Bots: Goes without saying. They are everywhere. You respond and then they say something to the effect of “Send me the deposit and I’ll mail you the key” or “Are you real? Email this email to prove you’re real”. This is to say nothing of those who didn’t get the memo the Personals section has been gone for 8 months now.

 

…These just scratch the surface and only barely. With CraigsList Personals gone, the lion’s share of “Help Me” Ads are posted in the Community (“Need Money/Items/Food or a Ride ASAP”.), For Sale (“Need Money/Items/Food ASAP”.), Resume (“Need a job or work ASAP”.) and Housing (“Need a Room/Apartment ASAP”.) Categories.

For those who still intend to try their luck looking for help on CraigsList, here are some general tips that should help:

 

  1. Keep the “Background Story” to a minimum: This is easily the biggest problem. Too many focus on explaining their situation and what led to them posting the ad but not enough time explaining what exactly they are looking for help with. Explain enough for folks to get an idea of your situation but no more than necessary. Save the details for after you make contact with someone.
  2. When looking for Housing, focus more on explaining what you are looking for: More so if you need to move ASAP. When I help folks with their housing search, I need 3 kinds of information: The max in monthly rent they can afford (For example $900), how many bedrooms and where (city, town, etc.) they are looking to live. Extra info that can help is if you’re on Section 8, have references or have the money to make a deposit right now. Leave out your background or family situation from the ad. Why? Because more often than not it will turn someone off from reaching out to you. Property Owners/Landlords only care about the other stuff I mentioned. If they’re not seeing much data in that regard, you wasted your time posting the ad.
  3. More often than not, insisting on keeping your pet will keep you from getting Housing: This isn’t a shot at pet owners or animal lovers but it is the reality and is not negotiable. It doesn’t matter if the landlord lives on the property and has pets themselves. They have the right to refuse you an apartment or room if you’re looking to bring a pet with you. No, it doesn’t matter if it’s a Service Animal either. If you don’t want to part with your pet, you’ll have to look elsewhere for a property owner willing to accomodate your pet.
  4. When looking for a Ride ASAP, include a phone number: No one’s going to wait for you to get back to them via email. Yes, botters and spammers harvest phone numbers to mass text people. Even so, someone who can help you won’t if they can’t get a way to hold of you as quickly as possible.
  5. If you’re in a relationship or have income, mention it in your Ad: This is to keep those looking for sex or a relationship at bay. 9 out of 10 times, when a woman posts an ad she will get unsolicited requests for sex and in many cases a lewd photo sent to them unprompted. If you mention you have income, you’re far less likely to have your ad flagged by people assuming you’re looking for a handout in general. If you mention you’re married or have a boyfriend/fiance, you’re far less likely to get unsolicited requests for sex or lewd photos in general.
  6. When selling, use pics of the actual item(s) not Amazon screenshots: Buyers get it, you want to prove the item is real and you’re selling it for less than retail value. At the same time, Buyers still need to see what condition the item(s) you’re selling is in. They can’t get that from an Amazon product page screenshot.
  7. When looking for work, include past work experience and what you’re looking to do: I cringe every time I see someone basically post “I’m looking for work, any kind of work please contact me ASAP”, then wonder why they only get Housing Ad Spammers or Sex Addicts contacting them. Include past work experience and/or skills you have that potential employers are looking for. Also, keep the “Background Story” to a minimum. Save it for when you actually make contact. Too many folks put everything into explaining their situation but little to none on their work experience and/or skills.
  8. Only post ONE ad per Need: We get it, you’re desperate or your situation is time sensitive. Posting 2 to 5 ads is what the botters do and it’s a fast way to get ALL of your ads flagged. Besides, even if you posted just one if someone decided not to respond then it won’t matter if you posted two or more.
  9. Include a phone number: I know all too well there are spammers and botters who harvest phone numbers posted via CraigsList to mass spam people. The site’s new Capcha (standard anti-scripting measure most high-traffic websites have started using to block bots) has merely slowed the practice but more needs to be done to protect private phone numbers and email addresses. Even so, include a working cell phone number and actually follow up even if just to say you’re not interested.
  10. Set up an Google Account just for CraigsList: You read that right. Why Gmail over Yahoo or Outlook (formerly Hotmail)? Well, most spam accounts use Yahoo mail first of all. Second, It has strong-anti-spam and anti-intrusion measures included for free. Plus you automatically get access to all Google Services for free. If you already have a Google account for personal and/or business use then you will just have two accounts is all. This way, you don’t have to worry about spam making it to your personal/business inbox. The bigger reason is to create an alias to protect your real identity.

 

…I can’t stress those last two enough and more so with the Porn sites, Cam Girls, Escort Services and similar sites that auto-reply to all ads posted to send spam to your inbox. Said emails are riddled with spyware and malware in addition to links to their sites where they hope to get enough info from you to either open a line of credit in your name or hack your account. Be smart and keep your real name off CraigsList.

With phone numbers, all I can say is block numbers that have nothing to do with whatever your ad is about. The spammers often group spam or spoof numbers so all you can do is block numbers individually. I tell folks in all my ads to text or email me because my phone is always on silent or vibrate. I also don’t answer when I see an out of state phone number. The “Text my number only” direction is also an anti-scam check. I know if an out of state number calls, they can’t follow simple directions or didn’t read my ad.

CraigsList is so saturated with scammers, botters and spammers that the “Are you real? Reply to this email to prove it” message is actually a check for other bots that auto-reply to ads or emails. DO NOT respond even if using CraigsList’s Anon-Relay system. All you do is confirm you’re not a bot and they will immediately send spam and other kinds of trash to your inbox. The more you respond, the more you confirm you’re a real person.

In the event you do get a spammer or scammer to email you, the only way to make them stop is to STOP responding to their emails. The reason is even if you block their email, they will simply use another one to keep emailing you. After 2, maybe 3 days max of silence they’ll get the message and leave you be. They DON’T take no for an answer. Ever.

Having said all that, I now want to say something to those who see “Help Me” ads and either judge or assume things: Leave them be.

I have actually talked to many folks who post “Help Me” Ads and I can confirm their needs are 100% real. You don’t need to know their life story (I tell them the same thing) but if you can’t or don’t want to help them, hit Back and keep it moving. Everyone needs help sometimes and as most who post “Help Me” ad mention themselves, they turned to CraigsList as a last resort and out of desperation.

Always assume they tried other things before making an ad on CraigsList and more so given the site’s reputation. GoFundMe campaigns require media attention, a large social media following or a celebrity to have a chance at fundraising. Otherwise you wasted your time making the campaign at all. I’d know. Everyone posting such an ad on CraigsList already feels embarassed. They don’t need you contacting them just to remind them of how pathetic they feel. They already know the real odds of someone actually helping this is slim to none so…yeah.

I’d say if you’re that desperate for help, your best bet is to try Facebook groups. There are neighborhood and city groups on Facebook you can join and safely arrange to meet with people. There are also various neighborhood-based Help Groups you can find fairly quickly. That’s my advice to anyone feeling that desperate anyways.

 

EDIT 12/20/2018:

In an effort to curb people posting Personal Ads in the Community Category, a link to a reminder about FOSTA now appears when posting in the “Activity Partners” sub category. In the months since they removed their Personals Category earlier this year, many have simply started posting Personal Ads in the Community Section. I have noticed in CL sites for Atlanta, Miami, Raleigh, Memphis and Louisiana many Personal Ads have been flying under the radar for months. The site is clearly aware and is rushing to clean up the site before they are punished under the new law made specifically for that site.

A side effect to this I have found is offering help of any kind = Instant flagging. I am assuming CL doesn’t want to run the risk it’s a setup or a bait and switch. Even worse is when an ad is flagged and removed, it takes less flags when it’s reposted the next time and so on when it’s within a small amount of time. What that means for me is now I will hold off posting new Ads for a few months. The reason: Every time I post an ad in the Community section, it’s removed almost immediately. The only way to reset that is to stop posting for a while.

The long-term solution for CraigsList would be to bring back the Personals as a separate site with a separate set of rules. The problem is they are not willing to do that so…yeah. They don’t want the responsability and neither did Backpage. For those who don’t know, Backpage’s Escorts section was shut down after an FBI Investigation revealed prostitutes (Female and Male) were using it to find clients and Pimps were using the site to lure unsuspecting girls and women into prostitution.

CraigsList has a bit more anonmity but more than that, they hid behind the law protecting them from prosecution for crimes committed by third parties (users). With that provision now removed, the admins are now paying close attention for obvious reasons. The way things are going, it’s only a matter of time before the site becomes 100% pay to use and it’s a shame. If they actually gave a damn, things would have never gotten like this.

 

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