If so, it's probably your own fault. You might be the person trying to use it and finding that people don't seem to care that there are specific sections for a reason. You might be the person who doesn't care that there are specific sections. Either way, you have control over how your local Craigslist runs, at least to an extent.
If you are the person posting where ever you want, regardless of the rules, you suck. You are irritating the very people who might be looking for the item or service you have to offer. Being a relatively smart person, If I am looking for a boat, I go to the boat section. If I want a boat to be serviced, I go to the services section and click on "marine". If I am looking for Pets, I look in the pet section. If I need services for my pet such as grooming, etc, I go to the services section and I choose "pets". See where I am going with this? This isn't rocket science. I look in the section related to the item or service I am looking for. Here's an example:
Get A Boat Serviced
When I go to the motorcycle section and I see postings there for motorcycle service, what I am going to do every single time I see your ad is flag it. Yes,Every time. Why? Because it is in the wrong section. Again, this is not rocket science. So when you notice that your ad is constantly being flagged off by myself and other users you can know in your heart that you are doing something wrong. It's not your competition trying to keep you down, it's the people who might want to use your services at some point that you are irritating. Your competition is merely laughing at you as they watch all the business in your mutual area come their way because they follow the Craigslist rules and you don't.
In the business world, your name is either gold or crap. How you conduct your business determines which side of the scale you fall on. If Bob's Cycle services constantly irritates me on Craigslist by posting in the wrong sections and then posts stupid narratives about how they're competition are the ones flagging them, I am going to avoid Bob. I am going to tell all my friends who might want a referral to a cycle service that Bob seems to be slightly off balance and doesn't appear to have much work because he's constantly ranting and raving on Craigslist. My friends will tell their friends too and they'll also avoid Bob. Before long the only thing Bob has going for him is that he's really good at being flagged on Craigslist.
The same thing goes for all the other sections. I know it seems a good idea to put your ad in the section with the most traffic. The problem is that while you might get an ad in there, it won't generally stay there. The people who use that section want quality listings that match the section and they'll flag your add off in short order. Your job at that point is to put your ad in the section it belongs to. Your job is NOT to go back to the same section and post about how you want to meet the person who flagged you so you can beat them up. That gets flagged too. Before you know it, you're like Bob and you're spending all day posting an ineffective ad proving not only your inability to follow rules but the fact that you are probably a little mentally unbalanced as well.
Sort of like the woman on the Houston Craigslist page who kept advertising in the free section, that she wanted a free haircut, color and perm. Poor thing was determined that she was going to get it and kept on posting and reposting in the same section. It finally came down to her posting things like "you stupid B*tch coward flagger, you meet me somewhere and i will beat your ass". Of course, she didn't post with an email address that could be replied to or a phone number that could be called, so that too was an ineffective ad. When that post was flagged off she reposted with "too bad you don't have the balls to meet me so I can kick your flagging coward ass". Once again, no email or phone number was posted. How could someone who was interested possibly even reach her to prove they weren't a coward? Can we say it again? INEFFECTIVE! So I'm not really sure who the coward was at that point. This went on most of the day and it kind of got to be fun to try to flag her off before everyone else could. What can I say, It was 40 degree's and raining outside. This was the only entertainment available at the moment.
Had this woman simply posted in the "wanted" section in the first place, she could have posted and gone on about her merry way. Myself and others would have been bored not being able to flag her off but, oh well. She might have found the service she was looking for and not been pissed off all day.
One of the biggest misconceptions I see on Craigslist is that people honestly think ONE person is flagging their ads. That's not the case. The best I can figure is that it takes approximately 5 flags from different users to have an ad removed. So if you post something and it disappears, it's probably not your worst enemy that's watching craiglist to see if you post. It's a number of people who know how to read the rules and they know your ad belongs elsewhere. So offering to meet people to beat them up is probably dangerous to say the least. 5 against 1 odds are seldom favorable for the 1 unless your an MMA expert or heavily armed. My advice is to just avoid the situation and post properly. It's easier.
AS for flagging, this is how users of Craigslist can avoid letting their local Craigslist go down the drain. Yes it might seem silly to worry about what is posted in the wrong sections, until you are looking for something specific and you have to wade through unrelated ads to get to what you want. Yes you can search for keywords but not everyone realizes that and sometimes it returns so many results that it makes things even more difficult. That's WHY there are SPECIFIC SECTIONS! If there is a particular section that you are looking through and you see something that does not belong, flag it! Yes you might end up seeing someone post like the woman above but it's good for a laugh, so it's okay. Use the tools that the Craigslist Gods gave you to keep the list in good running order rather than running amok with idiots.
Craigslist makes it easy to do this by having the flags available on the upper right hand side of every post. It's as simple as a click. You don't have to be logged in or registered to use the flagging features either.
There are 4 possible flags that can be used:
Miscategorized: Wrong category, wrong site, discusses another post or otherwise misplaced
Spam/Overpost: Posted too frequently, multiple cities/categories, or is too commercial
Best Of Craigslist: Should be considered for inclusion in The Best Of Craigslist
Two of the most often broken rules are:
Pet sales: Pet Sales are NOT ALLOWED. Period. See?
"Household pets of any kind including but not limited to dogs, cats, primates, cage birds, rodents, reptiles, amphibians, fish. Re-homing with small adoption fee OK" ( That is straight from the list of Prohibited items. Go look for yourself. )
You CAN give away a pet with a small rehoming fee. A small rehoming fee of $300 is not a rehoming fee, that's a sale. Don't try to pretend otherwise.
Pet offers belong in the PET section. The General section is NOT where you would post them. See the Graphics below.
Pets Go Here:
The Free section is for FREE items. Not items that are required to be delivered for a charge, such as dirt, rocks, etc. The item HAS TO BE A FREE ITEM. If there's a charge, it's not free. Period. Again, Not Rocket Science. If your ad contains a mixture of free and for sale items, post 2 separate ads. It's not that difficult and you won't find yourself flagged from the free section.
Craigslist is an awesome free service available to everyone. Unfortunately not everyone is always going to follow the rules or do things the right way. Flagging those people tells them they either play by the rules like others or they will just find themselves irritated and aggravated all day for no reason. Don't hate the flaggers for wanting Craigslist to be a good usable source. Hate the idiots who refuse to bother reading the rules or finding the right sections.
From now on, if you find yourself irritated while trying to use Craigslist, ask yourself what you could be doing to make it better. You won't always have control. Prices for what you want to buy won't always be low. Things you want to sell won't always bring money, but with good use of the tools available you can at least help make it a better experience.
Some Craigslist Helpful Links:
Information About Flagging
Prohibited Items List
Not Sure Why You Were Flagged? Ask Here.