Bleg: A Staff for Burning Man

Craigslist is dying. Here is, verbatim, a perfectly reasonable post that I just attempted to put in San Francisco general that was flagged and deleted within ten minutes of posting:

I’m headed to Burning Man on September 2nd and I need a staff (wooden not people) as part of my costume.

Imagine the bastard child of Gandalf’s and the Joker’s staves bred with Gambit’s ― power focusing chaos into volatility.

Physically solidly enough that if I bang it around it won’t fall apart ― a metal inlay, perhaps? No points sharp edges.

Sizewise, I’m 6’2″ about 180lbs and not massive, but solid. I like a slight heft in my things, but want to be able to carry the staff around for a while.

I’d like it to be well-enough balanced I could practice spinning fire with it.

To the authors of the top twenty bids received before close of business the 19th, I offer: anything. Anything, provided:

  • it is smaller than a breadbox (I’m driving to the Burn from Baltimore and have limited space)
  • it costs less than $20 (20 * $20 = $400 and that’s quite a bit of money for me)
  • it requires less than one hour to procure
  • it is not immoral (a boy has to have his standards)

In return for the staff, I’ll do my best to provide whatever the artist considers adequate compensation for their time.

I’d like to collect bids for two days, so the the chosen bidder and I have two weeks (19th – 2nd) to prepare for the exchange in the desert.

Anyone interested? I’m willing to put some resources into this exchange if I can find the right artist.

That’s a reasonable ad. I’m assuming I was flagged because I’m in Baltimore and I posted to San Francisco. The problem is I think the person that can make this staff lives in California rather than Maryland. The problem with the mountain of spam is that when we use systems that rely on the difference in signal and noise to filter content, it means that as content gets more complex those systems will increasingly misidentify it.

(Even if the weak link in those systems are overtaxed human flaggers, they’re still pushed to the point of breaking and need a more effective operational metaphor.)

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