Think about this... It appears that Craig's List may have been the service used by the alleged would-be bomber in New York City over the weekend to buy the truck that carried the explosive/flammable materials. Craig's List is also under assault, stretching back a long time but reignited again by television coverage and an inquiry by the Connecticut Attorney General, for carrying illicit sex/prostitution advertising.
Craig's List did not exist a few short years ago.
If we were back then, and those selling a vehicle or sex wanted to place an ad, their best shot would have been a local newspaper, or some sort of magazine or specialty publication.
Those organizations have generally looked at what they publish and made a decision on whether it passed some sort of minimal test of respectability and legality. Craig's List is simply not set up to do this. Instead, it is designed to take all comers and let the buyer beware.
Having said that, I realize that Craig's List says that it is trying to deal with this, but that's not its "business model" and one of the reasons that it can operate so much more cheaply than can a newspaper.
Are we giving up more than we really want to surrender when we opt for a Craig's List approach to publishing v. one that relies on some rules and standards?