This page is a subsection of the Unofficial Flags FAQ
Page updated 9-22-2011

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best of craigslist

A: Should I flag ads and what do those flag links do??

Should you flag ads?

Absolutely. But flag bad ones, ok? Craigslist itself doesn't need ads that violate its Terms of Use and YOU don't need ads that annoy you. The Community Moderation (flagging) system is the only way to keep YOUR craigslist site free of the junk. If craigslist tried to review every ad, the cost would be prohibitive.

Another advantage of flagging is that individual communities can set their own standards. People can, and do, flag off ads they don't like. On one site people may not like some sort of ad and flag them off regularly, on another, nobody may care and the ads stay up. It can be tricky to navigate these unwritten rules. Hopefully this document can help.

It's kinda tough when it's your ox that just got gored---and it's a good bet that if you are reading this page you just had an ad flagged off. But without the flagging system, you would either be paying as much or more than eBay for an ad---or your site would be unusable.Your ad and others would be buried under the garbage.

What do the flag buttons do?

Well, three of them remove ads that readers (like you) don't like. The fourth nominates an ad readers like a lot for the Best Of page. If an ad gets enough flags, it's history. This system is fully automatic, nobody reviews it unless it is the best of craigslist flag. If an ad is removed the person who posted it gets an unbelievably polite email telling them their ad's toast--but not much else. (If your ad got flagged off go here in this FAQ). The number of flags needed to remove a post varies by category and city. CL staff can change the flag thresholds as they see fit. They don't tell people what those thresholds are. One person can flag an ad more than once (and have it count) but it is a real pain to do multiple flags and nobody bothers (I mean a real pain).

The CL help system has information on what the links mean subtly hidden here and here. If you pause your mouse over a flag button a little clue-me pops up as well.


Use this flag when an ad is placed in a category that is either totally irrelevant or when the ad could be better placed in another category. So use this flag to removes ads in your favorite category that really should be in someone else's favorite category. If it looks like someone just made a mistake (like a Ticket ad in Tools) you might send them a little heads-up-o-gram; "Hi, I saw your ad for a Ticket in Tools. Is this a mistake? Thought you might want to know. Cheers!".

Some examples:


Use this flag to help clean up stuff that is against the craigslist TOU or really blows it on any of the posting guidelines. If you don't want to see ads for guns, drugs, hookers, scams, etc. then it is up to you to flag them. If the situation is really serious or you think it needs immediate attention, see this.

Read through the craigslist terms of use at least once. (twice if you weren't sober the first time) Check out the Prohibited Items list. Understand more stuff is prohibited than is on the list (use common sense) Read all the help FAQs. Ask questions in the Help Desk forum if you aren't clear about something you are considering doing. It's pretty simple. Play Nicely With Others....but especially Play Nicely With Craigslist. They are bringing you this incredible resource for free. Show some class and have some respect, O.K.?


If you're tired of commercial outfits posting their HTML drenched come-ons anywhere but in Services (or listing as By Dealer where permitted), minor entrepreneurs top posting their ad 14 times a day, the third rendition of the same sad song in yet another category...well, it's up to you to flag them. You are the "Community" part of "Community Moderation". Keeping craigslist from getting junked up with spam is up to you. If some spammer simply has too many ads up to flag, see this. Specifically, per the craigslist TOU, use this flag for ads that include Content...

Posting too frequently (overposting) is a major problem. This really pisses people off. If you think your ad has to be one of the top ten on the page...well...what about everybody else? Everybody can't be on the top of the pile. So Play Nicely With Others. Take your turn. Sure, there are web sites on the net that claim to have great advice on how to market on craigslist. A lot of them advocate being an asshole. If you want to get something done, acting greedy with a nice free service hurts your image in the eyes of the people you want to reach. Acting pushy in any way will make you look like someone people DO NOT want to deal with.
Don't post more than one ad for the same item. Don't repost your ad more than once every 48 hours. Always delete the old ad when posting a new one.

Some examples:

best of

These are for the best of the best, the creme de la creme, the gold medal winning, the sparkly shiny, the... well, you get the idea. This special flag is to nominate and/or vote for a post that deserves to be added to the Best Of craigslist page. When a post gets enough of these flags the CL staff looks it over for inclusion on the Best Of page.

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