I'd logged into the personal ad service OKCupid. The first thing that surprised me was that I had a message in my inbox which I had not been notified of. The second was that I was surprised to see that I had a long list of "stalkers".
OKCupid's notion of "stalking" is when someone clicks on your profile. This happens to me very rarely IRL. I logged in this AM and did indeed have a "message" in my inbox, which was actually a notification that a user had added me to their "favorites" list. This was clearly not a genuine profile, someone listed in Washington with ID Olga_Wil87
As I looked down the list to see who'd clicked on me, it was mostly all variations of the same photograph on the profile--a photograph of a woman with medium-length dark hair who was sitting next to a dog. Every account had a user name that was some variation of "Selena"--e.g. SelenaMama5, MySelena, etc.
This point of view switched to where I was reading some personals on Craigslist. Their quality surprised me--there were dozens of lengthy, interesting ads. In one of them, the woman was describing how she couldn't stop herself from going out and picking "copyfights"--elaborate anti-copyright battles that she knew she could not win. In another, one was talking about how isolated she felt and that she was going through "maniations".
In the reality I'm familiar with, Craigslist personal ads are 99.9% inane. There's a lot of obvious spam, though the most recent posting right as of this moment is this one...:
This is who I am... - 39(in Long Beach area)
Reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: 2009-02-23, 7:24AM PST
I would describe myself as a striking cutie, I can admit that like most people, some aspects of me are high maintenance ... heehee, but I am also high performance. I am warm hearted, lovely, gorgeous, inviting, fit, desirable, sexy, & easy going.
Each day I chase time & therefore Im known to bee a workaholic. Although I love living my life too the fullest, I still find time for family and friends. Lookin' for a man who can handle me & take charge without stepping on my toes.
...which is sadly above-average. But I'd put about on par with spam in terms of how easy it would be to auto-generate (whether it was auto-generated or not.
Currently I am experimenting with using Disqus for comments, however it is configured that you don't have to log in or tie it to an account. Simply check the "I'd rather post as a guest" button after clicking in the spot to type in a name.