Ready, Aim…

Joel Stein’s LA Times piece on Nextdoor is worth reading.

Not that he’s saying anything new–Oakland residents have been fighting Nextdoor’s rather lax and inconsistent approach to policing content for years. But he does say it entertainingly.

Nextdoor, for those of you who haven’t heard of it or were smart enough not to join, is supposed to be the electronic town square. Think Facebook, but strictly limited by geographic neighborhoods. You can see posts in your own neighborhood* and in adjoining neighborhoods, but nothing else.

* There are a number of methods used to verify that you live where you say you do. Some are of rather questionable utility, but at least Nextdoor is making an effort.

In theory, it’s a combination local bulletin board, neighborhood watch, and community chatline. In practice, well, as Joel says

In the alternative reality that is Nextdoor, people are committing crimes I’ve never even thought of: casing, lurking, knocking on doors at 11:45 p.m., coating mailbox flaps with glue, “asking people for jumper cables but not actually having a car,” light bulb stealing, taking photos of homes, being an “unstable female” and “stashing a car in my private garage.”

And he’s right on the money.

Except that he missed a couple of items. Roughly half the posts on any given day are pet related. “My dog/cat/parrot is missing.” “Somebody’s using the public park to train attack dogs.” And, of course, “All of you better stop letting your dogs crap on my yard!”

And then there’s the inevitable response to any post, frequently from multiple people:

“Someone claiming to be from PG&E knocked on my door.” “That’s a scam. He was just trying to see if anyone was home. If he comes back, shoot him.”

“There’s a strange man walking along the sidewalk. He had a camera and was taking pictures.” “He’s casing houses to break into later. If he comes on your property, shoot him.”

“I’m sick and tired of cleaning dog droppings off my lawn.” “Next time you see a dog on your lawn, shoot it.”

Are you seeing a pattern here?

Yes, even the missing pet posts get responses like “Don’t expect to see Fluffy again, ’cause I’m gonna shoot her if she keeps messing with my chickens.”

Don’t even think about reading any thread related to gun control, unless you really enjoy repeated regurgitation of the NRA’s favorite talking points, wild exaggerations, and outright lies, all mixed with threats of violence against anyone who “comes to take my guns.”

I don’t know, maybe it’s just here. According to Nextdoor, there are 237 people signed up in my neighborhood, and I can see posts from 6,756 people in the adjoining areas. That’s a small enough group–given that more than 90% of people on any social network rarely post more than once or twice–that a few lunatics may be disproportionately represented. Anyone else, especially in larger neighborhoods, seeing the same thing?

5 thoughts on “Ready, Aim…

  1. I can’t even look at that damn app anymore unless I can help someone with a pet. And there are too many of those. I’d share this on Facebook, but a Nextdoor member might shoot me.

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      • I did tweet it but stopped at posting it in my own neighborhood. We have a columnist–best writer in LB–who constantly pokes fun at them.

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  2. I’ve seen each of those sample posts in my feed, but no one has responded with “…shoot him” (except in the case of an actual illegal entry, presumably while at least one legal resident was on the premises).

    That aside, we do get our share of NRA talking points on occasion, but not that often. I did have the pleasure of slapping down someone who seriously thought “Blam! Second Amendment!” qualified as “legitimate debate about guns” although it (and that was the entire text of his post) followed 63 other comments about our Supervisor and his (lack of) response to crime.

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    • “Shoot him” is my condensed version of a longer–usually a paragraph or more–that starts out “You have the right to be safe in your own home. Go buy a gun before the liberals make it illegal, and if he comes back…”

      And if I see one more “But what about Chicago?” or “Criminals won’t turn in their guns if you make it illegal to own them,” I’m going to scream.

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