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?