If anything this article says "Nextdoor is doing the same thing as every other company", which doesn't make me less likely to use the site from time to time.
I do agree with it though... “You want a police officer who has the best interests of their specific community at heart. You don’t want a police officer who’s brand loyal.”
Hi Tom, that white car is mine. I have delivered your newspaper every day for the last 5 years with it.
In many areas, NextDoor appears to be a glorified, technically-incompetent mailing list populated by pathetic NIMBYs. There was someone on there seriously complaining about a chirping bird outside his window in the morning.
NextDoor is also underhanded and thinks nothing of bringing harassment down on its users by
1. Spamming a user's neighbors without that user's permission, pretending that the user is "inviting" neighbors to join NextDoor.
2. Publishing users' addresses by default. This one ranks as one of the most offensive and idiotic privacy violations on a major platform today.
Publishing users' addresses by default.
So I shut off all Nextdoor notifications and only go on there when I am curious about something like you said, A late night explosion, helicopter, or if a business closed.
It was good at first, but like every community it seems the later adopters tend to be the worst. Now there are a lot of the types that call the police/town on everything or hold petty grudges against others due to what they view as transgressions. Pretty much always older people. You would think that having their real name out there would increase civility and make people more careful, but no. I just think younger people (people much younger than me like Gen Z'ers) more understand the permanence of interactions online, and just are more tolerant of other people. Whenever I feel myself getting cranky, I remember what it was like to always have "that person" on your block.
In all fairness, that could be said of approximately 99% of the apps and websites out there.
On the physical description it’s been pretty balanced some people go to lengths to avoid mentioning identifiable ethnicity others mention it even if it’s not clear it would be helpful.
I was in one neighborhood where it as constant panic (mostly from a couple people) about seeing things / people. I don't think it was rooted in racism, just some folks who were jumpy about anything / everything.
Another neighborhood it is mostly banal neighborhood type discussion.
I think this is how it works. It divides people up into "us" and "them" to build community. Tribalism.
But you have to be cautious because that can be a recipe for bad things.
> “We look to you as influencers in your industry,”
So, turn local cops into part-time salespeople for Nextdoor, and its advertising clients. What could go wrong?
When I was a public employee traveling and interacting with external entities, our ethics rules prohibited us from accepting token gifts/swag valued >$5 or alcohol. Bottle of water at a meeting was ok, pen was ok, a beer was not, a Starbucks was questionable.
Accepting a jacket would be serious — potentially a referral to the IG and potential civil fine or criminal prosecution.
The public perception of a police official walking around with branded swag of significant value is pretty obvious.
I think these would apply.
An example post on was where someone was complaining about a strange black man walking through their neighborhood.
Of course when you read the post carefully you would then come to realize, that this man was walking down the sidewalk, during the day, not bothering or talking to anyone, just minding his own business.
The reality is there was nothing particularly strange about this black man. Nothing in her description explains what he did that made him strange. She likely just finds it strange that a black man is walking through their neighborhood.
The other thing is these kinds of posts would always be followed up with someone along the lines of "keep an eye out for him" or "don't let him near your kids" or "call the police if you see him again" or that kind of fear-mongering nonsense.
I was honestly downright surprised how racist some of these people are.
To be fair, this isn't unique to Nextdoor. My relative is a state police and they get calls for things you can't even imagine, like "my kid won't listen to me, can you scare them straight?" or "the neighbor mowed one strip over the line, make them stop!" It just sucks when companies set out to exploit this human characteristic for profit but hide behind the guise of "open platform". "We're just trying to help build stronger neighborhoods", yeah sure you are.
this is a very strong claim. I certainly see a fair amount of cringy pear-clutching or downright racist posts, but I see a lot more posts that are pictures of cats asking if anyone is missing it. also some women and poc warning others about an individual that actually harassed them. is it possible the the posts are you seeing reflect your community more than the platform?
can't speak to this, as I use adblock when browsing. I don't doubt you, though.
> That's why crime posts are distributed to your whole city while general posts default to your neighborhood.
I don't see this. first of all, I don't actually see a specific "crime" category, presumably this falls under "safety". if I try to add a post to a specific category, I don't notice any difference in the default settings.
as for what I see in my home feed, I only see crime related posts from users in nearby locations (ie, my neighborhood and immediately adjacent ones). I only see city-wide posts from city officials, and these are on a variety of topics.
the maximum scope to which you could post was broadened to include your whole "wider area"
That's why crime posts are distributed to your whole city while general posts default to your neighborhood.
It is easy to make money off fear/hate than love/friendship. Racist people will always be racist, Nextdoor or not. It is just that sites like Nextdoor make it easier to vent and share their "feelings". If Nextdoor goes away, there will be 10 others to take its place unfortunately.
So if you see a black person in your neighrbourhood, they must be poor?
>> Asking what these individuals are doing out of their homes during this dire time for them in the U.S. is a prudent action.
So you know there's no house arrest for the general public anywhere in the US right now, plus social networks exist before & after covid?
>> Don't confuse The desire to protect them with allegations of subtle racism.
Yes - everyone's first reaction to the scenario described is "how can I protect this person from themselves?"
I'll give you the benefit of assuming you're just a really argumentative "debater" or this is a troll, otherwise... wow...
Someone in my neighborhood (in the most white-flighty of white-flighty suburbs, sigh) recently posted a picture from their stupid privacy invading doorbell camera of someone peeking in their front windows and asked if they should call the police, if you see this individual let someone know, etc.… on a house that was empty and for sale. No fucking shit he was peeking in the windows, he was probably thinking about buying the fucking place like everybody else peeking in the windows all damn day.
Similarly I've seen pictures of my own neighbor posted several times and labeled a "suspicious individual" while walking to the grocery or wherever. I walk the same route when I want to go to the hardware store or grocery, and somehow I (as a white dude) have never been labeled a "suspicious individual", and yet these people are still like "oh, it's not because he's black, I just didn't realize he lived here…"
I remember a Nextdoor post in my neighborhood where the author said they were out jogging and a black man in a pickup truck slowed down and asked for directions.
So many replies along the lines of “did you call the police? he could be casing the neighborhood.”
I’m pretty certain there wouldn’t have been a Nextdoor post made if it were a white guy in a sedan.
Once I lost my key to my bike lock and went ahead and got to cutting it. As I was about to take off a cruiser pulls up and takes my info in case someone reported it stolen. Neighbor called the police.
A while back if you were in a place you might not normally find yourself you were either “looking to score or you were a narc.”
Drive around the block three times in some neighborhoods raise alarms that you might be looking to do a drive by...
That seems very different than the examples you're replying to.
I suggested that maybe he leave traffic enforcement to the professionals, and if he noticed a rash of bad driving to maybe alert the police to step up patrol of the area. He doubled down on the character attacks and while I got a bunch of private messages saying thank you for saying something there was an equal amount of public posts from people thanking him for "keeping them safe".
It's not just NextDoor, many areas are on average racist and insular. One time I was strolling my baby, and there was a group of well-dressed, but wrongly colored, people (men, women, and children!) walking down the street. A woman pulled over in her shiny car to ask me if I knew these people, and I walked on and ignored her question. When I looked back, she had pulled over and was on her cellphone.
Good luck wherever you are going.
I sometimes take my mother to go see movies. I'm a fairly tall man, and my mom is a fairly short woman. Anyway, one day after seeing a movie, we had stopped in the parking lot near our cars to discuss what we did and did not like about the movie.
While we are talking, a woman drives up with window rolled down and says, "Is that man bothering you?"
My mom responds, "What?"
The woman repeats, "Is that man bothering you?"
My mom answers, "He's my son! No, he's not bothering me."
They were always there, but now they can talk to you, even if you would shun them in "real life".
I try to remember you can frame what they say in different ways. The "black man walking" post can be seen as "racist" or "badly written" or "someone has an anxiety disorder".
Sometimes, but sometimes they know what they're doing.
Living in a quiet suburb in South Carolina, I got tired of the shit I saw and had to stop using nextdoor.
This is from today, https://imgur.com/T9ILkYE
Some are quick to suggest calling the police, either not realizing or not caring that there's potential for things to escalate, & for someone to lose their life.
EDIT: I should note I have reported the member to Nextdoor Support a few times now to no avail.
> In the terms of Nextdoor’s NDA, advisory council members are not allowed to release public statements about the partnership without the consent of Nextdoor, nor are they able to follow a court order to disclose any information deemed confidential by Nextdoor without alerting the company first. The document is the same one it gives to all business partners, the company said, and is meant to protect confidential information like product ideas.
> ...Though there are few rules prohibiting them from signing such a document, the practice could help shroud government decisions from the public, says Guariglia from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. And the NDA’s “heads-up” clause could give agencies the leeway to alert the company before complying with freedom of information act requests.
> After CityLab requested public records from Husted’s department, he alerted Nextdoor spokesperson Edie Campbell-Urban, though he said that he wasn’t doing so because of any terms of the NDA. When CityLab requested similar records from Kagarise, the county’s Office of Risk Management services informed CityLab that it was delaying its answer, in part because they were busy dealing with Covid-19. They said they would also be informing Nextdoor Inc. of the public records request, pursuant to a state law protecting third parties from information “not in the public interest” that would “substantially and irreparably damage” the third party or the government.
Many people actually think ND is a public service. And this article is a big reason as to why that is... IMHO we should not have these types of entities in bed with local municipalities as it erodes both the public's trust and also undermines the sanctity of government.
Don't get me wrong. I like it, but it feels like I was tricked into providing them with my real information.
Also tbh I for this type of site I prefer real valid people than anonymous people. People being anonymous generates more noise than anything, take 4chan or reddit for example.
Ideally, local officials would have their own email list but then there is a discoverability problem.
It is not that I hate Nextdoor, but I put effort into eliminating interruptions and noise in my life so I can concentrate on the people and things I love.
The attention (and surveillance) economy makes a lot of money via non-obvious data use.
I've seen this on NextDoor myself. The most innocent Nosy Nancy post I saw was along the lines of: "Observed teenagers walking eastbound with backpacks. Suspicious. Took note, will call police." We live near a school. It was closing time. They were walking home. Add in the homeless in general, the Goodwill donation truck that seconds as a recycling center ["oh no, a homeless magnet!"], and so on and it's a real life NIMBY parody of 'Toxic Avenger'.
My cynical side jokes as follows:
* Twitter: Hate your heroes
* Facebook: Hate your friends//family
* NextDoor: Hate your neighbors
I'm glad I don't NextDoor anymore, and I'm on the Twitter//Facebook//Reddit triumvirate if that says anything.
NextDoor may not be a stone fence needing annual repair, but my noping out of it has tended toward better neighborly relationships.
The city and police share out the same stuff they do on their facebook pages and official website.
I do have a problem with NDAs signed by my local elected officials. I would like to know what they are up to, thank you very much.
A couple of years ago we got a post in our nextdoor group: "watch out - car burglary!".
Paraphrasing here - "be aware - someone is breaking in to cars parked outside and taking stuff. they got our gun last night!"
Another neighbor chimed in a day later with "yeah, got mine too!". There's only maybe 60 houses in the whole area, and... people are leaving guns in cars - one was unlocked.
This was, to my view, nowhere near "responsible gun ownership" - regardless of your 2A views, it just seems like that behavior should be illegal. But... it's not (at least in our state).
Over the last couple years, I've used it as a talking point when talking 'gun rights' stuff to people, and - surprisingly to me - I only get around 50% of "pro gun" people who agree with me that it's irresponsible behavior.
If I'm running errands around town, I can't bring my gun into certain businesses, or federal facilities like the post office. So it stays locked in my car, in a little lock box that is tethered to the metal seat base with steel cable (but the cable could be cut with big enough bolt cutters or an angle grinder).
I see no problems keeping guns in cars as long as they're secured, but I agree if your neighbors hadn't either locked theirs up somehow then that's irresponsible.
In your case, it's even worse if the gun really was stolen - Now a "bad guy" has it. Most people can't even keep their Twitter passwords safe, much less a weapon.
I would like for good and responsible people to own guns, if only I had ever met any good and responsible people.
Reason? Doing so would reduce their rights, increase their responsibilities, etc.
There are no social platforms that are VC backed that aren't going to at some point resort to the lowest common denominator of making a buck at someone's expense. And when you aren't paying for the product, then you are no longer able to control that exchange.
Google started off with Don't be Evil - now they force adverts from your competitors on your registered trademark and force you to advertise your own company name or lose customers - meanwhile for Google's products, no one can advertise in the same manner.
Facebook - well - that one is too long to even dive into.
Twitter - has done ok, sort of - but the problem with it's no policing policy is pretty rampant harassment that is also dealt with in an inconsistent manner.
That's why paying for something you create an exchange where the company providing that service has an incentive to keep you happy, not some advertising company. There is also competition that will naturally spring up, competing for that dollar.
If this is how Nextdoor chooses to behave, then it's useless to me. I've stopped using the app.
Also, my town and all nearby towns have FB groups. It's not at a neighborhood level like in Nextdoor but most towns are not that big that it matters much. I'm not big on those groups either, but I'm assuming with good group moderators you can get the same or even greater value. In that sense Nextdoor is just a feature...
I miss that street.
A woman in my neighborhood said she came home late one night and parked a couple of blocks from her home. She was walking home and a younger black male was walking behind her. As she walked closer to her home she said she felt he was getting closer to her. She turned around and said “night tonight buddy!” really loud. She was convinced the guy was out to rape her.
The only thing I like Nextdoor for is I can find neighbors in a day who I can sell or give away things I no longer need. It’s like Craigslist circa early 2000s in terms of genuine people who want to take it off your hands.
How is this a good thing for those of us who want to be left the fuck alone? How do we put an end to this ridiculous nonsense?
One of the internet's greatest gifts is the ability to communicate with so many people you would otherwise have never spoken to.
One of its greatest curses is that all of the stupid people, who used to only ever be able to talk to the other X stupid people in their small area, can now talk to a world wide network of stupid people. Pushing each other to ever increasing levels of stupidity that inevitably spills out onto everyone else's lives.
And unfortunately it seems there is no putting the genie back into the bottle.
The thing is, that's true. It's the way they're going about it and the fact that it's a messy public / private mix that raises ethical concerns. At some point we're going to need to rethink an official channel for government communications. Think about it: how dependent on social media have many of us been to find out the latest public health mandates? And how well do we feel like social media deals with fake news and fraud and privacy? The combination of those two is a big problem. There needs to be a better official communications platform.
The US Postal Service was seen as very fundamental to the forming of its government. Now, ignoring the financial woes and plundering by Congress, and ignoring the very lousy and incompetent service you can get from it in some places, it just has fundamental limitations in cost, speed, level of non-repudiation, etc. It's largely become a subsidized junk mail / litter distribution network. It's how I'm supposed to get official correspondence from the IRS, but it's harder than it should be to know it REALLY came from the IRS, and to prove that I REALLY replied on time, and to actually work towards a resolution. We can't use it for all our elections because of (real or not) fraud concerns so we use more inconvenient forms of voting. If you need to take someone to court you can't trust it, so you have to pay for expensive process service. It doesn't get used to notify me of changes in laws that affect me, like I might get fined if I go to the park with my kids tomorrow. It can't be used to tell me that I can't park my car where I usually do in 72 hours because of time-sensitive maintenance, we instead pay someone to put a note on my door and hope it doesn't blow away. It's not great. The de facto solution? Rely on NextDoor and Facebook. And we get ethical dilemmas like this article.
I really think at some point we need to declare some kind of Internet access a fundamental need as much as service by USPS (which is required to service every address) has been in the past, and not rely on private infrastructure for basic government services like this. As someone who tends to be libertarian and lives somewhat off-grid a lot of the time, I see the difficulties and fully expect that our government would screw up the execution of this. But at some point I think it's necessary and inevitable to at least try. The most basic functions of government could be done so much better.