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How Nextdoor courts police and public officials (citylab.com)
128 points by SamWhited 11 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 106 comments

Nextdoor seems to be one of those sites that divide people, especially here. I'm more or less on the fence with this one. It seems decent enough in my neighborhood. Just this week it was the only place I could look to find out what exploded in the middle of the night (It was a transformer). The posts and comments tend to be pretty decent, usually. We seem to be avoiding the things that seem to be a problem in other areas, at least so far. Like the article says "Nextdoor has also been a hotbed of racial profiling and tattling." and I've not seen much of that here.

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.”

We had a pretty epic one about someone posting about a very, very suspicious white car going around the neighborhood at 3:30 am, pulling up to houses, etc. A long list of comments about how everything is going to hell, things aren't like they used to be, this is why you should buy a gun, blaming the local officials and political party, etc. Finally, a post:

Hi Tom, that white car is mine. I have delivered your newspaper every day for the last 5 years with it.

I think that is an exception. Most of what I see is heads up about people casing houses and testing car doors, usually with a short video demonstrating and backing up the claims. It’s also helped with youth vandalism.

I don't think that we can judge whether that's an exception without going through a lot of data, esp. since different neighborhoods aren't likely to be at all consistent, esp with age and regional differences. I used to see a lot of cases of old racist neighbors jumping to conclusions or confabulating a bigoted story from a few inconclusive pieces of evidence that mostly amounted to "a black person is present in our neighborhood so they're probably a criminal." I don't look at NextDoor anymore.

We had a similar one in my area that turned out to be a food-delivery guy.

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. 
I have never seen users identified automatically by anything more detailed than general neighborhood.

Hahahahaha, I was imagining it was something like that and it was confirmed at the end. I see posts like this in our Nextdoor too. What's silly is .. the area I'm in forgets this. So it gets reposted probably every 2-3 weeks, sometimes by the same person.

I found it is most useful to just use it as a "pull" resource and not allow it to push you anything. I don't care about the guy complaining about a neighbor using his leaf blower at 8am, or the person complaining the FedEx driver delivered their package with no mask on (seriously).

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.

>I found it is most useful to just use it as a "pull" resource and not allow it to push you anything.

In all fairness, that could be said of approximately 99% of the apps and websites out there.

I'm always torn about Nextdoor as well. On the one hand, I love the idea of a hyper-local social media network that prioritizes civic engagement. On the other hand, such a platform should be a not-for-profit or possibly a cooperative. A company can set lofty goals all they want (and I will give them the benefit of the doubt and say that they probably actually believe in their mission, etc.), but the pressures placed on a for-profit company are inherently in direct opposition to the goals they state. If it ever comes down to a choice between doing something bad that their investors want to get X more people on the platform and doing something right for their communities, they will have to pick the former under US law. While this is generally a hand-wavey argument and I have no specific example of this to cite, it doesn't become a problem until it does, and it's very likely to become a problem if it isn't already.

Mine has been okay. It provides a pulse of the neighborhood. What thieves are up to and a bit of nosiness (should you wear, you must wear masks...). Heads up about people blocking driveways -hey you’re gonna get towed by the city, move it.

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.

It keeps me up to date with the pulse of the community. Oh also a bit of Craigslist in terms of used items for sale.

It seems very neighborhood / participant specific.

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.

It's been fine for me as a local news source and great for buying/selling stuff. More trustworthy/reliable than Craigslist or FB Marketplace.

> Nextdoor seems to be one of those sites that divide people

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.

Who asked for a police officer? They can mind their own business.

haha I think we might be in the same neighborhood

>they’d stay at the Hilton Union Square, eat and drink at Cultivar, share a tour of Chinatown, and receive matching Uniqlo jackets. All costs — a projected $16,900 for the group,

> “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?

That’s gross.

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.

That's what I was thinking too. Accepting gifts like that is one of the few things that could get a federal employee fired (among other things) very quickly. It is self and peer policed very heavily.

Peer policing of corruption? In the police force? The framework of threats and loyalties that a federal employee operates in is completely different from that of a cop.

Most cops are not federal employees its very devolved in the USA with no common standards for training background checks and so on.

Usually state laws exist for the same thing. This was Arizona?



I think these would apply.

Seems like it's time to fire some people, this is not going to be the last time somebody plies police officers, but every time should be the last for someone.

I kept seeing a lot posts on Nextdoor from people who don't realize they are racist.

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.

Agreed. Nextdoor's whole model is built around fear-mongering. It is despicable. This is where the "see something, say something" can go too far. A guy driving a van through your neighborhood could be a plumber and not a pedophile trying to kidnap your kids. There seems to be no sense of "suspicious activity" before these people start spewing nonsense.

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.

> Nextdoor's whole model is built around fear-mongering.

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?

Nextdoor's revenue model is 100% fear-based. That's why there is an advert for ADT or Ring at the top of every feed, every day. That's why crime posts are distributed to your whole city while general posts default to your neighborhood.

> That's why there is an advert for ADT or Ring at the top of every feed, every day.

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.

I can't verify this any more because I spiked my Nextdoor account by "moving" to Comiskey Park, but when I used it "Crime & Safety" was one of the top-level categories under which you could post, along with General, For Sale, etc. When you chose Crime & Safety, the maximum scope to which you could post was broadened to include your whole "wider area" which for me was all of central and north Oakland, Piedmont, and Alameda.

  the maximum scope to which you could post was broadened to include your whole "wider area"
This works the same for all categories, even For Sale and Free.

  That's why crime posts are distributed to your whole city while general posts default to your neighborhood.
That's false.

It just sucks when companies set out to exploit this human characteristic for profit

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.


We ban accounts that troll HN like this. Please don't do it again. And please stop using HN for ideological battle generally. We've already had to warn you once.


>> People of color and economically challenged individuals

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...

This has been going on since the beginning of the platform, far before the shelter in place orders went into effect.

This is either sarcasm or a troll.

+100 to this. I’ve seen so many chem trails and 5g bs sprouted in my feed. Because this kind of content involves a lot of discussion, it gets pushed higher in my feed ;(

One of the problems of Nextdoor's fear-based social network is that "crime and safety" topics are more widely distributed than general topics, so one racist anywhere in your city can poison the whole thing. And it's not just racism. For some reason violent drivers feel like it is a safe space to openly advocate for running down bicyclists and stuff like that.

Warning: rant (but a hopefully useful example of this, none the less) ahead.

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 used to live in a neighborhood that had a few little spurs of discontinuous streets that were the same name as some half a mile away. So we’d get people lost in there all the time.

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.

I think it depends on what neighborhood the guy in the sedan is driving in. If he’s out of place, he’ll probably get tagged. People are suspicious of strangers.

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...

> 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.

That seems very different than the examples you're replying to.

Is it different from walking up a block peering into cars and testing doors?

The black guy in the story you replied to "slowed down and asked for directions"; he was not "walking up a block peering into cars and testing doors".

That I agree with. Asking for directions is different. What I’m saying is what I see in my ND is the behavior I outlined.

I got off of Nextdoor when I saw a 'neighbor' who took to taking photos of people driving(in his words) like an idiot. The way he would take the photos is to chase them down, pull out his phone while driving and take a photo of the car. Then he would post a meme like photo of the car calling the person some variation of a jackass/moron/etc. When I pointed out the irony of chasing someone down to take their picture, I got a bunch of ad hominem attacks and accusations that I was one of the people he had named and shamed. (I wasnt).

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". Sigh...

Where do you live? This was also my experience moving to Spring, TX (a suburb of Houston), which I'm now leaving because of this type of attitude, among other things.

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.

God nextdoor is so bad here in Spring. Half the posts are religious and the other half are racist rants. I'm white, but I have black neighbors. So what? They are nice people. I will say that the majority of the people that are like that are the older ones.

Good luck wherever you are going.

I had a similarly awkward conversation.

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."

I am on the opposite side of Houston from you, but its the same here- see my comment re: the 'idiot' drivers. I even have a guy in my neighborhood who has linked property tax increases to globalism and UN resolutions to reclaim land that has water under it.

I won't give the exact city, but let's say in the DFW area.

Maybe Texas is the problem and not NextDoor :)

The blessing and curse of social sites in this modern world is that it gives us a view of the mind of people we would never have interacted with 10 years ago.

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".

“I don’t like that man. I must get to know him.” Is as true today as it ever was.

> I kept seeing a lot posts on Nextdoor from people who don't realize they are racist.

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.

Fwiw, I had exactly the same thing happen a while ago at the University institute I worked at, via plain old email. There were some thefts from offices, and several people started posting "watch out for strange persons" posts, including descriptions of the "strange people" that were clearly racist, to the institute mailing list.

Could be racist or someone seeing an unfamiliar person in their neighborhood and using the most obvious descriptive terms. For example, my neighborhood has a single road in and water around 2/3s of it. I am familiar with at least familiar most of my neighbors, and it would be odd to see a person I have never seen walking around. But, instead of going to Nextdoor (which is garbage) I would say hey and introduce myself.

Yeah, I steer clear of the Crime & Safety section... I'm strictly on there for important neighborhood announcements, etc.

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.

Here’s a resource you can use next time you see racial profiling taking place on Nextdoor: https://go.us.nextdoor.com/safety/preventing-profiling-how

The problem is .. what if your Leads are the racist people like they are in my "neighborhood" (which consists of like, 30 neighborhoods..?).

EDIT: I should note I have reported the member to Nextdoor Support a few times now to no avail.

It is concerning that you’re saying members and your Leads are racist. Hoping you also reported the Leads to Nextdoor.

It's .. kind of something I fear comes with my area. I live in South Florida and have a ton of retirees around me. One of the giant 55+ communities is within a few miles of me. I've reported them time and time again, but obviously they do not care to moderate their platform.

As reported, it seems that Nextdoor has a non-disclosure agreement that – without determined legal pushback – all but guarantees a chilling effect on how gov't agencies respond to public records requests, including when Nextdoor data is used to tip police investigations:

> 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.

This company is far more dangerous than FB. They masquerade as a public service but are nothing more than a data mining trick to cull PII from as many as possible. I have read it described as Twitter for old people, but to me, its where the dumbest and the most gullible seem to hang. Its really a site for 'Karen's' to whine and complain about the most asinine things... But its their underlying business model that is atrocious. IMHO its the worst social media outlet around.

No doubt it’s a data vacuuming powerhouse. Likely on the level of Facebook... but they are not only about complainers. It’s like a town square. You get a heads up to what’s going on. Changes, news, public issues, etc. it’s useful but with some drawbacks.

My problem isnt the community, its the way they trick people into signing up and how they then collect and sell the data.

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.

This. Looking back I signed up for it thinking it is a local service provided by the library ( it is my bad for not actually reading ), which was reaffirmed by welcome package being hand delivered by the library official near me.

Don't get me wrong. I like it, but it feels like I was tricked into providing them with my real information.

I agree with what you said. I do think there should be some linkage enabling law enforcement to interact with users but not misrepresent that as the ND being part of the PD. It’s a connector. You can reach out to your PD right there, provide footage of applicable, etc.

It’s worth reading the privacy policy: https://legal.nextdoor.com/us-privacy-policy-2020/ Not seeing any PII disclosure.

They collect and require your name and your actual home address (and they verify these) all as part of their required registration. What could be more PII than that? Seriously. What?

I don't see where they sell that?

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.

Right that makes sense that you need your name and address to verify. I’m not seeing the part where they sell that. That’s what I meant by “disclosure”. Sorry for the confusion.

My guess is that the TOS and PP are separated and offer different levels of disclosure based on "use"... For instance, going to ND.com is PP, using the service you agree to X,Y,Z...

If you walked outdoors and talked to your neighbors, they'd see where you live.

And not a single one would spy on you, stalk you, sell your conversation or try and sell you some crappy item based on your voice let alone sell your photo as theirs... Real life is not filled with pervasive and creepy stalking nor does it require you to accept an ever changing contract just for the privilege of being outside..,

Nextdoor is quickly becoming a detestable social network experience. I've noticed that over the last year or so, it's almost exclusively negativity or fear based in its content. Most posts are either people complaining or tattling on something that is a minor nuisance at best or fear mongering for larger issues. I've seen very, very limited positive benefit from the platform. It strikes me as something that had great potential, but is just turning in to a cesspool as it grows.

What are some of the things that you are hoping to see going on in your neighborhood?

Information seeking, curiosity, chances to share in experience, people seeking help, people offering help, fellowship.

I see those on my Nextdoor everyday.

Signed up for Nextdoor, but the noise level was not good. I muted everyone but our local Chief of Police.

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.

> in calmer times, Nextdoor has also been a hotbed of racial profiling and tattling.

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.

My nextdoor community is pretty quiet, mostly people seeking handymen, landscapers, etc., lost and found pets, overall pretty quiet and boring. Every now and then there is flare up around some issue, such as, fireworks, junk cars, prowlers, and so on. But they are pretty minor compared to FB or Twitter. Few people engage in that behavior in my neighborhood nextdoor I guess.

The city and police share out the same stuff they do on their facebook pages and official website.

I like Nextdoor. Its focus on 'hyper local' allows me to get recommendations for local businesses.

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.

Awful idea of a company we don't need as a society. If you want to connect with your neighbours go talk to them, go and plan something for the street/neighbourhood, participate in local festivities, buy in local stores. Human contact is what we need, no virtual substitutes. If there's an issue, solve it in person, speaking... Not to talk about tracking and privacy concerns.

This makes sense for your immediate neighbors. It gets trickier to go door to door meeting your neighbors around the entire block for example. Especially during SIP! That’s where you probably want to meet your neighbors online then connect with them later offline.

You're living there so you could do one a week until you've met them all. Also, block parties are great.

My nextdoor story:

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.

How do you know the gun wasn't in one of those little portable safes? Or in a locked glove box?

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.

I don't, certainly. Had they said "they got bolt cutters and cut through my steel cable securing my portable gun safe!" I'd have been a bit more impressed. Two people within a few days just... not sure they both had portable gun safes broken in to. Possibility certainly - might ask one (one of them moved away recently).

Elsewhere online, someone planned to "lose" their guns while fishing if the government ever wanted to take them. Who's gonna bother diving into a lake to prove one person is lying?

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.

People tend to believe that they have no responsibility to not bait criminals, acknowledge fault if their actions enabled crimes, etc.

Reason? Doing so would reduce their rights, increase their responsibilities, etc.

I was pressured into signing up for NextDoor in order to participate in a local civic function. The whole experience felt very sketchy (ironic because a lot of the my neighborhood is people complaining about 'shady' characters). They had a slew of dark patterns in their sign up to try to get me to give out email addresses of friends so that they could be spammed with signup emails. The network is fine, but having public civic functions existing behind a closed wall owned by a private company is a really bad idea. Using Craigslist would be way less sketchy.

Craigslist would not be where I would recommend operating civic functions.

It's a tired saying, but no less, true if you aren't paying for it you are the product.

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.

I wrote a post on Nextdoor, criticizing some of the decisions made by local officials. It got a few responses, and then a day or two later, silently disappeared. I didn't get any notification that it was gone; it had just been quietly deleted with no notification to me.

If this is how Nextdoor chooses to behave, then it's useless to me. I've stopped using the app.

I think it all depends on which location you are in. My location has been great especially during this time and people are offering help and also giving away food for the less abled.Also the other day there was something that sounded like gunshots, police were called and I found out it was nothing bad on nextdoor first than my local news site or twitter.

Initially I thought Nextdoor is a great idea. A place where you can get to know your neighbors, ask for recommendations for local labor, discover new restaurants that opened in town, etc. Like everyone already mentioned, the noise ratio made it hard to use and I quickly didn't bother to log in and canceled all notifications.

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 used to live on a street that had our own Facebook group. It was all things like "They're inspecting trash cans on the sidewalk again, I threw all your trash cans up on your porches to avoid the fine" and "Tim's backyard bike shop is open again, stop by with a six pack for a tune up"

I miss that street.

Nextdoor definitely has its share of racist sounding posts.

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.

The worst part about this type of social network is the people it brings out of the woodwork. Those crazy assholes who live in your neighborhood who were otherwise confined to passive aggressive letters and shouting at you as you take down your trash now have the ability to band together with other asshole neighbors and get the police involved whenever they collectively feel an emotional response about something.

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?

As another person who mostly wants to be left the fuck alone as well:

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.

>> Nextdoor and the public agencies it works with say that close ties between the social media platform and the government can help them both do their jobs better.

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.

I don’t understand the problem with law enforcement. Can someone explain the risks/problems? Because I’ve only ever used NextDoor to get referrals for plumbers, handymen, electricians, gardeners, etc.

What do cops get out of NextDoor? Please help me to understand

I think the worst thing I've seen popping up on Nextdoor is quarantine zealots reporting people to the police for leaving the house for "non-essential" reasons. The most recent example I saw was a hairdresser using Nextdoor to schedule 1 on 1 house calls since they can't pay their bills due to the quarantine, and a busybody reported them because "millions of people will die if we don't stay inside". I don't know what ended up happening to the hairdresser though.

It's a sign of the times that this article doesn't mention any FBI corruption investigation, which is is clearly necessary here.

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