Nextdoor.com is a service that basically acts like Facebook for your community. While Facebook is focused on connecting you with friends and acquaintances and people driven by collecting “friends,” Nextdoor is driven by connecting you by neighborhood.
On Nextdoor, you don’t connect to others to start a network. Instead, you can post things of interest to the finite area that is your neighborhood. You can ask them questions about local road construction or stores. You can report suspicious activity (a Nextdoor staple) or alert people to events or other activities. You can also sell things or ask for local recommendations – a good contractor or family dentist, for examples.
You can also start topical threads that only people in your neighborhood can read. Usually it’s local events, or a local take on national events. Though sometimes, it’s simply about a broader topic.
I’ve been active on many such threads in the past, and because I’m in Seattle, I’m typically the only one talking any sense at all. Everyone else just parrots and fawns all over each other trying to see who can articulate the same point the best.
It’s probably not a shock that I enjoy these exchanges and opportunities to make points and share information these people would otherwise never experience. Or at least I did.
Last week, I engaged in a fairly controversial thread, responding to several commentators with whom I disagreed. But as I found myself going back to keep up with the conversation, entire limbs of the conversation tree had simply vanished.
Things I had written, along with some of the things others had written, were simply gone without a trace. There was no email notification. I was never notified to even learn what was “wrong” with my comment. No indication through the website tools that someone was deleting my comments. They were just silently gone. Like they never existed.
Because there was no warning, I hadn’t made a copy of what I wrote so I couldn’t even rewrite it. I couldn’t even specifically identify what had been removed.
Worse, in some cases, whomever removed the posts didn’t remove the entire sub-thread. So some comments, which were responses to my comments, were left, while my comment was gone, removing the context of their standing comment.
When I asked the person who posted the original topic, they said they didn’t have the power to do that. I checked this by posting a thread of my own, and indeed, I couldn’t remove anyone who posted.
So I did a little research and learned that Nextdoor has “Neighborhood Leads.” This is how they describe them: “Leads are neighbors who are especially dedicated to their neighborhood and are committed to helping to cultivate a strong and healthy community on Nextdoor. They are neighbors like other members, except they have been granted additional capabilities to help their neighborhood run more smoothly.”
This is inherently contrary to the intent of the First Amendment. This gives the Leads arbitrary power to determine what content others get to read and what content is not fit for public consumption.
I’m sure Nextdoor thinks they’re applying a “reasonable person” standard, but when you live in a hyper-leftist area like Seattle where nearly everyone is like-minded, a simple conservative point can be seen as threatening and will be removed.
Plus, leftists are the worst people in which to entrust this power because they don’t believe in alternative points of view. Part of the leftist ethos is you either agree with them, or you need to be silenced. In an environment with these guidelines present, a system like Nextdoor’s “Neighborhood Leads” simply doesn’t work. It can’t work.
As a result, an enlightened, pure and just higher power in my neighborhood not only gets to determine what I can say to my own neighborhood, but what I can hear, as well.
It’s important for people to realize this is hardly new. This is exactly the kind of speech supression happening all over America, and it’s limiting our access to alternative ideas and thoughts, which will ultimately make us a poorer and more divided nation.
If you’re on Nextdoor, look into this policy, find out who your Neighborhood Leads are, and let’s make them fix this now.