Gated Community NextDoor Booted Me for Publishing What People Say There

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Call the mods! It’s a NextDoor screengrab!

Earlier this evening, I received an email from NextDoor–the private social network that the city is using as a “public outreach” platform for events like yesterday’s “town hall” with police chief Kathleen O’Toole–kicking me off the platform.

The reason NextDoor gave me was that I had violated their terms of use by publishing information about what people were saying to each other on their site. Most of the comments I’ve highlighted have been about homeless encampments and RVs in neighborhoods like Magnolia and Ballard, for which NextDoor serves as a forum to vent about the homeless in terms that would, and have, shocked many of my readers when I’ve simply printed them verbatim.

“While I understand your motives for sharing this in your recent blog post [ECB: Nope, you don’t], the fact still stands that Nextdoor is a private social network and the content within should remain as such,” NextDoor representative Juli (no last name given) wrote. “We ask that you please edit your blog post to remove the private information from Nextdoor.”

This letter, which I assume originated with a complaint from someone who was unhappy that I brought their comments to light outside the gated community of NextDoor, is particularly timely in light of SPD’s defense of O’Toole’s town hall yesterday. In tweets directed at me (@ericacbarnett), SPD insisted that NextDoor is open to all; today’s email makes clear that NextDoor is very much a private club that allows neighbors to say to each other things that they wouldn’t say publicly–much like a traditional country club. Or, say, a gated community. Residents of my neighborhood can’t see what residents of your neighborhood say, and non-NextDoor members (a group that includes anyone without a fixed address, and, now, me) can’t see any of it.

This matters, for a few reasons. First, NextDoor is an extremely useful source of information for city officials and members of the media about what residents of different neighborhoods are concerned about. More important, it matters because NextDoor complaints actually influence city policy.

You could see that happening in real time yesterday. After a barrage of questions from north-end homeowners about car prowls, mail thefts, and other property crimes (which drowned out a smaller handful of questions about gang violence, guns, and police brutality in neighborhoods like the Central District), O’Toole responded only to the questions about property crimes, and last night announced the creation of a special property crimes division that will focus “almost exclusively,” in her words, on the north end.

So I ask, again, why are Mayor Ed Murray, the entire Seattle City Council, and the Seattle Police Department using NextDoor–a private social network dominated by homeowners and the whiter, more privileged parts of the city–as a conduit to their constituents?

19 thoughts on “Gated Community NextDoor Booted Me for Publishing What People Say There”

  1. I didn’t say I’m a man or a homeowner you ignorant fool!

    People like you think they can bully people into silence. Seattle is waking up to the inefficient use of our taxpayer’s money. If you had access to NextDoor you could see change coming!

  2. I agree with Jim. You are just a blogger. You’re a bitter blogger with hatred toward people who have worked hard and achieved more than you.

    You’re no better than a middle school bully seeking attention by distorting what others say for your own benefit. You seek approval from others who share your disdain for homeowners who expect the city to enforce laws so the community is safe and sanitary. If you work hard and save you could also buy a home.

    Journalists have integrity and don’t distort facts for personal gain . Grow up and lose your sense of entitlement. Stop playing the victim and take responsibility for your actions.

    Maybe one day you’ll be able to call yourself a journalist.

    1. I’m a homeowner too, DW and you can Go fuck your self-satisfied self. Smug little men like you put other single-family home owner’s to shame.

      A “private” forum being used for purposes of governance (SPD outreach, Mayor’s office, etc.) doesn’t strike you as incongruous?. Talking about terms of service versus this masquerade of “community” is missing the forest before the trees.

      1. OldYelli. What makes you think you know anything about me? Talk about missing the forest for the trees, the forum was not closed to her until she broke the rules. There’s no priledged country club. Anyone has access to NextDoor unless they break the rules. What right does she or anyone else have to break the rules whenever they want?

        Judging by the way you write you’re an uneducated hick who doesn’t have reading comprehension skills certainly no understanding of economics.

        Remember what happened to the dog by the same name you use? I felt sorry for the dog but not an ignorant hick like you.

  3. Anyone can join NextDoor and participate in discussions , read comments, etc. all it takes is verification of your address to verify your neighborhood. There’s no “gated community”.

    Unfortunately, for you there are terms and conditions and you didn’t follow the rules so they revoked your access. You’re being overly dramatic calling it a priledged group like its some kind of country club.

    Why do you have such a sense of entitlement? You’re not doing any favors to the people who follow you by playing the victim. Be mature and own up to your actions. You don’t have a right to do anything you want.

  4. I disagree with Erica on some of her positions, but these attacks on her person are lame. Let’s try to keep the discussion focused on the issues. In this case, the question is not whether NextDoor had the legal right to boot Erica off their service but whether what they did was fair, and whether it serves the purpose of public debate on homelessness.

    1. I disagree. The fairness aspect isn’t a question for NextDoor. They are a private enterprise. The question is whether the City can participate in the manner they do and still comply with public disclosure rules.

  5. Erica – calling yourself an journalist may be stretching it a bit….
    You seem to be more of a blog poster or twitter enthusiast. Not a lot of real journalism on this blog. Need more facts and data, less sensationalism to cater to your fellow SFH bashers.

  6. I belong to a neighborhood group that focuses on the issue of homelessness. When we were forming the group we were told loud and clear by people from the City including SPD that they could only participate if our meetings were open to the public. Why then can NextDoor dictate who can and who cannot join their discussions and still have City officials such as the Chief of Police participate in the discussion.

    1. That doesn’t sound like NextDoor’s problem. It’s the City that must comply with public disclosure rules.

  7. Um, I guess I struck a nerve.
    But in the interest in “truth in reporting” your headline should read: Nextdoor booted me for violating their Terms & Conditions”. Fact is, you don’t have a right to their service (it’s granted in part by adhering to their T’s & C’s, and also by living and posting within one of their defined neighborhoods), just along will the rest of us. I find nothing elitist about playing by the rules set by the free service providing them to you, is there?

  8. I’m still trying to find the entrance to the White, Wealthy Country Clubs in Seattle. Where are these Northend gated communities with privileged residents who have concerns about car prowls, mail thefts, and other property crimes? It appears SPD has just find out the Northend exists and will actually patrol this new area. If we could just fix the issue of renters being denied the opportunity to become part of the privileged Single Family Housing elite, things would be great and we would all be riding Pronto bikes.

  9. >>So I ask, again, why are Mayor Ed Murray, the entire Seattle City Council, and the Seattle Police Department using NextDoor–a private social network dominated by homeowners and the whiter, more privileged parts of the city–as a conduit to their constituents?
    –I support you on this, Erica, because I’m against censorship and for open public discourse.
    I would differ with your characterization of Murray and the Council as getting input exclusively from “privileged” people (a category that almost certainly includes yourself). Non-profits that supposedly serve the homeless also have their “conduits,” and if you were to check the sign-in sheet at the Mayor’s office you would see that personnel from these non-profits get a big chunk of the Mayor’s face time . . . as well as the taxpayers’ money.
    Same goes for the City Council. Kshama Sawant regularly meets with SHARE and LIHI, for example, but when I send her an e-mail asking about abuse of people at homeless camps run by these organizations . . . crickets.

    1. While I may disagree with some of NextDoors comments it is part of the rules that you can’t post members comments on other sites. It’s not tough becoming a member, just sign up with your email. You agreed to these terms when you signed up, why are you upset about it now? Also, you did a lot of picking and choosing with what you quoted, leaving out the entire context of many comments. You’re not a dumb women, there’s no need to resort to Fox “News”-type blogging.

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