Nextdoor, a platform for pro-recall
By Erica Aitken
I found someone’s cat, bought a slightly used rug, hired a dog trainer, all thanks to Nextdoor.
There is a minority of active participants looking for balance in the social and political discussions on the Nextdoor forums. When I posted an invitation to discuss the recall, looking for a balanced discussion, trouble started. People posted numerous comments about Krohn, Glover, homelessness, drugs, needles and loitering. Everyone knows that the recall is not about Krohn and Glover but their commitment to the homeless and low income renters.
Pro recall comments were posted every day while those who defended Krohn or Glover were firmly silenced or rudely treated.
I continue posting on Nextdoor because we should offer different, kinder and more compassionate views, on the recall and associated social issues. Whereas I was banned three times with the head scratching reason of not following guidelines, pro recall people went on posting their messages without consequences. Several articulate, polite contributors were banned because they opposed the recall. To illustrate bias, here are a few examples: Removed for being political: “The composition of our elected city council allows for better representation of our community as a whole. Many say that Drew Glover does not represent their interests and that may be true. But he represents the interests of other segments of the population that are just as deserving. Many of the other council members represent a large portion of the Nextdoor community. If only to honor representation for all, we should refuse to endorse the recall.”
Not considered political (headlines only): When and Where You can sign the RECALL KROHN AND GLOVER Petition Recall Petitions for SC City Councilmen Drew Glover & Chris Krohn the city of the zombies, the human waste, the trash, the entitled, the rats, the needles... etc.
Eventually, people began asking questions about the structure and rules governing Nextdoor: Only Nextdoor staff can revoke log-in privileges. Leads, who are volunteers, can delete content. All are required to base their actions on Nextdoor guidelines so broad that most social and political posts could be deleted. And so, when someone posts an argument against the recall and its related issues, there is always a rule to justify censure.
At the request of Nextdoor’s members, a few of the Leads began to answer questions about bias. One lead, who is a very active pro recall member of Santa Cruz United, denied bias, another posted these numbers:
• Of 14 pro-recall posts that had been reported by 20 members, four leads voted to remove, two to consider removing, and 39 voted do not remove. Member reports to remove were overruled by 10:1.
• Of 7 anti-recall posts that had been reported (often by the leads who then voted on them), 19 votes were cast to remove and four votes to not remove. Votes to keep visible were overruled by 5:1. …
• I’m not interested in the debate, only that for every member report of a pro-recall post, Nextdoor leads have voted to keep it visible while anti-recall posts with new information and no violations are removed.
Why is this important? Because Nextdoor is the largest community forum in the country, with 700,000 daily users, and 78 neighborhoods in Santa Cruz alone. It is a huge opportunity for free political discourse under the guise of neighborly discussions. But it is biased and Leads who are active in the recall movement have the power to delete dissenting opinions. Nextdoor must either remove all political posts, or declare its political and social affiliations. Leads, who are active politically, should recuse themselves from voting. The conflict of interest is glaring.
I join this neighbor who posted: “I urge all fair-minded persons to help stop this exploitation of Nextdoor to oust our local progesssive, fairly elected city council members Chris Krohn and Drew Glover.” Erica Aitken is a Santa Cruz resident.