For the third time since joining the so-called neighborhood social network in August 2017, I write about leaving. Previously: October 2018 and July 2019. Pandemic, pets (lost ones), police, politics, and protests were all good reasons to make 2020 a grand return. Every week passes like a lifetime this year. Many of us are confined to our residences or street, because of “shelter-in-place” and “social-distancing” orders; fear of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19—infection; work-from-home requirements; job loss; or school closures. Nextdoor was a way to connect and to stay informed.
But, today, I unceremoniously deactivated my account, once more, because the mandatory “Good Neighbor Pledge” offends me. The thing popped up when I opened the News Feed—first time, this morning. To read, or do anything else, means acknowledging “I agree”. I don’t.
1.Nextdoor presents no “disagree” option. Community is not totalitarian socialism. Community—at least online—is a public square for free discussion and dissent. Consider the kinds of discourse that might occur around the aforementioned topics on an open forum, if allowed:
- Pandemic (complaints about wearing or not wearing masks)
- Pets (disagreements about outdoor cats and unleashed dogs)
- Police (debate about not enough cops covering crime to defunding them)
- Politics (okay, it’s a powder keg)
- Protests (discussions about the whole racism thing)
The public square is nowhere without free speech that offends someone. Additionally, as a matter of principle, I won’t “agree” just to be able to participate when I don’t agree.
2. The four-part Pledge is too nebulous—and, thus, open to too broad interpretation or abuse. Wait until the busybodies start waving around any of these things to shame other posters for being bad neighbors. Then come demands to ban so-and-so for community abuse. Nextdoor sets the stage for rampant censorship, not free speech.
I’m done but must admit to pining for the daily digest email when it didn’t arrive late this afternoon. Maybe taking a walk and actually talking to my neighbors would be better than sitting fat-assed in front of a device reading their posts and replying to them.