Nextdoor app falsely purports to be an inclusive social media platform that supports LGBTQIA+ equality. In fact, its site states in part as follows:
LGBTQIA+ issues have a place in neighborhoods everywhere – that’s why we allow content discussing or celebrating LGBTQIA+ matters anywhere on Nextdoor as long as it adheres to our community guidelines….
It’s OK for neighbors to discuss national and internationally-oriented conversations in the main feed if there is a direct local connection or if the neighbor is sharing a direct personal experience. These discussions must adhere to all other community guidelines.”
- Posting photos that contain nudity.
- Posting sexually explicit or suggestive content.
- Sending unwelcome direct messages to hit on or express romantic interest in neighbors.
- Posting content that is unnecessarily gruesome, gory, graphic, or violent.
My experience on Nextdoor has been the exact opposite of its stated mission and vision. The platform has caused me and my husband to feel very disconnected from our Nextdoor neighbors, a great many of whom appear only to “tolerate” us as neighbors. We are “tolerated,” as long as we “fit in” as best we can, accept our neighbors’ prejudices against us, and do nothing to try and reduce those prejudices.
Social scientist Brene’ Brown said the following in Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience:
“The deeper sense of belonging and ‘connection to a larger humanity gives people more freedom to express their individuality without fear of jeopardizing belonging.’…
“Authenticity is a requirement for belonging, and fitting in is a threat.
“Authenticity is a requirement for connection.”
I notice sexually prejudicial comments by neighbors on Nextdoor, which violate its stated guidelines and which are “liked” by other neighbors, regardless of whether they typically end up being removed. However, because I live in the neighborhood and I see those posts and comments before they are removed, such as referring to LGBTQ+ people as filth, I have made multiple attempts to post material I created, and which has been found effective in challenging people’s conscious and unconscious sexually prejudiced beliefs.
For example, a year ago, I discovered that a blog article of mine published by Psychology Today in 2021 titled The Interconnection Between Women’s Rights and LGBTQ Rights had been selected and used by the Community Foundation of San Carlos in 2022 on Day 15: LGBTQ+ of its 21 Day Social & Racial Equity Challenge. My article had been selected for the main challenge.
“The Community Foundation of San Carlos was established in November 2019 with a $2M endowment from the City of San Carlos. The foundation was formed to make San Carlos an even better place to live, work, study and play for current and future generations…. [Its annual equity challenge was created to facilitate] community members uniting to learn, grow and build community together.”
When I shared this information on Nextdoor app, my post was flagged for violating Nextdoor app’s guidelines and hidden. I lost my appeal, and the post was permanently removed from Nextdoor app.
Most recently, on January 3, 2024, the Daily Journal, California’s legal newspaper with the largest circulation, published my article titled Elimination of Diversity to Resolve Conflicts Is Harmful. After knowing that the article would be published, in late December 2023, I shared a post on Nextdoor app with the type of material set forth in that article. The post was flagged for violating Nextdoor’s guideline: disrespectful. My appeal was not approved, and the post was permanently removed.
In response to that post, I received a private message from a neighbor who, among other things, stated in part as follows:
“[Y]our rant does not belong on the pages of Nextdoor. I’m sorry you feel the need to say what you have. I’m sorry I had to read it. You sound obsessive and disturbed. Why not just keep your thoughts and emotions between you and your partner?... Sorry to be critical but you need to hear from those you offend.”
I then posted a public response to that private message. The post was flagged for violating Nextdoor’s guideline: disrespectful. My appeal was not approved, and the post was permanently removed. People who have self-identified as being volunteer leads who determine the outcome of appeals have referred to these posts of mine as “ranting or soapboxing” and “irrelevant and annoying.” Their description was “liked” by other self-identified volunteer leads.
When the Daily Journal published my article, it listed it under civil rights and made the article accessible to everyone – not just subscribers. I then posted that information and explained that my post that contained the type of material set forth in that article had been flagged as disrespectful, removed, and that I lost my appeal. I explained that if the article were disrespectful, the Daily Journal would not have published it. That post was flagged and hidden for violating the guidelines: Discrimination, Public Shaming, and Disrespectful. My appeal was not approved, and the post was permanently removed. Furthermore, Nextdoor suspended my account for two weeks and sent me the following notification:
“Account temporarily disabled
Your account has been temporarily disabled for a violation of this Community Guideline:
Be respectful to your neighbors.
We encourage members to have conversations about the issues that matter to them in a way that is constructive, civil, and builds community.”
As you can see, my posts and comments were regularly flagged as disrespectful, as was the reason for my suspension.
In Braving the Wilderness, Brene’ Brown uses the Institute for Civility in Government’s definition of civility, which is as follows:
“Civility is about more than just politeness, although politeness is a necessary first step.
“It is about disagreeing without disrespect, seeking common ground as a starting point for dialogue about differences, understanding biases and personal preconceptions, and teaching others to do the same.
“Traditional applications of civility that emphasize manners and behavior over meaningful engagement and shared understanding have led us to a fatal misunderstanding of how to resolve our differences. Forced politeness that conceals authentic human feeling only fosters resentment and drives agendas underground.
“At the Institute for Civility, we believe the call to civility is nothing short of a call to our shared humanity where respect, kindness, compassion, and dialogue grow out of a commitment to an ever-deepening understanding of self and others.”
That is what my published work does. That is why the Community Foundation of San Carlos in 2022 used an article of mine in Day 15: LGBTQ+ of its 21 Day Social & Racial Equity Challenge.
The same is true of my recently published article Elimination of Diversity to Resolve Conflicts Is Harmful. In fact, Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW, a licensed mental health professional in Canada posted a link to that article of mine on his business Facebook page as follows:“My friend and colleague, Mark Baer, in California has just had an important article published regarding the elimination of diversity. I hope Facebook allows the link to work and that people read it.”
When I last saw his page, the post received the following comments:
- “Excellent read! Will share, thank you.”
- “Excellent article!! I am ashamed to think I was ‘not biased’. Ha!! Gotta ways to go!!”
- “The link does indeed work and it was an important read. Thanks for sharing.”
- “Great read. Thank you for sharing.”
The second paragraph in that article states, “Censorship is one way of ‘eliminating’ diversity.” And? Nextdoor censored my article, claiming that the post of my article was disrespectful, as was I for posting, let alone writing it. My article was categorized under civil rights by the Daily Journal; yet, my posting a link to it was discriminatory. Seriously? Then, we get into the issue of shaming, another reason my posts have been flagged on Nexdoor.
Brene’ Brown, a shame expert says the following:
“Separating self from behavior is the difference between shame and guilt. Shame is very correlated with addiction, depression, suicide, aggression, violence, bullying, and eating disorders. Guilt, on the other hand, is inversely correlated with those same outcomes.” Examples of the difference are as follows:
- You are a mistake (shame) versus you made a mistake (guilt).
- You are bad (shame) versus you did something bad (guilt).
Censoring my material on Nextdoor because it related to LGBTQ+ issues and challenged people’s biases was shaming of me and LGBTQ+ people, not the other way around. My efforts to get my Nextdoor neighbors and local volunteer moderators to stop inappropriately flagging my posts and removing them from Nextdoor was not shaming; rather, it was about educating them and trying to guilt them into improving their behavior going forward.
I have read many articles complaining about Nextdoor app and its biased moderation of content. Based upon my experiences, the site operates like Mom’s for Liberty, which works to censor and ban anything that even mentions the existence of LGBTQ+ people. This isn’t inclusion – quite the contrary. I know about inclusion, civility, and constructive community. In fact, my published work on these topics has been widely cited. Ironically, on January 5, 2024, one of my articles was cited in an article titled How To Have Peaceful Conversations With People You Totally Disagree With: Don’t let your nervous system derail you.
Nextdoor purports to hold a mission and vision similar to those stated by the Community Foundation of San Carlos. In truth, it is the exact opposite. By suspending me, Nextdoor emboldened those engaged in wrongdoing. By blaming and punishing the victim, it emboldened the victimizers. Furthermore, since my posts would not have been hidden and needing to be appealed to the volunteer moderators unless they had been inappropriately flagged by my Nextdoor neighbors, it was important for me to try and educate and guilt those neighbors, such that they behave better in the future. That could not have been accomplished behind the scenes.
After my two-week suspension, the only thing I will be doing on Nextdoor is deactivating or deleting my account.