Tiny Newspaper Wins Big

The Storm Lake (IA) Times, a family-owned newspaper with a staff of ten, just won a Pulitzer Prize, besting two other finalists – Fred Hiatt of The Washington Post and  Joe Holley and Evan Mintz of Houston Chronicle.

Pulitzer honored the David-over-Goliath victors “for editorials fueled by tenacious reporting, impressive expertise and engaging writing that successfully challenged powerful corporate agricultural interests in Iowa.”

At the Times, John Cullen is publisher. His brother Art Cullen is city editor, though he also has reporting and composing duties. The newspaper’s circulation is 3,000, in the 11,000 population lake-side town.

Storm Lake shoreStorm Lake is surprisingly robust and culturally-diverse for a town of its size and location. Eight-eight percent of its elementary schools students are African-American or Latino, and 21 different languages are spoken by its residents. Tyson Foods, Hillshire, Meridian Manufacturing and Harvest International all have offices and plants in Storm Lake. It is the home of Buena Vista University, Iowa Central Community College, and Kings Point Resort and Water Park.

For the last two years Art Cullen has been working on a complex story  that netted the Pulitzer, aided by his brother, wife and son.  His tenacious research and editorial attacks on such big Iowa names as the Koch Brothers, Cargill and Monsanto, brought to the fore a horrific cover-up – the funding of a defense of an environment lawsuit brought against three Iowa counties. At the heart of the story is the Raccoon River, water supply to the city of Des Moines, which has been continually poluted by nitrates spilled into it by agricultural plants in these counties.

Poynter.org has the details of the win.

 

Advertisements

Media Fighting the Orange Despot

azanTwo strong equalist, anti-Trump tools are social media and press conferences. One dynamic group, Arizona Advocacy Network, is using both well. I just got an email, and AZAN has posted to its Facebook page, about today’s press conference at the State Capitol. I’ll be there, at 10:30am.

AZAN is fighting – and guiding us in how to help fight – the following:

HCR 2029, the latest Republican-backed bill designed to make the signature gathering and initiative process more difficult, is scheduled in House Appropriations tomorrow at 11AM. The bill changes the the requirements for signature gathering and would make it more difficult to get a measure on the ballot. Currently, the law requires that signature gatherers collect signatures from 10 percent of the voter turnout in the last gubernatorial election statewide. HCR 2029 would make it so that signatures have to be gathered from each of Arizona’s 30 legislative districts and would have to be in proportion to the turnout in the last gubernatorial election. The complicated process that this bill suggests could weaken your vote depending on which legislative district that you live in.

AZAN, along with several of our partner groups, will be holding a press conference at the Arizona State Capitol tomorrow at 10:30AM on the Senate Lawn. After the press conference, we will head to the Appropriations hearing. Please join us to show your opposition to HCR 2029 and help us pack the room!

If you are set up on Request to Speak, please sign in against HCR 2029. If you live in any of the Appropriations Committee members’ districts, call them and ask them to vote no on this latest attempt to weaken Arizona’s ballot measure process.

House Appropriations members are:

Chairman Don Shooter (LD 13): 602-926-4139
Vice Chairman David Livingston (LD 22): 602-926-4178
Representative Lela Alston (LD 24): 602-926-5829
Representative Rusty Bowers (LD 25): 602-926-3128
Representative Mark Cardenas (LD 19): 602-926-3014
Representative Heather Carter (LD 15): 602-926-5503
Representative Ken Clark (LD 24): 602-926-3108
Representative Regina Cobb (LD 5): 602-926-3126
Representative Charlene Fernandez (LD 4): 602-926-3098
Representative Randy Friese (LD 9): 602-926-3138
Representative Vince Leach (LD 11): 602-926-3106
Representative Jill Norgaard (LD 18): 602-926-3140
Representative Tony Rivero (LD 21): 602-926-3104
Representative Michelle Ugenti-Rita (LD 23): 602-926-4480

 

On an adjusted dollar basis, “Gone With the Wind” is the most financially successful Oscar best picture winner of all time.

via ‘Gone With the Wind’ Is Top Grossing Oscar Movie of All Time at $1.7 Billion — 24/7 Wall St.

NextDoor not all that safe, private?

NextDoor not all that safe, private?

In what began as a personal neighborhood situation rather than an editorial assignment, I discovered something about NextDoor – or at least the NextDoor administrative folks that have had a hand in oversight of the local community I created in Phoenix. What I discovered gives me pause about the actual privacy and safety of NextDoor.com .

I started the Maryvale Catalina NextDoor neighborhood, in West Phoenix when I lived there. I signed up, had NextDoor send out more than 100 postcards to residents within the border I created ( a very nice, free-of-charge service that NextDoor provides to get you started.) I then used its handy, attractive template to create door knockers, which I then distributed door-to- door. I talked to dozens of my neighbors, introducing myself and telling them about NextDoor.

It was very slow going at first, primarily because so many of my neighbors speak only Spanish. But slowly, after NextDoor repeatedly extended my 21-day deadline to achieve the first 20 members, I was able to do so. It has now grown to more than 50. The Phoenix Police Department and the City itself now post to the site, about safety and crime issues, free classes and important events. It would seem a worthy and safety-conscious site.

One thing that’s crucial to understand about NextDoor is that it markets itself as a safety-first platform, with a differentiator of having to verify who you are and that you reside in the neighborhood before you are allowed to join.  Additionally, each Neighborhood activity is visible only to its members, with two exceptions. Any neighborhood manager can opt to post as well to Nearby Neighborhoods, as long as those Neighborhood managers agree as well.  The second exception is the fore-mentioned city governments and police and fire departments. While these folks can post to the community, they still cannot see any other activity, except those that directly communicate with them – replies and comments to their posts, that is. They cannot see what neighbors say to neighbors, nor can they buy, sell, trade, or give away items or services or recommend local merchants and service providers to community members.  Those privileges are to be reserved with the verified neighbors.

I have, unfortunately, found a few worms in this differentiating safety apple. In fact, these worms concerned me enough that I left the community.

When I moved from Surprise, Ariz., to Phoenix in 2009 it was in the midst of a horrible downturn in the local (and national) real estate market. Many foreclosed single-family homes were being purchased for pennies on the dollar of their appraised values by investors who turned them into rental properties. Some of these investors hadn’t a clue about how to properly vet their tenants, or perhaps some just didn’t care to bother. I ended up living next door to just such a rental property.  While that issue has been resolved, the prior tenant turned out to be – or at least we think they turned out to be – drug distributors, complete with backyard shed for rolling, growing and managing their product.

In the midst of trying to get the city and the police department and the property owner to get rid of these neighbors from hell (they finally did,) the neighbor tried to join NextDoor, under an assumed name I knew was not his own – either that or he falsified his name on the lease. Since the site couldn’t come up with verification that he did indeed belong to that address they turned to me as manager, requesting that I verify his identity. Not only did I refuse to verify him – I let NextDoor know that this man was not who he said he was, and he needed not to be a part of the NextDoor neighborhood – and why.

davidmorenonextdoor verifiedIt wasn’t too much later that I saw that that neighbor was now part of NextDoor, noted as verified by me. (See graphic to the right which indicates “In Cognito” verified him. My notes below will explain that name I assumed, but it’s also notable that I was NOT In Cognito at the time – this info evidently updates with any name change. I protested to two different NextDoor executives, to no avail.   He’s still a member – even now, when he is not only no longer living here, and might well be incarcerated. Not only that, someone else now lives there.

At the point at which the less-than-desirable aka neighbor joined NextDoor I dropped out of the community, and let NextDoor know why. Still no change.  I then decided to test its verification process further. I went on to the site and said I was Gretchen Vogel, and gave my actual address. I asked them to verify by sending a postcard to my home. They did. After that all I had to do was return it and I would be verified as the resident at my address. I did NOT return the postcard. About a week later I, Gretchen, was invited, allegedly verified, to the neighborhood.

It was then that I discovered that I could go in to my own profile and change everything – including my name. I couldn’t change my address but I could remove the actual house number and just leave it noted as street name. So I did another test – my name became First name “In” , last name “Cognito.”

The graphic below is my final NextDoor profile, live for at least one month, with a photo from Anchorage circa 1980, with the Anchorage Times building in the background.( I can no longer access this neighborhood so don’t know if it’s still live or not. ) In the foreground is a “snowperson” character from the city’s annual Fur Rendezvous parade. Clearly, it’s not me in Phoenix. What’s most notable, here, however, is the profile content that should have sent up a red flag to a NextDoor moderator at some point. I am saying that my occupation is a vampire – yet no one seems to notice or care.

Additionally, as manager of the neighborhood (despite being three different people throughout my NextDoor life) I was recently invited to verify someone attempting to join. ” Dear In, read the email.” Really? You’re writing to In Cognito? And you’re not aware something might be wrong with that? And the fact that the manager is not who she said she was when she began managing?

my next door profile

As I wrote what I thought were my final comments on this situation I was alerted to something in the Washington Times about NextDoor, about Gwyneth Paltrow’s neighbors being up in arms. Seems the angry neighbors took to the local NextDoor community to vent their ire, and some of that conversation ended up in the ‘pages’ of The New York Times on Oct. 10, and then the Washington Times, Fox News, and at least 10 other websites so far, along with some radio coverage. So much for NextDoor privacy.

The situation: Paltrow held a fund raiser for President Obama at her home. The President and his entourage of Secret Service were there for several hours, so the street and nearby streets were closed off – even to people who lived there and just wanted to go home.

Here’s what ended up on NYTimes.com: 

“In a post on the Nextdoor Mandeville Canyon website, a private social network for area residents, Bret Lewis said that the neighborhood did not need people like Ms. Paltrow “who pay no heed to the concerns of their neighbors.”

He went on to solicit support for having Ms. Paltrow kicked out of Mandeville Canyon. “She belongs in the movie theaters, and President Obama can entertain in the Staples Center,” he said.

And then later, in the article….

Mr. Lewis, in his post, said his family ended up in a restaurant “with a bunch of other displaced residents.”

“My 13-year-old daughter broke into tears, was unable to do her homework,” he said. “We finally got home at 9:00 and my daughter was up late studying, ultimately ill-prepared for her exams.”

Kim Peterson, in another post, said residents were misled about the extent of the presidential security and the impact it would have on traffic. “The biggest problem yesterday is we did not know the Canyon would be totally closed down,” she said. Otherwise, she said, “we could have all planned accordingly.” 

But in Mr. Lewis’s opinion, it was “more than poor planning, it’s an abuse of power and, most importantly, unneighborly.” “

The New York Times reporter who broke the story declined to reveal to me his source for the NextDoor material,  though who disclosed it publicly matters considerably less than the fact that it was disclosed publicly. I talked to Bret Lewis who said he has no idea who shared his NextDoor conversations, but conjectured that a member of the media might be a member of the community. (I have no verification of that.)

“I posted it on NextDoor and the next thing I know it’s on the New York Times,” Lewis told me. “How it got there is a mystery to me. Shortly after I posted it it was flagged and taken down for whatever reason I don’t know. Perhaps a little too political?”

He said that there was “somewhat of a backlash” to him from NextDoor because of violating the site’s privacy policy.

What seems clear in all this, however,  is that NextDoor is not nearly as private nor safe as touted. In fact I have witnessed first hand that there are NextDoor representatives who seem not to care about that fact – or at least took no action to resolve an unsafe issue. In this latest Paltrow incident, when other media revealed that its private posts had been made public, NextDoor clearly did care.

Beyond that, there are two problems apparent:

  • First, no one should be able to change their own names once verified on the site. That capability should be locked out – and perhaps even flagged if attempted.
  • Content should be manually moderated, at least periodically, so that things like “occupation – vampire” and “interests- drinking blood” would be cause for concern and investigated.

The process of verification seems lacking in due diligence – some might even wonder if the process is a sham. In two separate instances I was party to a situation where unverified folks – myself as Gretchen Vogel, and my next door neighbor not as himself – were either unverified or noted to NextDoor as fraudulent. In both situations, they were noted as verified and allowed to join the NextDoor community.  At best this is a horrific blunder.

NextDoor would seem less than worthy of the private, safety-conscious differentiator many have credited it as.

Zillow condone ‘sexual torture?’ Some employee feedback

If you haven’t already heard, real estate giant Zillow is being sued for sexual harassment that allegedly was perpetrated by some employees in its Santa Ana, Calif. office. The plaintiff has called it ‘sexual torture’  and, if true is horrific behavior. In this day and age, it also comes under the heading of “what were these idiots thinking?” Alleged were emails of penises, comments on her breast size, and threats of firing for refusal of sexual favors.

When Zillow heard about it, the primary perpetrator (s?) was fired. That’s what we’re all hearing, anyway.

One of my Facebook friends, Jay Thompson, is Zillow director of industry outreach and social media. He has given me permission to repeat what he posted to Facebook about this situation.

Here’s what he said:

I’ve had friends and acquaintances ask me today about my thoughts and opinions on the sexual harassment lawsuit recently filed against my employer, Zillow, by a former employee in our Irvine, Ca office.

If a bunch are outright asking, there is likely a bunch wondering.

So, here are my personal thoughts…

First, please understand there are simply things I cannot comment on with regard to specifics of the lawsuit. I just can’t. That’s the way litigation works. I work for a publicly traded company, and we – like every other publicly traded company – can’t comment on pending litigation.

I will say this though, and this is just my opinion and perception gained from working at Zillow for almost three years.

This is SO not the way it works at Zillow. I work with some of the brightest, nicest, dedicated and ETHICAL people I’ve ever met. We are almost 1,200 employees strong, and everyone I’ve met and worked with at Zillow has zero, and I mean ZERO tolerance for this sort of behavior. None.

There is an amazing culture at Zillow. It’s not “male dominated”. I just got out of a meeting with our Chief Marketing Officer, a brilliant woman. Our COO is female. Heck in my little department of Trade Marketing, there is me and one other guy and eight women.

My education and work experiences prior to real estate were in Human Resources. I understand sexual harassment and litigation from the HR perspective.

Sexual harassment in any form is revolting. It disgusts me, and it disgusts everyone I’ve talked to at Zillow. It is NOT pervasive in our culture. It’s just not. Believe me, I’d quit RIGHT NOW if there was anything close to that kind of environment here. There just isn’t.

I love my job (most of the time) and a big reason for that are the people, and the culture the management and executive team lives and breathes. This culture allows zero room for the sort of behavior a couple of former employees have displayed.

Hit me up if you need to know more about my experience here. Ask me specifics about the lawsuit, and I’ll go corporate on you and tell you I can’t comment (but really, I don’t know any specifics. I do however know exactly what kind of fair and inclusive culture the leadership here has built).

What’s important too, are the comments in response, from other Zillow employees:

  •  I couldn’t have said it better myself. As a Zillow employee for 6+ years and a mom of 3 children all born while working at Zillow, I have to say, Zillow is THE BEST. When people ask me about Zillow and if I like it I always say, “It it the only job I’ve ever had when I didn’t think about when my last day would be.”
  •  Totally agree.
  •  You said it so much more eloquently than I ever could! Amazing culture! Love coming to work every day!
MediaTiger’s own thoughts:
While I don’t suggest it didn’t occur, I think it’s important to remember that one or a few appalling misogynists don’t necessarily indicate a company that condones the misogynistic behavior. That remains to be seen.
Were it to turn out to be true, I would hope the perpetrators get the “book thrown at them.”
Were it to turn out to be untrue, I would as well hope the plaintiff is charged. A woman making an untrue accusation makes it harder for those with legitimate complaints to get their fair days in court. That hurts us all. 

Connected Living puts seniors online, helps them thrive

connected living logoI discovered Connected Living by way of Twitter. While I haven’t gotten actively involved as yet, at first glance it seems a wonderful resource for seniors and especially for those who are less able to get out and see their friends and meet new folks than they have in the past. Perhaps they’re living in an assisted living community, or home but no longer able to drive.

Connected Living is about keeping these folks connected with the outside world through technology – through the Internet and social media.

connectedlivingservicesIt seems a wonderful resource to me – a way to get on Facebook and talk with their friends and family, see the photos of their grandkids who live far away, reconnect with old high school buds they’ve long lost track of me, and meet new friends. It’s a great way to keep up on the news on-demand and even watch movies and TV on-demand as well.

It’s a cause I’ve long believed in. My father, who has now passed away, was a manufacturing engineer at IBM. He helped design and build the IBM 360, and yet I couldn’t quite get him to embrace the Internet. My aunt, who just passed away at the age of 90, hadn’t a clue about the online world. I often thought that if both of them, who spent several years in assisted living communities, would have just embraced social networks and various online news and information sites, their worlds would have been larger and far more interesting.

My own personal experience with social networking, though primarily for business networking, has enriched my personal life as well. By way of LinkedIn I re-connected with a friend I’d last seen in 1979. We’d lost track of each other, and now chat nearly daily by way of Facebook. I’ve also found childhood friends – the children of my parents’ friends, who remember my deceased parents, and our growing-up years. I remember theirs as well, and we share photos and ‘old times’ as well as new back and forth. It’s wonderful.

But it’s more than keeping elder folks in contact. It’s also about exercising their mental faculties. Now 65, I am tested just about every day, in the writing and research and blogging I do for my client, a media consultancy, to learn about the latest mobile and Web technology – the latest mobile apps, the latest advertising tools and concepts that keep online classified and marketplace publishers relevant, well-trafficked and financially successful.

Two of the biggest learning curves I tackled just this past year were big data and mobile exchanges / advertising networks. I spent many hours reading about each, talking to vendors who showed me demos of their products and talking to industry experts. It was my first time delving into each and yet I did it. I exercised my old brain cells and I then shared what I learned with our readers.

It’s projects like these – that keep us learning and even inspired – that keeps life interesting. Especially for those who no longer live in their own homes, or no longer have the means to travel on their own, that inspiration and that honing of mental capacity, are paramount in the continuing enjoyment of life.

I am enthused by finding ConnectedLiving.com, and am going to find out what I can about how I might help connect local seniors. I hope you will too.

NextDoor – perhaps not as safe & private as you think?

I discovered something about NextDoor.com – or at least the NextDoor administrative folks that have had a hand in oversight of the local community I created in Phoenix – that gives me pause about the actual privacy and safety of the online hyperlocal community.

I started the Maryvale Catalina NextDoor neighborhood, in West Phoenix. I signed up, had NextDoor send out more than 100 postcards to residents within the border I created ( a very nice, free-of-charge service that NextDoor provides to get you started.) I then used its handy, attractive template to create door knockers, which I then distributed door-to- door. I talked to dozens of my neighbors, introducing myself and telling them about NextDoor.

It was very slow going at first, primarily because so many of my neighbors speak only Spanish. But slowly, after NextDoor repeatedly extended my 21-day deadline to achieve the first 20 members, I was able to do so. It has now grown to more than 50. The Phoenix Police Department and the City itself now post to the site, about safety and crime issues, free classes and important events. It would seem a worthy and safety-conscious site.

One thing that’s crucial to understand about NextDoor is that it markets itself as a safety-first platform, with a differentiator of having to verify who you are, and that you do in fact reside in the neighborhood, before you are allowed to join.  Additionally, each Neighborhood activity is visible only to its members, with two exceptions. Any neighborhood manager can opt to post as well to Nearby Neighborhoods, as long as those Neighborhood managers agree.  The second exception is the fore-mentioned city governments and police and fire departments. While these folks can post to the community, they still cannot see any other activity, except those that directly communicate with them – replies and comments to their posts, that is. They cannot see what neighbors say to neighbors, nor can they buy, sell, trade, or give away items or services or recommend local merchants and service providers to community members.  Those privileges are to be reserved with the verified neighbors.

I have, unfortunately, found a few worms in this differentiating safety apple. In fact, these worms concerned me enough that I left the community.

When I moved from Surprise, Ariz., to Phoenix in 2009 it was in the midst of a horrible downturn in the local (and national) real estate market. Many foreclosed single-family homes were being purchased for pennies on the dollar of their appraised values by investors who turned them into rental properties. Some of these investors hadn’t a clue about how to properly vet their tenants, or perhaps some just didn’t care to bother. I ended up living next door to just such a rental property.  While that issue has been resolved, the prior tenant turned out to be – or at least we think they turned out to be – drug distributors, complete with backyard shed for rolling, growing and managing their product.

In the midst of trying to get the city and the police department and the property owner to get rid of these neighbors from hell (they finally did,) the neighbor tried to join NextDoor, under an assumed name I knew was not his own – either that or he falsified his name on the lease. Since the site couldn’t come up with verification that he did indeed belong to that address they turned to me as manager, requesting that I verify his identity. Not only did I refuse to verify him – I let NextDoor know that this man was not who he said he was, and he needed not to be a part of the NextDoor neighborhood – and why.

davidmorenonextdoor verifiedIt wasn’t too much later that I saw that that neighbor was now part of NextDoor, noted as verified by me. (See graphic to the right which indicates “In Cognito” verified him. My notes below will explain that name I assumed, but it’s also notable that I was NOT In Cognito at the time – this info evidently updates with any name change. I protested to two different NextDoor executives, to no avail.   He’s still a member – even now, when he is not only no longer living here, and might well be incarcerated. Not only that, someone else now lives there.

At the point at which the less-than-desirable aka neighbor joined NextDoor I dropped out of the community, and let NextDoor know why. Still no change.  I then decided to test its verification process further. I went on to the site and said I was Gretchen Vogel, and gave my actual address. I asked them to verify by sending a postcard to my home. They did. After that all I had to do was return it and I would be verified as the resident at my address. I did NOT return the postcard. About a week later I, Gretchen, was invited, allegedly verified, to the neighborhood.

It was then that I discovered that I could go in to my own profile and change everything – including my name. I couldn’t change my address but I could remove the actual house number and just leave it noted as street name. So I did another test – I became First name “In” , last name “Cognito.”

The graphic below is my current NextDoor profile, live for approximately two months now, with a photo from Anchorage circa 1980, with the Anchorage Times building in the background. In the foreground is a “snowperson” character from the city’s annual Fur Rendezvous parade. Clearly, it’s not me in Phoenix. What’s most notable, here, however, is the profile content that should have sent up a red flag to a NextDoor moderator at some point. I am saying that my occupation is a vampire – yet no one seems to notice or care.

Additionally, as manager of the neighborhood (despite being three different people throughout my NextDoor life) I was recently invited to verify someone attempting to join. ” Dear In, read the email.” Really? You’re writing to In Cognito? And you’re not aware something might be wrong with that? And the fact that the manager is not who she said she was when she began managing?

my next door profile

As I wrote what I thought were my final comments on this situation I was alerted to something in the Washington Times about NextDoor, about Gwyneth Paltrow’s neighbors being up in arms. Seems the angry neighbors took to the local NextDoor community to vent their ire, and some of that conversation ended up in the ‘pages’ of The New York Times on Oct. 10, and then the Washington Times, Fox News, and at least 10 other websites so far, along with some radio coverage. So much for NextDoor privacy.

The situation: Paltrow held a fund raiser for President Obama at her home. The President and his entourage of Secret Service were there for several hours, so the street and nearby streets were closed off – even to people who lived there and just wanted to go home.

Here’s what ended up on NYTimes.com: 

“In a post on the Nextdoor Mandeville Canyon website, a private social network for area residents, Bret Lewis said that the neighborhood did not need people like Ms. Paltrow “who pay no heed to the concerns of their neighbors.”

He went on to solicit support for having Ms. Paltrow kicked out of Mandeville Canyon. “She belongs in the movie theaters, and President Obama can entertain in the Staples Center,” he said.

And then later, in the article….

Mr. Lewis, in his post, said his family ended up in a restaurant “with a bunch of other displaced residents.”

“My 13-year-old daughter broke into tears, was unable to do her homework,” he said. “We finally got home at 9:00 and my daughter was up late studying, ultimately ill-prepared for her exams.”

Kim Peterson, in another post, said residents were misled about the extent of the presidential security and the impact it would have on traffic. “The biggest problem yesterday is we did not know the Canyon would be totally closed down,” she said. Otherwise, she said, “we could have all planned accordingly.” 

But in Mr. Lewis’s opinion, it was “more than poor planning, it’s an abuse of power and, most importantly, unneighborly.” “

The New York Times reporter who broke the story declined to reveal to me his source for the NextDoor material,  though who disclosed it publicly matters considerably less than the fact that it was disclosed publicly. I talked to Bret Lewis who said he has no idea who shared his NextDoor conversations, but conjectured that a member of the media might be a member of the community. (I have no verification of that.)

“I posted it on NextDoor and the next thing I know it’s on the New York Times,” Lewis told me. “How it got there is a mystery to me. Shortly after I posted it it was flagged and taken down for whatever reason I don’t know. Perhaps a little too political?”

He said that there was “somewhat of a backlash” to him from NextDoor because of violating the site’s privacy policy.

What seems clear in all this, however,  is that NextDoor is not nearly as private nor safe as touted. In fact I have witnessed first hand that there are NextDoor representatives who seem not to care about that fact – or at least took no action to resolve an unsafe issue. In this latest Paltrow incident, when other media revealed that its private posts had been made public, NextDoor clearly did care.

Beyond that, there are two problems apparent:

  • First, no one should be able to change their own names once verified on the site. That capability should be locked out – and perhaps even flagged if attempted.
  • Content should be manually moderated, at least periodically, so that things like “occupation – vampire” and “interests- drinking blood” would be cause for concern and investigated.

The process of verification seems lacking in due diligence. In two separate instances I was party to a situation where unverified folks – myself as Gretchen Vogel, and my next door neighbor not as himself – were either unverified or noted to NextDoor as fraudulent. In both situations, they were noted as verified and allowed to join the NextDoor community.  At best this is a horrific blunder.

NextDoor would seem less than worthy of the private, safety-conscious differentiator some have credited it as.