Sunday, March 3, 2024

Rules for my neighborhood discussion group

I used to belong to neighborhood discussion groups - a Yahoo group and a few Facebook groups - but I've been clean for several years now. I still belong to a couple of livable streets groups, and every once in a while, someone tries to turn them into "community" discussion groups. Every once in a while, a friend or a fellow activist will share a screnshot from one of their local Facebook group, or maybe Nextdoor, which sounds ten times worse. Facebook knows that I like old pictures of trains and streets, so it shows me photos from some of these groups, and I'm tempted, but I always resist.

I would consider joining a neighborhood group if it adopted these rules:

  1. No former residents. You decided you wanted to move upstate, or to North Carolina or Arizona? Have fun, and don't let the door hit your ass on the way out. No, you don't get to come back and tell us that Those People are why you left. I don't want to hear about how you used to walk by that street corner every other Tuesday with your Uncle Dave, fifty years ago when you were eight years old.
  2. No NIMBY posts. Neighborhoods change. People come and go. We're not in this group to "preserve neighborhood character" or whatever euphemism you want to use for keeping Those People out.
  3. No scapegoating vulnerable people. A kid just got hit with a car, and you're going to go off about how pedestrians need to pay more attention? A woman just got harassed, and you're going to talk about what she was wearing? Get some perspective and compassion, or get out.
  4. No parking complaints. You own a car, and that makes you wealthier than half the neighborhood. That means you have to move for the street sweeper, or for parades or movie shoots. It may mean you have to drive around before you find a place to park. Deal with it. No, a new parking garage would not solve this and we are not going to ask the city to build one.
  5. No crime fearmongering. We want to be safe, but we don't want to hear vague claims about rising this or that, or how some of Those People were seen congregating in the park.
  6. No mind reading. You have a link to the resuts of an opinion poll? Election results? No? Then you don't get to talk about What The Community Wants, or How People Around Here Feel. Speak for yourself, and let others speak for themselves.
  7. No posts about broader issues unless they directly affect the neighborhood. Yes, I've heard that you're going to the anti-war demonstration downtown, or maybe it's the pro-war demonstration. Yes, I know there are a lot of people here who are the same ethnicity as people at war thousands of miles away. But this neighborhood is not at war, and there are better places to post your political opinions.
  8. No posts about other neighborhoods. Why yes, I've heard about that dance group you go to every weekend, and it sure sounds like a lot of fun. It might be cool if we had one here. But that group is not here, it's three neighborhoods away, and they have their own neighborhood group. There are also citywide groups for dancing. Yes, I know that not everyone is a member of those groups. But you're not going to reach everyone, and you need to stop somewhere.