Musings of a recovering...

9-11-2023: love thy neighbor in moderation

Nextdoor can be a really useful platform, but the moderation system and enforcement is not easily understood and can be a source of frustration. If you're interested in learning more about how the moderation system works, then you've landed on the right page.

Basic Moderation Overview

There is a review team of local users who can vote to uphold flagged content or to overturn its flagged status and reinstate it. The review team is invite only and it's unclear how one gets invited. Nextdoor's documentation states "Nextdoor's system will invite a random sample of qualified neighbors".

Any user contributed content (post or comment) can be flagged for review and, once flagged, the content is hidden until the review team votes to uphold or reject the flagged status. If your content is flagged, you can file an appeal. Sounds pretty neat!

I've also created a companion video where I explain what I've learned and how I learned it narrated over a recent bike trip in ABQ. It's similar content to this blog post, but there is some extra info too. Video is just more fun!

Flagged post case study

I posted a comment to an existing thread on Sept 3rd. My comment was flagged and hidden later that day. I received a notification that my comment had been flagged. I didn't capture a screenshot of the initial notification, but I did screenshot the page that I was taken to when I clicked on the notification.

When I clicked on 'See Why', I was shown the following explanation

One can find Nextdoor's guideline on public shaming published here.

Did I violate the public shaming policy? I didn't intend to, but we all post under the moderated system. I want to particiapte in civil discourse and I think humor (my tongue-in-cheek drug habit comment) can be part of that. So I requested an appeal by using the 'Request an appeal' button. After submitting my appeal, my comment was listed as 'Under review'

After submitting the appeal, my comment was understandably still hidden and I waited. On Sept 11th I received a very brief notification in response to my appeal.

Hoping to learn more about why my appeal was rejected, I clicked on the notification only to see the following screen

I believe the entire thread was flagged and removed from Nextdoor. Unfortunately I wasn't given enough information to feel confident on how to craft future posts in compliance with the moderation guidelines.

So what have we all learned?

Nextdoor's website and software does attempt to involve the community in its moderation system. Some community members have been invited to be members of the Review Team, but invitations appear to be random. The review team has at least some power to confirm and appeal flagged content. Anyone can flag content; however, it's still unclear to me if flagged content is always immediately hidden.

There is an explanation offered as to why content is flagged and, very usefully, a link to the guideline that was violated. Unfortunately, the appeals process does not offer much additional information.

I'm left with a handful of questions that I will continue to research

I hope you found this useful! If you'd like to comment, do it on my nextdoor post (unless it gets flagged by a troll!) or my youtube video :)