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Maureen Carson's Role as a Nextdoor Reviewer

Nextdoorby Janet and Joe Krovoza
 
We have reason to believe that Maureen Carson, Dan Carson's wife, is involved in halting discussion on Nextdoor posts deemed damaging to her husband. Twice now, a piece that Joe has posted on Nextdoor politely and factually discussing city staff and city council actions (and well within Nextdoor's guidelines for community discourse) has had its comments section closed suddenly and without any explanation within hours of its posting.
 
Both of Joe's recent posts addressed the corrupt process leading to the purchase and installation of playground equipment at Arroyo Park and the city and council's lack of response to what appears to be illegal and certainly irregular acts by staff and vendors. Joe's first posting, which begins "Some may be interested in our posts...," includes links to our related articles in both The Davisite and Davis Vanguard. It was posted September 30 and closed to discussion less than 24 hours later, after it had attracted 23 reactions and two comments. Joe's second posting, dated November 3, begins "Since the information below was just published..." and includes a pasted-in version of our Davis Enterprise opinion piece. Over the next several hours it received 19 reactions and 20 comments but shortly after the comments brought up Dan Carson explicitly, it, too, saw its discussion closed.
 
Curious why this was happening, we looked closely at Nextdoor policies and links. According to Michael Mierzwa, who is a Nextdoor moderator in the "Birch" neighborhood, the only people able to close comments on posts, besides their author, are official Nextdoor moderators ("leads" and "reviewers") in the original neighborhood. Scrutiny of the list of our local Nextdoor moderators reveals a reviewer named "Maureen C." (the only one of seven moderators not using their full last name). With a review of Maureen C.'s posts, it was not hard to discover that she lives at the same address as Dan Carson, and, of course, is his wife.
 
We think it is appalling that someone with such an obvious conflict of interest, especially on the cusp of an election that will determine her husband's political future, should be in a position of monitoring and influencing community dialogue. Because there were no grounds for removal, both posts remained intact and standing but muted, and withering from public view. It looks very much like Maureen, or a Nextdoor moderator in her circle of influence, has found a way to actively stifle free speech, including the discourse that is more important to our community now than it ever has been.
 
This afternoon Joe discovered he can now re-open the comments section on each of his posts, which he has done. The dust-up about comments to the recent post being turned off, or Janet writing the Nextdoor lead (so far unanswered) must have done the trick. The lead or a reviewer must have reversed their decision, or the lead may have overruled a reviewer. Be assured, Joe didn’t turn off comments on his posts.
 
We feel strongly that Maureen Carson, regardless of her level of involvement in these two instances, should be removed as a Nextdoor reviewer for as long as her husband is serving on the city council. And we hope it goes without saying that we welcome any insights Maureen and her local moderator colleagues may have on the accuracy of our observations and conclusions.
 

Comments

Crilly Butler

Ginni Thomas redux.

Sharla Cheney

There was a right way to go about this:
“How do I report any challenges with moderation in my neighborhood?
Please reach out to your neighborhood Leads if you have questions about moderation in our neighborhood. If you believe a specific member, Lead or Review Team members is reporting or moderating improperly you can report the member for ‘Biased moderation or enforcement.’ “

Sharla Cheney

Here’s the full article:
https://help.nextdoor.com/s/article/About-moderation?language=en_US

Tuvia ben Avraham Aharon ve Sima Rivka

NextDoor can make its own rules and I suggest it not allow anyone in public office or running for public office to be a moderator or similar. Though Commissioners are already somewhat disenfranchised - unless they're on certain pet commissions and kissing ass, etc .- but perhaps they should also be disallowed.

It's hard to tell if the correction that happened here was a healthy sign of an ethical social media platform, or more about the proverbial pants be caught whilst down.

Colin Walsh

The public should know that a sitting city council member (who is running for re-election) is engaging in anti-democratic suppression of free speech. Tone policing the people who Carson censored is another attempt at suppressing free speech.

Sharla Cheney

Krovoza’s articles were not removed. He’s complaining about the comments being closed after a period of time. This site won’t let comments post without first being approved by the moderator and then often are criticized by the moderator even when allowed to post. As a result, comments appear to be an echo of the articles.

Keith

"This site won’t let comments post without first being approved by the moderator and then often are criticized by the moderator even when allowed to post. As a result, comments appear to be an echo of the articles."

This site, The Davisite, has never disallowed or censored any of my comments. I find it to be a good platform for free speech regardless of one's views or political leanings. I can't say the same for the Davis Vanguard which I recently quit posting because of their (in my opinion) unfair and biased moderation policies. Even though the moderator of this site is probably near 180 degrees opposite of me when it comes to issues she always posts my comments.

Roberta L. Millstein

The problem with closing comments on NextDoor is that the algorithm favors articles with lots of comments. So when you close comments, it's like a soft delete, and the post fades from view.

The advantage of pre-moderation is that it prevents someone from posting a personal attack against you and then having it sit there until a moderator sees it and (maybe) decides to delete it, as frequently occurs on the Vanguard.

Colin Walsh

Changing the subject from Carson's continued hostility to free speech to the Davisite's moderation practices is an obvious ploy to change the subject. With Carson's developer funded lawsuit to suppress a ballot language and now this latest revelation about stiffening speech on social media I think we have learned plenty about Carson's approach to democracy. That is what needs to be discussed. That is what needs to be repudiated.

Janet Krovoza

Well, this post has now been pulled from Nextdoor. The reason given is "public shaming." Joe and I would like to point out that we have been personally attacked numerous times on social media (including Nextdoor), but have never felt "ashamed" because we have nothing to be ashamed of.

Sharla, we did reach out to a Nextdoor lead and a reviewer but never heard back. Plan to formally report biased moderation but I'm sure that is an internal mechanism and we think it's important that the public be made aware of these circumstances.

Maureen remains listed as a reviewer, btw.

Ron O

Sharla:

Let me see if I'm understanding your suggestion correctly.

You're suggesting that a commenter "complain" to the moderator of the site (who happens to be the wife of the council member whose actions are being discussed)?

And you expect that to be effective?

This sounds even more useless than complaining about moderation practices on the Vanguard. Or, sort of like complaining to HR that you believe your boss is unfair, while the boss' wife runs the HR department.

Sharla Cheney

Ron O, First of all there are multiple moderators for the neighborhood and the Krovoza’s are making an assumption, which people are repeating as a fact. The Krovoza’s did not follow the rules to resolve their issue on the site, but did exactly what people are asked not to do. There are volunteer moderators and Nextdoor staff. It would help if you would read the link I posted to see how it is organized. I just find it ironic that people here are complaining about moderation on another platform when this site has a more stringent moderation.

Colin walsh

The fact that Maureen Carson is a moderator at all on NextDoor while her husband is running for City Council or is serving on Council is itself the problem. There is not even an appearance of fairness there. Maureen is also the only moderator in Davis who is hiding her last name. The fact that the Carsons feel the need to put a thumb on political discourse is now clear. This not one act, but comes as only the most recent. Carson played an integral role in ousting people from the City Commissions. Carson sued his own constituents to suppress their ballot statement. Now we learn Carson is even influencing social media moderation.

And instead of acknowledging Carson’s clear stifling of discussion of Davis issues, Sharla wants to talk about the Davisite moderation policy. Note she has not even claimed that any of her posts have ever been withheld.

Ron O

Sharla:

Janet Krovoza already noted this directly above my comment, in regard to the issue they had:

"Sharla, we did reach out to a Nextdoor lead and a reviewer but never heard back."

You're probably right, however, regarding the Davisite having a more stringent policy against personal attacks (compared to either NextDoor, or the Vanguard). I've had to change several comments as a result of moderator concerns, since commenting on here. (No complaints regarding that from me, at least.)

Sharla Cheney

Colin, Your assertions remind me of Mike Harrington’s letter urging people to vote to recall Newsom and elect a Trump Republican for Governor just because Newsom wasn’t effectively controlling his wife. The whole complaint here was the Krovoza’s feeling that there was unfair moderation and is assuming or suspects that Carson’s wife was responsible. Janet’s original post about this on Nextdoor has been removed by moderators after receiving complaints from neighbors about public shaming - something not allowed on the site. Janet says that she will report what she believes to be biased moderation or enforcement per the rules of the site. Comments have been reopened on Joe’s original posts which are still posted and there have been few additional comments. Janet states that her messages to a reviewer and Lead likely resolved this.

Ron O

Referencing my quote, above:

" . . . in regard to the issue they had".

(Actually, this is more than just "their" issue, since it concerns policy and the use of city funds.)

I still have trouble understanding how the city could have made that decision in the first place, followed by additional spending that may not actually address the problem. (Let alone the other controversy regarding the apparent sole source, etc.)

I hope there's some kind of lesson to be gleaned from all of this, but it doesn't appear that officials view it that way. Sounds like the "solution" that's been reportedly/indirectly implemented might be to shut-down conversation, instead.

I'm thinking that the next step might be to deny election results. :-)

Colin Walsh

Sharla, I am not sure what your ex-husband Mike has to do with any of this.

When it comes to Maureen Carson acting as a moderator on next door here is the problem. We don't know who is responsible. Is Maureen acting on her own? Is Maureen directing Dan on the Council? Is Dan directing Maureen? Is Dan logged in as Maureen? And there you see the problem. This is the appearance of impropriety that a council person should be avoiding. And frankly if it is Dan logged in in Maureen's account, then in some circumstances also a violation of the Brown Act for him to suppress comments.

Sharla Cheney

Colin, Could his wife be her own person and not controlled by her husband? Or it could not be Maureen acting at all. Could it be another moderator? Could it be that the comments were reported as violating the rules of the site? Could it be that Dan, the husband and not a moderator had nothing to do with the moderation on NextDoor? Lots of possibilities here.

Colin Walsh

Like I said Sharla, we don't know, but it would have been wise for the Carson's to avoid the appearance of impropriety. Maybe Maureen is directing Carson’s every action on council. Maybe Carson is logged in to ND as M. Carson. And like I said, given Carson’s record of suppressing dissenting voices, it is reasonable to blame him for not keeping it clean. I certainly haven’t seen a statement from either Carson claiming they did not censor speech on NextDoor.

Janet Krovoza

Fascinating to note that at least as of today, Maureen's post exposing her home address appears to have been removed from her Nextdoor feed. Someone seems to be very intent on protecting the identity of "Maureen C." Wonder who that could be.

Ron O

Janet: Well, at least we know that "someone" may be reading what's posted on the Davisite.

And for that alone, I'm glad.

Seems that we've got an actual alternative to the Vanguard, here - especially for local issues.

:-)

Keith

"Seems that we've got an actual alternative to the Vanguard, here - especially for local issues."

Good point Ron, and the Davisite doesn't censor comments and free speech unless it's totally warranted unlike some other venues in Davis.

Alan C. Miller

Social media sucks, I and Nextdoor sucks elephant balls.

Keith

"Social media sucks, I and Nextdoor sucks elephant balls."

Is that worse than donkey balls?

Janet Krovoza

...All of the previous posts on Maureen's feed urging people to meet and greet Dan in his first run for CC are gone now, too. Hmmm. Wonder what's up!

Colin Walsh

Just like all of Dan Carson's 2022 outbound City Council emails about measure H have now disappeared from City Servers. People delete sometimes when they have something to hide.

George Galamba

Clearly Next Door has decided that political concerns voiced by Joe Krovoza and others are no longer acceptable on their format. Fortunately this site, and the Vanguard, are still available for discussion of local political issues.

Keith

"Fortunately this site, and the Vanguard, are still available for discussion of local political issues."

Ha, personally I've had many more comments censored on the Vanguard than I ever have had on Next-door or the Davisite.

Marc

There are multiple moderators and leads on next-door who have very strong biases: and political affiliations and allegiances, personal relationship, support special and self, and shut down discussion which does not support their narrative.

I have given ND names and suggest others do the same.

Keith

Ha, so Next-door sounds a lot like the Davis Vanguard

Alan C. Miller

"There are multiple moderators and leads on next-door who have very strong biases: and political affiliations and allegiances, personal relationship, support special and self, and shut down discussion which does not support their narrative. "

"Next-door sounds a lot like the Davis Vanguard"

Bing Go

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