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Subject: New Next Door site includes too many whiners
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Author Messages
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8720


10/25/2021 6:44 PM  
I I've seen some posts here about Next Door and similar sites. An owner in my HOA started one month ago, and some owners joined. I've seen some snippets of comments and they're pretty negative about our HOA. I've read here and elsewhere this is common. I don't know how many members there are nor have I seen all of the remarks. If like others, though, I fully expect there will be false rumors and mistaken assertions.

My question is what is our Board's best approach to dealing with this? Ignore them? Make corrections courteously in our monthly Newsletter? I haven't joined and I don't think any other directors have either. My terms as director is up in a few weeks. Should I join?

This Board has been working very hard and we've made great strides in improving our common areas and exclusive use balconies. Our communications have been very transparent and we've held quite a few Town Halls. We respond frankly and civilly to Open forum remarks & questions at our monthly open meetings. But, as many of you know, our condo of 200+ units sees the same 30 or so owners attend meetings of all kinds. We may get a few new owners once or twice. Even the Town Halls attract maybe 50, but many are pairs from the same household. How do we reach our 25% absentee owners who never attend open meetings or Town Halls, and our 12 +% owners who live here part time.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1594


10/25/2021 6:52 PM  
There is nothing an HOA can do. It is called Freedom of Speech.
AugustinD


Posts:1905


10/25/2021 7:07 PM  
If the errors and questions raised at the NDN site are large enough, I would recommend the Board set aside a part of each Board meeting to correct falsehoods and warn of corporate defamation;.
HenryS7
(Arizona)

Posts:73


10/25/2021 7:15 PM  
We have an active Facebook group for our neighborhood. We have no false accustaions and incorrect rumors, and if someone posts something incorrect, a board member politely responds to it. The board takes comments that are HOA-related on Facebook seriously as feedback and tries to listen to the feedback that we receive to help make things better.

Overall, our community is polite and courteous to the HOA on Facebook and we try to return the same to our homeowners.
AaronS9
(New Jersey)

Posts:4


10/25/2021 8:59 PM  
henry, that's how all hoa's should be ... continued luck in your hoa
TimB4
(Tennessee)

Posts:17841


10/26/2021 5:14 AM  
Remember this forums posting rules.
Simply say social media vs. naming actual products/apps
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2588


10/26/2021 5:51 AM  
There is no way to stop people from posting misinformation on social media. The best you can do is use official communication channels to provide accurate and up-to-date information, and allow the cranks to discredit themselves.

Our attorney recommended that board members *not* reply to anything on social media, although they can be members if they want.

* Social media is not an appropriate channel for HOA communications. The HOA is legally responsible for anything appearing on their platforms, and allowing free posting by others creates a liability risk - at the very least the HOA needs to carry more insurance and at a minimum monitor posts and remove anything problematic. Frankly, board members already have too much on their plates without having to referee social media spats.

* A single board member does not speak for the board. Unfortunately, homeowners will interpret a single board member's post as "the board says" no matter how many disclaimers the person puts on their response. (To me this also says that a board member can't really use social media the way the rest of the community can until he/she is no longer on the board.)

* Responses to individual homeowners can create the appearance of favoritism. Yes, I think that's a silly reaction - but having seen the kinds of spin homeowners can put on the most innocuous statements, it doesn't surprise me that some would take it that way.

* It's too easy to get drawn into inappropriate discussions. Here are some quotes from our training materials:

The biggest issue with these sites is that the board cannot control the platform. Some associations encounter dissident owners with “keyboard courage,” who say things online they otherwise would keep to themselves. Online posts can lead to rumors spreading rapidly throughout your community, leaving the board constantly playing defense instead of getting out positive messages.

By being proactive and introducing your association’s official website or social media platform, boards can more actively manage the environment of the message-board by removing inaccurate and harassing posts.

Boards must use caution when on social media. A general rule is that if you would not respond to the question at an annual meeting, do not respond to the question on your communication platform. Avoid being baited into traps like responding to collection or enforcement questions. Any item typically reserved for the executive session portion of your board meetings should not be posted online.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1594


10/26/2021 7:51 AM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 10/26/2021 5:51 AM
There is no way to stop people from posting misinformation on social media.


Why is it misinformation?
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:4284


10/26/2021 9:20 AM  
Reread Cathy's post and you can see why some comments are posted to rile up people and start a war. Why else do you think sites like Facebook, Twitter, TikTock, etc., are getting so much bad publicity these days? (or are you just being obtuse as usual?)

Our deceased president set up a NextDoor group before he passed away, but the few people in it (including moi) don't use it to post anything about the association. We have a website that includes a portal for messages to be sent to the board, so people can gripe on that if they like. The Next Door site for our community has had people try to go off on their HOA every now and again, but generally, I've seen that shut down by others in the neighborhood or the monitors themselves, saying such discussions are more appropriate for private groups if any, or they can go to a board meeting. Or write a letter.

The danger of social media is that people spout nonsense all day long and usually don't get called on their foolishness because there may not be anyone to do it. You can be whoever you want to be on social media and it's that anonymity that attracts people. Would they say what they said if they had to do it in person and back up what they said? In many (most?) cases, hell no.

JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11659


10/26/2021 9:22 AM  
Kerry

If your HOA has a website then I say, without mentioning the source, post correct information when a post on Open Door site bothers the BOD, otherwise ignore them.

If no website then do it in the BOD Minutes under Miscellaneous.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1594


10/26/2021 9:29 AM  
Posted By SheliaH on 10/26/2021 9:20 AM
Reread Cathy's post and you can see why some comments are posted to rile up people and start a war. Why else do you think sites like Facebook, Twitter, TikTock, etc., are getting so much bad publicity these days? (or are you just being obtuse as usual?)

Our deceased president set up a NextDoor group before he passed away, but the few people in it (including moi) don't use it to post anything about the association. We have a website that includes a portal for messages to be sent to the board, so people can gripe on that if they like. The Next Door site for our community has had people try to go off on their HOA every now and again, but generally, I've seen that shut down by others in the neighborhood or the monitors themselves, saying such discussions are more appropriate for private groups if any, or they can go to a board meeting. Or write a letter.

The danger of social media is that people spout nonsense all day long and usually don't get called on their foolishness because there may not be anyone to do it. You can be whoever you want to be on social media and it's that anonymity that attracts people. Would they say what they said if they had to do it in person and back up what they said? In many (most?) cases, hell no.




BUT, is it misinformation?
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8720


10/26/2021 9:47 AM  
Please keep your insights and advice coming. I really appreciate those of you who are actually offering help. Two big meetings today--I think tomorrow I'll be able to respond.





JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11659


10/26/2021 9:55 AM  
I say an HOA should have and maintain a informational only website. Not anything with back and forth chatting as it can soon become a shit show and even turn any buyers off. If bothersome I would have our attorney write a letter demanding they say in big bold letters: Not The Official Site of So and So.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1594


10/26/2021 10:19 AM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 10/26/2021 9:55 AM
I say an HOA should have and maintain a informational only website. Not anything with back and forth chatting as it can soon become a shit show and even turn any buyers off. If bothersome I would have our attorney write a letter demanding they say in big bold letters: Not The Official Site of So and So.



Social media sites are setup by homeowners, not the HOA, and no attorney letter will ever deter the social media giants from being what they are.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11659


10/26/2021 10:24 AM  
Posted By MaxB4 on 10/26/2021 10:19 AM
Posted By JohnC46 on 10/26/2021 9:55 AM
I say an HOA should have and maintain a informational only website. Not anything with back and forth chatting as it can soon become a shit show and even turn any buyers off. If bothersome I would have our attorney write a letter demanding they say in big bold letters: Not The Official Site of So and So.



Social media sites are setup by homeowners, not the HOA, and no attorney letter will ever deter the social media giants from being what they are.




There have been several court cases where the social media site had a name so close to the HOA's name that it could/was confusing and the courts ordered a name change. I am not advocating control. I am advocating not making it confusing.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1594


10/26/2021 10:33 AM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 10/26/2021 10:24 AM
Posted By MaxB4 on 10/26/2021 10:19 AM
Posted By JohnC46 on 10/26/2021 9:55 AM
I say an HOA should have and maintain a informational only website. Not anything with back and forth chatting as it can soon become a shit show and even turn any buyers off. If bothersome I would have our attorney write a letter demanding they say in big bold letters: Not The Official Site of So and So.



Social media sites are setup by homeowners, not the HOA, and no attorney letter will ever deter the social media giants from being what they are.




There have been several court cases where the social media site had a name so close to the HOA's name that it could/was confusing and the courts ordered a name change. I am not advocating control. I am advocating not making it confusing.



I did a search and this came up from an attorney:

Finally, I am often asked how a Board should deal with inaccuracies on these forums. In my experience, I have seen more inaccurate information and rumors spread on these unofficial social media platforms than I have seen accurate information. In other words, many Board members want to jump into the social media conversation to correct inaccuracies or defend themselves against unjustified or false accusations. Although this urge is completely understandable, those of you reading this article that have tried to engage in this internet debate most likely discovered that the internet is not always a safe space for debate. If my clients insist on posting in these social media platforms, I generally recommend the Board acknowledge that there is inaccurate information and invite the residents to attend a Board meeting for a discussion on the matter.
HenryS7
(Arizona)

Posts:73


10/26/2021 10:55 AM  
I think the reason that attorney's are down on them is no one goes to an attorney due to excessive accurate, helpful, and informative information posted on social media. While I think that is the case in many situations, such as ours, our attorney doesn't need to be involved. Thus, they only hear about the negatives from social media.
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:1462


10/26/2021 11:29 AM  
Kerry, For the most part Nextdoor can be a helpful too to those that don't attend meetings but want to stay connected to the community. There is a safety aspect because people report crimes in progress
and other important events. The only annoying thing is the frapping ads. The biggest complainer on ND in my community is the chronic problem child renter that always spouts off that they're going to sue. that always stirs the $#!T pot because they always broadcast it to all the neighborhoods that gets the peanut gallery all riled up. We tried working with the neighborhood leads to get this party deplatformed.

Take it with a grain of salt. everyone has an opinion and opinions are like a holes, everyone has them.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2588


10/26/2021 12:09 PM  
Earlier this year a bunch of folks in a community near mine were all up in arms because the board was discussing what to do about a group of foxes living in their community.

The issue was that so many people thought the foxes were cute and fed them. As a result the foxes had lost their fear of humans and would approach and even chase people - and small children wanted to pet the "puppies". A wild animal that isn't afraid of humans can be a danger to itself and to humans - apparently some folks have never heard of rabies or other diseases.

Of course social media blew up over this. The accusations and rude comments were flyin' fast an' furious, and the board was being crucified for wanting to address the issue somehow.

TimB4
(Tennessee)

Posts:17841


10/26/2021 12:12 PM  
Posted By MaxB4 on 10/26/2021 9:29 AM

The danger of social media is that people spout nonsense all day long and usually don't get called on their foolishness because there may not be anyone to do it. You can be whoever you want to be on social media and it's that anonymity that attracts people. Would they say what they said if they had to do it in person and back up what they said? In many (most?) cases, hell no.




BUT, is it misinformation?



Max,

I do see your point. Sometimes it is intentional misinformation. However, most of the time it simply one persons perspective or opinion based on the information and experience they have at the time. One may or may not agree with what is being posted. One may even argue the opposite position based on their own information and experiences. Some will take the time to verify what they read. Some will simply ignore what they disagree with. A few will beat the topic to death to make a point.

Similar to this site.
HenryS7
(Arizona)

Posts:73


10/26/2021 12:48 PM  
In other words, the OP is using social media to complain about social media.
MarshallT
(New York)

Posts:179


10/26/2021 1:12 PM  
Hi Kerry,

What you've described is unfortunately pretty common. I wouldn't bother with Next Door. It's an open platform and was not meant to be regulated by boards. People will always use these sites to complain. If they really wanted issues resolved, they would try to work with the board to fix them.

If you're not doing this already, you could try sending out digital newsletters and notices so they get to everyone quickly. But it is hard to engage people who are not interested.
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:844


10/26/2021 3:18 PM  
Kerry,
The difference between a FB group and a ND page are significant. Usually someone from the community monitors the the site and lets owners join hopefully after making sure they are actual owners and not renters. The ND site does address checks but many ways to beat that system as I have seen over the years. The other major problem with this site is you can add neighboring communities to your feed of news and when someone posts they can send it to the entire site verses just their HOA. This can spread negative and as others mentioned many times 1 sided arguments to other communities.

I am not on the first group but did join the second many years ago and I thought it was the PG version of FB. It has turned a bit in the recent years and is now just as bad IMO. I also have recently noticed that we are getting news from communities 25 miles away from ours. I am about to give up on it as well.

I tell my board that replying usually does no good and since you are not sure if you are even talking to the actual owner of the property can be a waste of time and brain cells.
BarbaraT1
(Texas)

Posts:588


10/27/2021 6:01 AM  
I used to read and sometimes post on the community social media. More residents check there than read the emails I send out each week. I spent a lot of time correcting misinformation from as minor as pool hours to as major as whether the association was in compliance with state law.

The goal was to steer people toward official sources, but the opposite happened. Discussion stayed on social media because they knew I’d respond eventually. The board and I are considering new approaches to social media.
BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:1104


10/27/2021 7:18 AM  
Posted By MarkM19 on 10/26/2021 3:18 PM
Kerry,
Usually someone from the community monitors the the site and lets owners join hopefully after making sure they are actual owners and not renters.



Nextdoor has no requirement to be a property owner. Anyone who rents or owns property in the neighborhood can join.
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:844


10/27/2021 7:28 AM  
Ben,
Yes you are correct. That is why board members should avoid engaging in my HOA talk on these sites.

Our current PMC uses a great app called S----webs and I find it very interesting when someone takes a jab at the HOA or the board to look up this address and almost every time they have recently received a violation letter or a late notice for non payment. They get on any media they can find and give their version with skewed details and wait for others to join in.
TimB4
(Tennessee)

Posts:17841


10/27/2021 7:58 AM  
Perhaps it's a good time to stress the point of the need for a social media policy for your Association.

Here is some info:

The Modern Age of Social Media and the Need for Regulation Within Homeowners Associations a 2019 article on an attorneys website.

A Social Media Guide for HOA and Condo Associations a free ebook from a management company

Social Media Policy Checklist

Sample Policy from Nevada

An actual Social Media Policy from an hoa

MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1594


10/27/2021 8:12 AM  
Posted By TimB4 on 10/27/2021 7:58 AM
Perhaps it's a good time to stress the point of the need for a social media policy for your Association.

Here is some info:

The Modern Age of Social Media and the Need for Regulation Within Homeowners Associations a 2019 article on an attorneys website.

A Social Media Guide for HOA and Condo Associations a free ebook from a management company

Social Media Policy Checklist

Sample Policy from Nevada

An actual Social Media Policy from an hoa




This would not work for something like Nextdoor and hopefully we don't live in a communist country either.
TimB4
(Tennessee)

Posts:17841


10/27/2021 12:46 PM  
I disagree.

You might need to adjust the policy based on the site chosen, but a social media policy is a good thing to have.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1594


10/27/2021 1:47 PM  
This is a neighborhood app, not a community specific app, like Facebook.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1594


10/27/2021 1:48 PM  
And the HOA doesn't sign up, a neighbor does.
TimB4
(Tennessee)

Posts:17841


10/27/2021 2:45 PM  
Depends who starts the group on N.D.
I'm a member of one.

Additionally, a social media policy would still be a correct response in my opinion. It could specify that members of the board do or don't respond to issues (or who responds).
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1594


10/27/2021 2:53 PM  
Posted By TimB4 on 10/27/2021 2:45 PM
Depends who starts the group on N.D.
I'm a member of one.

Additionally, a social media policy would still be a correct response in my opinion. It could specify that members of the board do or don't respond to issues (or who responds).



My previous association had a board member start and admin a N.D. site. They allowed all kinds of junk to go on and did nothing. The Board censured the board member, but N.D. would not do anything. Can't censure speech especially when it's true.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8720


10/28/2021 6:30 PM  
I need to copy all of the comments onto a document to compile & organize your (mainly) useful remarks. Thanks so much to those of you who actually want to advise & help. I do want to read Tim's citations.

I'm such a novice about these things. the owner who tarted it states this is a "private member group 'MyHOA' Condo Folks' within the Next-door Web site." The owner signed and called himself "Administrator." I had for a while belonged to a neighborhood one and it was too offensive and ridiculous I quit after a month.

I did look up the owner and as some suspected, he has received courtesy letters about people smoking on his balcony. I see his balcony perfectly well and observer smokers. Some owners suspect that he has an airb&b op going on. He does not attend our monthly-or more often- open meetings.

Our Assn. has no intention of starting any social media account. We do have two websites where the Board could post corrections to "Condo Folks." In some ways, I think it might serve us well to know WHAT false rumors are afoot so we can be clearer in our newsletters and communications to owners on certain topics. Our current Board's relationships with Owners has been very good.

I was especially proud of our Board Tuesday night when we hashed out our '22 budget & on-site Level 1 reserve study for well over an hour with 15 owners attending via Zoom & 15 in person. We opened the discussion up for owner input and the whole time was wonderfully fruitful, respectful, etc. Two directors who disagreed on starting major rehab projects in 1/22 almost simultaneously, gradually came around to the point of view of the rest of us directors. This, of course, directly related to the budget and reserves both.

Thank you again for sincere advice!
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1594


10/28/2021 8:33 PM  
Posted By HenryS7 on 10/26/2021 12:48 PM
In other words, the OP is using social media to complain about social media.



Hit the nail on the head!
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2588


10/29/2021 5:23 AM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 10/28/2021 6:30 PM
...snip ...
In some ways, I think it might serve us well to know WHAT false rumors are afoot so we can be clearer in our newsletters and communications to owners on certain topics. Our current Board's relationships with Owners has been very good.
... snip ...



This is exactly why I had some social media accounts: to see what was being said so that we could address any rumors or false info in our official publications. I was on social media as an observer only.
AugustinD


Posts:1905


10/29/2021 6:17 AM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 10/28/2021 6:30 PM

I did look up the owner [who also administrates the web site where people are posting not necessarily correct information] and as some suspected, he has received courtesy letters about people smoking on his balcony. I see his balcony perfectly well and observer smokers. Some owners suspect that he has an airb&b op going on. He does not attend our monthly-or more often- open meetings.
Nice update, KerryL1.

Two directors coming around to the need to start major rehab projects in 2022 must be kinda satisfying.

I have AirBnB'd in several stand-alone, non-condo, non-HOA, non-townhome older homes the last month. It's my first experience with same. These airbnbs have been nicer and less expensive than hotels. I love these modern boarding houses. However, if I land in a townhome community, I would vote to bust anyone running an airbnb in violation of the covenants.

Is there anyone at your COA/HOA/CID who checks the airbnb ads to confirm this guy is running one in violation of the covenants?
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:1462


10/29/2021 12:02 PM  
Posted By BenA2 on 10/27/2021 7:18 AM
Posted By MarkM19 on 10/26/2021 3:18 PM
Kerry,
Usually someone from the community monitors the the site and lets owners join hopefully after making sure they are actual owners and not renters.



Nextdoor has no requirement to be a property owner. Anyone who rents or owns property in the neighborhood can join.




My observation is it is usually the renters that are the biggest complainers.
SarahV4
(California)

Posts:13


11/04/2021 9:45 AM  
I think you hit on the right answer in your first post. You should join to listen, and make corrections courteously in the monthly Newsletter where appropriate. Some things you can just ignore.

To others suggestion the HOA sponsor one with rules they can control, that still doesn't prevent a member from starting their own free for all social media site. I'm a proponent of one-way communication, with members communications to the board being limited to email or open forum in the meetings.

This advice is from a California law firm, but is general: https://www.davis-stirling.com/HOME/C/Chat-Rooms

I'm glad some communities have sites that work, but beware, it just takes one or two people to change that. I live in an HOA that had a loose social media offering (email list, open to all neighbors not just residents). It was used very respectfully for years (decades?), but a single voice (a renter) started using the platform to criticize board decisions, and also to spread confusion/misinformation. Initially, some directors responded off the cuff, and often poorly, and it inflamed things. The board (correctly) stopped using it as an information channel and began using official channels in a more disciplined way, and respond mostly by directing people to official resources. Not the "misinformation" wasn't always malcontent - the board had done a poor job of providing clear information in other channels, leaving people to fill in the gaps by guessing.

Your best defense is clear communications and transparency, which you sound like you have covered.

Voter apathy is a widespread problem, many people don't want more engagement and are happy to let the board do their work, and only will engage if they see issues.
SarahV4
(California)

Posts:13


11/04/2021 9:45 AM  
I think you hit on the right answer in your first post. You should join to listen, and make corrections courteously in the monthly Newsletter where appropriate. Some things you can just ignore.

To others suggestion the HOA sponsor one with rules they can control, that still doesn't prevent a member from starting their own free for all social media site. I'm a proponent of one-way communication, with members communications to the board being limited to email or open forum in the meetings.

This advice is from a California law firm, but is general: https://www.davis-stirling.com/HOME/C/Chat-Rooms

I'm glad some communities have sites that work, but beware, it just takes one or two people to change that. I live in an HOA that had a loose social media offering (email list, open to all neighbors not just residents). It was used very respectfully for years (decades?), but a single voice (a renter) started using the platform to criticize board decisions, and also to spread confusion/misinformation. Initially, some directors responded off the cuff, and often poorly, and it inflamed things. The board (correctly) stopped using it as an information channel and began using official channels in a more disciplined way, and respond mostly by directing people to official resources. Not the "misinformation" wasn't always malcontent - the board had done a poor job of providing clear information in other channels, leaving people to fill in the gaps by guessing.

Your best defense is clear communications and transparency, which you sound like you have covered.

Voter apathy is a widespread problem, many people don't want more engagement and are happy to let the board do their work, and only will engage if they see issues.
SarahV4
(California)

Posts:13


11/04/2021 9:45 AM  
I think you hit on the right answer in your first post. You should join to listen, and make corrections courteously in the monthly Newsletter where appropriate. Some things you can just ignore.

To others suggestion the HOA sponsor one with rules they can control, that still doesn't prevent a member from starting their own free for all social media site. I'm a proponent of one-way communication, with members communications to the board being limited to email or open forum in the meetings.

This advice is from a California law firm, but is general: https://www.davis-stirling.com/HOME/C/Chat-Rooms

I'm glad some communities have sites that work, but beware, it just takes one or two people to change that. I live in an HOA that had a loose social media offering (email list, open to all neighbors not just residents). It was used very respectfully for years (decades?), but a single voice (a renter) started using the platform to criticize board decisions, and also to spread confusion/misinformation. Initially, some directors responded off the cuff, and often poorly, and it inflamed things. The board (correctly) stopped using it as an information channel and began using official channels in a more disciplined way, and respond mostly by directing people to official resources. Not the "misinformation" wasn't always malcontent - the board had done a poor job of providing clear information in other channels, leaving people to fill in the gaps by guessing.

Your best defense is clear communications and transparency, which you sound like you have covered.

Voter apathy is a widespread problem, many people don't want more engagement and are happy to let the board do their work, and only will engage if they see issues.
SarahV4
(California)

Posts:13


11/04/2021 9:45 AM  
I think you hit on the right answer in your first post. You should join to listen, and make corrections courteously in the monthly Newsletter where appropriate. Some things you can just ignore.

To others suggestion the HOA sponsor one with rules they can control, that still doesn't prevent a member from starting their own free for all social media site. I'm a proponent of one-way communication, with members communications to the board being limited to email or open forum in the meetings.

This advice is from a California law firm, but is general: https://www.davis-stirling.com/HOME/C/Chat-Rooms

I'm glad some communities have sites that work, but beware, it just takes one or two people to change that. I live in an HOA that had a loose social media offering (email list, open to all neighbors not just residents). It was used very respectfully for years (decades?), but a single voice (a renter) started using the platform to criticize board decisions, and also to spread confusion/misinformation. Initially, some directors responded off the cuff, and often poorly, and it inflamed things. The board (correctly) stopped using it as an information channel and began using official channels in a more disciplined way, and respond mostly by directing people to official resources. Not the "misinformation" wasn't always malcontent - the board had done a poor job of providing clear information in other channels, leaving people to fill in the gaps by guessing.

Your best defense is clear communications and transparency, which you sound like you have covered.

Voter apathy is a widespread problem, many people don't want more engagement and are happy to let the board do their work, and only will engage if they see issues.
SarahV4
(California)

Posts:13


11/04/2021 9:45 AM  
I think you hit on the right answer in your first post. You should join to listen, and make corrections courteously in the monthly Newsletter where appropriate. Some things you can just ignore.

To others suggestion the HOA sponsor one with rules they can control, that still doesn't prevent a member from starting their own free for all social media site. I'm a proponent of one-way communication, with members communications to the board being limited to email or open forum in the meetings.

This advice is from a California law firm, but is general: https://www.davis-stirling.com/HOME/C/Chat-Rooms

I'm glad some communities have sites that work, but beware, it just takes one or two people to change that. I live in an HOA that had a loose social media offering (email list, open to all neighbors not just residents). It was used very respectfully for years (decades?), but a single voice (a renter) started using the platform to criticize board decisions, and also to spread confusion/misinformation. Initially, some directors responded off the cuff, and often poorly, and it inflamed things. The board (correctly) stopped using it as an information channel and began using official channels in a more disciplined way, and respond mostly by directing people to official resources. Not the "misinformation" wasn't always malcontent - the board had done a poor job of providing clear information in other channels, leaving people to fill in the gaps by guessing.

Your best defense is clear communications and transparency, which you sound like you have covered.

Voter apathy is a widespread problem, many people don't want more engagement and are happy to let the board do their work, and only will engage if they see issues.
SarahV4
(California)

Posts:13


11/04/2021 9:45 AM  
I think you hit on the right answer in your first post. You should join to listen, and make corrections courteously in the monthly Newsletter where appropriate. Some things you can just ignore.

To others suggestion the HOA sponsor one with rules they can control, that still doesn't prevent a member from starting their own free for all social media site. I'm a proponent of one-way communication, with members communications to the board being limited to email or open forum in the meetings.

This advice is from a California law firm, but is general: https://www.davis-stirling.com/HOME/C/Chat-Rooms

I'm glad some communities have sites that work, but beware, it just takes one or two people to change that. I live in an HOA that had a loose social media offering (email list, open to all neighbors not just residents). It was used very respectfully for years (decades?), but a single voice (a renter) started using the platform to criticize board decisions, and also to spread confusion/misinformation. Initially, some directors responded off the cuff, and often poorly, and it inflamed things. The board (correctly) stopped using it as an information channel and began using official channels in a more disciplined way, and respond mostly by directing people to official resources. Not the "misinformation" wasn't always malcontent - the board had done a poor job of providing clear information in other channels, leaving people to fill in the gaps by guessing.

Your best defense is clear communications and transparency, which you sound like you have covered.

Voter apathy is a widespread problem, many people don't want more engagement and are happy to let the board do their work, and only will engage if they see issues.
SarahV4
(California)

Posts:13


11/04/2021 9:46 AM  
Sorry for the multiple posts, tech error
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8720


11/04/2021 1:41 PM  
I appreciate your experience and insights, Sarah. My concerns about it are on the back burner for the moment as a lot else is going on in my HOA at the moment (good stuff!!)

I will actually join, but take seriously your & others' advice to not argue, "correct, etc. what's on it.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11659


11/04/2021 1:49 PM  
I have often said associations should have a web site. With that said, I believe the website should be informational and the information from the BOD. Do not make it interactive were others can post. It could become very caustic and negative. It could harm home sales.

Also it can effectively blunt criticisms on other chat sites. As an example:
It has come to the BOD's attention that some owners have heard rumors we will be removing parking spots at the Pool. Well this is incorrect. We will be limiting parking there to only those that are at the pool. We are doing this as we have had complaints about people parking unused vehicles at the pool parking for extended time. In one case for over a week.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8720


11/04/2021 6:43 PM  
We have a website for owners only which is informational for Owners only. We have another that all residents can access, which is informational only. So either could be good for "corrections" kid needed be. we wouldn't even refer to the misinformation. We also have a monthly newsletter where certain matters might be responded to within the context of other news.

With all I've leaned on this forum over the years, I don't think our HOA wants a site for interaction between the HOA & owners.

Thanks to everyone for good advice!
MichaelS56
(Minnesota)

Posts:300


11/05/2021 4:54 PM  
Our Association has a Communication committee that produces a monthly newsletter that each owner/resident receives. This is where the Board and the committee members place articles pertaining to the Association both business and social information. This moved from a quarterly newsletter to a monthly newsletter. We also have our own Association website that is available to all owners 24/7, with all of the financial and other relevant governing documents for all owners to access.
AnnaJ1
(Maryland)

Posts:81


11/10/2021 12:13 PM  
I completely feel your pain. We had an uninformed disgruntled member spread mischaracterized and flat out false info via Social Media and flyers that they put on homeowners doors. The Board just used the flyers to create bullet points for the annual meeting to clarify what was being said. I would politely do the same on social media, if whatever is being spread is worth it.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1594


11/10/2021 12:28 PM  
Posted By AnnaJ1 on 11/10/2021 12:13 PM
I completely feel your pain. We had an uninformed disgruntled member spread mischaracterized and flat out false info via Social Media and flyers that they put on homeowners doors. The Board just used the flyers to create bullet points for the annual meeting to clarify what was being said. I would politely do the same on social media, if whatever is being spread is worth it.



We have had false information through social media, not by them, spreading in this country for the past five years. Get over the little whining on NextDoor.
ShawnM5
(California)

Posts:1


11/26/2021 12:09 PM  
I only observe postings about our association on ND and do not comment. I copy the main posting and forward it to the rest of the board so they can be aware of the talk among the community.

About 90% of the respondents think the board is composed of mean people because we enforce our CC&Rs. The remaining 10% point out the owner or renter agreed to the CC&Rs when they moved in.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8720


11/26/2021 12:34 PM  
Now that I'm off the Board, I joined NextDoor a few days ago for our 200+ unit multi-story condos. There are 32 members and, after some major complaining about how long it took to repair water damage in a common area in early Oct., , there really haven't been many postings.. If there are false rumors, I'll probably follow some of the advice way above and not respond on NextDoor.

I'm thinking I'll forward to a couple of board members for possible handling in the Newsletter or web site, depending. on the nature of the rumors.
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