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Dawson Neighborhood

Dawson Forum Seized

My apologies for the long-windedness of this post. The middle part is mostly reposted emails, so you might want to skip to the end. But please read the preface. I’m painfully aware how hard it may be for some to believe the events written here. It’s been terribly surreal for me as well.


There is a newer, better written version of this editorial here.

Preface: In a nutshell, our neighborhood association censors the conversation in the Yahoo Group they established some years back. They censor to eliminate certain opinions and to punish personal enemies, which goes beyond moderating for undesirable conduct and slander. The association consists of a husband and wife who basically do everything, and a small group of friends who think that “loyalty” is more important than democracy. They’re unpleasant to work with, and meetings are very poorly attended. And they want to keep it that way!

In response, A group of over 240 neighbors built a new open discussion community free of censorship on Nextdoor. We promoted a truly community-run website (you’re reading it now) and raised money for advertisement signs to improve meeting attendance. Friends and officers of the association naturally caused as much trouble for the Nextdoor Lead (including me) and did as much as they could to create an air of hostility without (quite) breaking Nextdoor’s guidelines. Nextdoor management was made aware of this, and we had their assurance that would remain a protected space for our alternative online community.

Until Nextdoor abruptly changed their minds, and handed it directly over to the neighborhood association. From that point on, it was clear that Nextdoor Staff were determined to ignore any reasoning, and stick with the new regime they covertly installed.

Nextdoor hadn’t actually been our shining white knight all along, though. In 2014, they’d put myself and another Lead on double-plus restrictions and ordered us to keep our mouths shut about it. Our crime? I had initiated an honest conversation about Nextdoor’s theatrical security and privacy policies with other Leads. Nextdoor retaliated by suspending our accounts and I was ordered by a Nextdoor manager to prove I could HACK THEIR WEBSITE! They were keen to ban us until they saw we had done so much to promote Nextdoor and were in the middle of organizing area events. They reinstated us as Leads only in appearance. Our accounts were crippled, and we were under orders not to use our remaining tools without their direct permission. Having mistreated us as they did, they obviously would never be comfortable with us around. They apparently awaited a pretense to replace us. Btw, the other Lead who suffered as I did had never been involved in any of the issues. Nextdoor simply knew she was my friend!

We hear we’re not Nextdoor’s only victims. Here is alarming information from Ex-Nextdoor employees, members and Leads:

As it stands now, I have finally been banned, at the request of the new Leads. My crime was to embarrass them by continuing to contribute popular news posts and participate in general discussion as though I was an equal. As Leads, the association naturally found fault in everything I did. They blatantly broke Nextdoor’s guidelines, and you’ve never seen anyone jump through mental acrobatics to rationalize it like Nextdoor Staff now did. It was the same manager who we tangled with before who intercepted my requests for help and replied with baloney. I repeatedly asked him what, if any rules I had violated, and he refused to answer. The other Lead, my friend, is on extra-extra restricted status now. Her account is set to read-only. She can only read General posts, and cannot comment, make posts or even click “thank”. Again, she was *never* involved in any of the issues, and that punk of a manager even spoke to her on the phone about ordering her Lead status cancelled.

Click “more” to read the original preface and the un-redacted chain of emails between myself and Nextdoor.

Older Preface: Our DawsonAustin neighborhood group hosted on was not launched by the Dawson Neighborhood Association, nor did it’s founder or any of it’s Leads intend that it be directed by them. In fact, we worked hard to make it a legitimate alternative. Then, it got popular. How does this then mean that DNA is justified in forcibly appropriating it? I apologize for being so long-winded. I’m gradually learning to be a better writer. One challenge here is that this is all so surreal, that a plain statement of the facts leaves newcomers with more questions and doubts than before. From there, it fragments into endless sub-explanations.

Picture of Chad VanderlindenOn 3/21/2015 5:10 PM, chad@dawsonneighborhood wrote:

Hi Neighbors,

I have some absolutely terrible news. I’m literally heartbroken as I write this. A year and a half of hard work may have just gone down the drain. has literally seized oversight of our blossoming online community, DawsonAustin, from the people in the neighborhood most motivated to make it succeed, and handed it on a platter to the one individual most motivated to see it fail!

I need your immediate help, and ask that you do something for me by Sunday night! Please don’t be shy. Don’t be stand-offish. Whatever your feelings are about getting involved, this is a fundamental matter of right and wrong. If we don’t get this fixed, then we will all suffer starting NOW.

As you know, Dawson Neighborhood’s online community on Nextdoor was founded to be a counterpart to the neighborhood website This alternative neighborhood community was necessary because of unfair censorship by the moderator of the neighborhood’s legacy Yahoo Group. The neighborhood association controls that Yahoo Group. Sadly, the neighborhood association was dead set against involvement in a neighborhood website, or any notion of looking beyond the Yahoo Group for a more modern venue. These are technological things they didn’t understand, or feel they could not have full control over. They’ve tried and given up on neighborhood websites at least 3 times in the past already.

A group of us neighbors launched the new website anyway. has been a smashing success. We also launched a Google+, a Twitter, chat room, our own mailing list and others. We raised $260.00 for signs to advertise the public meetings that take place 6x a year. We worked to get the neighborhood newsletter (and it’s enclosed Minutes and Agenda) out to the neighborhood sooner than just 24 hours before the next meeting. DNA officers have been livid!

As amazing as it sounds, DNA/DNPCT officers do not want to publicize the neighborhood association. I guess it’s just easier for them to enjoy their respected positions year after year when only 7-15 of their closest friends attend meetings and vote for their pet projects. They enjoy endless re-elections where there are no challengers. In fact, they are now doubling-up on titles for lack of volunteers.


Sandy McMillan-Davis, DNA Secretary , DNA Yahoo Group Moderator and Newsletter Editor

Some DNA/DNPCT officers have joined Nextdoor. Their contribution has been lukewarm, and over all they have been present to criticize my leadership and to blatantly promote the old Yahoo Group. Last month, a DNA officer launched a direct competitor to our established neighborhood website, declaring it “official” without any forewarning, let alone community involvement in it. Her first two posts were also direct rip-offs from our website, typos and all. Message received, ma’am.

On Nextdoor, we can start conversations that are limited to just our own neighborhood, or include a dozen neighborhoods surrounding us. Last week, one of the association’s officers posted an item to all Austin neighborhoods that was really of no interest anywhere but Dawson. I did not remove the message. I did not moderate or punish the offender in any way. I simply thanked him privately, and suggested that he limit posts like that to just Dawson to avoid being put on “mute” or ignored by the wider audience.


Peter Davis, DNPCT Chair, DNA Website Administrator and Lead (by seizure) of DawsonAustin Nextdoor Community.

On Wednesday of this past week, I was abruptly informed by Nextdoor that I was no longer the moderator, and that DNPCT Chair, Peter Davis was now the new moderator. They even demoted my friend and fellow moderator Sonja Hunter for no reason whatsoever!

In all my years of being an online leader, moderator, host, etc., I think this is a first. History-making, even! How often does a troll complain about being cautioned, and get rewarded with full control of the place as a result? It’s absolutely breathtaking.

Nextdoor says they had several private telephone conversations with Peter, and were somehow impressed by his “leadership”, so they just handed our community right over to him. Understand now, Peter’s own wife Sandy is the censorship-happy moderator of the legacy Yahoo Group. Actually, much evidence exists that Peter poses as his wife, using her account, which means they are both seriously violating the trust of our neighborhood too. He’s certainly deeply involved in his “wife’s” website, as every post has either been signed by his name, or had his manner of speaking throughout it.

Their household has way too much control over the neighborhood’s communication and they act only to limit it’s free expression. Their unhesitating willingness to abuse their power proves that they are not good custodians of our neighborhood. They are wolves in the hen-house. Perhaps they sincerely think they are doing what is right, but they are hurting people, and hurting our neighborhood, for their own ego. Their control over our knowledge is certainly not more important than our free expression.

In comparison with Peter’s relative non-participation on Nextdoor, I’ve invited hundreds of people by email and postcard. I take my job seriously to keep it free of spam ads and full of useful information. Peter is there to wipe the record clean of my posts, as he did on Yahoo, and to scuttle the Nextdoor group.

Attached below, is my email conversation with Nextdoor so far. They have not promised to change their minds, but a member of upper management is poised to get involved in the coming week. I need everyone to send Nextdoor their concerns about this astonishing hijacking of our free and open community.

If you like the idea of DNPCT Chairman Peter Davis being my replacement, by all means, hop onto Nextdoor and welcome him. If you are as opposed to this fundamentally wrong takeover, I ask you to do three things:

First, get on Nextdoor and create a new post, and state your opposition to Peter and your support for me. A simple statement is encouraged, but you can add as many reasons as you like.

Second, email and CC: to about your feelings regarding replacing me with Peter. Leave at least the last few lines of this email attached to the end, so their ticketing system can organize the feedback together.

Third, I only have a few of my neighbor’s email addresses, and I am now unable to post this message on Nextdoor. Please forward this whole email to all of your Dawson friends and neighbors and ask them to do the same. It does not matter if they are members of Nextdoor or Yahoo or even the neighborhood association. Nextdoor will take all mail sent to those addresses.

Thank you so much. It has been an honor to serve you this past year, and I hope I am able to continue in the future. Send me any of your questions or concerns.

Warm Regards, Chad Vanderlinden 512-850-6075

Tyler Green, Nextdoor Neighborhood Operations

Tyler | MAR 18, 2015 | 11:54AM PDT


I’m reaching out because we’ve become aware of your latest exchange with Peter Davis.

Since we can’t have Leads misrepresenting their powers or incorrectly enforcing the Guidelines, we’re going to have to remove your Lead status.

Moving forward, we’re very hopeful that you’ll be able to develop a strong working relationship with Peter and help uphold the Guidelines while contributing positively to Nextdoor Dawson. If you’re able to do so, we’re open to the possibility of reinstating your Lead status in the future.

Let me know if you have any questions.



Picture of Chad VanderlindenOn 3/18/2015 2:02 PM, Dawson Neighborhood Organization wrote: Tyler, You certainly don’t know the whole situation here! Our Nextdoor group is a refuge from our censorship of the Neighborhood Association. You’ve just granted Lead status to the very individual who we are trying to recover from! This means RUIN for our Nextdoor neighborhood!

Please, call me immediately at 512-850-6075!!!!!

Chad Vanderlinden

Tyler Green, Nextdoor Neighborhood Operations

Tyler | MAR 19, 2015 | 10:57AM PDT

Hi Chad,

I’m afraid we don’t offer phone support, so I can’t call you.

We’re going to give Peter a shot at Lead. We’ll be evaluating his candidacy as Lead in the exact same way we evaluate the candidacy of all Leads.



Picture of Chad VanderlindenOn 3/19/2015 1:22 PM, chad@dawsonneighborhood wrote: CC: Gordon Strause Tyler,

What on god’s green earth made you decide that Peter Davis was the best choice for lead? His very first post to ND was to complain about me, and the majority of his posts have been challenges to my authority and endless jabs and pokes. He has not shown any leadership. His evaluation was over years ago.

He and his wife moderate the neighborhood’s old Yahoo group, and they censor anyone who has a point of view they don’t want others to consider. This is why we moved to Nextdoor! Peter Davis is the reason I poured so much sweat and soul into Nextdoor over the last year!

Peter and his wife have JUST LAUNCHED a direct competitor to the neighborhood’s website, and you’ve just given him a cherry to top his sundae.

Peter’s endless promotion of his “new official” neighborhood website is the reason I cautioned him – not moderated him, just gave him a compliment and advice. I have been very active and proactive as lead. I take the position seriously. I have fought to protect my neighbors from spam and conflict, and to provide a legitimate venue that is out of the hands of censors.

I’ve invited HUNDREDS of people by email and postcard. And everything I’ve created has been handed over directly to the ones who are to blame for our neighborhood leadership’s shortcomings. How can you do this? A troll complains about being cautioned, and Nextdoor hands sole moderation control over to him. You ought to be concerned about how this will look to the public. As decisions go, it’s probably history making.

Furthermore, you’ve terminated the moderator status of my friend and neighbor Sonja Hunter. She isn’t involved in this! She’s lived in the neighborhood for over 20 years, and never conflicted with anyone. Don’t tell me you removed her for inactivity. I know she welcomes folks and thanks folks. She can’t type well, so she’s not one to write a lot. She still participates more than the majority of lurkers. And you’ve left Allison Gattis as a Lead, though she hasn’t been heard from in over a year and a half! You didn’t even call or write Sonja about this!

I haven’t broken any rules and my intentions have always been of the highest quality. Yet, you’ve thanked me by slapping me in the face in the most exacting, personal manner. “we’re very hopeful that you’ll be able to develop a strong working relationship with Peter” OH really? Is this the kind of set-up that you figure will bring about peace and harmony? Or do you think I’ll just give up and go away? As chieftan of our HOA, perhaps Peter will bring your database more names and addresses, huh? You’ve misjudged me. I won’t go away.

Your last email did not answer any questions. I was aware that Peter has been made a lead. Detailed explanation is requested. Answer the above questions please.

Regards, Chad Vanderlinden Neighborhood Lead, DawsonAustin

Tyler Green, Nextdoor Neighborhood Operations

Tyler | MAR 19, 2015 | 05:44PM PDT


You’re right – I didn’t give you enough background on why we made this decision.

The most important qualification for a Lead is that they’re someone we can trust to represent Nextdoor and someone who we know will accurately enforce company policy. In this case, our hands are actually completely tied based on two inaccuracies in your latest exchange with Peter. To be clear, we really don’t like to make this type of change (it creates a ton of work for us), but at this moment, it’s our only course of action.

1) In your PM to Peter on March 12, you told him that his post was not appropriate for Nearby Neighborhoods, when in fact it was completely appropriate and the exact type of content we want members to post to the website. Since you’ve been a member for over a year now, we’re uncomfortable with you attempting to moderate member behavior and content that doesn’t violate the Guidelines.

2) In the same PM, you mislead Peter to believe that you receive notifications that his account has been Muted. This is an obvious misrepresentation of your powers as Lead.

3) In cases where we need to find a new Lead, we have a high rate of success appointing members in real life leadership positions. In this case, we’ve had a chance to interact with Peter on several occasions and through a number of phone conversations, we believe that he’s a good fit for the role. While it’s certainly possible that you have a negative history with Peter, we’re only concerned with his behavior on Nextdoor and how his skills can benefit the community. Of course, Peter will be held to the exact same standards as all Leads, so he’ll need to do a good job to maintain the role.

Finally, Chad, I did want to give you a preview into some of the Lead roles we’re developing here at HQ. In the future, we expect to offer anyone the ability to take a formal leadership role on Nextdoor, provided that their account is in good standing, they’re able to uphold Nextdoor policy and they’re willing to help improve their community. While it’s best that the Lead role stay with Peter for now, it’s certainly possible that you could take a different leadership role on Nextdoor once this process is rolled out. With that in mind, it’s very important that we keep you account in good standing and that you continue contributing positively to Nextdoor Dawson.

Let me know if you have any questions.



Picture of Chad VanderlindenOn 3/19/2015 9:56 PM, chad@dawsonneighborhood wrote:


1) if this is against the rules, then advise me before acting rashly. Don’t sever my Lead role, the Lead role of another neighbor who is not involved in this incident (when are you going to address this?) and then tell me what’s done is done. You didn’t reach out to me for my side of the situation. You didn’t speak to Sonja Hunter. I can only conclude that you’ve simply been waiting for any excuse to excise me.

2) This is actually not against the rules. Really. Show me the Lead TOS that addresses “exaggerating the Lead’s abilities or knowledge”. I’ve been a sysop, forum/chatroom moderator, web and listserv administrator since the early 80’s. I’ve mastered these Leadership techniques. It’s a common, effective and harmless moderator technique to tell a troll that you’re responding to “complaints”. They challenge your authority if they think you’re acting alone. I bet you’ve done this very thing today. As you know, hardly anyone uses “Flag” like they should. I complimented Peter on his post and advised him that it was a Dawson-focused item that the rest of South Austin would be less interested in. His post was about a short new sidewalk IN OUR neighborhood. That’s not going to make the evening news. It appears that Peter’s response was to continue challenging my authority, and good intentions, and complain to you. If you had counseled me that the little sidewalk was precisely what Nextdoor wants us to talk about with NBN, then I would of course have accepted that. Instead, you just killed me.

3) The Great Leader Peter Davis is in fact, the person (and his wife) who caused our neighborhood to abandon Yahoo Groups and try Nextdoor. He won’t be promoting Nextdoor. In fact, a year and a half ago, Peter and his wife Sandy (neighborhood secretary) were dead set against embracing Nextdoor in any way. And also against having a neighborhood website. I’ve invited over 200 people by email and postcard. I’ve garnered hundreds of “thanks”. I have dedicated several pages on the neighborhood website to publicizing and featuring Nextdoor.

So, A group of neighbors and I launched a website, and heavily promoted Nextdoor. Not to be Peter’s future new domain, but to stand in contrast to the heavily censored Yahoo Group. To feature and celebrate our neighborhood. The neighborhood association was repeatedly invited to contribute. We were snubbed. Now, his wife has just launched a direct competitor to the neighborhood website, and now you’ve handed him 212 neighbors who chose Nextdoor over his Yahoo Group. You just don’t do that! You send a message when you choose that particular individual to receive Nextdoor Lead as a reward for his criticizing, needling, and testing of limits. Anyone can see that’s what he has done to me since the day he joined Nextdoor.

Surely you see the eye-popping problem with what you’ve done (with good intentions perhaps). Your decision was ill-informed. Now that you know the whole story, you must put things right. Take the group back from the troll and return to the guy who has spent countless hours promoting and contributing to his Nextdoor neighborhood. Me. Again, if there is a business decision behind choosing Peter, I swear to you, he will not bring you more members than me. You’ve just killed your access to our neighborhood data.

Oh, and hang on… you say you’ve chatted with Peter on the phone? On several occasions? Last round, you said you don’t provide phone support. Which reminds me, I HAVE spoken with Nextdoor Staff on the phone on several occasions too. Whatever you want to call that “phone interaction”, I deserve to be able to speak with you, too. You have my phone number. Or, I’d be happy to call you at your convenience.

Any way you present this incident, anyone who hears that, Tyler chose to give the neighborhood group to the very person who poisoned the old Yahoo Group, and did so in reward to that person’s needling and complaining about such a minor incident, is going to come to the same conclusion: Nextdoor Staff do not make reasonable decisions.

Re: miscellaneous sub-Lead roles. How exciting! So, if I keep *contributing* like a complete sucker, keep my account in sterling good standing, and make all nice-nice with Peter, then I might eventually share some new sub-role beside him? Again, does this whole incident sound like a realistic lead-in to such a happy marriage? Do you see him and I holding hands in the future? Astonishing.

This needs to be resolved very soon, Tyler. Impress me with Nextdoor’s willingness to be fair and reverse a poorly-informed decision. I promise to advertise Nextdoor’s performance far and wide either way.

Regards, Chad Vanderlinden Neighborhood Lead, DawsonAustin

Picture of Chad VanderlindenOn 3/20/2015 3:47 PM, chad@dawsonneighborhood wrote:

Please, Tyler. I’m at the point of begging you.

You have literally taken Leadership of the neighborhood group from the one person most motivated to make it succeed, and handed it to the one person in the neighborhood most motivated to see it fail.

I’m not interested in punishing Nextdoor or you. Just put things back the way they were, and I’ll continue to promote Nextdoor like never before! This incident seems to be framed as one of “misusing Lead powers”, but consider; I didn’t use Lead tools at all! I didn’t bully or menace anyone. I simply brought a difficult member’s attention to the fact that he could be losing his audience. I did it creatively and sensitively with the best of intentions.

You’ve spoken of Peter’s ability to impress you with his leadership. I challenge you to line up my activity over the past year with his and compare them. I’ve been helpful, civil and progressive. Peter joined to keep an eye on me and test his limits. Perhaps he thinks this is best for the neighborhood, but 212 (+ 27 who have moved) feel otherwise. He republishes my posts and our neighborhood website’s articles without attribution. In fact, he did so this very day:

I still just can not wrap my head around the fact that you never reached out to me for my perspective. Your Staff have promised me that you would not hand over the group to our association (Bridget, Case #: 140403). You should appreciate the fact that I am very willing to work with Nextdoor on any issue. How can I do that if Nextdoor leaves me out of the loop? You have been seriously mislead by the sole source of information you’ve been going by. I confess I did exaggerate about what information a Lead is given, but Peter has flat-out calculatingly manipulated you. I think that you will agree with me that Peter is not a healthy contribution to DawsonAustin. I had hoped he would get bored and leave, but I never needled him or pushed his buttons to cause an actionable incident. That is what he’s done!

And the matter of removing Sonja is straight out of the ballpark. She’s more active than 95% of our members. She’s never been involved in any conflict. You never consulted her. She still wants to be Lead.

Let me tell you a few things Peter probably forgot to tell you. Peter is indeed the new Chair of the DNPCT. It’s NOT the neighborhood association. It’s a sister organization that focuses on land development matters. Last year he was “Vice Chair” and he was “Chair” again before that. It’s basically a committee that is run separately, in a format recommended by the City. It’s largely inactive, and sometimes they even gavel in, report no business, and gavel right out again. DNPCT is mainly used as a framework for hosting guest speakers.

Peter, and a small group of friends, all of whom are ALSO DNA officers, simply switch places each election. They’re placeholders. It has been years since ANY office was contested. This year, there were not enough nominees for office in either org. The public animus which they exude is usually enough to deter any contestants, but if that fails, they simply will not allow anyone on the Ballot (or items the Agenda) to be voted on, if they see fit. They hold the meeting Minutes for two months before release. It, and the new Agenda, are distributed just 24 hours before meetings, and highly abridged to fit in a little box on the back page.

Did Peter mention that at the last meeting, I made a detailed presentation, with maps and letters from the City, which helped derail his 7th annual attempt to make us vote to criminalize parking off paved surfaces? He was livid. He continued to lie about whether the City “requires” us to vote on this each year, despite my having just read an email from the City manager in charge of that, stating that she’ll re-write the reminder email to avoid that “misunderstanding”. It’s not just a matter of he and I “having a history”. He is pushy, rash and unreasonable. He mocked me at the meeting by repeating what I said in a sarcastic voice. He called me insane, unbalanced and ridiculous. He shouted and stammered. Are these leadership skills you prize? After the meeting, I was congratulated by several friends for remaining so calm and focused.

DNA to vote on Ban Against Parking On Grass

Neighborhood Ass’n Meetings Feb 9, 2015

Front Yard Parking Ban Update

This is the foundation for my campaign to publicize the neighborhood association and bring in new blood. It’s that simple. I don’t attack anyone, and I don’t have a design for a better arrangement. I simply want to bring in folks with the hope that they get involved. Peter and his friends have enjoyed holding their offices for a decade or more. They stand together. And they emphatically oppose any attempt to publicize the association beyond their newsletter. They are dedicated to squelching any topics of discussion that threaten the status quo. It is this, and not Peter’s sudden realization of Nextdoor’s greatness, that motivates him to seize the Lead role.

With respect to Peter’s contributions to the neighborhood, he is not central to it. His wife might be though. Due to lack of nominees, she is now the Secretary, Yahoo Group moderator and Newsletter editor. We feel Sandy and Peter’s household actually holds way too much control over the neighborhood’s ability to communicate. They do not hesitate to censor, hence, we moved to Nextdoor. And Sandy just launched her own “official” neighborhood website without involving the neighbors, or any advance notice. Her first two posts there were ripped off from our neighborhood website, typos and all. Peter is most likely the real admin, as there has long been ample evidence that he uses her admin account posing as her.

We neighbors took it upon ourselves to raise $260 for signs to advertize neighborhood meetings. Peter was outraged. The DNA president demanded that we attach a notice to the signs that DNA does not endorse signs!!! On the Yahoo Group, we proposed a neighborhood website, and moving to a more modern venue than Yahoo Groups. DNA/DNPCT officers flat out said no, and took it upon themselves to vote at the next (Dec 2013?) meeting to endorse no website, and stay with Yahoo. Just mentioning Nextdoor on the Yahoo group will get you moderated.

Signs for DNA Meetings

We launched the neighborhood website anyway. In one year, we helped more folks to join Nextdoor than have joined the old Yahoo site in the last decade. Their numbers are dropping. We launched a Google+, a Twitter, and have reached out to every local organization to be sure we were on their mailing list to get information. We’re eager to bring live web video of meetings, offer a back-library, and feature local artists and other distinguished figures. Peter and DNA/DNPCT do none of these things. Or didn’t, until we demonstrated their value. They shun our sincere overtures to collaborate, and they continue to keep undermining us. If nothing else, we’re happy to set a good example and see them follow it, but totally opposed to having our hard work taken from us and, of all things, handed to adverse custodians. That includes Nextdoor of course!

Please reconsider a phone conference. As you can see, email is just too low-bandwidth to exchange so much information. You’ve given Peter the opportunity to warm up to you. Please take the first step toward fairness and reach out to me at your earliest convenience.

Regards, Chad Vanderlinden Neighborhood Lead, DawsonAustin 512-850-6075

P.S. Please leave a return number if I am unable to answer in time.

Tyler Green, Nextdoor Neighborhood Operations

Tyler | MAR 20, 2015 | 02:27PM PDT


I’d like to loop Gordon in on this conversation, but he’s out of the office today. Would you mind being patient so he can jump in and share his thoughts on the matter?

To set expectations, though, we’re only concerned with the dynamics of Nextdoor Dawson as it exists today and how the Guidelines are applied and enforced by Leads. I understand that you have a complicated history with Peter, but we can’t make decisions based on events that took place outside of Nextdoor. If we did, we’d put ourselves in positions of decision making with no surefire way of determining who’s right and who’s wrong.

Gordon will follow up shortly. Thank you for being patient.



Picture of Chad VanderlindenOn 3/20/2015 5:47 PM, chad@dawsonneighborhood wrote:


I understand that you’re concerned that you only have my word about Peter’s escapades to go on. So please do consider just what has gone on in Nextdoor over the past year and a half:

I’ve mentioned a host of Nextdoor tasks which I take seriously, and I trust you can verify that. Also, please look at my archived emails. You will see how hard I’ve tried to reach out and validate folks when I can’t verify them online. I’ve even visited folks at home on a number of occasions. What does that say about my dedication?

Now, please look over Peter’s posting history. More than once, he has moved to shut down public conversation on Nextdoor. The last time, he intervened when I asked about what was said at part of the last meeting. It turned out that the speaker, Corinne, is a Nextdoor member and she offered to answer. Peter then insisted that I take it to private mail, for nonsensical reasons.

It was inappropriate, and I feel he intimidated her so that she was reluctant to reply again, though she eventually did. He may have impressed you with his connections to Dawson Neighborhood, but I swear to you he is not highly regarded here. It is the intimidation factor that keeps him from being challenged or unseated. Did I mention that the last time I saw him, he was red faced and shouting slurs at me? At the public meeting? I recorded it. I’d be happy to provide it to you.

Worse, several times in the past, he has injected himself in conversations to suggest that he will answer the question at hand, but only if the asker joined the Yahoo Group. I’ve repeatedly asked for Newsletters, Minutes and Agendas, which Peter affirmatively has, but he always ignores me. Some of Peter’s fellow officers have pulled the same move. Each time, it took considerable persuasion to coax the conversation back into life. He is dedicated only to his Yahoo Group.

Again, Peter’s very first post to Nextdoor was to challenge me and make me look like a shifty character. He freaked out because I INTRODUCED HIM to the neighborhood! He was DNPCT Vice-Chair then, and Chair now. Nothing “personal” or “private” about that fact. I continue to think that our officers should identify themselves – NONE do so. I think I handled the situation with maturity and composure. Anyone can see that his every interaction with me has been to push buttons.

You want to see something frightening? Here is what I went through when I kindly informed him of the rules about posting snark attacks on people:

As of this day, “Peter The Lead” has failed to deal with a commercial add posted across NBN, and he has just reposted a series of links which I assembled and have posted many times, and has not given attribution. He’s posted a few rather bland items from the City RSS Feed, which are not typical of the kind he usually posts to his Yahoo Group – and he hasn’t posted them there at all. They’re trash bits to “prove” to you that he’s being civic, and to bore folks into leaving Nextdoor.

My hands shake as I consider the fact that I need to watch for him removing my old posts now, as was done in the Yahoo Group. If you have the means, please set up a notification so you can see what he chooses to excise.

Again, I have done an extraordinary job promoting my Nextdoor neighborhood. Peter is here to wipe me from the record and push folks back to Yahoo. It might be wise to review his mailbox and see if he’s been promoting his website and Yahoo privately.

Give my regards to Gordon. I’m absolutely willing to concede to any reasonable request.

Chad Vanderlinden Neighborhood Lead, DawsonAustin 512-850-6075

Picture of Chad VanderlindenOn 3/21/2015 3:46 PM, chad@dawsonneighborhood wrote:

Tyler, I’m adding one further point about Peter promoting his wife’s website and Yahoo instead of Nextdoor.

Our established neighborhood website features Nextdoor numerous times. There’s one main page dedicated to introducing it. You’ll notice that the URL is a bit awkward. We meant to make it more self-explanatory at some point:

Now, please look at Peter’s wife’s website. See the curious resemblance? It’s possible, but questionable that it is a co-incidence. I think they’re trying to confuse people who look for us on search engines:


Most importantly, notice that they still go full-out promoting Yahoo. That would make me very uncomfortable if I had received the assurances I bet he’s given you. His assumption of DawsonAustin hasn’t been mentioned on Yahoo yet, either. I encourage you to ask him what his plans are to promote Nextdoor.

Here are more of our pro-Nextdoor pages and posts. Here, and in other places like the menu and sidebar, we inform and guide folks to Nextdoor dozens of times:

Engage Your Local Government – In Person

Regards, Chad Vanderlinden Neighborhood Lead, DawsonAustin 512-850-6075

Gordon Strause, Nextdoor Director of Neighborhoods

Gordon | MAR 23, 2015 | 10:48AM PDT


Back in the office today, but just a heads up that I won’t have a chance to follow up until tonight or tomorrow. Best,

– Gordon Nextdoor


Gordon Strause, Nextdoor Director of Neighborhoods

Gordon | MAR 24, 2015 | 09:01PM PDT


Here’s the situation.

It’s not going to work with you as a Lead. It’s one thing to simply misrepresent the truth when you’re dealing with neighbors (while I don’t agree that it’s a standard practice in forums, you’re right that it’s something Nextdoor would not normally get involved in). But falsely claiming that you were given information from Nextdoor is another thing entirely, because it undermines the role of Lead. The fact is that there _are_times when we provide Leads with more information than we do with ordinary members, and members have to be able to trust that reports from their Leads about Nextdoor communications are accurate and unbiased (and we have to be able to trust that Leads are accurately portraying the communications they receive from us). Unfortunately, that is no longer true in your case.

Now given your the positive contributions you have made to Nextdoor Dawson, I’m not going to permanently rule out giving you another chance in the future, but it’s not going to happen for months, and it will require building a history of honest and constructive communication with your neighbors during your time as a member.

That being said, I agree that it does not make sense for Peter to be the sole Lead given the neighborhood’s history. In fact, I think this is an opportunity to give a number of people leadership opportunities on Nextdoor Dawson. We’ll look to make that happen this week. If you have a list of folks you would like us to consider adding as Leads, please let us know who (and why you think they would make positive contributions in that role).

Hopefully, this situation will turn out to be a net positive for everyone in the end by

Thank you,

– Gordon Strause Nextdoor / Director of Neighborhood Operations

P.S. As you know we prohibit complaints about how Nextdoor is being led in a neighborhood in the main feed (, so I wanted to let you know that I’m going to recommend to Peter that he create a Nextdoor Policies group, ask people who are interested in meta-discussions to continue the debate there, and then close the discussions in the main feed.

Picture of Chad VanderlindenChad | MAR 25, 2015 | 10:08PM PDT

Good evening, Gordon.

As I said before, you have literally handed the neighborhood group over to the one person who is most interested in seeing it fail. You do so, fully informed now, which is foolish. And you did it with no participation of the community or existing Leads. Nobody is going to “understand” that. They understand that you covertly coordinated a regime change. Our community loathes Peter Davis. I know you’ve gotten many emails over this.

I would have never dreamed that exaggerating my knowledge would concern you. I could have emailed Peter instead of using Nextdoor private messages. The kind and creative solution to reining him in was inspired by a presentation I was making for ND about a useful feature I would have proposed for Leads. I assumed you’d back up the presiding Lead or something. I am such a trusting fool.

Something something assuming best intentions mumble mumble.

Gordon, you mustn’t conduct abrupt power plays. Instead, you should provide guidance and kindly get folks back on the same page. You don’t launch the nukes and then cheerfully introduce yourself! You have a very consistent online reputation in this now.

You don’t transfer a Lead’s powers to his most prominent troll, ever. Let alone over something so petty. I can most certainly be trusted by my whole community. I did the right thing and accepted Peter as a participant. I ignored his attempts to goad me and push my buttons like a big boy should. I wonder if you coached him? Inadvertently, at least… “well Peter, I would like to work with you, but we have to wait for Chad to misstep, you know…”

Also, what about Sonja Hunter? You took her Lead status away too, though she’s more active than most, and was never involved in a conflict. I’ve asked 4-5 times now. We’re waiting for your honest answer. Again, something no-one is going to “understand”.

And take my account out of ghost mode! You suppose I can’t email all of my friends directly?

Oh, and good luck with that lawsuit with Fatdoor.

Sincerely, Chad Vanderlinden Dawson Neighborhood Organization


March 25, 2015 12:22 AM

Gordon Strause, Nextdoor Director of Neighborhoods

Gordon | MAR 24, 2015 | 11:18PM PDT


It’s clear we have different perspectives on both your actions and what’s appropriate for Leads more generally. It’s probably for the best that you can now just concentrate on your neighborhood activism without having to worry about acting impartially or any other restrictions that come with being a Lead. And you are welcome to continue to use Nextdoor, as long as your behavior is consistent with our Guidelines:

As for Sonja, I don’t think she was an appropriate choice as a Lead. That said, if she disagrees and wishes to have her Lead status reinstated, I would tell her to contact us, and we would be happy to discuss the situation with her.


– Gordon Strause Nextdoor / Director of Neighborhood Operations

Picture of Chad VanderlindenOn 3/25/2015 1:34 AM, Dawson Neighborhood Organization wrote:

Sonja wants to know what is wrong with her qualifications. I would also like to know how Allison Gattis, absent since 2013, has managed to fulfill them.

(Allison Gattis disappeared from the Leads list within 20 mins of sending this inquiry)

——————————————————————————————————– This message was sent to in reference to Case #: 294695. ——————————————————————————————————– [[ef2287b501d1de61a8c7ce79b0bedfbd9e63449d-402703828]]

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