eNeighbors Testimonials

Last week I posted some of the suggestions that we’ve received from our users.

This week, I thought I’d share some of the testimonials that we’ve received or found. I went looking through some of our neighborhood websites today and found the following testimonials in news articles and comments.

Great Website
“I really like the new website and feel it is very easy to use. I hope everyone will use the site to communicate with their neighbors and help grow a stronger community. We live in a wonderful neighborhood, maybe we should take some time to thank our board of volunteers, they all have full time jobs. It takes from their families to help make our community what it is.”

– Scott & Kursta H. (Communities of Northbrook)


Features work well
“Let me not fail to tell you that some of the most important features on eNeighbors work very well.  When I am composing an editing a news item or an event, these features are a pleasure to deal with.  When I upload a resource, no problem.  As far as I know, members have joined without a hitch.  All in all, this is a valuable tool for our organization.”- Steve W. (Overland Park Homeowners Forum)


 Love to RSVP online
“I’ve already commented about your wonderful Website, and once again I’m so impressed with how well it’s organized, designed, etc. I also was very impressed with the online reservations today as I RSVP’d for the progressive dinner.”- Lisa H. (Nottingham Forest South)


 Best Website
“This site is clearly much better than past ones. Not a knock on the others who put together the previous sites, but this was done by people whose job it is to create sites.”- Matthew P. (Northbrook)

What I found in my closet

I went back to my hometown, Kansas City, for a presentation. I stayed at my parents house and found a book called, “My first book about Basic”. Bill Gates signed the inside of the front cover. My mom tells me that I was in second grade when he signed it. Pretty cool.

myfirstbookaboutbasic.jpg

billgsignature.jpg

Legal concerns with public neighborhood websites

Peters & Freedman, LLP is a legal firm that specializes in Community Association law in California. They have a detailed post on their blog of “do’s” and “don’ts” from a legal perspective when it comes to publishing association documents and other information on your neighborhood website.

I generally agree with what they have to say. Here is a quick summary of their do’s and don’ts:

Do’s

  1. Require that residents sign in to access private neighborhood documents.
  2. Post CC&Rs, Bylaws, Rules and Regulations, Architectural Guidelines.
  3. Post a strong privacy policy (See our Privacy Policy.)
  4. Publish a disclaimer for any information posted on the website (See our Disclaimer.)
  5. Seek written permission when publishing photos of homes or residents.

Don’ts

  1. Don’t assume that you have met your legal notification requirements when you post information on the website.
  2. Don’t post non-privileged vendor contracts, membership lists, reserve account balances, financial statements, and other specified financial documents.
  3. Don’t provide chat room or discussion forums

#3 in the don’ts list is the only thing that I disagree with. I understand the concern, I just don’t agree with the proposed solution.

The legal concern is that online discussions will become inflammatory or defamatory or contain offensive language, which may have legal implications.

However, the reality of the situation is that residents demand the ability to have online discussion. In fact, they even get upset if we limit this capability. (See my post on suggestions from our users.)

Instead of removing the capability to have an online discussion, I would suggest that the website implement the proper controls that influence appropriate behavior.

For example, in order to post information on an eNeighbors website, you must agree to disclose who you are. You cannot hide behind an avatar or alias that hides you. So, when you post information, your name is attached to it, forcing you to think twice about what you say online. We have also provided other users with the ability to flag content as inappropriate. If you see a post that contains something negative, all you have to do is click a link and we’re immediately notified to remove the post. And finally, you can also review information before it is posted – that way nothing inappropriate ever makes its way on the website.

All in all, I think the best way to put any legal concerns to bed is to simply make your neighborhood website private. Through our registration process, eNeighbors can ensure that only residents are allowed access.

TownKings: Location-based social networking

TownKings is an interesting concept. (TownQueens is the sister site for women.) They both look like they’re geared toward dating, but they also attempt to connect you to local parties and information about your friends.

My only concern with sites like TownKings and FatDoor is privacy.

I’ve registered on the site to test it out. Feel free to send me a friend request. You can find me by my username, cstock. So far, I’m the only guy who’s joined in my area.

Mosh, Yahoo’s new social network?

TechCrunch is reporting that Yahoo! is working on a new social network called “Mosh”. I actually like the name. I assume that it makes reference to moshing.

It’ll be interesting to see if they tie local into the mix. Right now, there isn’t any information to suggest that they are, but local and social is a big focus for them this year. Or at least it was before Terry left.

Email Etiquette

Reply All and Other Email Gaffes” is a good article for anyone who sends email. I send an average of 50 emails per day and I see all the mistakes that people make when emailing. (Don’t tell anyone, but I even learned a few things myself from this article.)

I would highly recommend this for our board members or other neighborhood leaders who have to deal with community feedback and other email that is public. Often times, as a board member, you have to handle upset or even irate residents that aren’t so kind on email. My advice is to keep your cool, even when they aren’t. It’s so easy to read emotion into an email and want to respond or “flame” that person back. But when you do, it always turns into a bad situation. The article says it best, “e-mail is not the place to make negative comments.”

The only thing in the article that I disagree with is the “Poor editing” rule. Typo’s are a way of life online. Everything is published so quickly, and the message is rarely lost because of a misspelling or two. I’ve emailed with CEO’s who refuse to use capital letters in their email. (Not sure how that’s possible when Outlook automatically does it for you in most cases. Maybe they’re not using Outlook.) On the other hand, when you’re applying for a job or want to leave an impression, you might just give that email another look.