Is there any greater joy than petty internet forum arguments that escalate quickly? You’re right, what a silly question — of course there isn’t!
For months, the battle over dockless e-scooters has been playing out in city council meetings and legal spats across the country. Now, in cities such as San Francisco and Santa Monica, e-scooter companies like Bird and Lime are starting to come to some agreements with local governments — some with better deals than others.
But in the more personal, online neighborhood forum Nextdoor, the fight wages on — and it has gotten intense, personal, and downright dirty.
Since its September debut in Los Angeles, Bird has turned the Westside into ground zero for trying out, forming opinions about, and fighting over dockless e-scooters.
Mashable learned from Westside residents that the e-scooter debate is roaring on Nextdoor, and we were able to view the forum posts (which are typically only available to neighborhood residents).
In threads with titles like “Nip the Bird in the Bud” and “Extortion: Santa Monica’s solution to the Bird problem,” things get ugly, fast.
A lot of the discussions center around legitimate and contentious issues. Neighbors are perturbed by rude or helmet-less riders; they’re worried about the safety of kids zooming around on Birds; they’re annoyed by how scooter riders are taking up precious lanes of traffic; and they’re pissed about the appearance of Birds in general.
But oh, the internet. As so often happens when debate ratchets up in comment sections and Facebook threads across the internet, the discussion on Nextdoor about e-scooters quickly transforms from a conversation between concerned residents into an accusatory neighbor-on-neighbor battle. Young dads chide older Westside residents for being crotchety luddites. Moms accuse other moms of lax and/or overly concerned parenting. Somehow, we even wend our way to libertarianism versus socialism and the gun control debate. Yeesh!
Dockless e-scooters have triggered a serious, almost philosophical showdown between tech “disruptors,” and the city officials charged with keeping streets and residents safe. The battle represents a real-life manifestation of the ideological debate over whether innovation should push ahead, and make mistakes along the way — or whether government regulation should rule the day for the sake of safety, despite the technological foot-dragging that it causes. It’s a fascinating time for city planning, transportation, and tech, y’all!
But in the meantime, we’re definitely not above enjoying some good old fashioned neighborhood d-r-a-m-a!
Here are some of the best moments from Nextdoor e-scooter debates:
1. Andrew, Philip, and Alan play dirty
Who knew using someone’s first name could be such a stone cold move?! Discussion about parents letting their kids ride Birds (which Bird does not allow) turns into an exchange of personal attacks real fast.
Then Ronnie gets in on it…and things take a very dark turn.
2. Neighbors are not here for Armond’s assumptions
Armond really resents the invasion of e-scooters disrupting traffic and car culture in Los Angeles. He thinks it’s all part of a plot by earth-loving hippies. But the neighbors are not having it.
3. Ageism accusations
A dude named Howie tries to take a reasonable tone, and it does not go well.
Bats out of hell!!!
4. There’s no place for sarcasm on Nextdoor. None.
5. Kristina sums it up
Digitally surrounded by worked-up parents, she can come to no other conclusion:
6. Kevin and Andy just take it to a whole-other level
Of course “rights and freedoms” were going to come into this at some point.
7. The Bird Corporation
… is that a thing now? You’re either with us, or against us!
8. Things escalate quickly
This is basically social media in a nutshell.
9. And somehow, this turns into a debate about gun control
Because of course it did.
10. The culture war comes to California
It wouldn’t be a neighborhood fight with accusations of socialist hippie busy-bodies.
We’ll have to stay tuned to see whether our socialist CA government or The Bird Corporation will win this round. But for now, e-scoot on.