Publicly humiliate neighbors into behaving
A new website called Rottenneighbor.com allows disgruntled homeowners to post anonymous, nasty comments about neighbours, and then catalogue them on a big Google map of the neighborhood. The idea is to "Help yourself and others find dream neighborhoods," according to the website.
Hmmm...I don't know what to think about this. I can see it degenerating into a big brother-ish gong show. The fact it's anonymous is the most problematic part, I think. It's too easy.
Even worse, one of the founders of the company is pitching the idea as a reality show to TV networks. Are you surprised?
"Nothing seemed to work. I couldn't get any help from the city," Mr. Adams said. "So I figured, let's try public humiliation."
He posted a video of the troublesome pooches on the site, and other users chimed in on his plight. Some offered sympathy and methods of silencing the mutts. Others berated him for blaming the animals.
Founded last July, the site is part online therapy, part trashy paperback novel. It singles out neighbours for offences ranging from shoddy lawn upkeep ("They have garbage all through their yard") to alleged violence ("He has tried to run us down with his push lawnmower").
"It's kind of like watching a train wreck," admits 51-year-old Maegan Polak, of Flossmoor, Ill. "You know you shouldn't be enjoying it, but you are."
Users are invited to post advice on dealing with neighbours who fight and yell, who let their animals defecate on other people's property, who neglect their septic tanks - even those who cook foul-smelling food.
The site shows how neighbourhoods are changing, said Ms. Polak, a figure skating instructor who visits RottenNeighbor.com occasionally.
Using Google Maps, the site zooms in on homes of the accused, represented by structures coloured red (for the rotten) and green (for the good) that resemble plastic pieces of a Monopoly board game.
Most of the postings are anonymous, which is just fine with site co-founder Brant Walker, 27, who came up with the idea when he moved into a new apartment and noticed a rotten smell coming from his neighbour's door.
Mr. Walker, a website designer from San Diego, said the site averages several hundred thousand hits a day. He said it is a good resource for people moving to a new neighbourhood because it offers a glimpse behind closed doors - "things that a real estate agent won't tell you."