Costa Mesa's official use of Nextdoor.com has been scaled back following recent resident concerns about the frequency of city announcements.
The messages posted on neighborhood pages within the private social networking site were apparently too many for at least one resident, who forwarded a complaint to Nextdoor administrators, said Mike Brumbaugh, a city code enforcement officer who's heading Costa Mesa's efforts on Nextdoor.
Brumbaugh was then told by the San Francisco-based company that cities should generally keep their postings on the sites to one a week, except in emergency situations.
More communication than that, Brumbaugh said, can come as off spam to some.
Other people weren't bothered by the frequent posts, even though some of the official notices were already available on the city's website.
"I got a lot of feedback from people who want to see postings frequently, but we have to follow Nextdoor guidelines," Brumbaugh said. "You're never going to make everybody happy."
A recent city posting on a neighborhood site sought to clarify the city's mission on Nextdoor: "The main intent of the city Nextdoor site is for neighborhoods to share concerns with City Hall and to create a more informal method of communication. ...There are many tools available for communication, but we want to keep the Nextdoor site a neighbor-to-neighbor option [allowing residents] to ask questions and share concerns that affect our communities.
"We hope this provides clarification."
The posting also urged residents to sign up for email notifications through the city site, http://www.costamesaca.gov.
Nextdoor's setup permits the city to have one-way communication to the neighborhood websites, whose members undergo a vetting process to prove residency.
Consequently, Costa Mesa officials can post to the sites but not see the private, neighbors-only content.
Since the May 5 announcement of Nextdoor in Costa Mesa, membership seems to have picked up momentum, Brumbaugh said.
About three new neighborhood sites have started up since then, bringing the total to at least 18. They collectively cover most areas of the city.
"The word got out there that, 'Hey, this is something you should try,'" Brumbaugh said.