The rumblings of discontent
Antisocial media groups lay in to HOAs18th Sep 2020
Residents of some previously seemingly harmonious estates are finding it hard to come to terms with remote working – especially when coupled with remote learning.
Instead of being cocooned in a custom-designed workspace, surrounded by like-minded colleagues, they are now dealing with bored children, frustrated partners, hyper pets and bellicose neighbours. All is not well in the estates of COVID-time.
Needed: one scapegoat, no experience necessary
When things go wrong, people like to find someone to blame. And when the neighbour’s dog is barking, the kids are running around the house, and you have a deadline for yesterday, a sense of humour is in short supply. So you find someone to blame. And – lately – a lot of estate residents have chosen the HOAs and/or board as whipping boys.
Granted, most have not actually hauled out a whip, but there have been some nasty WhatsApp and Facebook groups focused on complaining about management. And, simultaneously, a huge increase in conflict between neighbours.
What is the HOA’s role in controlling social media?
It all depends on what is actually being said. In some cases, residents have waged a war of words against incumbent boards and/or individual board members. How this should be dealt with depends largely on the scope and extent. If it’s just a general whingeing session that is isolated to a small group, it may be best to leave it. After all, people have a right to free speech – within reason.
But these things do have a way of escalating. Things can get out of hand, and whingeing can turn to outright defamation, or even hate speech, in which case some sort of action should be taken.
It’s best to start off with internal mediation, because communication always helps. It is best practice to include conflict resolution in your MOI. If this mediation process becomes exhausted then you can turn to the CSOS, but they will almost certainly encourage you to try – maybe just a little bit harder – to sort it out internally. It really is the best way.