Ghost of Midnight

… about neighbors, community and Front Porch Forum

Want a Response? Try Front Porch Forum!

Posted on Monday, June 12, 2023 by No comments yet

Members get an amazing response when they post on Front Porch Forum. Check out these examples just in the first week of June!

  • Thank you to the over 2 dozen neighbors who wrote with suggestions about my hose leak! Turns out I needed to replace the anti-siphon valve. Multiple people sent helpful notes that walked me thru the process, and voila! No more geyser shooting out the top of the spigot and around the hose! Shout out to Martins for having the inexpensive part in stock. Gratitude to all of you who wrote, to Martin’s Hardware, and to Front Porch Forum! 
    • Porter in Bristol

  • “I want to express my thanks to those individuals who replied to my recent FPF posting requesting pressure washing help. I had nearly 30 replies (!) either offering to provide the service or making a recommendation.
    • Lee Ann in Salisbury

  • Wow, within minutes we had four offers of people willing to lend us their tampers for our patio project. And more offers still coming in! What a great community! And what a great resource Front Porch Forum is!”
    • Doug and Renee in East Montpelier

Local Meet Ups

Posted on Monday, June 5, 2023 by No comments yet

People make great use of their local Front Porch Forum every day. Check out this recent posting from a mother on the Wallingford Forum:

  • “As nicer weather comes, I’m wondering if anyone would be interested in joining a semi-official playground meetup? I have an almost-3-year-old who loves swinging and 9-month-old who loves hanging out.”

And another from a neighbor in the Wimington forum:

  • “Wow!  I received so many recommendations for local in-person book clubs!  I plan to attend most of them.  The support of this Forum is really wonderful.  Thank you so much!”

Here’s to more real in-person connections in our increasingly online lives!

Tips for a Better Yard Sale

Posted on Tuesday, May 30, 2023 by No comments yet

Summer begins, and, along with it, YARD SALES! People are filling up FPF‘s local Forums and Community Calendars with sale announcements. Not only do members write in to advertise the details of their yard sales, they also use FPF to ask neighbors advice on how to have a better yard sale!

  • “I’m a rookie at yard sales, and earlier this spring I sent out a request for Tips for a Better Yard Sale. The neighborly response was great — useful, friendly, and often amusing. Who knows, maybe I’ll meet some of you at our Sale this spring? Do you think I should leave extra time for socializing?”
    •Vance in Randolph

In response, people posted great tips — make signs, start early, use bins and tables to separate items by price, have a free pile, wash items before selling — and… “Advertise on Front Porch Forum

Dog runs away. Dog comes home!

Posted on Wednesday, May 24, 2023 by No comments yet

FPF helps many get the word out about run away pets. We really want those pets to make it home! See how this story in Monkton, VT unfolds…

  • “A small white brown dog was seen about 11:15 on Mountain Rd in Monkton near the steep rise half way down. It was trailing what appeared a leash. It disappeared rather quickly.”
  • “Foster dog escaped about 11. Smallish 6 mo. white and brown with orange leash. Dogs name is Rutger. He’s very timid.” 
  • “The escape artist has been found safe and sound! Many thanks to Moe from Homeward Bound and next door neighbor dog, Lucy! And thanks to everyone else I called or accosted on the road. And a big thank you to FPF for getting the word out FAST!”

Neighborly Needs and Quandaries

Posted on Tuesday, April 18, 2023 by No comments yet

Front Porch Forum staff work seven days a week to review the flow of postings submitted by members across Vermont. While challenging content appears occasionally, the vast majority of submissions are simple exchanges among neighbors. And many times each day we see gems that leave a smile. Here’s what yesterday’s shift looked like to one FPF staffer…

“Lost pets and wallets reunited with owners, snow shoveling and mud season angels, and tires for sale are all commonplace on FPF. We’re used to that. Then, you come across these really interesting postings… Like today, I saw ones about bat sightings as a sign of spring, someone trying to figure out what to do with a WWII uniform, and a story about losing a peacock (which — no joke — also happened to a different member last week!). I’m constantly surprised at what’s going on out there.”

When you give folks a place to communicate their neighborly needs and quandaries, they can really deliver!

A Recipe for a Better Internet

Posted on Tuesday, April 11, 2023 by No comments yet

What would the internet look like if it weren’t dominated by a few huge corporations?  And is such an internet even possible? A few smart folks at the Initiative for Digital Public Infrastructure have some really interesting ideas about what a more humane and diverse internet might look like.  In a short, highly readable paper called “The Three Legged Stool: A Manifesto for a Smaller, Denser Internet”, they outline a different world and explain how to make it happen.The “three legged stool” refers to the three core principles of a better internet:

  1. A “pluriverse” — as in, plural universe — in which the large platforms are complemented (and challenged) by a diversity of Very Small Online Platforms, or VSOPs.  “Just as we do not exclusively gather in shopping malls in the physical world, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are not the right place for every community and conversation online,” they explain.
  2. A “loyal client” that allows people to follow, read, and post as they wish, across multiple platforms.  They describe this as analogous to how your email client — whether you use Gmail, or Outlook, or something small like Hey — allows you to email anyone, regardless of what email client they use.  And the “loyal” part means you get to both pick a client and adjust its settings to align with your own preferences. 
  3. A “friendly neighborhood algorithm store” where VSOPs can pay a reasonable price to access capabilities that, at present, only the big guys can afford:  things like recommender systems, spam detection, and anti-abuse tools.  Just as small businesses have access to high-powered tools for accounting, payroll, and other core functions, small online platforms should be able to provide high-quality experiences without having to spend billions to develop it all from scratch.

Front Porch Forum is a strong believer in a diverse and people-centric internet.  We’re pleased to be working towards that future in the company of smart and committed folks like these.  Let’s build a better internet together!

“We’ve been googling but I trust my neighbors’ thoughts more…”

Posted on Friday, April 7, 2023 by No comments yet

The internet is an amazing tool, but sometimes you just want advice from the folks who live in your community! Here’s 2 recent of examples of members turning to Front Porch Forum instead of Big Tech:

  • “We had a new 8’x10′ shed installed on our property this fall. We erroneously assumed it would remain level if set on some cinderblocks and wood on gravel. The beginning of mud season has shown us otherwise! If you step one foot into the shed the whole thing rocks forward because the mud has sucked the back corner in so deep. What should we do? How do we fix this? We’ve been googling but I trust my neighbors’ thoughts more. Open to any and all suggestions! Thank you!” • Molly in Middlesex
  • “We had our third or fourth dogsitter move out-of-state, so we are looking for someone else to watch our tribe (four dogs of different shapes, sizes, and ages – all healthy!) We are looking for someone who is very experienced with dogs/ does this for a living. … If this sounds like you or someone you know, please be in touch! I have had way more luck on here than through any app like Rover, so I appreciate the help! • Erin in Moretown

30 Responses to One Local Posting!

Posted on Monday, March 13, 2023 by No comments yet

At FPF, we don’t see how many off-Forum replies members get to their postings. We see a lot of responses in individual Forums, or we get hints, like the one below, revealing just how much activity is happening off the Forum between members.

“My recent request for hearing aid recommendations was a rousing success. 30+ people responded! (Costco was the overwhelming favorite.) Thanks one and all.” • Fred in Brandon

Wow! And, no, Costco did not pay us to share this 😉

Vermonters Embrace Local Democracy via FPF and Town Meeting Day

Posted on Wednesday, March 8, 2023 by No comments yet

Even as extremism and disinformation have pushed their way into political discourse across the United States over the past several years, Vermonters continue to use Front Porch Forum to engage in constructive conversation leading up to Town Meeting Day and local elections. 

Here are some recent unsolicited FPF postings from various parts of the state:

  • “As a born-and-bred Vermonter recently returning to the state after 40 years of military and government service, I stand in awe as an observer of the vibrant discourse leading up to today and of the democratic process kept alive by the good citizens of Calais. … Today was my first town meeting, and I’m almost 60 years old. We are honored to finally get to join you. So regardless of who wins or loses today, please be thankful that you have a democratic process to be part of and a way of life worth fighting for. I can tell you that the majority of the people in our country can’t conceive of this level of belonging.”
    – Ross in Calais
  • “I am very impressed with the extent of the debate about reviving our local police force, whether for or against. This is a public forum, and I have learned a lot by reading the opinions of others. This is America, and ideally we should approach issues with civility and respect. Kudos to all who have expressed their insights in like fashion.”
    – Nancy in Randolph
  • “I would like to express appreciation to the moderators of Front Porch Forum. You have been the gatekeepers of civil discourse among neighbors passionately exercising their freedom of speech.”
    – Joan in South Hero
  • “On the eve of Town Meeting I’m reminded once more of the countless hours our Town Clerk and members of the Selectboard have given to Calais these past years, and, in some cases, decades. Many thanks to them all as well as to the incoming group.”
    – Nel in Calais
  • “FPF is doing us a valuable public service by publishing [these] letters. It lowers candidates’ costs so that it is not only the wealthy that can successfully run for office. It informs voters about the issues involved and where each candidate stands on those issues. It also serves to keep candidates honest or at least on their toes by pointing out missteps – normal campaign protocol. Finally, it is only a short period of time that this happens prior to elections. That is how democracy works.”
    – Raymond in South Burlington
  • “This is way better than putting signs everywhere. It’s actually green, as compared to signs. Please vote, I do appreciate the sentiments for your candidates. Voting, if you have not, allows you to complain… all the best!”
    – Dahan in Grand Isle

The Coat That Became a Bear

Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2023 by No comments yet

Sheila posted on her Greensboro FPF to see if anyone in town could turn her grandmother’s old fur coat into a Teddy Bear.

Journalist and podcaster, Erica Heilman, picked up the story and aired it on her podcast, Rumble Strip.

Fun fact… “Rumble Strip was named #1 Podcast of 2022 by The New Yorker and among the top 10 podcasts of 2022 by The New York Times.”

Listen to the episode here.