We’re in danger of losing our WNY online garden group because of one word. Hoe. Sometimes, Facebook seems to understand that this is a garden tool and leaves it be. Other times, it removes comments or posts in which “hoe” appears because these posts “violate community standards.” Yes, this is very, very silly, but, in some cases, a group admin has used the dreaded word and admin violations can get your group disappeared by the Facebook algorithmic overlords. Yes, we know why the word is being targeted. We suppose. 

While I’ve been the first to complain about the strange adherences to bizarre and ineffective home remedies and the endless worrying about nonissues that I’ve noticed in the group, I also think that—on the whole—it’s helping gardeners. We have almost 7,500 members and still receive dozens of requests to join daily. People are learning and, more important, people are encouraging each other. Every day I see comments from members about how happy they are to be able to share the day-to-day of gardening with this online community.

Have you ever tried to communicate with Facebook? Not easy. And, I am pretty sure, absolutely futile. Yes, I have messaged, “This is a gardening group. A hoe is a gardening tool,” only to receive surveys and lists of more ways to message them. I get the feeling that trying to get through would be a fulltime job and would still end in frustration and disappointment.

This is not a huge problem for me. I have (sort of) a hoe (shown above) but never use it and  have no intention of  ever talking about it in the group. However, it’s unrealistic to expect that of others. We can make hoe a special keyword and delete all posts containing it as soon as we are alerted, but that seems … ridiculous.

In the meantime, if this post brings down Garden Rant, along with its 15 years of archives, I’m sorry. It’s been nice knowing you!

Originally posted on gardenrant.com.

Elizabeth Licata is Editor-in-Chief of Buffalo Spree Magazine.


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