Getting even? Not so much. Getting neighbors informed? Yes, please.
Bost decided to reach out to his fellow 'hoodsters to let them know about what happened to his car. "I felt like I had an obligation after that event to notify my neighbors and my community that this type of thing was going on, and I was also curious about whether I was an isolated case," Bost said. "It felt personal, but now I know that it's not. These things happen."
He hadn't previously been signed on to or active on Duke Park's listserv, which is one of the more engaged and active in the Bull City.
(For the uninitiated, it has fewer bizarro flame wars than some other central Durham lists I could name -- discretion is the better part of valor for local bloggers -- though delinquent street sweepers and drivers bypassing the vehicular barriers to the neighborhood's namesake park should beware the e-wrath they'll find.)
Bost's venture onto the Duke Park listserv to share his crime experience got him wondering. How many other neighborhoods had listservs? How active were they? And, where could you go to find out more about all of Durham's sometimes-charming, sometimes-exhausting email lists?
His concern grew when a missing child report hit the police and Old North Durham listserv recently, but the email's author didn't know how to get the report passed along to the Duke Park list, despite the girl disappearing less than 50 yards from the neighborhood boundary.
The result? Durhamhoods.com, Bost's new site featuring a Google Map mashup of all the Durham neighborhoods he could identify, complete with links and engagement data on neighborhood associations' lists.
Bost says he looked online seeking resources covering what he wanted to do, from the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau web site (which maintains some data, including a list of known neighborhoods) to the Inter-Neighborhood Council, but was never able to find exactly what he was looking for, something he described as "frustrating."
Instead, Bost began a quest to find not just every neighborhood listserv in Durham, but to note how many subscribers were connected to each list.
Some differences may not be surprising; Partners Against Crime-District 2 has the largest number of subscribers of any PAC list, something that should be no surprise to those who've been to their well-attended PAC gatherings.
But even within PAC districts, Bost says he found big discrepancies in lists.
"There were some big neighborhoods in terms of neighborhood enrollment, and then right next to them there was a neighborhood that maybe had five members," Bost said. "I thought that if I actively seeked this information out, I'd better identify patterns and maybe seek to somehow remedy that situation, maybe just by pointing out that there was a shortcoming within a given community."
Visitors to durhamhoods.com can check out a Google Map that overlays every neighborhood and HOA Bost was able to find in the Bull City.
In many cases, Bost says he notified listserv moderators of problems he found when trying to access and subscribe to their listserv, such as neighborhoods that didn't mention the word "Durham" in their description.
Those moderators, Bost notes, provided a wealth of information to him, clarifying their neighborhood boundaries and pointing him to other local listservs.
Eventually, Bost would like to include links to neighborhood blogs within each category. And he'd like to do more data analysis on crime statistics, wondering whether lower crime rates in neighborhoods are correlated with more (or fewer) subscribers to lists.
"The number one goal is to just be available for people who might be curious about listservs," in providing a "static hub for people searching for that kind of information."