Every relationship goes through a phase where you define what makes the relationship stronger - What to do and what not to, etc. And, that is not an exception for communities too. As a society, we all live by rules to enhance the aspect of co-existence and be amiable to different people we come across. For any community, it’s pretty much the same. This results in nurturing a happy and healthy community.
As we know, rules keep all of us aligned and co-exist happily. So, here the two crucial questions are addressed
a. How do we define Community Rules / guidelines?
b. What to take into consideration for effective community guidelines?
How do we define Community Rules / guidelines?
a. Keep your guidelines detailed to avoid confusions and loopholes in the future. It should make the users feel at home.
The verge community guidelines has followed the tonality of talking to a user and make them feel comfortable.
b. Your guidelines can also be telling what your community encourages and what you don’t with simple, “Dos” and “Don'ts”. Flickr’s community guidelines can be another go to example.
c. State the code of conduct of your community along with user hierarchy like contributors, experts, advocates, etc. This will help users to look out for that rank/ badge when they indulge in discussions in the community. Here is a simple, straight forward and well-explained community guideline from AT&T community forums.
d. Your guidelines should make the users want to participate, not just give a warning. It is also important to mention how the community does not take sides or act biased, just like vodafone’s community guideline.
e. If the primary importance of your community is value and culture, make sure you lay down community guidelines that adhere to those values you look for from the members. Buffer community guidelines exhibit how they foster the value chain in their community.
f. If you want to create a judgement-free, safe and trustworthy community, it is very important for you to explicitly mention how you have built a safe place and what you do to ensure the users and their info are safe and not criticised or misused. Also, mention what will be tolerated in the community, just like how Lyft community does.
What to take into consideration for effective community guidelines?
1. Let members know what your community stands for (Your vision and mission of your community)
2. Inform new users what they should expect from your community and how that could be done
3. Educate members on what behaviour is appreciated or rewarded
4. Define the list of activities that will culminate in banning users or removing their posts
5. Educate members on how tolerant your community is
6. Make sure to mention consequence or repercussions of certain undesirable actions
7. Communicate your community’s values and principles and site the importance
8. List down what members are expected to do post their sign up
9. Define the role of early adopters, community contributors, admins and moderators
10. Emphasise about users’ safety and privacy
A good community guideline document is the key for you to educate users about your community standards and also to maintain a healthy community. Make sure your guidelines are detailed and clear. If you are stuck anywhere to write down effective community guidelines, you can always reach out to experts in habitate.io