Every community founder should create community norms to increase communication, eliminate disagreement, and avoid turmoil in their community.
Your community’s guidelines are a set of regulations and recommendations intended to assist members in understanding what is required of them in the community space, along with crucial do’s and don’ts.
The community guidelines spell out how members should engage with one another, as well as what is and isn’t permitted and the repercussions of breaking the rules. Guidelines help protect your community’s members while fostering the culture you wish to promote. We’ve gathered a few tips for writing your own community guidelines to make the process go as smoothly as possible. Meanwhile, you can click here for additional insights on creating community guidelines.
What are the benefits of community rules?
Developing community guidelines is important in transforming your group into a good and friendly environment. They play an important part in determining how members of the community interact.
Your community’s guidelines will instruct them on what and how to post, what questions to ask, and who to contact if they need assistance.
These guidelines lay out the kinds of posts and activities that are not permitted in your group. This might be as simple as asking important questions instead of irrelevant ones or as severe as putting an end to trolling.
7 tips for creating community guidelines
Here are seven things to consider when drafting community guidelines to aid in the moderation of your online community. These will assist you in ensuring that your community’s rules are consistent and welcoming.
Begin with a community mission statement
Remember to clarify what your community means and the objectives you would like to accomplish before getting into your group’s precise dos and don’ts. To put it another way, make a mission statement for your community.
This is your time to outline your objectives and community-wide ambitions. A good mission statement conveys your community’s beliefs and culture and invites people to join. It also gives them a clear objective, encouraging them to participate actively in your online community.
Define your goal
As previously expressed, the first stage is to define the online community’s objective. After that, we recommend that you link it to your company’s broader vision. Last but not least, you must express your objectives and what you hope to accomplish. Less is more in this situation.
Outline any clear and fast rules
You must establish standards for banned acts or conduct while setting community guidelines. These are your strict rules – behaviours that will result in a warning or, in extreme situations, expulsion from the community.
The scope of your standards will be determined by the type of neighbourhood you live in. For instance, if your community discusses sensitive papers, you might wish to establish a separate terms and conditions page. Any form of society, however, should establish norms surrounding the following:
- Hate speech, harassment, bullying, discrimination, or other targeted attacks are all examples of targeted attacks.
- Self-promotion or spam
- Personal data privacy and disclosure
- Improper conduct
- The protection of intellectual property
- Use of content without permission
Outline the consequences of disobeying the rules
It’s just as vital to explain the rules as to be explicit about the consequences of breaking them. Include a section in your policies that explains what happens if a rule is broken. Maintain a level of fairness and sincerity. Include the following information:
- What are the consequences for first, second, and third-time offenders?
- What is the maximum number of infractions that can occur before a suspension or a ban is imposed?
- Is there a zero-tolerance policy in your community regarding certain types of behaviour?
Imposing the guidelines
It’s critical to have a section dedicated to punishments for breaking the rules, but you’ll also need the tools to moderate and enforce these penalties as needed. Typically, moderators will take an active role in enforcing these rules and removing inappropriate content.
If your group is particularly active or publishes controversial themes, employing moderators might be costly. You’ll want to use an automated content moderation system in these situations as it helps you to save money by influencing inappropriate information directly.
Make sure your community guidelines are visible
Your community guidelines should be prominently displayed. Ensure that members must be aware of the community guidelines and that they are readily available on the home page of your community.
You might also consider incorporating a link to your community guidelines within your external communications, such as newsletters and the community landing page on your website. You may also forward the new members your community guidelines as part of your orientation program.
The goal is to make your community guidelines well known so that all members are prepared and ready for your brand community when they join.
Keep your community rules up-to-date
A strong online community evolves and expands with its members and surroundings. As you come across new forms of content and comments, you’ll almost certainly need to change your standards. Create a system that allows you to be as flexible as possible when developing, disseminating, and enforcing new rules.
Your goal for the quality of interactions and the culture you wish to foster in your community is reflected in your community guidelines. Your standards will inspire involvement that grows your business and helps your community achieve its goals, whether developing guidelines for a growing community or revitalizing one that has established some negative habits.
It’s never too late to create community guidelines, whether you’re just starting an online community or already have one. Community standards can assist in guiding your members and ensuring that every interaction in your community is meaningful, positive, and beneficial.
A good online community evolves and adapts in response to its members and the surrounding environment. You can develop a level of involvement that improves your brand by simply remaining receptive to comments and staying true to your word.
This article has covered everything you need to know about developing standards for interacting with customers in a virtual space. Remember to examine your policies every few months and amend them as needed to reflect any policy changes.