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Online Community Management For Dummies® by Deborah Ng

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Chapter 4

Establishing Community Policies and Guidelines

In This Chapter

  • Making your community a positive place
  • Modeling your community after others
  • Setting and enforcing guidelines
  • Establishing a commenting etiquette
  • Keeping the community honest by example

In the book The Lord of the Flies, an island filled with shipwrecked, unsupervised children led to disaster. With no established rules or guidelines for survival, they turned against each other. I don't necessarily want to compare an island full of unruly children to a community of adults, but it's a good comparison of what happens if you don't establish a clear set of policies and guidelines. Perhaps the results won't be so negative — most people know how to behave after all — but there are always those who test the limits.

Guidelines ensure that members interact in a respectful and orderly fashion. Though the majority of your community's members have no intention of acting up, to host a governless society is to truly tempt fate. As its name indicates, guidelines “guide” members in the right direction so that they're aware of appropriate behavior. They're not meant to be smackdowns or angry rants about proper ways to act.

Creating a Positive Environment for Community Members

Have you ever joined a club or group, but the cliquey-ness of the members or constant bashing of others caused you to have to second thoughts? Online communities can be the same way. Members join them for a number of reasons, but mostly because they like ...

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