It’s all too easy to skip over the step of developing community guidelines when starting an online community. Creating community guidelines is essential for every community starter to increase communication, avoid disagreement, and prevent chaos.
Developing guidelines for your community might be daunting, so we’ve put up a few tips to help your team get through it, so let’s get started. You can also click here to learn more about community guidelines.
What are community guidelines?
Community guidelines are a collection of rules made by each social media platform to assure a degree of behaviour required on the platform to foster a safe environment for individuals to share and have fun.
They usually cover what is forbidden, such as illegal actions and activities that might result in accounts being removed permanently or suspended. It’s vital to note that rules are passive; merely having them isn’t enough. If you don’t explain and enforce them, you may find yourself with more violations than you can handle.
What is the purpose of community guidelines?
Guidelines for community moderation are an essential part of community management. Observing how members engage with one another helps create a friendly environment where people feel free to share their ideas and opinions and ideas. One of the best ways to ensure that your community is a safe place where people genuinely want to join and connect is to have a well-written and well-enforced set of community guidelines.
Furthermore, being explicit about which behaviour is expected of your members — and the penalties for those who violate the rules — fosters a culture of transparency and fairness that members will appreciate. Community guidelines can help:
- Promote relevant, positive communication.
- Protect your organization from cyber threats.
- Reduce your chances of being harassed or abused.
- Boost community engagement.
- Set the tone for your community.
- Showcase your company’s best qualities.
Steps for creating community guidelines
Let’s dive into the tips for creating successful community guidelines.
Begin with the basics
When it comes to brainstorming community guidelines, your utopian vision of your community is a wonderful place to start for ideas on how you want your members to behave. Consider the culture you envisioned when you first imagined your community space, and then write down the behaviours you’d like to see in your members.
Include a description of the community guidelines and what they are for. Include a summary of your company’s most important values in terms of community involvement. These are some basic guidelines to include:
- No racial bias
- No hate speech
- No exposing personal information
- Respecting the privacy of others
- No spamming
- No illicit actions
These are the bare minimum rules that you must follow to prevent severe problems from arising in the community.
State your purpose
Add other applicable standards now that you’ve covered the basics. Try to demonstrate why you started your community and what makes your brand unique to your community members. These are the rules that are specifically relevant to communal activities.
You may, for example, establish guidelines for the community’s overall goal and the kind of behaviour that is permitted. This will assist keep the community’s discussions topical by avoiding off-topic posts and chats.
Keep it basic and easily readable
Unlike rules that may be riddled with legalese and jargon, you should write community guidelines with the average community member in mind. Make sure it’s short, simple to read, and scannable. This will help to limit the number of members who break the rules.
Also, make sure the guidelines aren’t vague; they should be detailed and precise. If the guidelines aren’t clear enough, members may interpret them differently. It’s crucial to remember that you want your users and visitors to read it.
State the consequences
Violations of community norms are unavoidable. Making your society a safe place for everyone requires being open about guarding any minority groups you may have. It’s just as important to be explicit about the consequences as being clear about the rules.
These can include being kicked out of the community, muting, etc. Ensure the members know any penalties you decide to impose for a specific guideline violation. Include a section in the community guidelines that outlines all of the punishments or mention the fines beside each guideline. Keep it fair and simple, and provide reasons for moderator actions.
Make it easy to locate
If you’re going to set community guidelines, make sure they’re visible and easy to locate. Ensure that members are aware of the community guidelines and that they are readily available on the home page of your community.
You might want to include your community guidelines in your external communication, such as newsletters and the community landing page on your website. You may also send new members your community guidelines as part of your onboarding process. This allows visitors and new members to quickly access and read them, while seasoned community members will always know where to locate them.
Keep them up to date
It’s doubtful that your community guidelines will be perfect the first time. You can try to tick all the boxes, but your guidelines will need to be changed regularly when you come across new forms of concerning content.
Create a system that allows you to be as flexible as possible when communicating, developing, and enforcing new rules. A healthy online community evolves with its members and the surrounding environment. Stay open to comments and true to your word, and you’ll be able to build a level of engagement that benefits your brand.
Ask your community to assist you
If you need assistance designing your community guidelines, seek input from your community. They’ll be the ones who can tell what’s working and what isn’t. To gather community feedback, post a survey to the community as a whole or specifically contact a group of community members. Gather a diverse range of views to ensure that your standards benefit everyone, not just the top contributors.
Setting up guidelines is essential when creating an online community. Your online community standards should be a static concept that considers new questions or challenges and new ways of thinking and perspectives. They play an essential role in keeping a community running efficiently. To properly administer the community, you may seek the assistance of experts from reputable organizations such as Viafoura. It will be easier for you to handle the community without a hitch if you make an informed decision.