With the increasing number of online communities, it becomes pivotal to ensure a healthy, respectful, and engaging environment.
But how do you maintain order, encourage constructive interactions, and foster a positive atmosphere? The answer lies in establishing clear and effective community rules. But what does it entail to create such rules? Let’s delve into some community rule examples.
What we'll explore together:
Introducing the importance of writing clear community rules and the three most crucial steps in writing community rules; one of them is to integrate your community guidelines in your onboarding process to avoid miscommunication and conflicts.
Showcasing the 10 effective community guidelines examples that you can refer to, with explanation, analysis, and recommendations on the type of online community you have.
Additional resources on how to implement community rules for a thriving online community.
The Importance of Writing Clear Community Rules
Community rules are like a lighthouse, showing the way for members of the community. They highlight the path of acceptable behavior and interaction, offering a hand when help is needed.
Effective community guidelines explain their presentation as just as important as their content. For optimal effectiveness, creating community guidelines should be made available before members’ first engagement opportunity, guaranteeing easy access and visible display.
The language should be succinct and structured, avoiding information overload, and utilizing proper formatting to enhance accessibility and comprehension. These clear community rules, therefore, become the backbone of a thriving online community, cultivating a constructive and favorable atmosphere, facilitating positive engagements, and dialogue, and achieving specific objectives.
First Step: Creating a Positive Community Space
The first step in formulating an influential community guidelines outline should be an exploration of members’ preferred actions for interaction, collaboration, organization, and mutual assistance. This encourages members to engage in positive activities and emphasizes the value of doing so.
Notably, the language and content of Dribbble’s community guidelines primarily emphasize personal responsibility and are presented in a clear, concise, and easy-to-understand manner, serving as an excellent example.
Second Step: Encouraging Constructive Engagement
Community guidelines are instrumental in preserving the pertinence and advantage of discussions by setting up a structure for respectful and inclusive communication. They foster an environment that encourages meaningful engagement and discussions.
To uphold these standards, members should utilize their own community guidelines template to create clear expectations and utilize the flagging feature for any content that is deemed spam or off-topic to prevent the escalation of negative interactions.
In instances of suspected abuse, members should not confront individuals directly or take matters into their own hands, but rather report their concerns to the community moderators, ensuring the safety of other members. This ensures that the discussions within the community stay relevant and beneficial to all members, including other community members.
Third Step: Integrate Community Guidelines in Your Onboarding Process (With Step-by-Step Process)
When you create community guidelines, it's important to note that writing it isn't the last thing you do. For it to be effective, you need to integrate it into your onboarding process so that every new member who will join your community can review it before hanging out within the group. It's to ensure that everyone has read, internalized, and has been informed before joining the community.
Disco's custom onboarding feature is a powerful tool that allows community managers to seamlessly introduce new members to their community rules. This process is crucial in ensuring that every member is aware of the community's expectations from the outset.
Here's a step-by-step guide on how to integrate your own community guidelines in Disco's custom onboarding:
Access Disco's Custom Onboarding: Log into your Disco account and navigate to the 'Settings' tab. From there, select 'Onboarding' to access the custom onboarding settings.
Edit the Welcome Message: Disco's custom onboarding allows you to create a personalized welcome message for new members. Use this opportunity to introduce your community and its values. Make sure to mention that the community has guidelines that every member needs to follow.
Enable the Community Guidelines tab: After the welcome message, you can enable/disable the community guidelines tab depending on your preference. We suggest that you enable it to ensure that your community members review and accept your rules.
Input Guidelines in the Workspace: When you enable it, you can write, copy-paste, and even customize the workspace on your community code and rules.
Encourage Acceptance of the Guidelines: At the end of the onboarding process, new members can acknowledge that they have read and understood the guidelines. There'll be an "Agree and Continue" for them to proceed in the next section.
Save Your Changes and Preview Onboarding: Once you've finished editing the onboarding process, remember to save your changes and preview onboarding for double-checking. Now, every new member will be introduced to your community guidelines right from the start!
Now, let's delve into the community guidelines examples! On different platforms, community rules show a variety of strategies to maintain a positive community environment. Prominent themes include:
Platforms like Slack and Discord have successfully implemented community guidelines, managing interactions between community members effectively by implementing clear and concise guidelines.
An effective method to make community rules more accessible is by using plain language, like the direct approach of ‘Don’t be creepy. You know the guy. Don’t be that guy. If you are that guy, your account will be deleted. This action will be taken as a result. This approach effectively communicates expectations.
Slack's Community Forum Guidelines - Perfect for Slack Communities
Slack's community forum guidelines are a reflection of the company's core values, encouraging collaboration, respect, and inclusivity. They foster teamwork through channel discussions and inclusive messages, promote respect via guidelines for respectful communication, and uphold inclusivity by using inclusive language and creating safe environments for all members.
Specific examples of Slack’s community rules include being deliberate in channel creation, utilizing precise channel names and descriptions to prevent ambiguity, and embracing the establishment of private channels. Violating these rules can result in serious repercussions, including being prohibited from posting, account termination, loss of community access, and temporary or permanent suspension.
Discord's Community Guidelines - Perfect for Gaming Communities
Discord's community guidelines are designed to foster a healthy, inclusive, and positive environment. They cover a range of aspects, including age restrictions for accessing adult content, promoting respectful communication, discouraging inappropriate language, and implementing strict policies against child sexual abuse.
Discord uses a combination of proactive community moderation and enforcement by moderators to ensure these rules are adhered to, with violations leading to warnings, and temporary, or permanent bans.
Moreover, Discord takes substantial measures to ensure the safety of its users. They facilitate meaningful discussions within a positive atmosphere and urge community managers and creators to prioritize the safety of their servers. They also provide guidelines and resources to help maintain community safety.
In summary, Discord has three main rules that form the backbone of its community guidelines. These are: Respect each other, Be honest, and Respect Discord. These rules, enforced by proactive moderation and the vigilance of the community, ensure that Discord remains a safe, respectful, and positive platform for all its users.
Dribbble's Community Guidelines - Best for Designer Community
Dribbble's community guidelines are designed to foster a healthy, respectful, and positive environment within the platform. They emphasize personal responsibility and are presented in a clear, concise, and easy-to-understand manner, serving as an excellent example for other online communities.
The guidelines encourage members to respect one another's work, refrain from spamming, and avoid offensive content. They also urge users to report any inappropriate behavior they encounter, ensuring that the platform remains a safe and welcoming space for all.
Furthermore, Dribbble's guidelines stress the importance of authenticity and originality. They prohibit plagiarism and require all content shared on the platform to be the original work of the user posting it.
Violations of these rules can result in serious consequences, including account suspension or termination. Overall, Dribbble's community guidelines are a testament to their commitment to fostering a respectful and creative community.
Bubble's Community Forum Rules - Best for Support Communities and Forums
Bubble's Community Forum Rules are designed to foster a positive, respectful, and productive environment for all members. These rules emphasize the importance of respect for each other's ideas, promoting open and constructive discussions.
Members are encouraged to contribute useful content, refrain from posting spam or promotional content, and avoid any form of harassment, discrimination, or personal attacks. The guidelines also stress the importance of maintaining privacy by not revealing the personal information of others without their explicit consent.
In terms of enforcement, Bubble takes a proactive approach to ensure that these guidelines are adhered to. Violations of the rules can result in a range of consequences, from warnings to permanent bans, depending on the severity and frequency of the offense.
The Bubble team encourages members to report any violations they encounter, and they are committed to reviewing these reports and taking necessary actions to maintain the integrity of the forum.
Notion's Code of Conduct - Perfect Guide for Customer Communities
Notion's Code of Conduct is designed to foster a respectful, inclusive, and positive environment. It emphasizes the importance of respect, inclusivity, and constructive interactions. The code encourages members to engage in respectful and meaningful discussions and discourages any form of discrimination, harassment, or offensive behavior. It also places a strong emphasis on privacy and confidentiality, urging members not to disclose any sensitive information without explicit consent.
The community code is enforced rigorously, with violations leading to warnings, and in severe cases, temporary or permanent bans. This code is a great example for those building a customer community. It demonstrates how to create a set of rules that promote respect, inclusivity, and positive interactions, while also providing clear guidelines on the consequences of violating these rules.
Product Hunt's Community Rules - Best for Marketplaces with Community Forums
Product Hunt's Community Rules are designed to maintain a respectful, constructive, and engaging environment. The guidelines emphasize the importance of respect, kindness, and positive engagement.
Members are encouraged to make meaningful contributions that add value to the community, refrain from posting spam or promotional content, and avoid any form of harassment, discrimination, or personal attacks. Privacy is also a significant aspect of these rules, with members urged not to disclose any sensitive information without explicit consent.
The enforcement of these rules is stringent, with violations leading to warnings, and in severe cases, temporary or permanent bans.
Product Hunt's community rules highlight the importance of authenticity and originality, prohibiting plagiarism, and requiring all content shared on the platform to be the original work of the user posting it. The rules also encourage the reporting of violations, demonstrating Product Hunt's commitment to ensuring a safe and welcoming space for all.
HackerNews by YCombinator Rules - Ideal for Startup Accelerator Communities
HackerNews, powered by YCombinator, has established community rules that foster a respectful and intellectual environment. The rules emphasize the importance of thoughtful and relevant contributions, discouraging off-topic discussions, and hate speech, and maintaining civility in conversations. The guidelines strictly prohibit personal attacks, name-calling, and detraction from the discussion at hand.
The community also emphasizes the importance of originality, discouraging the submission of duplicate content. In terms of enforcement, HackerNews uses a voting system to rank posts and comments, and violations of the rules can lead to penalties such as flagging and banning of accounts.
Reddit's Community Rules - Ideal for Online Community Forums
Reddit's Community Guidelines, as summarized from their Moderator Code of Conduct, are designed to foster a respectful, inclusive, and engaging environment. The rules emphasize the importance of maintaining healthy communities by enforcing content policy, promoting civil discourse, and being transparent with their community.
Moderators or 'Mods' are expected to cooperate with Reddit admins and respect the privacy of all members. Violations of these guidelines may lead to consequences, including removal of privileges or the entire community.
Stack OverFlow's Community Code - Great for Knowledge-Sharing Communities
Stack Overflow's community guidelines, as outlined in its Code of Conduct, are designed to foster a respectful, inclusive, and engaging environment. The rules emphasize the importance of kindness, collaboration, and learning.
They encourage members to be patient and welcoming, especially with those who may not know everything, and to respect and appreciate differences among community members. The guidelines also discourage any form of rudeness, name-calling, or personal attacks.
They emphasize the importance of staying on topic and avoiding discussions that make others uncomfortable or are unrelated to the focus of the community.
LinkedIn's Community Policies - Best for Social Media and LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn's community policies, designed to foster a professional, respectful, and inclusive atmosphere, emphasize networking, learning, and opportunity. The guidelines stipulate that users must engage in civil and respectful interactions, maintain trust and integrity, conduct themselves professionally, and respect the rights and boundaries of others.
LinkedIn ensures adherence to these guidelines through various monitoring and regulatory tools and strategies. The platform has a zero-tolerance policy for harassment or bullying, thereby maintaining a professional environment for all users.
Key Elements for Implementing Effective Community Rules
Now that you have seen examples, it's time to start creating community guidelines for your group! Establishing community rules that resonate with members requires a keen understanding of community values and a mission statement. To create effective community rules, consider the following:
Use clear and directive language.
Review and revise the rules frequently to ensure they remain relevant.
Enforce the rules fairly and consistently.
By following these guidelines, you can create community rules that effectively guide member behavior and foster a positive and inclusive community environment.
In the next sections, we’ll delve into each of these key elements to give you a comprehensive understanding of how to implement effective community rules.
Define Your Community Values and Mission
Let's go back to the community guidelines examples, their rules all align with their core values, mission, and vision. Before formulating community guidelines, defining the community’s values and mission is necessary. This ensures that the guidelines are in line with the community’s purpose and objectives, providing a framework for developing community rules that resonate with the principles, beliefs, and behaviors of community members.
To establish community values and mission, it is crucial to define the vision for the community, write a clear and concise mission statement, and identify the values that will guide the community’s actions and decisions. An excellent example of a community value and mission statement is TED’s “Spread ideas, foster community, and create impact”.
Be Clear and Concise
To enhance the clarity and comprehensibility of community guidelines, it is advisable to:
Use familiar language
Establish specific regulations against undesirable conduct
Precision in language, defining terms, refraining from negative phrasing, and maintaining clear sentence structure can help mitigate ambiguity.
Regularly Review and Update Community Rules
Regular evaluation and modification of guidelines are vital to maintain their relevance and effectiveness as the community progresses. Indications that a community guideline requires updating include:
Repeated or severe breaches of the current guidelines
Emergence of new, potentially harmful behaviors
Insufficient clarity or transparency regarding consequences
Alterations in platform policies
The necessity to harmonize guidelines with the community’s vision and objectives
It is advisable to review and update online community rules at least once a year.
Furthermore, it is prudent to reassess them following a community incident or when external factors, such as shifts in business or cultural contexts, take place.
Enforce Rules Fairly and Consistently
Upholding steady enforcement of community rules significantly impacts community trust and respect. When rules are consistently enforced, community members perceive that everyone is held accountable for their actions, establishing a perception of fairness and equality.
To ensure consistent and equitable enforcement of community rules, a variety of methods can be utilized, including:
Developing clear and transparent guidelines
Ensuring uniform enforcement
Establishing consistent reporting and enforcement procedures
Facilitating communication and education
Implementing fair consequences
Involving board oversight
Adapting Community Rules to Your Specific Community
Community rules should be customized to meet the specific needs and challenges of your community. This involves considering your audience, addressing community-specific issues, and encouraging positive behavior. Understanding an audience can have a significant impact on the creation of community rules, allowing for the tailoring of rules to specific needs. Here are some key considerations when creating community rules:
Set appropriate guidelines
Promote inclusivity and diversity
Enhance engagement and participation
Prevent conflicts and disputes
Incorporating community-specific guidelines, such as Mumsnet’s notice on disclosure of abuse, is crucial to ensure that the guidelines are customized to the distinct needs and challenges of your community, thereby enhancing their effectiveness and relevance.
Consider Your Audience
While identifying the audience of an online community, it’s important to take into account demographics like age, gender, income, education level, and psychographics such as interests, values, and attitudes, along with the specific needs and preferences of the target audience. Understanding an audience can have a significant impact on the creation of community rules. It allows for the tailoring of rules to specific needs, setting appropriate guidelines, promoting inclusivity and diversity, enhancing engagement and participation, as well as preventing conflicts and disputes.
Address Community-Specific Issues
Community rules play a significant role in tackling community-specific issues by laying down a framework for behavior and setting the standards for community members. These community’s rules are instrumental in preserving order, minimizing ambiguity, and fostering courteous exchanges within the community.
Tailoring community rules to a particular community necessitates taking into account the audience, which can be achieved through conducting surveys among all members or sharing draft guidelines for direct input. It is also important to ensure that rules, such as Mumsnet’s policy on disclosure of abuse, align with the needs and experiences of the members.
Supercharge Your Learning Community
A step-by-step guide to build and grow a thriving learning community.
In wrapping up, community rules are undeniably the backbone of any thriving online community. They create an atmosphere of respect, facilitate constructive interaction, and set the tone for the community culture. For these rules to be effective, they need to be clear, concise, and consistently enforced. However, they should also be dynamic, evolving with the community to stay relevant and impactful.
An essential aspect of implementing these rules effectively is integrating them into your community learning platform. Platforms like Disco provide an excellent solution for this.
With Disco, you can customize your community guidelines and seamlessly integrate them into the onboarding process. This not only ensures that every new member is well acquainted with the rules from the outset but also saves time by eliminating the need to manually send out the guidelines each time a new member joins.
The Learning Community Playbook delivers actionable insights, innovative frameworks, and valuable strategies to spark engagement, nurture growth, and foster deeper connections. Access this resource and start building a vibrant learning ecosystem today!