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7 Reasons to Advocate Stricter Guidelines for Forums & Communities

Today, every individual is part of an online community, whether interest-based, professional, or fan-following. Similarly, organizations and influencers also have communities on different platforms.

A well-managed community can become a powerful tool to engage and organize members. In contrast, failure to do so could derail the purpose of the community. Hence, online communities often make their own set of rules for management and community monitoring which are called community guidelines.

Guidelines for Forums & Communities

These guidelines play a critical role in upholding the values of an organization while providing the users with a positive environment to engage. Therefore, there is a need to advocate stricter guidelines for forums and communities.

Visit Viafoura for more information about creating community guidelines.

Easy To Enforce Community Guidelines And Codes

By advocating stricter measures, you can communicate the importance of guidelines for the community. It also helps in the effective implementation and execution of existing community guidelines.

In return, effective implementation keeps the forum welcoming, spam-free, non-controversial, and fair. Users know if they fail to adhere to the guidelines, strict actions will be taken against them, such as:

  • Issue warnings.
  • Temporary account suspension.
  • Permanent removal from the online forum.
  • In more severe cases, viable legal action.

Safety Of The Users

The safety of the members should be the priority. It includes avoiding exposure to objectionable content and safeguarding users’ sensitive information.

Safety From Harmful Content

Members of online forums and communities are vulnerable to personal attacks, derogatory remarks, hate speech, and harmful content. Beyond this, they are also vulnerable to other harmful content, such as:

  • Personal abuse.
  • Religious and ethnic discrimination.
  • Bullying or Harassment.
  • Direct threats.
  • Violent Content.
  • Pornographic Content.

Generally, strong community guidelines address all of the mentioned aspects. However, execution methods, such as quality moderation tools, determine the guidelines’ effectiveness.

Safety Of Personal And Sensitive Information

Strict guidelines are also essential to safeguard members sensitive personal information. Community guidelines determine the limits of personal information sharing. Unauthorized users and websites can not take undue advantage of users’ personal information.

Protects Brand’s Image

Beyond harmful content, irrelevant user-generated data can demean the purpose of a conversation. Such unchecked content can cause significant damage to any brand’s image. Online forums and communities can be misused for:

  • Self-promotion.
  • Posting spam and links with malicious attention.
  • Posting copyrighted content.
  • Tarnishing a brand’s image by business rivals or unsatisfied customers.

Strong community guidelines should address such activity in the strongest way possible.

Helps In Realizing Organizational Goals

By offering a friendly, safe, and private community, you secure your short-term and long-term organizational goals. Clear and effective community guidelines are the key to unlocking the full potential of a community.

To create strong community guidelines, it is important not to ignore the user-experience aspect. To achieve this, consider members’ interests equally important while writing and implementing the guidelines. It should outline the responsibilities of an organization and rules for the users to abide by.

Happy and satisfied members become flag bearers of the brand. They spread the word about your product and services, ultimately becoming a primary source of free advertisement.

Attracts Loyal And Trustworthy Customers

When the activities of a forum are regulated, the quality enhances. In addition, these forums tend to generate more quality leads. These quality leads could be paid subscribers, customers, and fans.

Therefore, it is necessary to provide a positive experience to customers by:

  • Sharing quality content.
  • Sticking to the niche of the community.
  • Not posting promotional content every time.
  • Engaging with the customers.
  • Responding to the customers swiftly.

When a first-time visitor finds your community meaningful, the chances of subscription become greater. Similarly, it is also applicable for maintaining an existing consumer base. Your commitment to safety and privacy enhances the members loyalty to the brand.

Set The Rules

Advocating stricter guidelines ensures the setting up of a boundary for the members. Additionally, it also helps in:

  • Stating the purpose and goals of an organization.
  • Ensuring how a member should behave.
  • Deciding what content should be considered harmful.
  • Penalties for violation of community guidelines.

Resolve Conflicts

Moderation and community management tools can effectively identify harmful content based on a predetermined set of rules. However, identifying the difference in opinion is next to impossible for these tools.

The difference in opinion has the potential to transform an ordinary conversation into a heated one. This can ultimately create a conflict between members of the same community.

In this scenario, moderators often refer to the community guidelines to decide which party is right. Strong community guidelines are not only helpful in resolving conflicts but also facilitate cooperation.

Things To Consider While Advocating Stricter Community Guidelines

Even well-drafted community guidelines fail to make an impact if not implemented systematically. Forums and communities need to keep in mind the tone while enforcing the guidelines. Furthermore, keep the following points in mind to safeguard the interests of both parties:

  • You should welcome disagreements too. Deleting every post or comment which is not in line with your community interest is akin to censorship.
  • Give the members the freedom to justify their stand.
  • All harsh steps should be in terms of enforcing community guidelines.
  • Try reaching out to members through personal emails to warn against possible violations.

Here is a typical example of how to enforce community guidelines from YouTube:

“We enforce these Community Guidelines using a combination of human reviewers and machine learning, and apply them to everyone equally-regardless of the subject or the creator’s background, political viewpoint, position, or affiliation.”

Conclusion

The sudden influx of online users has brought both positivity and negativity. While positive content helps build a brand’s image, harmful content demeans the purpose.

Thus, strict measures must exist to manage online communities effectively. However, the tone and intentions should always be positive. Similarly, fair practices that are free from personal interests are the key to success in the long run.

Finally, efforts should be made to make your online community safer while still offering members the freedom to share their perspectives.

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About the author

Vidya Menon

Vidya is an online content developer for Justwebworld. She has a BA in English Language and Literature and an MA in Current Linguistics. She is a passionate reader, writer and researcher with a background in academic writing.