Note: I posted a similar set of rules on my Facebook page. As always, I want to make sure that spaces I curate are as safe as possible for everyone involved. – HH
I don’t think you can really build a community – I only think you can create a space for communities to build themselves, and as the leader, it is your job to curate that space, to make it a good space to build a community.
As a community builder, my only job is to create, and then protect, the space.
Online space protecting is hard. People feel less accountability to a space they only experience online, and there is often a sense of anonymity as well. Tone of voice and physical posture are gone as indicators of intent, and since we can’t actually see each other, it is hard to read someone’s reaction to what we are saying.
So, in order to make sure that my online communities are free spaces – spaces where people do not have to give up part of themselves in order to be there – I am laying down some rules. The biggest barrier to community is dehumanization, so most of the rules are concerned with that. Interpretation of the rules is solely based on my judgement.
• It is OK to disagree with me or any other commenter. Respectful disagreement is encouraged, actually. The key word is respectful.
• If you are attacking people, calling them names, or in any way dehumanizing folks, I will delete your comment. If it is particularly egregious, I may also ban you.
• Posts that are classist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, or in any way disparage a people group will be deleted.
• If you go on a rant and post multiple posts back to back and don’t give folks a chance to engage you, your posts will be deleted.
• I am OK with profanity, as long as it is not directed at a person or people group. In other words, I am OK if you want to bitch about something, but not OK if you call someone a bitch. Get it?
• I am firmly entrenched in the Christian tradition, but I have lots of friends and colleagues who are not. Posts or comments that attack people’s spirituality, their faith traditions or their religion will not be tolerated. Posts that attempt to evangelize will be deleted.
Thank you for helping me make sure that this place is as safe as we can make it for everyone.