Actually Enforcing Community Guidelines


(Elisabeth Crecink) #1

I recently stepped into a new community manager role for a software startup. The facebook group has about 35k people in it and I’m the first dedicated community person on staff. Because there hasn’t been a full-time community person, the group has become the wild west with little regard for the community guidelines.

One of our biggest issues is shameless self-promotion, which is clearly defined as a no go. What’s the best way to step into this community and actually start enforcing the policies that have been in place from the beginning? If I come in and start deleting posts left and right, is that going to send a message that we’re trying to control every aspect of the conversation?

(Sarah Hawk) #2

Heh, interesting challenge.

I’d start by posting up a reminder of the guidelines and explain that for everyone’s sake you’re going to start being a bit more stringent in enforcing them. I’d then message people and let them know why you’re removing their posts and link them back to the guidelines.

(Luis Villa) #3

I’ll second everything @HAWK said. Explaining why (and if possible, explaining why things have changed) is key to members internalizing and acting on the rules.

For more complex situations, Mozilla recently published a blog post on building mature processes for CoC enforcement. Suspect that post is a must-read for many of us, especially if you do any real-world meetups, though probably overkill for the specific problem you’re describing here.

(Griff Wigley) #4

@HAWK, I think it can help to ALSO say something publicly, if it can be done judiciously. It indirectly says to everyone watching, “There is an adult in charge here and they take action.” Those who always behave well will silently cheer and those who have a tendency to cross the line are more likely to reign themselves in. The cultural shift can happen more quickly.

It’s tricky, though. The wording has to be very respectful, avoiding any hint of shame or superiority, etc. If the offender takes it well and the offense was minor/first time, I often follow it up with a gentle humorous remark like, “Don’t let it happen again or there’s no recess for you for a week!”

(Sarah Hawk) #5

Yup, totally agree. You need to do something publicly if you want the wider behaviour to change.