Polite conversation

Community – Traditionally a “community” has been defined as a group of interacting people living in a common location. The word is often used to refer to a group that is organized around common values and is attributed with social cohesion within a shared geographical location, generally in social units larger than a household.

Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community


Online, communities are a great focal point for interests and activities, and many share the same attributes as described by Wikipedia above. Additionally, online communities also have strange creatures called Lurkers and Trolls, but they’re a topic for a future blog post 🙂

On Empire Avenue we’ve got over 500 Communities made up of the three Community types: Personal, Brand/Interest, and City.

Communities are one of the pillars that really defines the Empire Avenue ecosystem. Within Empire Avenue, you bring all your activity to a Community when you join it. Automatically all your online feeds, such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and your blog are now helping to increase not only your value, but the value of the Community.

You contribute to your Community by listing people, voting on their posts, discussing and shouting out, and you reap value from your Community by reciprocal interaction – you have conversations and debates. You meet new people and discover new points of view. This is how it should be. In the future, you may even earn rewards for being part of particular Community.

Yet, as the size and number of Empire Avenue Communities grow, we want to protect their members from abuse and annoyances (remember the Trolls? Don’t feed ‘em. Seriously). So, we’ve developed the following Community rules, which apply to all Communities.

I’ll get to the rules shortly, but first a bit about moderation. You may have noticed that we’ve started adding moderators to various Communities. Personal Communities have enjoyed this functionality with administrators playing the role of Community mods. Now we’re adding moderator functionality to City and Interest/Brand Communities. Moderators have the ability to help manage discussions and reduce the noise level within Communities. And moderators are responsible for enforcing Community rules. Moderators have the power to thump Trolls. Do feed the moderators.

And so, here are the basic set of rules that govern all activity within Empire Avenue Communities:

General Community Rules

  1. These rules are the base (minimum) set of rules that apply to all Communities. Brand, Interest, City Communities may have additional rules. Personal Communities may also have additional rules. As with all our rules and documents, we may change these rules at any time. You should check with each Personal/Private Community as to what their rules are when you become a member.
  2. Community Rules will be placed in a prominent spot within the Community. Ideally this will be the first ‘pinned’ Community discussion.
  3. Abuse and misuse of the rules of Empire Avenue Communities will not be tolerated and may result in a penalty. See the Terms and Conditions of Use and the Privacy Policy as a reference to appropriate activity. Penalties (if imposed) will be determined by the Community moderator or an Empire Avenue administrator. Penalties include (but are not limited to), deletion of abusive material, banning from posting in a Community, banning from a Community, banning from Empire Avenue, etc.
  4. Spam is considered Abuse. Spam includes posts in headline and discuss streams that are simple advertisements to buy an influencer’s virtual stock. For example: “Buy (e)bgrier! I’m working hard for you! Buy now before I get too expensive!” is not appropriate content in any of the content streams. Such content in a content stream is considered Spam, but is allowed as an Influencer Advertisment and must be placed as such. Hopefully with a little more creativity than the example above.
  5. Community members should post in a way that is respectful of other users. Flaming or abusing users in any way will not be tolerated and will lead to a penalty or warning.
  6. Members are asked to not act as “back seat moderators.” If members note an issue that contravenes something in this policy document or the Terms and Conditions of Use or Privacy Policy they are welcome to bring it to the attention of a Community moderator or an Empire Avenue administrator.
  7. Members should remember that their Community is aimed at a general audience. Posting pornographic or generally offensive text, images, links, etc. will not be tolerated.
  8. Members are asked to respect the copyright of other users, sites, media, etc. Users linking to or asking for information that promotes piracy, or re-printing material without permission will receive a warning and their post will be removed. Repeated violations could result in a ban.
  9. The moderators and administrators reserve the right to edit or remove any post at any time. The determination of what is construed as indecent, vulgar, spam, etc. as noted in these points is up to the moderators and administrators.
  10. The above rules where applicable also apply to private messaging. Abuse of the private messaging system may lead to warnings (as above) and/or the revocation of private messaging.

And there you have it. Not too many, not too restrictive, yet all encourage the premise of polite conversation. So, if you’re an admin or Community moderator, post these rules and pin them in your discussion stream. If you’ve got questions or comments about these and how you’d use them in your Community, please feel free to ping me (brad@empireavenue.com).

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