The 21st century has seen a healthy development of communities around the world. People are coming together to speak about a common cause, further a common goal or just to meet new people. With the surge of start-ups across the globe, community working has become the new normal among the entrepreneurs of the world.

As the world comes closer, be it physically or digitally, it is important to set parameters or guidelines that will help steer the community in a favourable direction.

A rule or a law or a guideline are all different standards we have set for ourselves as a community to ensure fairness, set expectations and to hold people responsible for their actions. In this article, we will provide you with a few suggestions on how to write effective community guidelines

1.Get the right tone

The voice you use in your guidelines will determine the tone of your organisation. Whether you go for a more formal setting or a frat house’s chilled out vibe, your tone will tell your community members how you envision this organisation. Think this carefully based on the organisation you are steering. Entrepreneurs would not like a very permissive environment while a Lawyer’s association will demand a strict code of propriety.

2.The Reason

Why are you starting this community? What is its purpose? Your guidelines have to state the purpose clearly. Communicate your goals in an easy-to-understand way. This will help you attract the right individuals to your group.

3.Attract the right people

A community is as good as the people in it. If you want to attract the right crowd, highlight your high achieving members. Showcase your outstanding citizens, high profile doctors and others. This will set the expectation on what kind of people join your community. For example, if you are starting a surf club, make sure everyone knows your president was a world surfing champion.

4.Communication modes

This is most often misused tool. Many communities have fallen off their course due to unnecessary fights between the members. By setting guidelines for communication between members, you can make it easy for the community to prosper. Let’s take a simple example of a WhatsApp group for a residential complex. If one member is constantly sending cat memes or sales messages, some members may leave the group because they don’t appreciate the daily spamming of their Inbox. As an admin, if you had set a guideline that whoever sends a forward will be first warned and then kicked out, it would discourage such behaviour. Plus, it will give you the right to kick such members out.

5.Handling violations

Let us admit it; every community will have mischief makers. If such people are not handled appropriately in each instance, you will probably lose members. Set boundaries and ask for them to be respected, Tell them what will happen if the boundaries are crossed. Be fair and reasonable in your handling of violators. if and when the situation arises, be firm in your actions to protect your community.

Put these the guidelines in writing so that your community knows what is expected from them.

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