Tuesday, November 23, 2010

8 Thoughts on How to Play Nice in the Online Community Sandbox

This is the second in a three-part series of articles on the subject of online communities. Kudos go out to Christina Stallings, Greg Ruby, Kiki L’Italien, Liz King, Eric Lukazewski, Kristi Sanders, Cameron Toth and Jeff Hurt for donating their time and energy towards this blog post.

On Monday we began this discussion with an article focused on what makes online communities rock.  From our guest contributors came a consistent message that a great community embraces diversity of thought and expression.  It also provides a safe, trusting environment where members feel a sense of equality and inclusion.  My co-writers  also expressed that through collaboration a community can become a force to drive growth, change and excellence to the industry/concern it serves.

So, what should community members expect of one another?  What baseline behavior supports a nurturing culture?  Here are some thoughts for your consideration…

How to Play Nice in the Online Community Sandbox

Question: “What should be the baseline expectations of all community members?”

Christina Stallings — Courtesy, respect, transparency.

Kiki L’Italien — I think the baseline expectations of all members of a community should be thoughtfulness, respect, and a willingness to hear multiple opinions.  This can be difficult and just like all things human, there should be an understanding that these basic tenets might be tested.  A community of strength and commitment will move past any difficulties met along the way.

Liz King — At the very least, members should be consistent cheerleaders for their colleagues. There should be room for mistakes and an open approach to making mistakes and learning together.

Greg Ruby — At the very least, community members should feel free to ask questions without being told that something is too basic. We were all beginners at one time. At the same time, it is important for folks to be able to express their opinions without fear of personal attacks. Treat folks as you want to be treated yourself.

Eric Lukazewski — A defined goal for advancement or progression that harbors safety for sharing ideas.

Kristi Sanders — Members need to know there is a common goal… that all decisions and actions taken in their name or on their dime will help the community achieve that goal.

Cameron Toth — To contribute, enhance, nurture and support continued community activity. All members need to work from an empathic and caring framework. Trust is the key ingredient in allowing for healthy dialogue, healthy criticism and excellent results.

Jeff Hurt — Respect, professionalism, safety are three aspects that come to mind.

As with yesterday’s article these diverse individuals expressed many similar thoughts.  Addressing fellow community members with courtesy, respect, honesty and professionalism is a code of conduct, when modeled consistently, that will position nearly any community for success.

Put simply, a community built on the simple “golden rule” of treating others as you would like to be treated yourself is a winner in the making!

Question:  As you reflect on what my guest contributors have said, what resonates with you?  What would you add to these thoughts?  Please share!

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