Part Three

Building a better community

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If we’re online, we’re part of online communities. The nature of the medium is collaborative, and conversational. So we need to participate in ways that make our communities better.

The heart of a community is respect — for each other, for everyone’s right to have different views, and more. Civility is a demonstration of respect.

But being respectful does not mean tolerating those who are not. Every community has rules, and they should be enforced fairly and equally.

Community guidelines
Many Reddit communities have clear guidelines that promote civility and credibility.

Reddit, one of the most successful online forums, has an expansive view of what’s acceptable. But there are limits. The site’s detailed Content Policy starts this way:

Reddit is a platform for communities to discuss, connect, and share in an open environment, home to some of the most authentic content anywhere online. The nature of this content might be funny, serious, offensive, or anywhere in between. While participating, it’s important to keep in mind this value above all others: show enough respect to others so that we all may continue to enjoy Reddit for what it is.

Under the heading of “Unacceptable content,” it continues (before a detailed explanation of what’s not allowed:

While Reddit generally provides a lot of leeway in what content is acceptable, here are some guidelines for content that is not. Please keep in mind the spirit in which these were written, and know that looking for loopholes is a waste of time.

This is a smart approach from our point of view.