Writing great group rules

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You got your group, you've got your picture, you've got your name
and description and now you've got to come up with rules.
When you start out your group, your rules will
probably more bare bones because the initial
members don't need to have 50 rules. You can
always add to your rules and amend them and grow them.
But if you do that, you have to make sure there's
transparency and accountability there, and make
sure people can't say "You never told me that!"
A good philosophy when you're starting a group and you're
writing your rules, is to be positive. You do not
want to say "Do not do this. No this." Tell the
members what they CAN do. For me, they're rules 'cause
that's what they're called, but for me they're
really like a: "This is the culture of our group."
"This is who we are, who are you?"
Group rules don't have to be harsh or scary. Use rules to help set the tone for your group and help prevent member conflict. We asked admins Geriann, Jonathan and Lauren for some tips on writing great group rules.

Use your rules to tell members what they can do, not just "don't do this." It leads to a more positive tone in your group overall.

Lauren, Group Admin

Key Tips
  • New groups can benefit from having rules to set expectations of the group culture early.
  • Use the group rules feature to add up to 10 rules for your group.
  • Great rules tell members how they can engage with the group.
  • Rules can help prevent conflict as your group grows and provide a feeling of safety for group members.

Use group rules and membership questions together to help new members understand the expectations of your group.

Many admins told us they wished they had started their groups with a few rules instead of adding them later on. Great rules set the tone of the group by listing the ways members can positively contribute. Use your rules as an opportunity to state what your group can achieve together.

The group rules feature offers four example rules that you can use immediately or edit. These example rules are based on some of the most common rules admins use across many types of groups:

  1. Be Kind and Courteous

    We're all in this together to create a welcoming environment. Let's treat everyone with respect. Healthy debates are natural, but kindness is required.
  2. No Hate Speech or Bullying

    Make sure everyone feels safe. Bullying of any kind isn't allowed, and degrading comments about things like race, religion, culture, sexual orientation, gender or identity will not be tolerated.
  3. No Promotions or Spam

    Give more than you take to this group. Self-promotion, spam and irrelevant links aren't allowed.
  4. Respect Everyone's Privacy

    Being part of this group requires mutual trust. Authentic, expressive discussions make groups great, but may also be sensitive and private. What's shared in the group should stay in the group.

Great rules are more than just a list of what's not allowed. Experienced admins recommend using rules to tell members what is encouraged in the group, so members know how they can positively engage with the community.

Admins tell us they remind members of the group's rules by posting them in the group on a regular basis. If needed, restate specific rules in the comments of any heated conversations when managing member conflict.

If you make changes to your rules, admins recommend rolling them out in smaller steps, not all at once. Gradual changes in rules and transparency from the admins allow the community time to adapt and react. Your rules will change and grow as your community does.

Creating clear rules helps build your group's culture and prevent member conflict.

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