Posting Well with Others

December 15, 2015 at 5:08 am Leave a comment

There are certain things that I think of as Standard Internet Social Protocol, but as more people have joined in (especially with the increased access that mobile devices provide) I suspect some of these norms have gotten a bit lost in the shuffle.

FAQs- Frequently Asked Questions– Read them. Especially important in any field of specialized knowledge- if someone asks questions that are in the FAQ, politely direct them toward it. If they keep ignoring this, moderate. If you don’t have a FAQ for a social media nexus, create one. You can also include questions that aren’t actually frequently asked, but you wish they were. Links to other communities that people commonly mix you up with are also often appreciated, and will save everyone headaches.

Common Internet Abbreviations & Group-specific terminology should be listed.

Rules of Behavior– They should exist! Consequences for violating said behavior- they should also exist and be enforced! Like real life- because yes, the internet is an extension of real life- there are consequences. Social norms that seem pretty obvious to you should still be in there, it needs to be written in the clearest language. Keep in mind cultural differences, as people can be posting from any part of the world. What ages does this forum include, and even if it is adults only, what behavior is included? Plagiarism, over-quoting, derailing topics, (including nitpicking over punctuation, spelling, grammar) Bashing people rather than ideas- sometimes even people who aren’t present. All Bad Things. You can also suggest Good Ways of moving along conversations, solving conflicts before they happen and other fun stuff.

Banning People– Moderators- You can do it! It does not make you evil. Reduce worldsuck by not tolerating trolls, predators and bigots. You are not banishing someone from the entire geek/GLBT/Pagan or whatever community. There are other places they can interact both online and in person. (See Geek Social Fallacies) Know them and resist them!

Constructive Criticism is a Thing– figure it out. If your idea or project is being criticized, that does not mean *you* are being attacked. (If ad hominems are happening- report them!) If you just want to share your idea or project for warm fuzzies, make that clear in a thread title.

Why Am I Joining this Online Community/Forum?

Am I truly interested in this subject? If this community focuses on a population that I don’t belong to, is it welcome and appropriate for me to join? How should my role and behavior differ from other members?  Is there a different way to learn about this group outside of their space? Such as Allies/Friends etc. of Group X. Do I share the values of this group?  What are your assumptions and preconceived notions of this group?

If you are a journalist, researcher, or other professional are there rules governing your behavior? If not, please reveal your status and ask how to proceed. If you are an academic entering a discussion with non-academics interested in your area of study, please keep in mind differences in what information you have access to. If you are an professional who studies a group that you do not belong to, please keep differences of power and privilege in mind.

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Entry filed under: Ethics, Uncategorized.

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