So there are many rules that come to mind when establishing codes of conduct or user policies for forums - no spamming, hacking, etc. I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with perhaps less common policies that are surprisingly helpful in keeping sanity and rationality in such forums.
I've collected some rules from various discord servers I'm in. I hope this would be helpful to you:
Deciding your policy on external links
Most websites and servers have a policy to prevent inappropriate links. Usually it's one of these 4:
- No links to obvious scams. Very obvious, the least strict variant.
- No links to scams, or content against server rules. This would normally exclude NSFW content.
- No links to other communities. A very practical rule since communities tend to be large and it's hard to tell if they would violate the other rules. A blanket ban reduces moderation effort.
- No links at all. I've seen many communities with this policy also, especially with significant amount of children and teenagers participating. This way you take 0 risk, reduce moderation effort, but disallow legitimate discussion about things on the internet.
- One variant you could consider is to allow a small "whitelist" of allowed sites or pages.
Deciding your policy on politics
Most sites have some rules about political discussion. Either of these 3 options, usually:
- No specific rule about politics
- Discussion on politics allowed, but a special rule to stay civil. This is quite hard to enforce.
- No politics at all. A very common option, but quite subjective. Hard to stay neutral.
- No off topic discussion at all allowed. Some off topic discussion is inevitable, but having this as a rule allows moderators to intervene whenever they feel it is necessary. If you are OK with a difference between written rules and enforced rules this can work.
Deciding your policy on cursing/swearing
Another common rule. Your options include:
- Cursing/Swearing allowed
- No swearing at specific people
- No swearing at all
A policy on bypassing bans/suspensions
Often communities will have some rules disallowing bypassing bans/suspensions by: creating new accounts or staying active with side channel communications (eg. changing their username or DMing people on other platforms)
Policy on triggers
Some communities have a policy that requires hiding or marking posts that could be offensive to some people, and what specific trigger warnings mean.
Policy on language
Many communities have policies what language you are allowed to speak. On one hand we would like people to be able to speak in whatever they are more familiar with, but if mods can't understand what people are saying they can't moderate.
Most servers have some kind of rule forbidding discussion that would be against the law. It is helpful to state the law of which country specifically you will use as a guideline.
Some severs go further and ban discussion about illegal activities even if the discussion itself would be legal.