Today is a very exciting day – TheCR Network moved to a new home. After years on the same platform our dedicated community team spent the last few months packing up the old Network, and spiffing up our new home. I know I’m biased, but I have to say – it’s lovely. Shiny, new and highly functional!
I wanted to share our community rules of engagement, because I think our community team did an amazing job of highlighting the behavior we encourage and explaining the behavior that is unacceptable to us. We are firm believers in both communication and modeling, and I think these rules paint a clear picture of the type of community we are trying to create, together.
I’d love to hear about community engagement guidelines you’ve shared with your members – please share!
TheCR Network Rules of Engagement
Every community has a culture and we feel pretty strongly about the things we encourage and the things we discourage – and they all stem from our core values:
Supportive. Fun. Respectful. Trustworthy. Transparent. Challenging.
Things we encourage and support . . .
Sharing. We want to know what you are working on, thinking about, reading or discussing. Seriously – if it’s about your work and it’s on your mind, it’s interesting to us!
Questions. We don’t think that there is any community question that is too obvious to ask. Often the simplest question is the most profound. Questions are triggers for others to share what they know – which they might not realize they know. If there is something you are curious about, pondering, don’t understand or what to hear from a peer – ask!
Ideas. Ideas are great things. Sometimes they spark intense conversations and actions. Sometime they fall flat. You never know until you share them. Go for it!
Support. Life in general and the work our members do specifically is hard. Community leaders often bear the brunt of people’s emotions, inconsistent policies and organizational mistakes. That can leave you exhausted. Additionally, because community management is an emerging discipline there is a high need to learn and we are all fumbling in certain areas. We are here to support you and we encourage you to support each other. So let someone know you appreciate them, their ideas or perspectives. That peer validation means the world to people.
Challenges. We grow and learn and do our best when people challenge us to do so – in supportive ways. That may mean sharing a difference of opinion or experience. That may mean encouraging someone to do better because they can. That may be disagreeing – respectfully – with their ideas. You can do this in a supportive, comfortable way by prefacing an opinion with ‘In my experience…’ or ‘… has worked well for me’ or ‘I feel like…’ which leaves room for others to have different points of view.
Participation, input and feedback. Don’t see that great blog post about strategy that you’re looking for? Think the community needs more case studies? Well don’t just stare… make it happen! While we may be the hosts of this party we are by no means the sole arbiters of what gets discussed and presented. If you feel strongly about something . . . do something about it.
Things we will discourage . . .
Attacks. We have a low tolerance for attacking or singling out people by name for criticism (whether community members or not). We’ll give you two strikes for this type of thing and then, goodbye. While we encourage challenging each other, that is best done from a supportive vs critical position.
Pitches. There can be a fine line between helping someone answer a question and pitching them on a solution, but we can all tell an obvious pitch when we see one. Don’t do it. This is a place about exploring, finding information, and understanding options.
Violating Trust. This is a private community and as such, the members have an expectation of privacy. The content and discussions within the community are intended to be kept within the community. If you would like to use someone’s case study or comments, please ask first. The Community Roundtable does summarize and anonymize the content of roundtable calls and may use that for market research products (which help support the community). If you have questions or concerns about this, please contact us directly.
Naming Names. We are here to discuss challenges and how to overcome them. To describe the challenge, it is not necessary to call out individuals involved by name. It’s bad form and typically people have valid reasons for their positions, even if it makes your job harder – so don’t expose all the identifying details, others can help you solve the problem without knowing all the gory details.
Interested in learning more about TheCR Network? Join our community manager Hillary Boucher for a free webinar where she’ll share a behind the scenes look at the Network, and gives advice about best practices for member leadership programs.