Adding and Subtracting Behaviour

June 17, 2013Comments Off on Adding and Subtracting Behaviour

Let’s divide community behaviour into two (oversimplified)
categories.

There is behaviour that adds to the community and behaviour
that subtracts from it.

You can judge whether behaviour adds or subtracts from the
community by judging what would happen if everyone took the same action.

If everyone voted in a poll, submitted content, or
participated in discussions, that would probably be a good thing (albeit, with
the good-to-have problem of managing that level of activity).

If every member spammed the community, tried to siphon
traffic for their own activities, posted provocative comments, or played silly
games – this would clearly be a bad thing.

This is where innocuous and (sometimes) well-meaning posts that
help an individual member run into trouble.

A well-established member asking others to do something
off-site which benefits them isn’t bad if they do it privately (direct
messages). Done publicly, however, it encourages others to do the same. It’s behaviour
that subtracts from the community.

Soon you’re faced with a tough decision. Do you punish an
established member or allow this behaviour to happen? Do you risk accusations
of favouritism or allow the entire community to be overrun with subtracting behaviour?

Step in early and stop behaviour that subtracts from the
community (especially your own).

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