The Exception To The Rules

October 2, 2011Comments Off on The Exception To The Rules

Yesterday I proclaimed that rules did nothing to change behaviour of a community. However, there is an exception. The exception is the exception (that's not a typo). 

For places like bars, cafes and restaurants we don’t need to read the rules because we know them. We assume the societal rules apply. These societal rules dictate how we act in this place.

However, when there is clearly an exception to these rules signposted, we notice it. When a bar has ‘no drinks outside’ sign in big writing above the bar – we see it. It stands out. We (often) obey the rule.

It’s not the rules that you need to make visible in your community platform. It’s the exceptions to the usual rules that you need to highlight. We know we shouldn’t spam, use vulgar language, initiate personal attacks on members. It’s only the rules that are unique to your community that you need to highlight in a prominent place. 

For example, if you were to ban discussion of politics or religion, it’s worth signposting that.

But you can only have 1 – 2 exceptions. Otherwise the exceptions to the rules simply become the rules. And no one reads the rules

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