Where to Post Your Online Community Comment Policy

How your members learn about your community guidelines has a lot to do with the type of online community you are managing. For example, many forums require brand new members to agree to guidelines before they can sign up for membership. Once the “I agree” box is checked off, a member’s first stop should be the Welcome folder where they can introduce themselves and read comment policies, FAQs, and other important information.

Many e-mail newsgroups and communities send guidelines to members via e-mail and have members agree to guidelines before participating.

For other communities such as Twitter chats and Facebook groups, it’s not as easy to post comments and guidelines, but directing members to a specific policy or guidelines page on a blog or website will help them to understand which behaviors won’t be tolerated and what words and actions are acceptable to conversation.

The key to all policies and guidelines is to put them in a place where everyone can see them immediately upon landing on the community. If possible, guidelines or links to guidelines should be placed “above the fold” or at immediate eye level and not in a place where members have to look around or scroll down to read.

Creating a comment policy and posting it somewhere no one sees it doesn’t make sense. Always place your terms of use or community guidelines where they’re immediately visible.

Community Type Placement
Forum Your forum’s Welcome folder or wherever you host the first stop for newbies
Blog A static page with visible tab, hopefully above the fold, or at eye level
E-mail group Send to new members immediately upon signing up, but also posted in a folder on the group’s home page or website

Your community guidelines, FAQs, terms of service, and comment policy are all-important documents, deserving of a prominent place of honor in your community. Make sure that they’re placed where they easily catch the eye so that users don’t have to hunt to find them.

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