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7 tips for forum rule compliance

1) K.I.S.S - The rules of your forum should be simple but thorough. Use bullet lists for accepted and unaccepted behaviors, cite fictional examples, etc.

2) Format - Your rules should be formatted in a way that is easy for moderators to cite exact rules. It is far more effective to say "Please refer to section 8 of our rules page" than "Read the rules again".

3) Be consistent - If you don't allow posting of advertisements, be consistent. Even if one slipped by you a week ago, remove it now. It is far easier to enforce your rules when an offender has no excuses.

4) Be understanding - People make mistakes and even more people just don't like to read rules. If someone has broken a rule, do take the time to cite the rule they broke calmly and politely.

5) Explain your rules - Rules are easier to follow when you know why they are in place. No swearing? Explain how your child often sits on your lap while you post. No posting images larger than 50k? Explain that a quarter of your users still have dial-up.

6) Accuracy - Make sure your moderators are properly managing posts. You should have guidelines written that your moderators can refer to when dealing with posts.

7) Ask your users - Your users likely spend a lot more combined time on your forum than you do. Ask your users how they feel about the rules and what they would do differently. If no one has any concerns now, then there should be no reason for complaints later.

Most forums run more smoothly when there are guidelines in place. What guidelines you set are up to you, but keeping the above in mind will increase the likelihood of your rules being well received.

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Author: Chris Davis

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