Censoring your community will kill it.
There are many organizations that would like to “implement” communities for their products or services. The purported benefits of great Word-of-Mouth advertising and the likelihood of collecting valuable feedback seem too attractive. At the same time, they fret over the incorrect message or information being posted to their community and causing damage.
Then they take the next step, censoring the content, destroying the community in the process.
Organizations that want to support communities should provide expert commentary and content, a safe place for the community to meet and discuss, and feedback to the community on how their input is heard and is affecting the products and organizational processes.
Communities are self-controlled.
There are many research studies conducted on how groups of all sorts self-organize, self-administer, and self-control their content and members. Within a very short time of their genesis, communities quickly set the tone for membership and contribution by consensus – and are continuously updating the rules. Most of them are unwritten; however, they do exist.
When a new member joins, it is their responsibility to learn these rules and to understand and embrace them. The existing members will, patiently, point out what and how to say and do. Listening is the most valuable asset any person can bring to a community. Following by an embrace of the rules of conduct, traditions, and habits. Once the new members are adapted to the community, their contributions will be valuable.
Before that? It is usually considered noise.
If you want to benefit from having a community help your organization, make sure you nurture it and let it be – you’d be surprised how its self-imposed dynamics will help you.
Are you nurturing or censoring your communities?