Since 2012, Two Hat has been developing industry-leading content moderation practices that help social networks build safe and healthy online communities. By removing negative social interactions communities can make room for positive human connections. This can be achieved by applying our Five Layers of Community Protection for online safety.

Strong community guidelines can help you set the tone for positive engagement and foster a healthy and thriving community. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

Layer One: Writing Strong Community Guidelines

The first step in protecting your community is to align your filter settings with your community guidelines ( i.e.,no hate speech, violence, sexual content, etc.) to reinforce your Terms of Use. Two Hat works closely with clients to help them craft and integrate their policies and community guidelines. Our Trust & Safety experts can help guide you through creating policy guides that reinforce your Terms of Use while building your community in a safe way.

Clearly articulate your community’s tone

Strong community guidelines reflect your platform’s purpose and community. And they represent what your online space stands for. You should have a clear vision of what ideal behavior looks like for your platform and focus on creating an environment where community members adhere to these standards.

It’s also important to understand what kind of bad behavior could disrupt the vision you have for your community. Once you identify what types of harmful behaviors you want to prevent, you can clearly communicate them to the community, identify them when they occur and take action as needed.

Lead with the purpose of your platform and its values

Share your vision for your community and what purpose it fulfills. This is a critical foundation to your guidelines as everything else builds from here. Start with the positive. It’s your community so you define your vision for it. Intentionally set its tone and declare what it is about. Provide examples of behaviors that embody those values.

Define your non-negotiables

Be very clear about the non-negotiable behaviors that get in the way of the intended experiences in your product. What are the behaviors that are at odds with your community values? Provide clear examples of behaviors that cross the line.

Display guidelines where users can see them

Community guidelines that are hidden or in fine print send a message that they’re not important. Guidelines should be displayed where all members can read and review them and make sense within the context of your platform. Use language that is consistent with your product and embed them within your product so that they feel like a natural part of the environment. This will keep them top of mind as users interact with your platform. See below how first-person action-adventure game Sea of Thieves made it so their community guidelines fit cohesively into their fantasy world.

Use tools to reinforce community guidelines

Using smart filtering and triaging tools to handle text, images, and videos is particularly important, especially if your goal is to grow and scale your community. These tools help you to take action when a user violates the non-negotiables you stated in your community guidelines. If you say in your community guidelines that hate speech is a non-negotiable, you need to proactively identify and block highly offensive racial slurs to turn those guidelines into action and build trust within your community.

By using some level of automated moderation, you’ll be able to better enforce your community guidelines, naturally reduce workload by homing in on what requires human review, and spare your team from reviewing disturbing content, such as hate speech, pornography, or gore in images and videos. With proactive moderation tools, such as Two Hat’s Community Sift, you’ll avoid exposing your users to content and provide an overall better experience for them when they use your product or service.

Focus on your goals

Writing community guidelines that you can stick to isn’t easy, but if you break the process down into these distinct steps, you’ll be on your way to success. Start by identifying the goals you want to achieve for your community and creating guidelines that reflect your community’s purpose. Share your guidelines with your community within your product and use powerful moderation tools to enforce them.

Learn how Two Hat can help you achieve your community goals by reading the rest of our Five Layers of Community Protection blog series. Look out for the next one coming soon.

You can also request a live demo to find out how Community Sift can help you keep your users safe from harmful content.

Learn about Layer 2 here.

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