Every community of practice needs some ground rules. Even those that start in an atmosphere of "no governance" soon develop rules, in order to protect the group from descending into chaos (see post "a group is its own worst enemy").
Here is a good, simple and very practical set of rules, from a Mac-based community called the Macquarium network, as described in a 2008 blog post by Miguel Cornejo Castro. These rules were developed by the network members themselves in order to reduce the "moderation friction". They ensure the Community focuses on it's core business, and avoids disruptive or wasteful behaviour.
Here are the 8 rules
- This is, mainly, a technical forum.
- Talking politics or religion is not allowed.
- In Macuarium we don’t support piracy.
- Don’t use the forums to buy or sell.
- Don’t repeat threads. Use the searches.
- Write correctly. Calm and common sense.
- For moderation issues, use the messaging system.
- When you have a moment, read the complete FAQs.