The Application of Community Guidelines

Zack SheppardWhen it comes to community guidelines, there is a lot more to them than just writing and publishing a single document. The application of them spawns a series of processes that ensure consistency and keep them up to speed with challenges currently facing the community.

Zack Sheppard has spent time in community at Flickr, Pinterest and Kickstarter, helping them to develop guidelines, enforce them and train staff members how to do so. This episode features a loose discussion around internal and external community guidelines. Plus:

  • The value of a strong mentor in the community space
  • How enforcement guidelines help create consistency between staff members
  • What it’s like to update the guidelines of a community like Flickr

Our Podcast is Made Possible By…

If you enjoy our show, please know that it’s only possible with the generous support of our sponsor: Higher Logic.

Higher LogicBig Quotes

“Enforcement guidelines are something that’s really helpful when you get to, ‘If someone broke the rules, what do we do about it?’ You want to make sure everyone’s on the same page when they take action, so everyone is treated the same, and no one feels like they’re treated unfairly.” -@zackshp

“I really do think it’s important for the [startup] founder [to work in the community] for awhile, to really understand that community. … But how early should they hire [a community] person? If community is an integral part of their site, then you need to hire them very quickly, and it probably should not be a dual role where it’s customer service and community manager. It should be someone really focused on that.” -@zackshp

About Zack Sheppard

Zack Sheppard spent 7 years working in customer support before accepting a community manager role at Flickr. He subsequently worked in community at Pinterest and Kickstarter. His focus has been on helping companies understand their community through customer support channels. Zack currently consults on customer support and community policy. Two years ago, he decided to learn to code, so he went to a coding boot camp and is now also working as a web developer at the Brooklyn Museum.

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