There has been lots of talk here about what 'the rules' and expectations are in terms of post content and general member behavior at AfricanAmerica.org. While I reserve the right to exercise my best judgment and discretion about our community, the following represents my best shot at articulating direction on this issue.
The primary standard upon which posts and members are evaluated here links directly to our "mantra" - which is "Intelligent. Black. Community." Does content here fit through the over-all filter of all things intelligent, black, and consistent with our community?
Intelligent - do posts contribute to greater understanding about the issue being discussed? This does not mean that every post has to agree with your opinion (or mine), it just means that posts and opinions should be construed to be a part of an intelligent dialog about an issue.
To be sure, disagreement and debate - even of a vigorous and passionate kind - has a home here. Nevertheless, it is entirely reasonable to expect that kind of opposing discourse without succumbing to personal attacks and needlessly inappropriate language. Those things are not welcome and will not be permitted.
Black - is a post in any way relevant to the African American community? Of course, our interests are - and should be - broad and wide.
Community - this is a broad "catch-all" criteria that basically asks if a member is contributing to building the kind of community that we hope to establish here? In addition to those attributes in our "mantra", characteristics of AfricanAmerica.org include adjectives like Afrocentric, smart, warm, curious, respectful, supportive, funny, committed, helpful, friendly, etc. Behavior that is in any way inimical to "Intelligent. Black Community." and adjectives like those listed here are not welcome.
Building Our Community
To maintain a healthy community here, it requires the commitment and contributions of all of our members. We've all got to help make our community into what we want it to be. For example, as members, we must all model the type of behavior that we expect of others - particularly newcomers. If we don't like something in others, we must ensure that we don't participate in that same behavior!
Additionally, to help me do my job here, on every post there is a 'Report This Post' triangular button with an exclamation point inside it located on the bottom right of the post. Click it to report offensive content.
** Please understand that I see only a small portion of all of the posts here.** In the past, offensive posters have take root here, pushing out good, solid members - all while I have been completely clueless to the offensive behavior. Understand that like you - I have to put food on the table. AfricanAmerica.org does not contribute to that effort - unfortunately. I need your help. Please help identify things that you think do not belong here and bring them to my attention either by the 'Report This Post' button or by PM.
It is my desire to limit banning to only those rare occasions where - in my opinion - someone is incorrigible. Obviously that is my opinion, and others may disagree with me about that. I have allowed all sorts of dissenting opinion, and even "weird" content here, as long as it has loosely fit within the guidelines articulated above.
If, in my judgment, someone is not being a positive contributor here (based upon the criteria articulated above), I will - typically - warn them via private message about what doesn't work here and why. I will explain why I believe their post(s) are inappropriate and further articulate what is expected (probably referring them to this post). Based upon the severity and context of the offense, I will deal with them accordingly. Someone who, in my judgment, is here solely to disrupt, obfuscate, malign, be offensive etc. - might be banned immediately and without warning. On the other hand, otherwise positive members who 'cross the line' will be PM'd about their post, but given the latitude that they have earned.
Quantity vs. Quality
Despite the fact that we are in an advertising driven world that honors more posts/pageviews etc. rather than less, I am clear that I would much rather sacrifice unhealthy and unproductive posts and members than sacrifice the integrity of our community and all that is special and unique about AfricanAmerica.org. There are plenty of places where uncivil and rancorous banter are the standard modus operandi. That's not AfricanAmerica.org.
My intention is that with this public presentation of our community guidelines, that we all can better contribute to guiding AfricanAmerica.org to the best place it can be.
I need your help to make this happen though!