Why are rules important?

One of my father’s favorite saying was “keep honest people honest.” I used to wonder what he meant for the longest time until I started putting together the communications patterns and anti-patterns. You see the internet is the wild-wild west. Wild, in that I don’t see, or talk to you most likely in person. Wild in the sense that the username you have, isn’t always your name. Wild in the sense that there are lots of places to hide.

Because it is the wild-wild west, then it means that users of systems have to take the time to make sure other users are following the rules. Complaining about people cutting corners is fine, but you also have to make sure that you follow the rules. The only way a site can improve is if we let them know when people aren’t following the rules. Responsibility is doing the right thing, not hoping the next person does the right thing. It comes back to what my father said. Keep honest people honest, if people cut corners, let them know. If they keep cutting corners on websites, let the admins know. It is when someone cuts corners, your job to keep things moving forward.

The reality is, and the argument you are going to hear about this is I don’t want to be the police.  No one does, but by simply reporting bad behavior you are doing two things. The first is you are helping the rule breaker operate within the rules. The second is you are reducing the amount of churn for other site users by reducing the number of people not following the rules. Ask not for the whole the bell tolls; it is always tolling for you. We as members of groups have to help keep honest people honest. We have to make sure that when people break the rules, we first them personally and then we report that.

Otherwise we live in the wild-wild west.


What do you think?

10 Points

Written by DocAndersen

One fan, One team and a long time dream Go Cubs!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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  1. Sites fail when people ignore the rules and do as they please. It causes more work for the administrators and it cheats those who do follow the rules. You know breaking a rule is deliberate when a person, for example, leaves a comment that’s too short and instead of adding more words, uses extra punctuation characters to make up the number of characters missing. This lets the comment through the filter. Technically the person follows the rules by violating the spirit of the rules.

  2. In a world without rules everyone would do what seems good to them moment by moment. Imagine the chaos, the terror, the sheer insanity of everyone doing that. The very thought is chilling. You offer some good insight into the need for personal responsibility to maintain a moral code. A people not accountable to rules would not be a society, it would be anarchical, meaning that even those who wanted to care for others would have to live for themselves in order to survive the disorderly dangers. It would be the same as living like wild animals. Reminds me of how sad it is that children are being taught that they are no more than an animal!

  3. Completely agree, Coach. Looking at this through the glasses of duality that I use most often there are some things we can see and compare in that; personal interests against the personal vision, rules of the game and self-leadership, violations of VS systems of supervision, and mutual benefit & user engagement. It all depends on our intentions and paradigms as members of the community and at the same time as a player or user.

  4. Surely rules are key to our wellbeing as humans. Without which humanity would never be tamed. these rules operate as our speed governors in the lifestyles that we live and engage ourselves in. We have no option but to make sure that when people break the set rules, we should first of all face them personally before reporting them to the authority for appropriate action.

    I found this very inspiring, Thanks a lot for sharing.

  5. The wild west is a great place to live. Old westerns are what I grew up on. It is hard to say what other people do and I spend most of my time working on me. If I see something odd I normally approach the person. Rules are a good thing. There are not many here that are well written and explained.Things seem to change on a whim.

    I suppose there are sheriffs and posses to take care of that. As for me I will read, write, share, and comment now and then. I have enough on my plate.

    • I can see the value in both sides you bring up. It is the old adage played out, someone passes you at well over the speed limit, we normally don’t care, they, the speeding driver causes a huge accident and then we have to report it.

      There is value in following rules.



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