Taking up @aleja’s concerns for a dedicated topic. Because, yes, I also feel we’ve focused quite a lot on restrictions and limits lately, and not that much on how to come up with creative ideas to grow the community in positive and welcome ways.
One experience that makes me feel optimistic is how the forum developed over the last year. I think we have a community right now that stands up and together against disrespectful comments. And that’s clearly not a given on the internet. As a member on the moderators team, I was amazed that we actually did not suspend or ban a single member on the way. Some users left, but on their own request.
One aspect that stands out to me is that there was hardly backroom talk between members and moderators. When a dispute came up, we were strict in removing it from our main stage. But we always offered a dedicated and public space to discuss it. And in all cases that led to users rather seeing themselves out.
So this is just one aspect. But is it for example something we could adopt in some form on the wider platform?
Idk, am I naive to think a good FAQ should help to some extent? Not like on Couchsurfing “hey guys stay safe and help with the chores”, but detailed and with examples (and not too serious, so people don’t close it after the first paragraph ). And when smb sends their first message or request, there can be a reminder, like “we have an FAQ, you might want to check it out”.
It’s probably not so much for “keeping the creeps out” but rather for new users to understand what it is all about. Can help as well though - by showing people how to choose a good host/surfer and how to write requests (so good hosts accept them).
On the point: I think that happened because we are, actually, like minded people. We roughly share a set of beliefs and values.
Also: 99% of interactions in here are public. So if someone crossed a line, people have your back.
The question is: how do we translate this tp the app, where interactions will be mostly private. How do we make this feeling of “this are our core values and boundaries” a message present in the app? Also: how do we give people this feeling of “community has your back”?
I think a simple set of rules or faq as @phaula suggested is a great start. Having the community standing will help too. And… I don’t want to rush the devs, I’m sure they have more than enough on their plate, but safety tools need to be rolled out as soon as possible. Having events and hangouts is fun but: How can I ensure someone that my event will be safe if we don’t have clear rules and report tools available?
Yeah, we are few people right now, but most countries will be fully vaccinated by September, so things will hopefully take off soon.
I’m hoping community standing will go a long way towards helping this. The core idea is how we can get some form of public accountability from person-to-person interactions.
Honestly, it will still be while before this is fully rolled out. But this has come up before and we’re thinking of prioritising basic reporting tools because they’re significantly easier. These would be things like report buttons for messages, events, discussions and pages that would go straight to the safety team. Alongside this, we can release and maintain the community guidelines which will explain what is and isn’t acceptable.