Have you ever written community guidelines, or worked with someone to get them started? I’ve done both, and there is one word that often comes up: “irrelevance.”

Community managers, particularly those connected to a consumer brand do not want irrelevant conversations in their community space. If it’s not about the company, the product or the service, they want no parts of it.

You may not see a problem with that perspective, but I believe that you should.

If you’re really looking to grow and sustain a community, and you really want people to connect, you have to leave some room for them to do that.  Is it really that bad if people go off-topic for a while?

If they’re doing it in your community, that means they feel some level of comfort there, which works in your favor.

It can’t always be about you. That may seem counter intuitive, but I am not speaking from theory, but practice.

People don’t connect on one topic alone. And the fact that other topics come into play from time-to-time proves that the wheels of true connections are in motion and good things are happening.

So, create your guidelines but don’t be so rigid that you miss opportunities for continued growth.

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