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This is exactly what nearly 5,000 members (or should I say “former” members) of the website BeautifulPeople.com were told after packing on the pounds during the holidays, according to a story on CNN.com.

Founder, Robert Hintze states in the article that they “mourn the loss of any member,” but that his community demands a high standard of beauty.

“Letting fatties roam the site is a direct threat to our business model and the very concept for which BeautifulPeople.com was founded,” he told CNN.com.

While my initial reaction included a smidgen of outrage, it soon faded because you know what? The community belongs to the members, and if they don’t want so-called “fatties” it is certainly their prerogative.

The good news is, these members will have a chance to redeem themselves once they lose the weight as characterized here:

“We responded to complaints by moving the newly chubby members back to the rating stage. This is the same as having them re-apply.” That comment comes from Greg Hodge, managing director of BeautifulPeople.com.

While I do find this a bit amusing I think there’s a lesson here about online communities. It’s one that I truly believe in. The community will develop its own culture and the members who are vested will work to keep that culture. It was the members after all who flagged these fatties.

Why?

Because like it or not, they care about what their community stands for.

And in this case, its beautiful people who can clearly exercise self-control around the holidays.

(This post originally appeared on the blog, SiliconAngle, where I am a regular contributor)

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