Let's face it. Most people don't read the rules. The small print. The terms. The legalities. This is not what people go looking for when they want to join a community.

Instead they will look at other things to try to understand what the community is all about.  

They'll do things like:

  • get a feel of the design
  • look for guidance from the leaders
  • take note of the conversations happening right now
  • look around to see what other people think or say about it
  • probably lurk for a while
  • participate once they feel confident the community aligns with what they are looking for

Once they join and start participating they will mimic what is going on.  They will want to blend in. Feel a part of the group that they are willingly participating in.

Step by step the will start to get a real feel of what the community expects of them.

Of course rules are important as a reference point and a guiding principle.  However, the important bit is the whole community living them in their every day actions.