The Hell Yeah or No of Community Principles

I recently shared an example of what I referenced as community guidelines in the format of 'Yes' and 'No'. It comes from The Sea Ranch Lodge.

I haven't stopped thinking about it because it's such a perfect and simple way to communicate what your community is about.

In one simple document, it's communicating:

  • who the people are
  • what we care about
  • what we can do to contribute
  • what we shouldn't be doing
  • the community guidelines

And it's doing this in a very easy-to-consume list format. No paragraphs of text that often don't get read.

Adding in the Hell Yeah or No as a mental model

Derek Sivers often talks about the 'Hell Yeah or No' mental model, in a nutshell:

Useful wisdom. Simple profound mental models to guide your decisions.

Overwhelmed? If you feel anything less than β€œhell yeah!” about something, say no. We say yes too often. By saying no to almost everything, you leave space and time in your life to throw yourself completely into the few things that matter most.

Could we apply this to our community principles and how we design communities? I think so!

When I think about it for the communities I run I start to think about:

πŸ™Œ Hell yeah means:

  • what gets us excited and jumping out of bed in the morning
  • being around the people we truly value
  • spending time on on things that matter
  • working towards something of value
  • rainbows, glitter, colour, clouds, weather everywhere!
  • positivity
  • creativity and innovation is at the heart
  • curation, curiosity and deep knowledge
  • community love bombs
  • respectful, open and understanding conversations
  • rethinking our ways
  • emoji fun wherever we go
  • memes to spark joy and educate

πŸ‘Ž Hell no means:

  • meaningless work
  • a focus on engagement over value
  • community operations overwhelm
  • boring conversations
  • accepting the status quo
  • stock images
  • taking and not contributing back

Of course, every community will have the 'yes' and 'no's that are meaningful to them.

Could this be something that communities could adopt as a way to communicate what's important for the community?

Compared to drafting up community guidelines and a community purpose, this feels like it could be an enjoyable rather than a taxing activity for a community builder to create. And from the member perspective it feels easier to digest and understand.

There's also something interesting with the yes and no approach.

When you find something to say yes to, then it can inspire what to say no to. This in turn helps define the boundaries of your community and the rules you may have.

For example, a yes for me is: Community at the heart of all decisions.

This influences the no: dominance of ROI, metrics & money over people.

Taking the time and effort to clarify this is especially important as your community grows in size of members, but also in size of the community team. So many of these things are important to our existence and can easily get lost in translation.

Not only do we need to define the Yes and No's. We also need to ensure we practice them in our day to day community living.

This doesn't need to replace a Code of Conduct or Community Guidelines. It has potential to support, inspire or even replace it.

The Hell Yeah and No Community Principles Worksheet

I'm using this opportunity to start a new thing on Rosieland that I'm calling Community Challenges. πŸ˜ƒ

I designed a worksheet to inspire and challenge you to get going with designing your own Hell Yeah and No Community Principles.

PS. Look at the Sea Ranch Visual

I found some nice words about the story behind the Sea Ranch Principles, including the wave diagram below which I love as a visual (even if I don't fully understand it!).

I just had to share it!

Depending on how you look at it, it is in the shape of my beloved 🐌 or 🌊 obsession.

How can we build better communities?

We are on a quest to learn and explore what makes great communities.


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