Recently, after I wrote about getting a cast iron skillet as a gift, I was invited to join the “Cast Iron Cooking” group on Facebook. When I clicked on the link, I was asked three questions: why did I want to join, did I represent that I had read the group’s rules, and did I agree to abide by the rules? I explained that I was interested in learning about using a skillet, read the rules, answered yes to the latter two questions, and was pleased to be allowed to become a member.
I was intrigued by the group’s rules. What was rule number 1? “No politics, PERIOD. No drama, PERIOD.” And to make that point crystal clear: “ABSOLUTELY no political, “healthy vs unhealthy” posts, medical advice, requests for sympathy or attention, or “cute little games” with the rules. NO POLITICS.” Rule number 4 is “Rudeness is not tolerated,” and adds: “If you don’t like it, move on and read something else. Comments about how *you* dislike someone else’s cooked food will be removed. Profanity will get you banned. Arguing with admins is not advised. Puke emojis and GIFs will get deleted.” Rule number 9 is “No viral videos and funny meme pictures,” and Rule number 10 reads “Accts posting Spam, scam, porn = immediate ban!” Other rules include things like no selling of items and agreeing that administrators may delete posts.
These rules work pretty well. The Cast Iron Cooking group is a very pleasant, positive group where you see a lot of pictures of delicious-looking food in cast iron cookery and are motivated to try things like cooking fried chicken in your skillet. I’d say the administrators who came up with the rules did a very good job.
The group’s rules made me think about the rules that you might impose if you were setting up a group that members of the public might be allowed to join or a website where random people might make comments. Some people might welcome political chatter and harsh denunciations of this candidate or that, or the posters who voice support for them. Some might want to see the latest cruel memes. As for me, I would definitely adopt the Cast Iron Cooking Rules 1, 4, 9, and 10, quoted above. You can get a bellyful of politics, discourteous comments, and general misbehavior on just about any website that allows comments, or for that matter on the general Facebook page. It’s nice to have a little oasis where civility reigns.