Last month, I shared my Practical Guide to Facebook Etiquette (Netiquette), serving as a starting point from which people could customize their own Facebook Netiquette to help stay out of potential trouble with their Facebook activities. I chose that approach because it:
– was customizable to suit different individuals;
– was easily found by all wanting to know;
– was self-taught so all finding it could use it;
– had more details than “general advice” that already existed in excess, often neither effective nor comprehensive.
Since then, I’ve realized there are many problems for which the guideline policy “tool” or “style” would be perfect. These are problems where there may not be a clear entity expected to intervene or solve, like government, or none that can effectively do so, but problems where a little suggestion of practical action could help put it under the radar. These are problems involving legal human behaviours that can amount to big impact, for which there are no “obvious” answers unless one really thinks about it, for which effective guidelines could remove 90% of that work. These are problems resembling social epidemics from individual choice that can have impact from societal to environmental.
Why I think the guideline policy style would be so effective is because humans don’t like to be forced. We like choices, though too many choices can lead to decisional paralysis. The guideline policy style strikes a nice balance of convenience and individuality by giving starting points with options, and saving much thinking and research. The guidelines won’t ever be intended to solve problem entirely, due to voluntary uptake, but they can be expected to solve the problem sufficiently that it should no longer be a concern, to the individual or masses.
There are two main challenges to the guideline policy style approach. One is getting the word out, which a little Internet saviness can solve. The second is credibility. An effective set of guidelines could slowly build this, but the tiniest authoritative backing, by even just one person who might be viewed as authoritative enough to validate it, would be a tremendous boost. Any other source generally viewed to be authoritative enough to validate the guidelines would even be better, maybe like government, which should get involved, where possible, because guidelines are not intrusive in nature. I’ll leave it to you to imagine the difference between guidelines, credible or not, by someone unknown as me, compared to one by, say, government or a school board, accompanied with a press release or maybe just one journalist invited in for a newspaper story.
As a result of these conclusions, I have created a Guidelines Category on this blog in which I will be posting more guideline policies as I find problems I think I can help solve. If you have any suggestions, please share. I’m not promising to be able to solve everything or even try some, just willing to share some common sense and putting some effort to package it in practical ways to freely share with others.