What Rules Do Communities Follow?
The answer to that question is simple: NONE.
It is not that communities are disorganized and chaotic but Our Communities do not follow rules as they are currently understood and documented. The Merriam-Webster dictionnary defines rules as “a prescribed guide for conduct or action” or “the laws or regulations prescribed by the founder of a religious order for observance by its members“. By that definition, rules are very strict and typically defined by the leading members of the group.
Our communities use norms to organize themselves and ensure common understanding. As per wikipedia, norms “are the rules that a group uses for appropriate and inappropriate values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors“.
Each community defines its set of norms under which they wish to operation. To ensure the community is linked to other communities, the group must ensure their norms are inline with the norms of the greater community to which they belong.
Some norms may be identical for all the communities (i.e. freedom of expression) while some communities may have specifics expectations (i.e. specific time commitment).
Typically, more norms are required at the early stages of a community to create a common culture and set of values and to prevent abuse. As the community matures, less norms are required and the community self-regulates. It is critical for the norms to be clearly communicated at the entry point in order to avoid misunderstanding and confusion later in time.
In the end, the level of freedom and the type of structure used by each community is never as important as the results they achieve.