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Cyber-Community Rules Create order on your discussion boards.

By Aliza P. Sherman

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

I think online communities are the most incredible features ofthe Internet (besides e-mail, of course)! A community posting boardon your Web site can be a great way to encourage repeat visits andto build loyalty to your site.

But every community has its ups and downs, and in Webcommunities, the downs are when someone posts somethinginappropriate or a heated discussion between members turnsugly.

How can you manage your Web community? Start by posting a set ofcommunity rules, both in legalese (written by a lawyer to limityour liability) and a Top 10 Rules list written in plain English.Examples of rules include:

1. If we feel your post violates the member policies, we reservethe right to remove it.

2. All language in the forums must remain PG-rated.

3. Harassment is not tolerated. Your membership will bediscontinued.

4. Commercial advertising is not appropriate and will beremoved.

When someone registers to join your online community, set upyour registration process so they must read the rules and thenpress a button that says "I Accept." And post a prominentlink to the rules.

Aliza Sherman is an entrepreneur and author of Cybergrrl:A Woman's Guide to the World Wide Web (Ballantine Books).She is currently working on her next book and new company.

Aliza Sherman is a web pioneer, e-entrepreneur and author of eight books, including

PowerTools for Women in Business.

Her work can be found at mediaegg.com.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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