Building Community: Expressing Core Cultural Values Through an Honor Code
Might a Voluntary Code of Honor Help Build a Culture of Respect and Collaboration?
In the SAP Community Network (SCN), we welcome a diversity of opinions, backgrounds, cultures, expertise, perspectives, and approaches. We want to hear from a wide cross-section of the population; we do not seek to stifle unpopular voices or create a homogeneous community.
And yet in practice, with a huge and diverse member base, this can become difficult to foster and encourage. I reference this a bit in Building Community: Policies & Rules Are Guard Rails for Safe & Healthy Social Networks for a healthy community and social network.
So, I and others believe that a “core values” statement and voluntary “honor code” would be an interesting and potentially valuable next step to build the culture of the community we hope to inhabit and engage in here. A set of explicitly stated and shared core values might help us not just maintain but build and expand our collaborative culture. A voluntary but shared “honor code” might establish a few underlying ethical principles intended to guide actions, approaches, and attitudes on SCN.
I’m posting a draft below for your comments and reaction. (This draft takes inspiration from and adopts best practices from a number of other such documents we’ve found – a list and links are shown at the end.) I’ve also posted a copy of this in our wiki in case you prefer to comment or edit there.
Core Cultural Values & Honor Code of the SAP Community Network & Its Members
- I will respect fellow community members, and I will conduct myself in a manner worthy of being respected.
- Your fellow community members are individuals of all ages and backgrounds from across the globe, with differing cultural norms. We ask members to show respect to each other, whether it’s respecting an opinion, respecting copyrights / attributions, and overall respecting the spirit in which the community was created.
- I will maintain the trust of the community.
- We trust each individual member to be responsible, to act with integrity. We trust that you post content that you created. We trust you will help out others, and disclose any conflicts of interest. We trust that you act with honorable intentions.
- I will strengthen the community through my membership and participation.
- While we don’t expect every one of our ~2 million members to be regular, active participants, we do hope those who find value will pay it forward. We want members to add substance that helps makes the community better and stronger, not extraneous content.
- I will assume good faith.
- We trust that visitors and members come with the best of intentions, so we assume that their actions on SCN are intended with good faith. In some cases, that might not be true, but until there is contrary evidence, we will give people the benefit of the doubt and help educate behavior.
- I will encourage fellow community members, particularly the newcomers.
- People from all levels of experience come to SCN. New to SAP, new to the workforce, new to online community interactions…and through to the other end of the spectrum. It might be intimidating entering the party where everyone already seems to know each other and know what they’re doing, but we can encourage those just starting out and help welcome them to the SCN family.
- I will recognize good work, acknowledging and rewarding helpful members.
- Community members take time out of their busy schedules to help each other out – gratis – and a simple “thank you” for good work is just good manners. If you’d like to go further, praise and accolades are qualitative ways to show your appreciation, while rewarding points is a quantifiable way.
- I will set a good example for the community through my actions and behaviors.
- We can’t control each other’s actions, though we can guide and educate. But we can control our own actions. By embracing and internalizing the principles above, each individual can positively influence the tone of the community by setting an example through their behavior.
Sample Community Guidelines:
We used the following as best practices to borrow from, and as inspiration…
Is there a better, clearer, crisper way to express these values? Have we forgotten something important? Would you be willing to internalize, and act according to the spirit behind the words? Would you be proud to associate with other people who adopt these as their “honor code?”
Please feel free to comment below or in the wiki.