Short version, long version (policies)

Shawn Gossman

Tazmanian Master
Joined
Dec 16, 2005
Messages
8,060
How do you all feel about showing "short versions" of policies which are just the basics or the overview and then a link to the main policy with all the details?

Do you think this is a good practice or is just one more thing not needed?

I ask mainly because of skim readers, people who read a little bit amount and then move on - I myself am guilty of it.
 

Malcolm

Aspirant
Joined
Sep 30, 2015
Messages
32
Well I think it’s a wonderful idea, I myself is also a skim reader. Don’t worry you’re not alone there lol. Well for example my Code of Conduct (my site rules) is made of simple one sentence and anything that I feel should be expanded on I would create bullet points or indent with more information. I find it’s easier to read and a lot of people are more inclined to follow them.
 

zappaDPJ

Administrator
Joined
Aug 26, 2010
Messages
7,470
I ask mainly because of skim readers, people who read a little bit amount and then move on - I myself am guilty of it.

You mean the 999,999,999.9 people who accept all terms and conditions without actually reading a single word? :LOL:

I'll admit that once and only once have I read the terms and conditions of a contract on a too good to be true mobile contract and found an almighty catch. Ironic that the one time I did it, it saved me wasting a lot of money.

I also know categorically that no one reads the terms on my forums because if they had done they would be in receipt of a Amazon voucher. One of my forums which will remain anonymous :p offers that reward to the first person to read the terms and it's not been claimed once in years.

I've probably said this before but my forum terms are for my use, in order to apply moderation consistently and to adhear to data protection, not for my members to read (because they never, ever do anyway). In fact I'd go as far as saying if a member needs to take guidance on how to behave from the rules they probably shouldn't go on-line in the first place.

To cut to the chase, I agree. Something along the lines of 'Be nice or be gone' with a tick-box at sign up might well help set a tone that you will never achieve with a wall of legalese.
 

Nev_Dull

Anachronism
Joined
Apr 27, 2010
Messages
2,138
I don't think you need both. If you can boil your policies down to a short version, that's what you should use. Plain, simple language is all you really need in most cases.
 

Oh!

Enthusiast
Joined
Oct 1, 2020
Messages
194
I don't think you need both. If you can boil your policies down to a short version, that's what you should use. Plain, simple language is all you really need in most cases.
What I do is have some plain English rules, and then where more detail is required, I link out to more lengthy explanations. This way it keeps the core more readable while retaining the detail where necessary.
 

LeadCrow

Apocalypse Admin
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Messages
6,613
We're staunch believers the long version of TOS should be the short one. The logic behind each part can be summarized in the same document or another page, long elaborations just sound overly bureaucratic for non-corporate communities. tldr be nice to each others, users are responsible for their own posts, dont bring trouble from other sites, tos are a reference and not exhaustive.
'Rules' are numbered and given bbcodes to simplify embedding and consulting the localizations available.
 

Nev_Dull

Anachronism
Joined
Apr 27, 2010
Messages
2,138
What I do is have some plain English rules, and then where more detail is required, I link out to more lengthy explanations. This way it keeps the core more readable while retaining the detail where necessary.
Just curious. Do you have an example of this? I can't think of a case where I'd need to have a more detailed version of a policy.
 

Oh!

Enthusiast
Joined
Oct 1, 2020
Messages
194
Just curious. Do you have an example of this? I can't think of a case where I'd need to have a more detailed version of a policy.
Our rules are not structured as a simple set of rules. Or, not solely anyway. So, 'the rules' include explanations about how we work and what's required from our members. 'The rules' contain a few links out to documents which go into more detail relating to a more complex matters referenced within the core rule set. Although organized as a bullet point list of rules, it is also a guidance document of sorts. Or, at least, that's what I aimed for.

My community is probably not that typical. There are some extra considerations I must take into account (about which I do not wish to post about here). But, in general, I think for anyone who feels that a specific rule is too long because it involves a complicated matter, linking out to a detailed explanation is the better way to go.
 

Nev_Dull

Anachronism
Joined
Apr 27, 2010
Messages
2,138
Thanks for that, Oh!

So you link the policy (rule) to the process/procedural documentation that relates to it. I keep that part internal, as most of my members don't need or care to know about the hows and whys, but it does make good sense to link the two, if it's necessary.
 

Sunlite

full moons just wonder
Joined
Aug 30, 2006
Messages
7,340
Agreed you don't need both. Another perfect example of employing the 'KISS Principle'. Or less is more...
 

Oh!

Enthusiast
Joined
Oct 1, 2020
Messages
194
Thanks for that, Oh!

So you link the policy (rule) to the process/procedural documentation that relates to it. I keep that part internal, as most of my members don't need or care to know about the hows and whys, but it does make good sense to link the two, if it's necessary.
Agreed you don't need both. Another perfect example of employing the 'KISS Principle'. Or less is more...
Sometimes when dealing with a more complicated or esoteric matters, it might not be very obvious to members why have that rule/policy. So, it makes sense (and is courteous and respectful) to explain why we do things that way to members. Of course there are things (much/most) about how we handle moderation (internally) which we do not explain to members. The detailed explanations mostly relate to why we do not allow certain kinds of content at the forum. Some of it might be fairly obvious to most, but not all. And a few points might not be obvious to most. But all stems from long experience in managing a niche support environment with a few quirks.

Irrespective of the specifics, when a long explanation might be required within the rules, in general, I suggest keep the rule/restriction short and link out to the detailed explanation.
 
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