What should the basis for our community policies be?

by | July 13, 2018

I announced that Canadian Atheist will be adopting new community policies. Well, it’s time to get started on that.

In case you’re wondering why there was such a long delay since that announcement: After I made the announcement there was a surge of new interest in CA. I wanted to see if it was just the one announcement post going viral (from time to time, one of our posts goes viral and gets a huge bump, but that usually peters off and things go back to “normal”), or if the proposed policy change would have any impact on readership, positive or negative. Well, it sure looks like our readership has measurably increased, and that has been sustained. We’ve had more new subscriptions in the last two weeks than in the months before. So I’d say the response has been very positive!

But now it’s time to put rubber to road. It’s time to actually draft those new community guidelines, and we want community input.

I think the best place to start is a statement of what we want our community to be like. Rather than a list of things we don’t want – like “no trolling”, “no racism”, and so on – I think it would be better to start from a list of things we do; a statement of positive values and ideals that we want.

So what are the values that we want to emphasize in the Canadian Atheist community? I’ll throw out a few, but I’d love for the community to suggest more. Also, anyone who can think of a better way to express or explain a value, feel free to suggest it!

  • Acceptance: Anyone who will respect for our people and our beliefs (or lack thereof), even if criticizing them, should be welcome in our community.
  • Integrity: We will be honest about our beliefs, strive to make them as consistent internally and with reality as possible, and act in accordance with them.
  • Tolerance: Even when we disagree with others – particularly religious people – we still recognize and respect their basic humanity and fundamental rights.
  • Compassion: Our ultimate goal is not to destroy anything or hurt anyone, but rather to help people out of suffering, and reach their full potential; our opposition to religion is based on this.

Perhaps we could leverage one of the statements of secular humanism to our purposes, like the Amsterdam Declaration. Although, I think the wording of the Amsterdam Declaration isn’t quite right, because it’s mostly a set of assertions of what Humanism is. Perhaps the American version, Humanism and its Aspirations (also known as “The Humanist Manifesto III”) might be a better fit.

Also, if anyone is aware of a very good set of community guidelines published by some other group or organization, please share them! No good idea is created in a vacuum; everything builds on what came before. So if we can take inspiration from others, that would be awesome.

Any and all constructive input is welcome!

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