rules of participation 

Policies generally govern individual behavior for the benefit of a community, and I’m counting on that value.  I am currently developing a website for Alaska Native Issues Roundtable of the Alaska Library Association called iLAMS which stands for Indigenous Libraries, Archives and Museums.  Creating a User Policy for the iLAMs website takes special consideration because of its unique audience and purpose.  This site is similar to our class site since it is also built using WordPress and BuddyPress.  It is an open format that will consist of user generated content in the home page blog and user created groups for collaborating and networking on topics.  A great deal of research and planning has been done to figure out how to build an online community and creating a friendly user policy that promotes that sense of community requires a clear sense of purpose for the site.


The mission of this website is to provide a gathering place for Indigenous LAM institutions and workers to meet; to share our knowledge, resources, and accomplishments; to learn from each other; and to collaborate across geographical distances and boundaries to better serve the needs of our people so that we may affirm, preserve and sustain our cultures and cultural values.  Together, we are stronger.


  • Community:  Content is user generated by members through posts, comments and other documents.  Members may create and join groups to focus on specific topics and connect within other members. 
  • Inclusive:  Indigenous persons working in a library, archive or museum are welcome.  Anyone working in a library, archive or museum which serves indigenous populations, including non-native individuals, professionals, paraprofessionals and people working without the benefit of formal training are welcome.
  • Transparent:  Genuine member profiles facilitate a sense of community as we get to know each other.  Profiles include as much information as desired and may be edited.  Unique profile images (avatars) are encouraged.
  • Share:  Everyone is encouraged to share resources, best practices, solutions, and ideas so that we may become better informed and improve our abilities.  This includes training and professional development opportunities.
  • Celebrate:  Sharing news and events from our institutions and Native communities is encouraged and valued so that we may learn from each other and celebrate our successes.
  • Affirm:  Many of these goals reflect our indigenous values and this community is an extension of those values.  It serves us well to affirm, preserve, and sustain our cultures and cultural values.  When this can be accomplished together for the benefit of all, then collectively, we grow stronger and our cultures more sustainable.


A list of rules will not encourage sharing and participation.  While I believe a user policy is important to establish clear expectations and guide new users how to use a site, I am concerned that a lengthy and technical policy will dampen the enthusiasm of a new user; especially when user content is essential.  I understand the technical language is primarily to protect the site and its affiliates, but the most important function of this user policy will be to offer guidance for user behavior without discouraging participation.  The language should be inclusive and positive and it needs to be short enough for busy people to read, yet, defined enough to inform and reduce any anxiety about how to use the website.  The very short welcome on the home page of LISNPN (LIS New Professionals Network) encourages me that a site like this can be successful without an overwhelming user policy.

By no means is the attached document a final user policy, but it’s a good start.  If you have any suggestions, please share them!  Thank you!

iLAMs User Guide  [pdf]


Besides the list of resources offered for this assignment, I also used the following sites:

Education Week: Rural EducationUser Agreement (and see “Ground Rules for Posting” on this page)

Evolve (see the footer)

Library 2.0Terms of Service

LISNPN – LIS New Professionals Network (see “Welcome!” toward the bottom)

Seward City NewsComment Policy  & Terms of Use

Town Square 49Comment Guide