Any online community is going to have its occassional growing pains or internal strife. This community has been particularly invulnerable to such things. One reason is that it has been very welcoming to new members. Another reason is that the ratings system is used almost exclusively for positive reinforcement. Another reason is the ‘don’t be a prick’ rule. But even we can’t avoid an occassional spat.

My short term advice is for the long-time members to be sure to acknowledge new members and offer to show them around. A friendly environment gives a good first impression. New members may be coming from more rough and tumble environments and not understand the way we try to do things here.

The second piece of advise is more problematic. It’s hard to keep a tranquil pond when people are being down-rated. But the prick rule really must be enforced by the trusted users because I cannot read even a fraction of what is on the site. One thing I’d like to say about receiving a down-rating for prickishness. A down-rating is no big deal. Take it in stride as the valid opinion of another member, even if you think your behavior was faultless. Nothing is more boring than a ratings war.

Lastly, we all agree on a lot more that we disagree on. If you have hurt someone’s feelings, consider apologizing. If your feelings have been hurt, consider forgiveness.

And if I have angered anyone through my actions or inactions, I apologize. I try to do my best, but sometimes I fail, and sometimes my best is not good enough.