[Editor's note: Community member pixelpunx contributed a piece to our Weekly Musing subject on how to make gaming communities suck less. Please post your own over on the Community blogs. It may get read during our panel at PAX this Friday! -- CTZ]
There are certain times when people need rules. I would guess that Internet communities are in desperate need of such rules. Why not refer to some classic suggestions, in this case, from the Bible.
Here we wave a singular perspective on how to make internet communities a better place, loosely inspired by The 10 Commandments.
I am the Lord your God.
Pick a community, and stick with it.
You shall have no other Gods before me.
Make sure you pick a community that agrees with your ideals, sense of humor, and level of involvement.
You shall not make for yourself an idol.
Don't expect your contributions to seem more important than your fellow community members'. You're all a part of the same experience, with an equal amount of influence over the community.
You shall not make wrongful use of the name of your God.
The image of the community is important above all else. Don't embarrass yourself, or the people who have created the haven in which your avatar exists.
Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.
Set aside time to make contributions geared towards the people you have now become involved with. Maybe make more than a one word comment. Offer a genuine opinion. Give more to your community than you take.
Honor your father and mother.
Those who have been involved with a community longer than you have helped shape it. Just because you've been reading a site for a couple of weeks doesn't mean you're fully involved with the people who make it what it is. Don't barge into a conversation and expect your opinion to be considered valid. There will always be a trial by fire.
You shall not murder.
What's the point in ripping your fellow community member to shreds? Does it matter that he has the Xbox version of a game as opposed to the PS3 version? Does it matter that he doesn't love Halo 3 as you do? Live and let live.
You shall not commit adultery.
It's pretty ridiculous to create an account for a community when your only goal is to talk shit on its contributors. It's bad taste. Consider yourself 'tacky' if you've done so.
You shall not steal.
Don't copy your community members' posts in hope of creating the newest Internet meme ... Unless, of course, its funny as shit.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Your digital neighbors may be closer to you than you might guess. Always put in a good word for the people that surround you. Never talk shit about them, unless three or more people from the community feel the same way.
You shall not covet your neighbor's wife.
Don't harass female community members. You have a penis. They have a vagina. Big whoop. The internet has no gender.
You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.
Some people may receive more recognition than you, but don't let that stifle your input. Your thoughts count. It might just take some time before they are validated by the community.