Transition Whatcom

Online Communication

Transition Whatcom Guidelines for Online Communication     May 2013


In addition to the general TW Guidelines, Transition Whatcom employs commenting guidelines that we expect all participants to bear in mind  when using this community networking website.

First and foremost, TW welcomes and encourage posts, comments, discussions and blogs at our site. It's our firm belief that the posts published at the Transition Whatcom community networking site are the beginnings of interesting, engaging, and vital conversations. This site was created, in part, to host communication about a variety of topics from unique and thoughtful perspectives, to elicit the creative intelligence of our community.

Participation in the discussion may take on a variety of forms: starting new discussions, writing blogs, or responding to others with:  excited agreement, elaboration, the introduction of new perspectives/information, or clear disagreement. TW encourages everyone participating to focus their contributions on ways to evolve the discussion itself in meaningful ways. We want to explore topics and issues in a way that leaves everyone richer for their participation.

Above all we want this community to operate with an ingrained sense of respect for one another.

We hope the guidelines below will serve us well in cultivating a robust and lively participatory community at TW. We thank you in advance for following them and appreciate any feedback you might have.

Values and Principles:


The following values and principles inform our guidelines for online communication:

1)      The collective intelligence, creativity and wisdom of the community emerges through conversation.

2)      Exploratory and thought-provoking dialogue is encouraged

3)      Communication should be inclusive.

4)      Communication should be based on mutual respect and kindness, and be tactfully honest.

5)      Individuals are responsible for their behavior

Suggestions for clear communication:

1)      Be succinct and concise – long, rambling posts are unlikely to be read, and detract from the overall conversation.

2)      Focus on the topic – too many tangential thoughts are hard to follow

3)      Edit for grammar – run-on or incomplete sentences, or lack of punctuation, make posts difficult to understand.

4)      Share links and/or sources that inform your viewpoint.

5)      If someone’s post offends you or makes you angry, wait at least 24 hrs before you respond, and express yourself calmly and respectfully.

6)      Personal conflicts are best dealt with in private, not on the ning site.

7)      Speak about your personal experience using I statements.

8)      Remember that others are as passionate about their point of view as you are about yours, and want and deserve respect as much as you do.



1)      Limit comments on Events postings to 100-200 words. If you have more to say, start a separate Discussion.

2)      No personal attacks or name calling.

3)      Obscenities, blame or threats have no place.

4)      Golden Rule – participate in on-line discussion in the way you would like others to.



                In order for a respectful, inclusive, online conversation to flourish, it must at times be protected from grossly inappropriate posts. Decisions about deleting inappropriate posts will be made by the Website Administrator, the Web Team and the Transition Whatcom Operating Group (TWOG), as a group. If your post is to be deleted, you will be contacted, made aware of the reasons for the deletion, and provided a copy of these guidelines and your original post. If your posts require deleting repeatedly, TW may ask you to leave the site permanently.


Posts that are likely to be deleted include:

  • obscenities, violence, blame, threats, name calling or personal attacks;
  • long rambling posts that are full of tangential issues not related to Transition.
  • inappropriate subject matter that has nothing to do with questions re: Transition or sustainability, and/or which are offensive in content or denigrating to individuals, ethnicities, or other groups .
  • any obvious spam (“the use of electronic messaging systems to send unsolicited bulk messages, especially advertising, indiscriminately” – see and


Thank you for participating on the Transition Whatcom networking site,

The TWOG, the TW Web Team and Web Administrator


(thanks to Beams and Struts – their clear guidelines have informed ours:

Download this document in MS Word format: Transition_Whatcom_Guidelines_for_%20Online_%20Communication_May_2013.doc

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