Tutorials- Writing an Effective Rules Page
It is needless to say that the rules page is one of the most important pages on a dolling site. However, for newbies or those in lack of inspiration, it may also be the most difficult page to write out. Another problem might be how to make sure people are going to read it. So here are some tips on writing an effective rules page:
- Generally, the main dolling "infractions" consist of claiming someone elses doll as your own, frankendolling, stealing bandwidth, redistributing bases, not linking back, etc. You should keep these in mind when you are writing your page, but by all means, don't limit youself to those. You need to determine what rules are important to YOU: Think of what you wouldn't like to see people do with your work and write your rules according to that.
- Keep it short and concise. People don't like to read. They don't want to spend twenty minutes reading a rules page. Also, try to keep it as formal as possible; threat phrases like: "if you do this I will hunt you down and pull your hair out" (Ok this is a lame example. . .) are not only a waste of words, but are not going to make more people follow your terms. And. . .well, who would actually hunt people down and pull their hair out anyway?
- In the same line of ideas, avoid writing rules that do not apply to you or your site. If you are hosted on Geocities or another server that doesn't allow hotlinking, why write a rule about stealing bandwidth? You don't need to write rules about bases if you don't even have bases on your site, even if you plan on having them in the future.
- Make sure the link to your rules page is easy to find. The most obvious place to link it would be in the main menu, and calling it "rules", though another great option can be to put it so that it's the first page you see when you click on your "dollz" section, or "base" section or whatever. I have seen some sites where you literally have to go searching for the rules page. Not only this is unpractical, but it induces the breaking of your rules.
- Unless you have a real problem with visitors not following your terms, you don't have to hide a link in them to ensure them they will read them. Alot of people find this very annoying, and many people like to read rules only if they intend on adopting or using something. Others will read them only the first time they will visit a site, so don't try to force them to look for a hidden link on your page.
- Don't be afraid to edit your rules later on. Sometimes, you realise that something you wrote when you first did your site doesn't apply anymore, or that you want to add something. A good idea though, would be to inform you visitors everytime you change something so that they could go and read them again