A Word on the Red Light District…

Red Light District

We’ve talked about Ning’s Red Light District before and thought we’d take a quick (and perhaps timely) opportunity to mention our general policies with respect to the types of social networks we’re happy to have co-exist on the Ning Platform.

Unlike a general, one-size-fits-all social network like MySpace or Facebook, social networks on Ning are generally autonomous. This means that you, as a Network Creator, have the opportunity to set the standards and norms that are right for your social network, albeit within our Terms of Service.

The norms for one network may be dramatically different from the norms of a different network, but because social networks on Ning are autonomous they can generally co-exist peacefully. Or at least that’s the goal.

This ability for diverse networks to peacefully co-exist with each other on Ning is a critical factor in the policies we create. It’s the reason we are more comfortable than some other Internet services in giving people somewhat broader freedom within our Terms of Service to create the social networks that’s are right for them. (keep reading…)

To this end, we don’t prohibit mature or adult-oriented social networks on Ning. Like everyone else, they need to abide by our Terms of Service as well as operate within a few additional parameters (aka our “Red Light District”) to help with peaceful co-existence, but otherwise it’s up to individual social networks to set their own standards and norms. Two key “Red Light District” requirements are that adult-oriented networks have a warning page and that they don’t show up in the search results on Ning.com.

In fact, there are a ton of features built into your social network to set up your own network norms and standards as well as prevent spam, porn, and other undesirable elements from seeping in. Here a few in no particular order…

Approve Members Before Joining, Ban Members, and Delete Content on Your Network

As the Network Creator or Administrator, you can set your network to approve new members before they can join. This is one of many privacy options you have on your social network.

You also have the ability to ban any member, as well as delete any of their content you deem inappropriate. To ban a rogue member, go to your Manage Members page and ban that person by name. This will ban them and delete anything they’ve added to your network.

The option to delete any individual piece of content on your network applies to photos, videos, blog posts, comments, forum discussions, posts, and replies from your network. Just click the delete link where you see it.

Set Up Photos and Videos Moderation

You can choose to moderate photos and video before they are displayed on your network. This option can be found on the “Privacy” page of your network accessible by the Manage link you’ll see as the Network Creator or Administrator of your network.

Name Multiple Administrators

As the Network Creator, you have the ability to name multiple Administrators on your network to help with the aforementioned moderation and community policing. Man, I love using the term “aforementioned.”

Block Messages from Specific Members

Beyond these steps you can take as a Network Creator or Admin, your members can also block any person from sending them messages on your network. When they get a message or friend request (accessible by the Ningbar up top), there is the option to block that person from contacting them again. Your members can decide who can and can’t contact them.

We want your social network on Ning to be the exact right perfect thing for you and your members. Hopefully these features go a long way in helping you create a fantastic social network. That’s certainly our goal.

About the Author:

Gina Bianchini – who has written posts on Ning's Official Blog on Social Networking Sites.