Behavior Modification for Hierarchical Communities
How to use the manual
1. Download the Dashboard in your preferred format.
2. Work your way through the prompts on this page in order.
3. Once your Dashboard is complete, start taking action based on your new information by implementing the triggers you have identified.
THE CONSTELLATION EQUATION
The Constellation Equation is made up of two main elements that together form the the basis for keeping your community under control.
In a circular community it looks like this:
CONTAINER + INFLUENCE = CONTROL
The container consists of your values, modifications, and guidelines while the influence is made up of triggers.
So, in reality the equation looks like this:
(VALUES+MODIFICATIONS+GUIDELINES) + TRIGGERS = CONTROL
Since this is an equation meant to be used in practice, not in theory, it also has a built in reality check.
Control consists of desired actions and impacts.
That brings us to a final breakdown of the equation like this:
(VALUES+MODIFICATIONS+GUIDELINES) + TRIGGERS = (ACTIONS+IMPACTS)
This gives you a natural order for building a solid foundation for your community as well as a tool for trouble shooting.
Let's start by getting all of your building blocks in place.
A hierarchical community functions as a tool for the leadership to exercise control over the members. Members are encouraged to always respect the hierarchy and not take any initiative that is not first sanctioned or assigned by the leadership.
The organized leadership is the only leadership structure in the community.
Indicators that your community is most likely hierarchical:
- There is an intimacy ladder to climb. The higher members get the more access and/or insight they get into the leaders of the community.
- Information and activities are shared as a means to maintain the hierarchy.
- Members have the role of a receptive audience and member initiatives are frowned upon.
Examples of hierarchical communities includes most Patreon communities, and the Church of Scientology.
Before you continue, make sure that your community truly is a hierarchical one by comparing it with the two other types.
Values are made up of purpose and boundaries. In a hierarchical community the boundaries make up the structure and the container of the community.
The boundaries determine how the members should interact and how they should react to the organized leadership.
The purpose reinforces the hierarchy and determines what type of ladder the members should climb.
An easy way for you determine your purpose is to decide on what the ultimate goal is for your members. What is the persona they want emulate and what are the ideals of that persona?
As your community grows it is important to have the implement the correct boundaries to maintain the shape of your hierarchy.
The most important job the values in a circular community is to maintain the top down position of the leadership and keep members in the role of followers.
Start organizing your values by making a list of the boundaries of your community.
Modifications help you control your community without the constant need for moderation.
Each constellation has a preferred primary and secondary modification that corresponds to the distribution of values in that constellation.
In a hierarchical community the primary modification is corrections.
A correction should be used when a member crosses a boundary. That means that if the member takes an action that disrupts the structure of your community they need to be corrected.
Corrections come in two formats: rehabilitative and punitive.
In a hierarchical community a rehabilitative correction is the best choice since actions that need corrections are outside the control of the leadership and the purpose of the hierarchical structure is to gain greater influence over the members.
A rehabilitative correction can be anything from education, to accountability and apology, to mediation.
The secondary modification in a hierarchical community is incentives.
Incentives correspond to purpose. That means that if a member acts out of line with the purpose of your community the first course of action is to give them an incentive to realign with the purpose.
In short, use the right carrot to get them to respect the hierarchy.
Start setting up your modifications by listing a correction next to each boundary you listed when formulating your values.
Community guidelines should guide your members toward the correct actions to take in your community.
Guidelines are made up of do's and don'ts.
In a hierarchical community the most important actions are those that are aligned with the boundaries.
Those same actions are modified using corrections. This means that your guidelines should primarily feature don'ts.
In your guidelines don'ts should be used to illustrate actions that would be outside the structure of your community.
Format your guidelines primarily as discouragements and limitations.
An example of this would be if a member wants to teach other members about writing in a hierarchical community for fiction authors.
The guideline can then be formulated as don't initiate any workshops that have not been assigned to you by a leader of the community.
In a hierarchical community do's are used to demonstrate the purpose.
An example would be to pay attention to prompts from one of the leaders.
The guideline could then be formulated as do follow the updates of the leader in order to get the correct information.
Start organizing your guidelines by making a list of the don'ts you need for members to understand the boundaries of your community.
Agreements equal the main activity you need your members to buy into in order for your community to function properly.
Each community constellation has a primary and a secondary agreement.
In a hierarchical community the primary agreement in to follow.
Without members actively following the leaders a hierarchical community will slowly die. Most activities are leader initiated and led. Following is the key to engagement.
In order to enforce this agreement make sure that your values, modifications, and guidelines are all set up to support members following the leader.
The secondary agreement is to evolve.
Without active member evolution a hierarchical community will not be able to maintain its structure. The purpose of the community is based on members moving upwards in the hierarchy. Evolution is the key to feeding the structure.
In order to enforce this agreement make sure that your values, triggers, and modifications are all set up to support member evolution.
Start by evaluating your do's from the point of view of following.
Triggers lead to actions which lead to impacts. They are the initial stage of the behaviors that you want to influence in your community.
Triggers can lead to beneficial results in your community, or to harm.
Each community constellation has a primary and a secondary trigger. These are two most effective kinds of triggers for achieving the types of actions and impacts you desire in your community.
The primary trigger in a hierarchical community is facilitator. This is a trigger that is closely linked to how authority is expressed in your community.
If the authority of your facilitator(s) is compromised they will be less effective as a trigger. The same is true with too many facilitators as the members will have a harder time understanding the hierarchy among the leaders.
The key to this trigger is to continuously reinforce the position of the facilitator and the role they have within the community.
The secondary trigger in a hierarchical community is structure.
This is a trigger that is closely linked to how your community is organized.
If your rules for member engagement are unclear or loosely formulated your members may either be hesitant to participate from fear of breaking the rules or continuously be pushing the boundaries of your community as the structure is unclear.
An example of the structure as a trigger is to keep the members engaged in the flow between leadership and audience. Keep inviting them to take initiative and also encourage them to participate in other member initiatives.
Start taking control of your triggers by making a list of the triggers you need to have in place to support the do's in your community.
Each community constellation has a preferred primary and secondary action.
In a hierarchical community the preferred primary action is reactions.
A reaction, in most cases, is a response to a broadcast or interaction initiated by towards the organized leadership. The purpose of getting reactions from the members is to foster greater and greater intimacy and influence from the leaders point of view.
The preferred secondary action in a hierarchical community is broadcasts.
A broadcast is an action that is directed towards the entire community. It can take the form of an announcement, a question, an invitation, or a request.
The primary feature of a broadcast is that it is not gated or limited to a segment of the community.
The two preferred actions enforce the structure and the purpose of the hierarchical community.
Actions are a way to evaluate your triggers. Start by listing the corresponding action(s) to each trigger you identified earlier.
Each community constellation has a preferred primary and secondary impact.
In a hierarchical community the preferred primary impact is contained.
A contained impact is limited to a member and the closets peers they have in the community.
A hierarchical community does not encourage members to form internal networks and as such there are limited ways for members to be impacted by each others actions.
The preferred secondary impact in a hierarchical community is communal.
A communal impact is one that is shifts the way the majority of the members and the organized leadership of the community relate to each other.
The primary feature of a communal impact is that it impacts the structure of the community itself.
The two preferred impacts describe the most common vulnerabilities of the circular community. Actions that lead to these types of impacts should be controlled by carefully curated triggers that are aligned with your values.
Impacts are the final step in evaluating your triggers. Start by listing the corresponding impact(s) to each action and trigger pair that you identified earlier.
Now that you have build the foundation and understand each part of the equation it is time to use in in real life.
You will see that sometimes you will not get the desired end results in form of actions and impacts.
So what to do now?
Let's say you have aligned your values and guidelines and made triggers that support those but still find that your members are not engaging in the right actions.
The first order of business is then to go back and modify the trigger. Maybe it has been phrased incorrectly, used at the wrong time or place, or something else.
If modifying the trigger does not fix the issue, the second order of business is to re-examine how you have set up your do's.
Your triggers are all based on these and they are not expressed correctly they will set you up for faulty triggers.
If reworking your do's and then your triggers doesn't fix the issue either, the third order of business is to move another step back and look at the modification incentives you have set up.
Get your incentives updated, rework the do's based on your new updates and set up new triggers and see if that fixes things.
If not, the final order of business is to go all the way back to your values and look at the purposes of your community.
They are the foundations of the incentives. As you can see all the building blocks are linked together and the only thing you need to do is to find the faulty block and upgrade it.
This will take time and patience to evaluate properly, but the steps to getting there are always clear and simple.
Pick a trigger that could use some improvement and use this as a way to test the troubleshooting process.