Principles of Digital Civic Culture

Rules? Are made to be broken! Or at least, bound by the very specific
times and places in which they are made. This often means they quickly become inflexible and obsolete.

Principles, however, are more adaptable. They allow us to create
cultures and communities that can evolve and grow and where
self-regulation is encouraged.

As we collectively look to develop the Internet and seed social platforms, the Principles of Digital Civic Culture are useful guidelines that work across platforms, and will serve us well regardless of where we find ourselves online. These principles are rooted in our humanity, so as long as we’re dealing with other humans in digital spaces, we’ll benefit from referring to them.

The Principle of Shared Humanity

We prioritize humanity in our digital communications, and refuse to diminish our human interactions by making our online exchanges purely transactional.

The Principle of Information Integrity

We take measures to ensure we are sharing and promoting information that has value from reliable, verifiable sources.

The Principle of Conscious Engagement

We recognize that our words and actions in digital spaces can have an emotional, intellectual, spiritual AND physical impact on ourselves and other people; and we remain conscious of our choices in all our online engagements.

The Principle of Humble Expertise

We offer our expertise with humility, and understand that we can’t teach if we don’t respect the intellect and autonomy of even those with whom we disagree.

The Principle of Proactive Pluralism

We proactively reach out to and include those who are different from us in our online community so that our online community can benefit from diverse ideas and opinions.

The Principle of Personal Accountability

We refuse to blame others for our mistakes, and publicly correct ourselves when we share bad information, mislead others (even unintentionally), and when we fail to live up to our own standards of engagement.

The Principle of Self-Control

We understand the need to pause and reflect before responding in online spaces.

The Principle of Assertive Self-Care

We understand that how we treat ourselves is how we will treat others. We limit our use of digital media when it interferes with our effectiveness online or offline.

The Principle of Courageous Determination

We recognize that hate and vitriol in online spaces will inevitably be directed toward us when we lead in online spaces, but we remain committed to building community and promoting healthy communication even in the face of others’ cruelty and antagonism.


The Principles of Digital Civic Culture were developed by the Institute for Digital Civic Culture (IDCC). You can download the printable mini-poster of the Principles for Digital Civic Culture, and The Principles of Digital Civic Culture ebook for free to learn more.

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