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In the context of managing social networks and information in the public domain, Norms refer to a pattern, an expected (as contrasted to established by law) behaviors when operating or working with a system.

Norms are socially-enforced, and less restrictive than 'rules', although this does not quite reflect on the actual effectiveness of a Norm as compared to a legally-established Rule. In many cases, Norms appear to be more effective in moulding or directing user behavior as compared to rules because of greater visibility of actions in a broader community. This appears to align with the fundamental observation that a broad community involvement in management is far better than the management entrusted to a select few.

Yahoo! publishes and links to a clear, straightforward set of community guidelines that apply across the entire Yahoo! network. Specific Yahoo! sites may also have their own additional community guidelines.

See also Gary Burnett's essay on Explicit and implicit norms in online groups.

(also discuss Rules and Jargon)