PLEASE DON'T BE A MINI-MOD!What is a "mini-mod," you ask?
A "mini-mod" is a regular user who takes it upon themselves to act like a moderator by asserting some non-existent level of authority over other users.
The actions of a mini-mod may not necessarily be intentional or even detrimental (for example, if the "mini-mod" is providing correct information), but they are discouraged! This includes users trying to police threads, answering others' queries on behalf of the site's staff, responding to questions directed specifically to moderators, or even just demanding the attention of a moderator in a thread (eg. the so-called whiny vigilante). This type of behaviour from our users is NOT WELCOME.In short, when a regular user interferes with a topic or a situation that calls for a moderator’s input, advice or assistance – by acting like a moderator or authority figure – they are being mini-mods. This behaviour is discouraged! It may seem helpful, but it really is not that helpful.
Let me explain why.
MA is run by a certain set of administrators and moderators. These staff members have a very intrinsic knowledge of how MA operates, what its rules and guidelines say, and what is and isn’t appropriate for the site and for the forums. Collectively, we do not often wholly agree on every action that every other moderator takes, but we respect that each moderator has authority, knowledge, and experience doing what every other moderator does. It works well. We get along. We understand where each other is coming from. And when push comes to shove, moderators often work with other moderators towards consensus, or agreement, or a basic understanding as to the policies and procedures we follow. In short, as moderators we are accountable to each other, to the guidelines and rules set out by MA’s founders, and to whatever dedication we have for MA.
There are many users who have worked on MA, and are incredibly hard-working individuals dedicated to improving it. There are others who are just starting out. Some completely understand how MA works and operates, while others don’t care or only have an incomplete understanding. MA appreciates and respects such users, regardless of who they are or how much work they’ve put into the site. Without you MA would be a shell of what it is today.
With that said, however, we kindly ask that you refrain from acting like moderators, or acting as though you have authority over other users. As a regular user, you are not accountable to MA. You do not necessarily know every policy or stance on an issue that moderators follow, you do not have the enforcement mechanisms to back up what you say, you do not represent MA, the mods or our actions, and you can’t change or rewrite MA by disagreeing or contravening us.
The moderators and administrators all respect the fact that you may simply want to help out the staff here at MA, or that you feel it's your (collective) duty to enforce your own self-perceived notions of dominance or attention. We also understand that many of the questions addressed to us by users can be common sense, and answered quite quickly. We realize that regular users can also pick up on threads that should be closed, or users that ought to be banned. We even recognize that there are hard-working, long-term users who know the ropes and can regurgitate the finer details of MA's rules and guidelines like the best of us. But more often than not by interfering you end up causing more harm than good! It takes longer for us to correct any misperceptions inferred, threads derailed, or users deterred from your attempts to mini-mod, than it does for us to have dealt with the issue on our own in the first place. What might have been a simple issue resolved in moments gets drawn out in back-and-forth replies between moderators and users over misconceptions and frustrations (as is evident in many threads in this forum).
However, that doesn’t mean that you should refrain from helping users when it seems reasonable to do so. Linking a newbie to a thread that they're seeking or should seek is warranted, but then again, making snide comments about how 'idiotic' they are for not knowing better or doing so when that newbie is specifically requesting a moderator's feedback is not warranted. Letting a user politely know where to find MA’s guidelines and rules is fine, but then again, providing your personal opinion about those rules, or making up rules of your own as you try to help that user is not cool.
I suppose the only other thing I want to address is that, for certain threads, leave the responses to users to the moderators entirely. In fact, one thread in particular
should be comprised almost solely of questions from users and responses from mods. When a user asks about a rejected band, an accepted band that they believe should be removed, or a band that was deleted, it’s best that you don’t chime in with your opinion as to how and why it was dealt with by the moderator that dealt with it. It’s best not to intervene and tell the user why you agree with them, or why you disagree with them. Leave it to the mods to deal with those. This extends to any thread that asks for moderator feedback specifically, even if it’s a duplicate thread. If you’re wavering towards acting like a moderator, just don’t do it.