A moderator team I was on a while ago had rather clear rules and procedures set up. However, rather than fulfilling the spirit of the rules, and evaluating the available options, some of the moderators followed these rules to the letter, most often jumping for the most radical course of action first.

For an example: A thread posted in the wrong section of the forum was handled by handing out punishments, rather than simply doing the menial task of a janitor and moving the thread.

I have tried repeatedly to address my concerns and note that a more lenient way of handling things might be in order, and that the severity of an "offence" needs to be taken into consideration before acting.

While I certainly see how educating users is an important factor, I would still like to see a bit more balance, rather than an iron first. However, I would rather not cause inconsistencies in how the various moderators handle such a situation.

Should I align with the others, try further to make my point, or simply act the way I think is right despite the others not following suit?

  • The moment the fellow moderator slips, bear the full weight of the system on them for their mistake ;)
    – SF.
    Jul 30, 2014 at 9:21

2 Answers 2


If there was someone overseeing your mod team, perhaps you could have appealed to them. In lieu of that though, here's what comes to mind.

  • If the letter of the law is being used too often in violation of the spirit of the law, then perhaps the letter of the law should be changed to better reflect its spirit.
  • Perhaps you (generic you) could try emphasizing that a moderator's job is to serve their community, not to be its overlord. If any of the current mods refuse to shift to that mentality, then perhaps they ought to be replaced.
  • The time for this may be past, but to answer your last question, I personally think that you (specific you) should both keep trying to make your point and acting on what you think is right. Yes, it is nice to have all the moderators in agreement with each other, but consider this: if you do the right things and are nicer to your community, they'll probably like you more and them less, and maybe that'll lead to a change of guard.

All three of these points derive from this one key concept: moderators exist to serve their community. If those moderators are not doing their job, that's a problem, and a mod that's really serving their community should work to -ahem- take care of the mod(s) that aren't.


This should be spelled out in a moderator guideline document somewhere. Even if the document is just the four words "Don't do anything stupid", you need one of theses. The situation you describe should be handled by pointing to that document and identifying either a letter-of-law or spirit-of-law violation.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.