The Wesnoth users community has always been rather special compared to other gaming groups. The forumers are usually civilized, they respect the Posting Guidelines, rarely start heated discussions on their own, and follow our moderators and developers’ orders and recommendations.
The development team, our current moderators and I are usually around to help with any thread requiring moderation. Such a pacific community doesn’t require maintenance work like that very often, not counting the insatiable spam generators that never stop coming to attempt to plague the forums with cheap search engine-feeding signatures and gratuitously large ad-posts.
However, a rather recent phenomenon is that of Rent-a-Modding. There are some members who seem to think, consciously or not, that forum moderation works by following a tight set of rules resulting in mechanical procedures fitting every possible situation, derived of course from our Posting Guidelines. Other users attempt to answer to forum posts authored by newbies, by guessing what a developer or moderator would say in such situation, or by copying past moderator reactions.
The behavior I’m describing here is commonly known as backseat-modding, and as Urban Dictionary puts it (mature/NSFW language), they are, effectively, a pain in the ass for actual mods and admins, but it’s not because they look like wannabe-mods, but because most of the time they are doing it wrong!
As I was saying, moderators don’t really follow strict rules to decide how to react to a particular situation, since every situation involves completely different contexts which depend a lot on the poster’s background and past behavior — there is, after all, a reason for handpicking Forum Regulars who might fit the job. This is what makes Rent-a-Mods annoying in the first place, since they can easily give out a really bad impression of our community and standards, scaring away newcomers and spreading bad words about us in other corners of the ’net.
Taking a wild guess of what a Developer will say to a poster regarding a specific development issue, such as Wesnoth’s future plans, or why problem X has not been fixed yet, or why feature Y is apparently never going to be implemented, is also a really Bad Thing™ since it wastes our time correcting the spreading misinformation before it gets stuck in people’s heads. There has been a lot of random guesswork regarding recent problems such as the supposed GNU General Public License violations by the iPhone/iPad port creator and distributor, or why a complaining poster has been banned from the multiplayer server(s) — hence we had to ban both to keep things orderly and avoid the development of useless time-consuming arguments.
In case I’m not getting my point across:
DON’T DO IT. IT’S NOT USEFUL FOR ANY OF THE INVOLVED PARTIES. LET THE MODS DO THEIR JOB.
Thanks for reading. I’m fairly certain that this post might not provide a clear enough answer for cases such as this, but I don’t feel like writing a longer and thorough rant at this moment.