1. IntroductionA big part of moderation is using discretion. We have rules, but ultimately rules come second to discretion. If we blindly enforce the rules without considering the ramifications, we can cause serious damage to a modding scene and GameBanana's reputation as a fair and open platform. Ultimately, the end goal of moderating is not to enforce rules, it is to facilitate and foster modding and creativity.
Most moderation activity is clear cut - someone is being harassed, or someone is spamming, or blatantly advertising, or otherwise clearly breaking the rules. What defines a good moderator is the actions they take in a small number of cases that are ambiguous, controversial or affect a well-known or veteran user. These are the cases that usually need to be carefully considered and discussed with other moderators first.
2.1. Retrospective violationsTypically when a submission survives initial inspection by moderators (up to 10 days), it should be protected from punitive actions. In other words, if we discover a submission from 1 month ago is personalized, it should not be retrospectively trashed.
If a submission has already passed moderator examination and has not changed, it should not face new punitive action without moderators first convening before action is taken. Taking moderation action in this fashion is called a "cleanup" and must be carefully planned.
2.2. Veterans flouting the RulesSometimes veteran users will continuously break our rules, setting up a showdown with moderators. In these cases moderators should exhibit a high level of tolerance, one much higher than is afforded to new users. If the problem cannot be reconciled, the stakes are high - the veteran will be losing access to a community they have invested a lot of time into, and GameBanana will be losing a valued member, as well as upsetting many of the user's buddies. These situations need to be carefully debated by moderators.
If a user's account age is over 5 years, moderators must convene before, trashing, gagging or banning.
2.3. Well-known Creators flouting the RulesLike veterans, talented contributors with a following on or off GameBanana may at times be given more flexibility in what they submit. We do not judge submission in a vacuum - we heavily scrutinize submissions from new and unknown users but give established creators occasional rule flexibility. This is favoritism but it is also how all communities function and grow.
If a user has over 50 buddies, 50 subscribers or 500 offsite followers, moderators must convene before trashing, gagging or banning.