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Minimodding - what it is and why it isn't allowed.

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Havingfun_ISKEY avatar Havingfun_ISKEY
Level 63 : High Grandmaster Princess
Being such a common member of the chat and forums these days, it's no surprise that I have began to learn the behavior of the average player. In fact, some of the stereotypes set in my brain may be unfair - like thinking that a member with a Steve head on chat is going to end up getting an infraction or at the least by very annoying and immature. And it's true, a lot of these "Steve" characters - and even experienced members - end up breaking the rules.

There are, however, justice-enforcers, like me. They don't really like to see the rules being broken, so they try to enforce the rules all by themselves despite the three moderators on already. And what is the result you get?

What is minimodding?

For those of you who read the rules, the definition of minimodding seems to be very simple to understand. Here's exactly how the PMC rules explains minimodding:

4.5 Minimodding

Acting as if in a position of power to ban, pointing out that a member has broken a rule, requesting a Moderator action publicly or any similar practices is called Minimodding, or Minimod for short. This causes more fights to break out as people don't have the ability, but act as though they have real authority.

That's not a lot, now is it? It seems simple enough to follow. But really, when there just seems to be black and white, there's actually a lot of gray involved in minimodding. And it's not always simple to avoid, either. Many well-meaning members can minimod or verge on minimodding without even meaning to. Once is okay if you learn your lesson. After that, the actual moderators might not be so easy on you. So, what exactly qualifies on minimodding that the rules don't state?

Let me dive into some more detail. As the rules state, the most obvious one is telling a player off for breaking the rules, whether that be the forums, chat, or submission comments. It most commonly happens on chat, where messages are live and more people are sending messages at once. It's not uncommon to witness somebody breaking the rules, believe me. And when it does happen, all a regular member has to do is click the little "report" button by the message and watch the mods do their work. But some users...take it one step further.

I remember an occasion where a member had linked to a website where several inappropriate terms were mentioned, but warned about it beforehand. After reading, I quickly reported the message, and the post was deleted. The member got upset and complained about his infraction and asked why it was removed. To explain, I simply said that it was inappropriate. After being politely warned by a chat mod to step back a little, I watched with increasing frustration as the member argued with the moderators, refused to follow the rules, and even worse, other members were minimodding to no end. It was very hard to keep my mouth shut, but I did it successfully in the end and the member got kicked.

The other members were trying to tell the user - very harshly, might I add - to follow the rules or get off the site. And believe me, that didn't help anything. Heck, it even got the rule-breaking member - and the moderators - even more upset than they originally were. And that was just a massive mess.

But what are the "gray areas" I was speaking about?

Several times I have borderlined on minimodding. The best example is when a user had gotten an infraction and asked a site moderator - publicly - why he got one. I politely told him that maybe he should speak to the moderator in private to discuss the infraction. The member got very upset and accused me of minimodding, which thinking back I can't exactly blame him for. Keeping my cool, I explained that I wasn't pointing out that he had broken a rule, but instead giving him a suggestion to help him. Still, though, he got very mad at me and I don't know what would have happened if the site moderator hadn't told him to back off and reveal that I was right.

It's up to you whether that truly counted as minimodding or not - the answer probably even ranges from moderator to moderator. The action of asking about an infraction technically wasn't against the rules, but it's strongly recommended not to do it. And I truly did suggest what to do instead, instead of telling him off for taking the wrong course of action. For others, though, it might be viewed that I got a bit too involved, and I totally understand it. I am trying to get a better generalization of what exactly is minimodding and what isn't, for the future. To be safe, though, I haven't been saying a word; only reporting these and letting the moderators dealing with it instead.

But is actual helping minimodding?

Absolutely not. As Pepijn states in his "Stories of an Admin" blog, watching players help each other out, whether it be commands or profile pictures or building, is a very satisfying thing to witness. In fact, it indirectly helps the moderators as they can deal with other things. Minimodding and actually helping a player out are two very different things.

However, there are a couple times when you really shouldn't answer questions. If a question is specifically directed at a moderator and they're not AFK, then don't even try. You could even end up answering incorrectly, and then the moderator has to correct the both of you. (Thanks for letting me know, Zitz. :P)
Why can't I minimod?

Simple, really. Despite you thinking that it helps the moderators deal with a player's rule-breaking, it only makes the situation worse for everyone. As stated before, if you tell somebody off for breaking the rules and you don't have the power or authority to actually do something about it, then the results will usually a raging player and a very unhappy lot of moderators. Both will basically bite your head off. You see, moderators aren't incompetent idiots who can't do their jobs correctly. They were chosen because they can handle situations like this, but trying to take care of it yourself will only stress them out.

It's not just that, either. If you're actually wrong with what you're trying to say, you might not get just rage, but a lot of confusion too. A moderator will have to correct both users when they shouldn't have had to, and chances are you'll feel quite embarrassed afterwards.

The last reason is - and this doesn't apply to all - but it can make some look like they are purposely pursuing the position of moderator. Obviously, this doesn't impress anybody, and it severely decreases the chances of you ever getting promoted. Think about it - do you think Paril got the super-special rank of super moderator and then admin by being a bossy bully? How about Zitzabis, to site mod? Zeranny? Snowy? Pepijn? Azie? What about Chron the forum moderator? -TT-, even? Pikamoar? Thezi the chat moderator? Yuki? Chips? Zatharel? I doubt it.
How do I avoid minimodding?

Again, simple, but not always simple to follow. The best piece of advice is to try your hardest to keep your mouth closed in all such situations. I totally understand that you want to argue with any rule-breaker, but upsetting the user even more and getting trouble with the mods isn't worth it; you won't change anything.

As Midnight the moderator once said in the greatest blog of all time, people love sharing their own opinions, but not everybody likes reading other people's opinions. Sometimes you're really tempted to toss in your own two cents, but will it do anything to sway other people? Maybe, maybe not, but sometimes it's best to just leave something alone. You don't want to waste your time with something that you can't change all by yourself.

Even though you really shouldn't say anything to the rule-breaker, reporting is still an excellent idea. It makes the moderators aware that the post is breaking rules and they can deal with it themselves just fine and dandy. So report all you want as long as they're valid.
On a final note...

As I stated before, helping people out because you genuinely want people to be successful is not minimodding. Unfortunately, the other day, however, a member didn't quite understand that.

I can't remember all the details, but he kept on asking me a lot of questions through whispers, such as stuff about the PMC server. He then asked me if I'm on chat all day and ask questions all the time, and I said pretty much so. The member asked me if I was trying to become a moderator, to which I said that I only wanted to be a moderator if I was asked, and I don't do anything to purposely become one. He then said that since I answered questions all the time, I was obviously pursuing the position, and I tried to explain that I wanted to genuinely help people on PMC to become better, not to become a moderator. He didn't believe me, though. The member then started to rant about another member on chat to me, and I told him that I really didn't want to hear it. The member then started flaming the other member publicly on chat. Horrified, I suggested politely to not do that, because I didn't want either of them to get in trouble. He ignored my advice and then...accused me of minimodding. (What?) The member told me to go away and minimod somewhere else, as there were enough mods on chat already. He even tried to publicly humiliate me by saying that I was probably talking behind his back "again". The two members got into a heated argument, and just like I predicted...they both got kicked.

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01/26/2018 8:09 pm
Level 36 : Artisan Artist
Mike Johnson
Mike Johnson avatar
Minimodding... I did have a situation like your's with the question-asking asking. I answered his questions nicely and politely, and it was about minimodding. But before I realized it, I was answering some questions I did not realize were banable (although I did not get banned for it,), but Then i realzied and said to the member that these questions were off-site and we're not apporpiate. He literally whispered swear words to me, accusing me of being a minimod.

Then, publicly, he humiliated me of 'being a stupid person'. And just my luck, no mods were around. I calmly told him that you need to stop. That just made him even more mad, and that's when it got personal. He called me rude names and said I was the stupidest person ever, and that I should not be on this site.

My anger levels were rising, but I managed to stay cool. Luckily, at that moment, a mod came and asked what was happening. The person accused me of being inappropriate and saying off-site stuff, when those are the things that he said. The mod almost believed at first, but then I told to look at the whispers and the chat. I did try to keep my mouth shut at this point, but it was hard.

The person now was furious and said to the mod that I was lying. Now I was really angry, and said that he was the liar, and has trying to get me into trouble. Then the member spammed and then the mod banned him.

I know exactly how you feel.
02/12/2016 8:32 am
Level 27 : Expert Network
Pines avatar
i somehow find infractions not offensive, ive got banned in chat 2 times for mini-modding and havent been mad.

its kinda weird how i treat the internet as a game. o.o
01/27/2016 11:34 pm
Level 37 : Artisan Soldier
FazbearStudioz avatar
I got banned from a server for mini modding. -_- (I literally almost threw my laptop out the window, no kidding )
01/30/2016 3:21 pm
Level 63 : High Grandmaster Princess
Havingfun_ISKEY avatar
Ouch, sorry to hear that.
01/27/2016 2:14 pm
Level 10 : Journeyman Scribe
Skaldas avatar
Eh *shrugs*

Interested to see how the comment section will develop as more people read this.
01/30/2016 3:21 pm
Level 63 : High Grandmaster Princess
Havingfun_ISKEY avatar
Working out just fine.
01/27/2016 11:56 am
Level 9 : Apprentice Network
WhoIsThis avatar
Nice blog! But it took me a while to understand that this blog was related to moderators. I thought this was about creating mods with MCreator, lol.
01/30/2016 3:21 pm
Level 63 : High Grandmaster Princess
Havingfun_ISKEY avatar
What? Lol. And thanks.
01/27/2016 10:04 am
Level 49 : Master Pixel Painter
TheMightyWaffle avatar
Nice post! I just hope a lot more people read this.
01/30/2016 3:21 pm
Level 63 : High Grandmaster Princess
Havingfun_ISKEY avatar
Thanks! I hope so too. :3
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