I should have posted this here ages ago.
This is taken from my news post, here.
First off, the backseat modding rule is under "the other rules" section. It's not a major offense, but you are definitely risking a ban. Here's the rule as it's written in the BBS rules page:
- Backseat modding: pointing out what needs to be deleted, banned, locked or destroyed.
From this it makes things seem a little black and white, and I know that some users have been confused about being banned for backseat modding when they thought they were simply being helpful.
The tone of the post is very important; in my view of things, there's a line between a user who is trying to be helpful with good intentions, and a user who is being a bit of an elitist ass by trying to show another user that they know the site better, or something along those lines. If you're worried that your post runs the risk of getting you nailed for backseat modding, read it through before you hit the "Post" button, and try to read it as a scrutinising moderator and ask yourself: Could it be interpreted as condescending or rude in any way? If you think the answer is yes, then re-word it so that you seem as sincerely helpful as possible. There's nothing in the rules against being plain helpful, after all.
- Users being dicks to other (often newer) users;
- Users giving out MISINFORMATION;
- Users developing superiority complexes or thinking it's their job to mod the BBS.
There are the really obvious backseat modding posts, like "I wish a mod would come along to lock this", or "You're going to be banned LOL!" Those types of posts will usually be deleted and maybe a small ban would be given to the user responsible depending on the context.
The other more obvious type of backseat modding is when one user points out that another user is breaking the rules in a thread. The user making the accusation may be trying to help, but doing it in the thread only provides ammunition to derail the thread and start unnecessary flame wars. If you are concerned that a user is breaking the rules, PM an online mod and let them deal with it instead of taking matters into your own hands.
There are, however, instances where it's a little more difficult to see where the backseat modding is actually occurring. Examples of this are when one user tells another user how / where / what to post, especially if it's in an unhelpful or elitist manner. You don't necessarily have to say "this thread should be locked" in order to be guilty of backseat modding, but saying "This is in the wrong forum" or "You shouldn't have posted this here" is in the grey area. Try to be helpful and polite when redirecting users.
- Don't call users out in threads
It might seem like a user needs to be taken down a peg or two, but you're only making yourself look bad by getting drawn into it. PM an online mod and leave it at that.
- Be helpful, not condescending
The longer you're here, the more annoying it is when you see users who don't know the rules. In these instances, it's on YOU to be helpful to that user, but act like you're a moderator yourself. Point them in the right direction as opposed to TELLING them what to do.
- Don't quote / link to the rules
It might seem like you're trying to help, but this can very easily come off as smug or elitist. If you see someone breaking a rule, again, PM a mod as opposed to pointing it out in the thread itself.
- Don't tell mods how to do their jobs
Probably one of the easiest ways to get yourself banned for backseat modding is to actually tell the mods what they should or shouldn't be doing. We have a thread where you can express your opinions on how the mods are doing, but outside of that thread, just let us get on with it.
And finally, a tip that applies to EVERY rule on the BBS and not just this one...
- If in doubt, don't post
Fairly self-explanatory. If there's a hint of doubt in your mind that what you're about to post may not abide by the backseat modding rule, then don't hit that post button. If you have concerns about anything that you aren't sure if you should post on the BBS, we have the PM system and a list of mods who will help you out.
- "inb4 lock"
- "Enjoy your ban"
- "Read the rules"
- "This is spam"
- "Isn't this against the rules?"
...And all variations thereof.
Remember, backseat modding is ONLY a rule on the BBS. PMing a mod about something that you think needs looking at is absolutely fine, and you'll never get a BBS ban for contacting a mod about something you think is rulebreaking (even if it turns out to be legitimate in the end).