Let’s Talk: Backseat Moderating

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1 January 2018 – Let’s Talk: Backseat Moderation


WolvHaven has been running for over 6 years and has seen many people come and go. However, in recent years, a new phenomenon has landed on our shores and has remained etched in our community – backseat moderating.

Backseat Disruptive & Substandard Moderating (BDSM/Backseat Moderating) and how it hurts the server

Let’s all admit it. Some WolvHaveners have a serious problem. It’s called Backseat Disruptive & Substandard Moderation. In this post, we will discuss what backseat moderating is, why you should not participate in it and the implications it may have on you if you do participate.

  • What is backseat moderating?
  • Why is backseat moderating so bad?
  • Examples of backseat moderation
  • Implications for engaging in backseat moderation
  • What do I do when I see someone breaking the rules?
  • What do I do if I feel a member of staff could have handled a situation better?

What is backseat moderating?

Backseat moderating is the act of trying to police anyone anywhere on WolvHaven (Server, Discord, Forums etc.) when one is not a member of staff.

For example:
2 Players are having an argument and a 3rd party comes along and tells one player that they will be banned and/or threatens to report one of them to staff. What the 3rd party has just done is backseat moderate.

Why is backseat moderating so bad?

There are several reasons why backseat moderation is so bad, but here are the 3 main reasons.

  • Spread of misinformation
    As the people who are backseat moderating are not members of staff, they may not give off accurate information. A person backseat moderating may exaggerate the punishments for a certain offence and/or state that the person is violating the rules, when he is in fact not. This results in the spreading of misinformation and could potentially result in more people breaking certain rules. This inaccurate accusation may also result in disharmony between members.
  • It can further escalate situations
    Staff are given specific protocols to follow when handling disputes between players and/or cases. If a backseat moderator jumps into a fight between 2 players in an attempt to moderate it, he or she may make comments which could form a way of bias against another player. This can result in the other player feeling that he or she is being treated unfairly, leading to more commotion and fighting.
  • It is annoying and is rarely adhered to
    Advice given by backseat moderators is rarely heeded to and is rather annoying. When one backseat moderates, the offenders rarely take the advice seriously as the person is not a member of staff and does not have the authority. Excessive backseat moderating also gets on others’ nerves as it goes to show that one is unable to mind his or her own business and is trying to act above his or her own authority.

Ultimately, it leads to a server experience that is worse for all eventually.

What are some examples of backseat moderating?

Examples of backseat moderating include but are not limited to:

  • Talking about punishing others
    E.g. You are getting banned for this!
  • Giving opinions on how to settle a dispute between 2 or more players
    E.g. The both of you should just destroy each others’ towns and leave the server
  • Threatening to report an individual to staff
    E.g. I will report you if you say that again!
  • Telling staff your opinion on what they should do while they are handling the situation
    E.g. I think you can’t do your job properly. You should be…
  • Asking members of staff to punish someone in a certain way
    E.g. I think you should give him a double warning
  • Attempt to “bring justice” by taking sides in a dispute
    E.g. Please XXX, nobody likes you anyway and everybody here finds you damn annoying. Stop trying to justify everything you do wrong. The other person is obviously in the right and you, in the wrong!
  • Exercising force/authority on someone when you are not in a position to do so
    E.g. Commenting on a courtroom case in the forums

Some real examples of backseat moderation

(Click the images to view a larger size without leaving the page. New website feature woohoo!)

Implications for backseat moderating

As mentioned earlier on, backseat moderating not only complicates the job of staff but can also spread misinformation, increase tensions, and escalate situations.

Backseat moderating is against the rules!

If you insist on backseat moderating, you may very well be awarded an official warning, or even a ban.

If you think you know the rules well and have what it takes, apply for [Helper]. If we see you have potential, you can be added to our ranks as a [Helper], perform well, and you might be promoted to [Mod].


So what do I do when I see a player breaking the rules?

  • Check the rules to see if the player is indeed breaking a rule
  • Remind the player POLITELY that they are breaking the rules
  • If they continue, report it to staff via #helpop in discord or posting it in the courtroom section of the forums
  • DM an admin if you think staff mishandled a situation
  • Comment if unsure about the rule
  • Threaten to report to staff
  • Assume the punishment for the player (Example: You are getting banned/warned.)
  • Attempt to “bring justice” by saying who is right and who is wrong in a dispute between 2 players
  • Act above authority (Example: You will be blacklisted from applying for architect)
  • Tell staff how they should do their job while they are handling the situation (Example: Oi mod, you should give him a ban, stop trying to resolve it)

What if I feel like the way a member of staff could have handled something better?

We believe there is a time and a place for everything. This applies to providing feedback on members of staff. Nudging in while a member of staff is trying to handle the situation not only annoys the member of staff, it is also a form of backseat moderation as discussed earlier.

If you believe that a member of staff could have performed better in a situation, you may always approach the member of staff nicely in Direct Messages.

However, if you feel it is better, you may always approach SilverWolv to provide feedback.

When providing feedback, please keep it constructive. We want to improve the server experience for everyone; sending us insults or cocky feedback is probably not going to help. Tell us what you would do instead to handle the situation and if we find that your suggestion is better, we will forward it to the staff member respectively to improve on.

To Summarize…

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