I'm a long-time lurker on the tvdb, who has only recently started to participate and contribute. I only have a handful of posts, so my perspective is that of someone who isn't overly familiar with the current site rules.
I have a great deal of sympathy for this mod
, who followed the rules and deleted a series when he/she clearly didn't want to, and then was abused for following the rules. But even though a site founder explained exactly which rules were broken, it's still not clear why those rules are in place to start with.
I think the main problem on the tvdb is that many people either don't understand the rules, or don't understand what the rules are trying to achieve. And the main reason is that those rules are too hard to find, or they're vague, or contradictory, or they simply don't actually explain what their goals are and why they are important.
The rules seem to be handed down like a bureaucracy, without public discussion or consensus, without even clearly defining them. The result is that people often break the rules without realizing. And the mods have to clean up after them, without the proper the tools to do so, and often without the consensus of the community. (This is the main reason why I won't volunteer to be a moderator).
The tvdb needs to move towards a more open and consensus-based method for creating and enforcing rules and policies. The biggest and most successful example is probably wikipedia, which might not be right for thetvdb, but it is something we can take inspiration from. It is a perfect example of a community that strikes the appropriate balance between community consensus and quality. Another example is the recently open-sourced swift project, where a core team makes decisions but all discussions are open and community involvement is strongly encouraged.
In an open community, rules are not handed down arbitrarily. Rules are proposed by the community, discussed openly, and only become rules with the consensus of the community. And moderators should not be required to enforce rules that are vague, contradictory or unwritten, and they should not be required to enforce rules that exist without consensus.
Apologies if these processes already exist on the tvdb. I'm fairly new, so it's possible that there are already policies and guidelines in place and I just haven't found them yet. But I've searched and found nothing. As far as I can tell, the current decision making process for site rules is arbitrary and private. I see no evidence of consensus, nor do I see any of the reasoning behind many of the rules, and this results in unnecessary abuse to mods who have the thankless task of enforcing rules they may not agree with.
The tvdb needs to move towards a more open and consensus-based approach to its rules and policies. I understand this is a huge task, and probably not something that the site can achieve without community support, but it's something that I believe would be a huge boon to the community.
Apologies for using a throwaway account, but the sad fact is that when people speak up, they put themselves at risk of abuse from certain moderators, and I don't want any retribution against my regular account with my real identity attached.