A few years ago I was one of these users that thought the mods of this site were either grossly negligent/incompetent, or randomly prone to bouts of fanboyism depending on what mod I "dealt" with. Like many on this site, I had moments where I felt there was a huge injustice being done to me, or just as big an imbalance of who could speak out the most and who couldn't. Thanks to many encounters with a specific mod who will remain nameless, my impression of them never truly improved during each and every encounter.
Over the years though I had interactions with other mods and a couple of admins and started really looking at the system in place here at N4G. Looking deeper showed me that my long standing opinion was pretty inaccurate due to not possessing enough knowledge of the entire situation. So allow me enlighten those people who have been running their mouths off about how the mods of the site are corrupt and allow certain things to happen in favour of a certain group, and disallow other things to happen in order to keep another group down.
Over the past couple of weeks there has been a certain group of people who have been claiming, and complaining, that mods have been blocking certain positive story types and allowing certain negative story types. The reasons that these people believe the mods are doing this is because the mods apparently want the site to be a certain way, with a certain group of people being the dominant force of the site. That's completely ridiculous.
The Basics of the Approval/Disapproval system: Whether most of you want to believe it or not, mods have a very hands off approach with the approval or disapproval of most of the site's submissions and instead let the community handle what gets put up on the site more often than not. If any of you have a problem with certain types of stories not making it passed the approval process then the reasons lie in the following areas.
1. Many don't bother going through the 3 story submission process to grant them the privilege of approving or reporting a story. If you don't believe me about that, first ask yourself if you're one of those people, then look at who approves stories and you'll definitely come across repetition of names. So if most aren't even bothering to get themselves the privilege to approve or report stories, or if most don't even bother to visit the pending section to even try to approve or report stories, then there will obviously be a slant in what gets through and what doesn't. Not enough of the community is exercising their power to control content on the site and that's not the fault of mods.
2. Mods have 10 votes towards approval. This means if mods really wanted certain stories to get through the way some of you claim, they could approve them themselves with only 1 vote to instantly make those submissions approved. Think about that for a second. Why would mods give a damn about what you think if they were truly "corrupt" enough to make this site favour a certain group over another? Why waste their time with failing some stories when they could insta-approve the really bad/flamebait articles themselves? You don't pay them to be a moderator of this site, so they don't have to care what you want, and yet you can't see that they have the power to really make this site filled with the worst trolling nonsense you could ever find on the internet.
3. Actually take a look at what mods fail. 9 times out of 10 they always give a legitimate reason for failing an article, and if you don't see "submission changed from pending (or approved) to failed (or deleted) by ____" where blank shows a name instead of "community" then a mod didn't fail the article and instead it was the community that failed it. Remember, there is a system put in place. After 5 reports (I could be wrong about that number) or 48 hours without being approved, a submission is instantly failed. So in reality, the community has more to do with failed submissions than mods do.
The Basics of the Responsibilities of Mods: As previously stated, mods take more of a hands off approach to story submissions so that they can focus on more important things like disruptive users, bot accounts, etc.. They also have to worry about the technical side of the site causing THEM problems they never intended. For example, a few weeks ago a mod marked one of my posts as Offensive and gave me a Warning. I created a ticket mentioning that my comment was obviously a joke and that below it was far worse so I don't understand why I lost a bubble for something so minor (but I also mentioned I don't care about my bubbles, I was just making a point). The mod responded and said that it was just a warning and that I shouldn't have lost a bubble at all and that they'd look into it. Sure enough, the system removed my bubble when it wasn't supposed to and the mod restored my bubble.
This should show that sometimes things happen the mods never intended and if you don't bring it to their attention then nothing can be rectified and you just end up being pissed off for something that was an error. I was also informed one time that mods pay most of their attention to the reporting system set in place and that they have, at times, up to 500 reports an hour to go through. Now can you imagine how many "Trolling" reports get through to a mods inbox? The mods pay most attention to Spam, Offensive, and Personal Attack reports because they are the worst of the worst that they have to deal with. The moderator job is the most thankless job on this site because they have to deal with irate members who outnumber them vastly (this site has members from all over the world) and think they are corrupt and prone to favourtism. I'd bet most haven't even looked over the requirements to even be considered a mod on this site.
The Bubble System: This is something we all agree is broken, but this is also something the mods don't have as much of a presence in as most people think. It's my experience that mods normally take care of the Offensive, Spam, Personal Attack, and Off Topic reports more often than not, but I'm sure most people will notice that the most amount of reports that cause debubbling are "Trolling" reports. That means that enough people debubbled a person as trolling. Some are malicious, some are legitimate.
I've also found out that each member has a level by which their bubble or debubble vote counts. A more trusted member, that is to say a member that hasn't been a huge troll and has been a generally good part of the community, has more of an ability to bubble up or debubble a member than a troll does. This is to curb the malicious debubbling that plagued the site back during the Open Zone days. You have to remember that members outnumber moderators here and the site was designed to allow for self-moderation between members. So if you are debubbled, chances are high (though not absolute) that it's your own damn fault.
The idea that there is mass corruption and that a specific group of people control this site is nothing more than confirmation bias and an inability to see that there is actually a huge lack of participation in making this site better. The mods don't have as much an involvement as many think they do in everything most people are complaining about.
In my experience and observations, mods are too busy trying to keep the site free of bot accounts, duplicate accounts, and worrying about the more serious reports that come their way. Remember, you have the ability to create a ticket and voice a problem you have with what a mod has done as well. If there was a real oversight or your complaint is legitimate, it will be fixed.
Complaining that some articles are failed by mods due to their policy against anonymous sources, and yet some other articles are allowed to pass through and thus there is a huge conspiracy involving the mods, merely shows that you aren't looking at the bigger picture and just want your own preferred articles to be approved or ones that you hate to not be approved. It all comes back to confirmation bias and fanboy mentality. Fanboys are rampant on this site, and not of any particular group either; just fanboys in general.