">He does it for free"
- – many, many anons
Mods, otherwise known as Moderators or Janitors and Jannies, have been gifted a small modicum of power over their fellow mortal. This power comes from the heart of 4chan itself, and is doled out by Moot as he sees fit. This power manifests itself as the mighty Banhammer. But in return, the Mod is entrusted with the sacred duty of eliminating certain unsavory characters from the halls of 4chan. From this newfound pedestal of power, the Mod is then free to roam about the boards as usual. However, if they catch sight of anyone acting suspicious or being a heretic, they are free to use their mighty weapon as they see fit.
Weapons of the Mods
A weapon of immeasurable power, the Banhammer is roughly the size of a Thunder Hammer, but more potent by far. Like the Grey Knights before Matthew Ward, this mighty weapon can banish the Troll back to the Warp of the internet for a modest amount of time, forbidden from returning to 4chan until the Ban Time has ended. While this charge against the accused is wholly opinion-based, the Banhammer is known for being stern, but fair.
Mods are also known to wear some sort of invisible Pauldrons, which can deflect various attempts to vanquish them. It is, however, known that Moot has the power to wield his Permabanhammer, an ancient weapon crafted for him out of the raw stuff of 4chan. This is the end-all be-all for anyone on 4chan, even Mods.
The Snack Heresy
Once, in the before time, when /b/ was good, there lived a Mod named WTSnacks. He was the favored Mod of Moot, and a friend to all of 4chan, even /b/. While Moot sat in his room figuring out how to keep 4chan funded, WTSnacks was out hunting down the enemies of 4chan. His impeccable insight led him to ban only those who deserved it. His prowess at purging the scum and evil from any board he found made him an idol to be revered and worshiped. Because of this, all Mods would strive to emulate him, and 4chan was at peace.
But, in his slumbers, WTSnacks dreamed of power, and his aspirations whispered to him as he watched over the boards. Eventually, his soul became tainted. Soon, he began to form a cabal of close Mods, and together they formed an unstoppable force. They gathered a cult following, and began to ban those who opposed their will, not just those who opposed the mandates of Moot.
And the most holy Moot saw this and proclaimed HERESY!
He told Moot to go fuck himself. *GASP*
Moot seized up his mighty Permabanhammer and brought it down straight on top of WTSnack's head. And then it was known, in every part of the Intertubes, with the mighty ring of the hammer tolling a death bell, that WTSnacks had fallen. The chosen Mod of Moot had been struck down by Moot himself, sentenced to a thousand deaths. Snacks was banned from 4chan for evar. Snacks would not be coming back.
This set the stage for 4chan as we know it now, a wasteland of incompetent and unrestrained Mods, trolls riding freely among the boards, and general madness. The only true power is Moot (who has no idea what he's doing half of the time), and the best boards are those that are left alone, able to hide from Anonymous, /b/, the trolls and the Mods. (It's no surprise that people STILL ask Moot to forgive Snacks and make him a mod again.)
In reality, Snacks was forgiven many years ago, and routinely makes threads on several boards, but this section is too funny to change.
Fall of the Mods
Mods on 4chan are exactly the same as the Imperial Inquisitors. Some are fair, fun-loving, and practice tolerance. They are just like the rest of us, only with more power. However, they are hidden by the much more visible ones that aren't. Most of them are totally bass-ackwards for coming onto any 4chan board with the idea wedged in their brains that they MUST FIGHT THE DAEMONS! Sadly these mods don't know who is good and who is bad, (or even care, at that matter) and on bad days just Banhammer left and right. Few people have the power to fight them, and when these Mods swarm boards, they kill them.
Mods on /tg/
Nobody on /tg/ cared really, because mods never went to /tg/, and for the most part it was left alone and kept itself reasonable, thanks to the Neckbeards which inhabited its halls. The /tg/ motto was "/tg/ self-moderates", and it was a pretty damn honest motto. This is no longer the case, however. For years now, Mods have taken to /tg/, intent on sucking all that is good from the board and leaving it a lifeless husk. They are currently doing a pretty good job.
The first sighting of any kind of moderating force on /tg/ was November 23, 2009, with the appearance of a janitor who deleted threads more according to personal preference than to board preference. It was chronicled in a short story, here, back before anyone had full news or understanding of what happened. Prior to the sudden attack, there really had been so little moderator presence on /tg/ that anons didn't believe a janitor had visited the board! It was such a controversial notion that anons posed a theory that people were deleting their threads to troll one another, helped by the fact that threads being deleted had always been considered /tg/-related in the past.
If you asked a /tg/ mod what he thought of the situation, he'd probably tell you he was proud. Then he'd ban you for asking meta shit, the useless cunt. You can, however, still help the mod crowd-source any of his lazy setting ideas, if he deigns you worthy of the time. Most newer users today don't realize that the plodding creation of a setting for cat-girls would have been considered boring and laughably vanilla back in the board's golden age.
An analysis of the Mods
The true destructive powers of the mods on /tg/ are deceptively subtle. In theory, they are an excellent way to keep the boards clean and focused. In the past, it was widely recognized that trolling itself was actually /tg/'s standard pastime, but certain topics push each fa/tg/uy's buttons in different ways. While most took the trolling in stride and, in fact, many prolific discussions arose from intended troll threads, some individuals just didn't understand the game. It's not about the experience and shooting the breeze to the folks known as tha/tg/uy. It's about winning.
It is known that power corrupts, but a lesser known axiom is that power also turns a mod on /tg/ into tha/tg/uy. That guy that shows up and bans anything he deems as “not related” to traditional gaming. That guy who has a fit every time somebody wants to discuss a setting or idea he doesn't like, even if it is the creative process that creates a good game in the first place. The natural tendency of a good roleplayer, after all, is to give something character, but it is the mod's prerogative to decide what kind of characters are actually acceptable.
Or in other words, mods are like awful DMs that have a predetermined idea of how their players should act, and they don't care how funny it is, you can't play a naked half-orc paladin named “Satan”.
The fact is, leadership and good group organization comes from having a clear set of punishments and rewards. Violating the rules must always be met with an exact punishment, and doing well must be met with reward. Of course, 4chan has no natural inbuilt rewards beyond praise of the fellow fa/tg/uy, and since each mod has his own peeves, there is only one consistent condition for punishment: criticizing the mods.
Mods are known to ban posters on /tg/ for all number of things not necessarily displayed as the board rules. Hence they lack clarity. One mod may have a raging grudge against furries, and thus, on the lookout for furries to ban, he can't tell the difference between a joking discussion of futa Godzilla and a picture of two anthropomorphic foxes banging each other. If the mod can't tell the difference, then there is no rule to follow: merely punishment to be had.
And while one mod will ban anyone for so much as referencing furries, another is out to stop threads that involve video game characters, and another is ready to stop My Little Pony. Fa/tg/uys, not wanting to be banned, eventually find themselves more or less incapable of branching out and doing anything terribly interesting. Roleplaying games are acceptable, but they may not be Iron Claw, set in the Starcraft universe, or involve colorful equines.
One can discuss 40k, but there may or may not be limits. Slaanesh is kind of lewd, and /tg/ is “work safe”, so will your posts be deleted if your daemonette pictures include titties? It depends on the mod, so really, who knows except for the mod that bans you? Then, with that in mind, what's the point in going out of your way to be creative and have fun? What if your picture trolls a mod somehow and you get banned?
Occasionally, when the mods are asleep, a fa/tg/uy might catch glimpses of threads talking about the old days on /tg/. The days when “/tg/ didn't need mods” because everything was really just kind of a joke, anyway. The days when even the trolls, however hated, did have a certain amount of bizarre class that at least made them interesting. To those not in the know, it may seem like oldfags grumping about nostalgia, but it honestly wasn't that long ago. Not only that, but those shenanigans that created all the fascinating stories here on 1d4chan weren't terribly rare in those days either.
Whatever they may say, don't believe them. /tg/ only has one rule under the mods: do whatever the mods want. There is no other persistently established set of rules. It's not your /tg/ anymore. It's not your playground. You don't make the rules, and majority acceptance is meaningless. /tg/ belongs to the mods.
4chan Feedback: the Board that Laughs at Us
Aside from having their own board, known as /j/, the mods also liked to visit a newer board called /q/. /q/ has a few unique rules, such as that ordinary users couldn't delete their posts and that there was a long wait period between posting new comments. Tie this in to the fact that everyone had an ID when posting on /q/ along with the reality that 4chan's mods weren't exactly the best and brightest users on the site, and you get a situation where the Wizard of Oz occasionally yanks his curtain aside during a stupid move.
Generally, the mods seemed to have their own culture, which revolved a lot around hating the 4chan userbase with an intensity only seen when an authority figure loses his ability to recognize the humanity of those he's been charged with presiding over. So the easiest way to recognize a mod was to look for vastly obnoxious, condescending images as well as pro-moderator, condescending rhetoric. Most of the time, the mods had no tact or shame when defending themselves, so if you find yourself talking to someone who feels the mods need more power to inflict more bans and that everything the mods do is justified, chances are you're talking to a mod hiding behind a fairly transparent mask.
A famous quote from one of the moderators while he posted on /q/ was by someone known temporarily by part of his ID, "MQr".
"Creative people are like Kleenex. You ban one and another pops up in his place."
So far, it's the most succinct word we have from any mod that would explain /tg/ now compared to /tg/ years ago when /tg/ had more draw and writefags by population than any board. Supposedly, MQr operated on the /mlp/ board, raising hell and turning the board inside out for reasons only he fully fathomed. He became a board character as a result, "Scruffy the janitor", who was spoken of with much malignancy.
Most of the mods wised up and changed their IP when posting on /q/ from then on, so it's more difficult to uncover long strings of downright lousy behavior. The bastards are all in cahoots, though - that much is pretty likely.
NEWS FLASH: As of 9/18, Moot has announced that /q/ will be replaced with a "suggestion box". Exactly what good this will be when nobody ever listens to the suggestions is a mystery. The feedback page is now completely gone, but it's unlikely that they ever paid attention to it in the first place. That "suggestion box" was /qa/, a board that was meant to promote new ideas for the boards, but is instead overrun by the latest infestation of the hour (i.e. ponies, /pol/). Like ever, if anyone actually paid attention to it, there was sure as hell no way to tell.