So on to what I'm sure will be a sore subject: Rules and moderation...
I realize that XDA has grown by leaps and bounds since I first joined. Back then, there were only a handful of people geeky enough to have smartphones. Today, they are the norm. With more users there are more devices, more forums and XDA needed more moderators. That's perfectly understandable. It's also understandable that XDA has reached into the "non-developer" pool of people for moderation help.
However, the forum rules which the moderators supposedly moderate by are too vague and really don't guide users (or moderators) in the proper way to do things. It only makes matters worse then the moderators enforce those rules in seemingly random ways. Finally, when a bad decision is made by a moderator (or a decision that a user thinks is bad), there's no documented way for a user to ask for help. "Report to moderator" is pretty useless when you're only reporting to the same person you are complaining about.
If there's a guideline, it should be shared by ALL the moderators and documented so that users can understand it. The primary location to find these rules and guidelines is a post that is stickied in every single forum/subforum here: http://forum.xda-developers.com/announcement.php?a=81
If it's not in that post, then it's fairly safe to assume that users don't know about it.
So what's wrong with those rules? Well, they are pretty vague in too many cases. Vague rules lead to different people interpreting them differently (or interpreting them selectively for different people.) Here's some examples:
"Don’t use XDA to advertise your product or service.
" "Commercial advertising, advertising referral links, pay per click links and other income generating methods are forbidden. Do not use xda-developers as a means to make money.
" -- Yet, how many people have seen a developer clearly post (or get someone else to post on their behalf) that if people don't "donate" enough money for them to buy a device, they don't development for that device. To me, that sounds like "I'll sell my development for the cost of the device."
"Off-site downloads are permitted if the site is non-commercial and does not require registration.... but may be permitted if ... the site is a relatively small personal website without commercial advertising/links (i.e. not a competitor forum-based site with purposes and aims similar to those of XDA-Developers.com.)
" -- There are literally thousands of links on this website for downloads on sammobile.com or samfirmware.com. That site requires registration, advertises, and has forums that "compete" with XDA. Yet, the links are still there.
"If you are developing something that is based on the work of another Member, you MUST first seek their permission, and you must give credit to the member whose work you used.
" -- I think this one depends on who is violating the rule. Apparently, if its a 15 (now 16) year old kid, it's okay. Yes, I'm bitter about this one as I have had my work used (without my permission), had reported it to moderators, was told someone would look into it, and then had the report disappear into a black hole. It only made matters worse when that same person accepted "donations" given as a result of the code stolen from me. Being I ask people to donate to a children's hospital (not to me) for my work, I feel as if my work was stolen from me, and money was stolen from a child who desperately needed medical care. There's no question as to who developed the code, as gerrit/github timedate stamps don't lie. In truth, I wouldn't have minded about this so much if the little thief forwarded the donations to a real charity. I do share my work freely, but I VERY seriously resented (and still resent) my work was used for a thief's profit. To my way of thinking, there's nothing vague about the rule here - only the lack of enforcement.
Then there's the whole thing with that types of threads go into which subforums. There's simply NO consistency with this. A perfect (and recent) example is that I posted a thread in a dev subforum containing modifications for a single stock samsung package, SecLauncher2.apk. That was pushed to apps&themes by a moderator. That same moderator, however, has permitted threads for modifying only "SystemUI.apk" and only "android.policy.jar." He's also permitted completely non-development related things such as "post modem dumps here" and "stock deodex firmware."
So, not only are the rules vague, but the moderation of the rules is so inconsistent that a user can't even look to precedent to decide what is and isn't allowed.
I'm going to stop here. I feel like I've started ranting, and that isn't productive. The points are valid, but discussing them has brought up things I'm (obviously) very bitter about.